Steve Perry


Jeff Scott Soto - "What Was" (Steve Perry Cover)

JEFF SCOTT SOTO says: "In celebration of Steve Perry’s return to the music world with his new album "Traces", my longtime friends at Frontiers came to me with the idea of throwing out a cover of one of SP’s tunes as a ‘welcome back’ of sorts.

This idea came about a week before I was scheduled to embark on the current Sons Of Apollo tour, I had little time to put this together, so I called on my VERY busy friend Alessandro Del Vecchio and asked if he could help me put something together. He enthusiastically squeezed me in and quickly knocked out the music to a song he had suggested called ‘What Was’. This song was only available on the ‘Greatest Hits + Five Unreleased’ album.
And so here it is, a thank you, welcome back and celebration for Mr. Perry’s return! I owe so much to this man and the influence he gave me as a singer, I only hope I did this song justice for you all to enjoy!" - Jeff Scott Soto, September 2018

STEVE PERRY - Traces (Full Feature Review)

information persons: 
Produced By: 
Thom Flowers & Steve Perry
Running Time: 
Release Date: 
October 5
Musical Style: 
AOR, Soul
The return of Steve Perry is one thing, but the avalanche of publicity for the immediate release of a single and a full album due October 5, has been something else.
Such is the rarity of new Perry work, I have been writing for 22 years and only covered one new studio album – Journey’s Trial By Fire.
But here we are – Traces is the new album – a 10 track chronicle of Steve’s recent life experiences and a 15-track deluxe edition available via direct online or USA Target stores. This is a review of the standard/international edition. It will be updated with word on the additional 5 tracks ASAP.
To many – me included – Steve Perry is the voice of AOR, the definitive authority on just how good vocals can be. You have to get past the pure excitement factor of just getting to hear his voice again before you can objectively critique new material. I have given most of my personal favourite artists a serve at one point or another over the years, however, I’m pleased to say there’s not much to be critical of here – provided fans understand the reality of Steve Perry 2018.
The voice is rougher, raspier and it isn’t as strong as it once was. But that’s almost stating the bleeding obvious. Who would be at nearly 70 years of age?
What I care about is performance and songs and ‘Traces’ gets a tick in each column.
I can’t imagine anyone is surprised to hear this is a ballad filled, slow to mid-tempo record. And while some may struggle with the pace, I doubt any long time Perry fan is going to be disappointed.
Steve Perry at 70 is still Steve Perry. Just like hearing Neil Diamond at any stage in his career, so too is the joy of hearing Steve Perry. It’s that distinctive voice and those trademark inflections, that tone and that unmistakable delivery of mood and emotion that no one does better.
The characteristics and familiar style of Steve Perry’s past is all over this record. You can hear parts of ‘Street Talk’, ‘Strange Medicine’ and of course ‘Trial By Fire’ and other Journey-isms.
Taking a look at the songs themselves:
‘No Erasin’' is the upbeat easy to like, catchy as hell lead track (and single). I’ve enjoyed it from the start and I’m still enjoying it. Immediately memorable and the layered Motown harmonies are trademark Steve.
‘We're Still Here’ is the second track and a ballad as expected. It’s very smooth, very moody and features a more direct and unfiltered lead vocal. Textured with modern production effects and soulful harmonies, the chorus isn't big, but it's cool. Compared to the rest of the album’s ballads, it almost feels ‘up’, especially with the chorus.
'Most Of All' is a co-write with the great Randy Goodrum. It features a wonderful heartfelt vocal; slower and very sparse and smooth, this time lead primarily by Steve's voice and a grand piano. The chorus lifts tempo slightly as does Steve's voice. I picked it as a favourite from the first listen and that’s stayed true. Not unlike Strange Medicine's slower moments, plus a nice guitar solo and plenty of soul.
'No More Cryin' is yet another ballad, but each track has its own vibe, making the album far more enjoyable overall. This track has a touch of the Memphis blues about it and immediately reminds me of old school Steve. The chorus lifts the tempo and has some cool modern guitar riffing.
'In The Rain' is something very special. This is a very personal, very emotional piano ballad, formed with just a warm, soulful vocal, the piano and some lush orchestration. The vocal is amazing - very raw and haunting and Steve’s most ambitious high notes on the album. I can’t praise that enough and the vocal-melody makes the song.
'Sun Shines Grey' is co-written with John 5 and producer Thom Flowers. We've found the album’s other rocker, and it reminds me of modern day Rick Springfield mixed with Journey's Can't Tame The Lion. I could imagine Neal Schon playing on this, but John 5 is the man behind the riffs and also delivers a cool solo.
'You Belong To Me' is another soft piano ballad with accompanying string orchestration and an ultra-smooth and soulful vocal. There's some rasp in that voice its aged, but it’s still driven by those classic Perry nuances.
‘Easy To Love' is another stand out ballad. This one is characterised by some percussion and organ accompanying a slow, steady Motown style vocal. The chorus jumps in tempo with some classic Perry soul harmonies. This is definitely another ballad with a familiar vibe.
'I Need You' is a cover of the Beatles tune, a mere 2.59 in length, this ballad features the most familiar Perry vocal sound yet! Soft, slow,’s the theme of the record.
Closing out the standard edition of this album 'We Fly' is another unique ballad. The first minute features just Steve's vocal. Talk about putting yourself out there! It’s an intense song that builds as it goes with atmospheric keyboards in the background.

And there you go. A very quick 40 minutes flies by as you immerse yourself in the music and lyrics of the maestro. It’s a very fine record, there’s no doubt. Immaculately produced and constructed, with equally impressive musical performances by the band assembled and also the orchestral parts. The soulful harmonies are classic Perry and lush in texture.
What I do like about this album is each ballad has its own style, its own emotion and its own unique energy. Overall, this is a very contemporary album. The two rockers are both very commercial and the ballads could be lifted from any era. It’s a mood album…but perfect for when you’re in that mood.
It's Steve ‘MF’ Perry. It’s also very very good.

Target Special Edition Bonus Tracks:
‘October In New York’ is a slow crooner of a song – a very authentic jazz/40s pop crooner complete with a stripped back jazz-ballad arrangement with orchestration and a simple piano to accompany. Not huge on this one – but the musical style is not my bag generally speaking.
‘Angel Eyes’ lifts the tempo a little – mid-range for this track, which quite honestly could have come straight off Street Talk. Gracious, this one should have been on all editions! A wonderful breezy tune with lots of Motown influences and the same feel as ‘I Believe’ and ‘Go Away’. The vocal is quite marvellous.
‘Call On Me’ takes on the third different style in 3 songs. Almost as if Steve has left the more adventurous tracks for the special edition. This one has another familiar feel to it, using a mid-tempo reggae beat in the same way as Steve has done before, with his soulful vocals just dripping over the instrumentation. Another fine vocal it must be said and another likeable song. I would have used this on the regular edition.
‘Could We Be Somethin’ Again’ is yet another left turn – a slow to mid-tempo pop/soul track with a tidy little beat and another warm vocal. Good song, but definitely a bonus track kinda tune.
The 3 minute ‘Blue Jays Fly’ is the 5th song with the 5th different style. Not sure how to describe this one. A softly sung vocal over sparse instrumentation – it’s almost in a meditative or lullaby state that doesn’t feature a lot of vocals. It closes out things nicely, but not one I’d choose for the main set of songs.
More songs are always welcomed – there’s a couple of great tunes here that could easily have been part of the main release. The other 3 make for likable bonus tracks and take Steve’s overdue comeback album to a better length.
My original review and rating remain intact.

STEVE PERRY - 'Traces' (First Playback Pre-Review)

Friday, October 5, 2018
STEVE PERRY will release his brand new 10 track studio album 'Traces' on October 5 worldwide via Fantasy Records (a division of Concord Records/UMG)
I was fortunate enough to get a secure audio stream of the new Steve Perry album ‘Traces’, thanks to Universal. Below are my first impressions, written while listening to the album for the very first time. A full feature review will appear here in due course and in the upcoming issue of Fireworks Magazine.
01. No Erasin' 04:07
Writers: Steve Perry, David Spreng
I’m still enjoying the lead track and first single 'No Erasin'. Immediately memorable and how good is it to hear this voice again? So we've all heard the song...what's next is THE question!
02. We're Still Here 04:06
Writers: Steve Perry, Brian West
'We're Still Here' is the second track, written with Brian West. It's a ballad as expected. It is a very smooth, moody ballad with a more direct and unfiltered lead vocal. The chorus isn't big, but it's cool. Laid back and textured with modern production effects. Steve sounds great. Soul harmonies pop up here and there.
03. Most Of All 04:23
Writers: Steve Perry, Randy Goodrum
'Most Of All' is another very sparse, soft and smooth ballad, this time lead primarily by Steve's voice and a grand piano. The chorus lifts tempo slightly as does Steve's voice. I'm guessing this is going to take some time to get to know but will be a favorite. It is a very smooth track and not unlike Strange Medicine's slower moments, a nice guitar solo and plenty of soul.
04. No More Cryin' 04:29
Writers: Dan Wilson, Steve Perry
'No More Cryin' is another ballad, but at least all 3 so far have each had a different style. This one is more bluesy with a touch of Motown to it. The chorus lifts & has some modern styled guitar riffing. Co-written with Dan Wilson, this is going to be another highlight.
05. In The Rain 04:06
Writers: Steve Perry, David Spreng
'In The Rain' is written by Steve & David Spreng. It has starts off as another slow piano ballad, with a warm, soulful vocal and here comes some orchestration... It is very sparse...almost no percussion, just piano and vocal. Some great vocals here.
06. Sun Shines Gray 03:57
Writers: Steve Perry, John 5, Thom Flowers
'Sun Shines Grey' is co-written with John 5 and producer Thom Flowers. We've hit an uptempo one folks! The song reminds me a little of Journey's Trial By Fire sound: almost a Can't Tame The Lion vibe, but modernized. I could imagine Neal Schon playing on this. John 5 is delivers a cool solo and can be heard throughout, albeit in an understated role.
07. You Belong To Me 04:07
Writers: Steve Perry, Barry Eastmond
'You Belong To Me' is another slow, soft piano ballad with some more string orchestration in place and of course, an ultra-smooth and soulful vocal. There's some rasp in that voice and yes, it's aged, but still full of those classic Perry nuances.
08. Easy To Love 04:03
Writers: Steve Perry, Thom Flowers
'Easy To Love' is yes, another ballad...a little different this time. Percussion and some organ accompany another slow, steady vocal. The chorus jumps in tempo with some classic Perry soul harmonies. This is definitely another ballad with a familiar vibe.
09. I Need You 02:59
Writer: George Harrison
'I Need You' is a cover of the Beatles tune, a mere 2.59 in length, this ballad features the most familiar Perry vocal sound yet! Soft, slow,’s the theme of the record.
10. We Fly 03:56
Writers: Steve Perry, Jeff Babko
Closing out the standard edition of this album 'We Fly' is...wait for it...wait for it...a ballad! The first minute features only Steve's vocal. Talk about putting yourself out there! An intense song that builds as it goes with atmospheric keyboards in the background. Should be another favorite in time.
Album Produced by: Steve Perry & Thom Flowers
Well folks, that's that! Obviously, one should not ever pass judgment on a record after just one listen, so stay tuned for my full, detailed review soon. Much more listening to do here.
Upfront I'll say that it sounds great but is a very slow paced record. Not unexpected I guess with the subject matter in mind and the time passed since we last heard from “the voice”.
All but 2 tracks are ballads and overall the tempo and the soulfulness of the songs clearly makes this a mood listening album. Perfect for when the situation calls for it, but not for all situations.
Thank You Steve Perry for coming back to share your voice with us fans.
RELEASE DATE: October 5th, 2018
1. No Erasin’
2. We’re Still Here
3. Most Of All
4. No More Cryin’
5. In The Rain
6. Sun Shines Gray
7. You Belong To Me
8. Easy To Love
9. I Need You
10. We Fly
11. October in New York (Deluxe edition only)
12. Angel Eyes (Deluxe edition only)
13. Call On Me (Deluxe edition only)
14. Could We Be Somethin’ Again (Deluxe edition only)
15. Blue Jays Fly (Deluxe edition only)



STEVE PERRY - No Erasin' (Single Review)

The first line of No Erasin’ says it all – I know its been a long time comin’… - the same line Steve Perry teased fans with just yesterday. Who thought we’d be listening to the first single and watching the new video just 24hrs later?
No Erasin’ is a triumphant return – Steve’s first new song in 20 years – and it’s classic Perry all the way. This is a GREAT song. That’s the most important aspect. It’s a personal message, which I will presume is going to be the continued theme of the album as a whole.
The voice? It’s there, it’s absolutely there. It’s different, yet so familiar.
Twenty years since we last heard Steve on record and you can hear the differences. In the same way Steve’s voice matured from the insanely high notes of Escape and Frontiers, to the deeper and more soulful Street Talk, Trial By Fire and Strange Medicine albums, so to has it further matured to be an understandably older voice. Raspier and yes, more fallible, but each time I play this song I have to pause afterwards and just appreciate how good he still sounds.
The production is first rate – the mix is exquisite, and every musical nuance can be heard. On the surface it seems a pretty simple song, but depth comes with time and there is so much depth here. From the classic Steve Perry soul-harmonies of his solo work and the many layers of backing vocals, to the vocal inflections such as at 1.05 and 1.40 in the song – it’s just classic “solo” Perry all the way. And the melody bridge at 3.50 – perfection.
The video is a joy to watch, just look at Steve’s face – you know he’s loving this and you can feel it.
It’s a huge sound. It may not be the faster, heavier album intro that was You Better Wait and it may well be that the album is fairly laid back and ballad heavy, but with this raspy tone and the personal lyrical style Steve does, that makes for a really compelling album and I can’t wait to hear more.
Putting aside the fanboy happiness to hear Steve back again, this single has already surpassed my expectations. Thank you Steve Perry.

STEVE PERRY New Album 'Traces' Out October 5

Friday, October 5, 2018
STEVE PERRY will release his brand new 10 track studio album 'Traces' on October 5 worldwide via Fantasy Records (a division of Concord Records/UMG)
Total length: 40:13
Track List:
01. No Erasin' 04:07
Writers: Steve Perry, David Spreng
02. We're Still Here 04:06
Writers: Steve Perry, Brian West
03. Most Of All 04:23
Writers: Steve Perry, Randy Goodrem
04. No More Cryin' 04:29
Writers: Dan Wilson, Steve Perry
05. In The Rain 04:06
Writers: Steve Perry, David Spreng
06. Sun Shines Gray 03:57
Writers: Steve Perry, John 5, Thom Flowers
07. You Belong To Me 04:07
Writers: Steve Perry, Barry Eastmond
08. Easy To Love 04:03
Writers: Steve Perry, Thom Flowers
09. I Need You 02:59
Writers: Steve Perry, George Harrison
10. We Fly 03:56
Writers: Steve Perry, Jeff Babko
Album Produced by: Steve Perry & Thom Flowers
Those are the fitting first words Steve Perry sings with tremendous soul and conviction on “No Erasin’” -- the life-affirming anthem that opens up Traces, his first solo album in nearly a quarter century. It is a rousing start to the most personal and emotionally powerful work yet from this legendary singer-songwriter who earned global fame as the voice of Journey before going on to significant solo success as well.
By any standard, Traces is an inspired and expansive work that has indeed been a long time coming. Yet in a very real way, Traces marks an extraordinary and welcome return to form that Steve Perry himself long assumed he would never make. Big and bold, yet intimate and revealing, Traces is not the sound of a veteran rock star dipping his toe back in the pool, but rather an artist who has reconnected with his music in a new way that surprised even Perry himself.
October 5th, 2018
1. No Erasin’
2. We’re Still Here
3. Most Of All
4. No More Cryin’
5. In The Rain
6. Sun Shines Gray
7. You Belong To Me
8. Easy To Love
9. I Need You
10. We Fly
11. October in New York (Deluxe edition only)
12. Angel Eyes (Deluxe edition only)
13. Call On Me (Deluxe edition only)
14. Could We Be Somethin’ Again (Deluxe edition only)
15. Blue Jays Fly (Deluxe edition only)

STEVE PERRY At Long Last Signals His Return

Legendary AOR vocalist STEVE PERRY is BACK!
Well, not quite, but prepare yourselves for a well organised media campaign and NEW MUSIC.
Finally, the former frontman of Journey and driving force along with Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain behind some of the 80s biggest rock anthems, returns in 2018 after a decades long absence that has only been punctuated with a handful of brief public cameos: Hollywood Walk Of Fame Star ceremony with Journey in 2005; Baseball’s World Series in 2010; interviews in 2011 to discuss Sony’s Journey & Steve Perry catalogue reissues; joining The Eels on stage in 2014; and most recently just last year, the 2017 Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame ceremony to induct Journey.
He has teased fans with talk of new music along the way, in my own 2011 interview with Steve, he talked about commencing the recording process for new material.
Steve: “I've been sketching everything in my laptop in just a demo sketch form. And the good news is I've got some really fun moments in there, great things going. The bad news is that they're demos right now and they're just sketches.
I'm my own worst enemy. I have always been. I'll play things for friends and they just think they're really great. And they'll tell me the truth if they're not. I'll say, “Gee, my voice is a little out of tune here. I've got to sing this again. This bugs me, that bugs me.” And they'll say, “I'm sorry, I don't' hear that.” But I do. And so, you know, that's the problem.
I would never stop until I was happy. But I have been known to walk past some emotional moments reaching for things that I think could be better.”
So is 2018 really the year it will finally happen? Yes!
Steve Perry recently recorded a feature TV interview with CBS’ Sunday Morning program, which is the same outlet that did a Journey profile feature back in 2008.
The program is set to air Sunday, October 7.
Steve has just simultaneously launched his new social media platforms, which you can follow at the following links:
The 5 second video is a simple greeting: “I know it’s been a long time comin’…”
Yes it has. But I can confirm this is a definite music related publicity campaign. The long awaited new solo album is his first since 1994’s “For The Love Of Strange Medicine” and his first new music at all since the 1998 soundtrack song “I Stand Alone”.
Steve Perry has a new record deal, new management and as you have witnessed today, a new media presence ready to go (with new logo).
Stay tuned for more details ASAP.


This week of Westwood One's Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon, new interviews with Journey guitarist Neal Schon, vocalist Myles Kennedy and Uli Jon Roth. Alan Niven (GNR/Great White) co-hosts.
In our first interview JOURNEY guitarist Neal Schon discusses the band's current tour with Def Leppard, his public feud with bandmate Jonathan Cain, Neal Schon's Journey Through Time, a Journey music festival, Santana and the Santana IV album, Carlos Santana, Santana III, the need to form Journey, new music, the desire to make a blues album with singer John Waite, doing something with Steve Perry 'that's different than Journey', his upcoming solo album, his work with Sammy Hagar, and comments about the various singers he's worked with including Steve Perry, John Waite and more. 
In our second interview, singer Myles Kennedy talks about his recently released solo album Year Of The Tiger, his upcoming solo tour, his voice, playing GNR songs in the future, Slash's guitar playing, Mark tremonti and more.
In our final interview, guitarist extraordinaire ULI JON ROTH discusses his UJR Sky guitars -visit: -- As well as the recent immigration issues that delayed his scheduled North American tour, Electric Sun, late starts in North American clubs, leaving the Scorpions and becoming a solo artist, the metaphysics of music, the importance of commercial success, The Sails Of Charon, Your Light & The Taken By Force album, not being fond of the Scorpions lyrics, Tokyo Tapes and more.



JOURNEY: Gregg Rolie, Neal Schon, Steve Perry Reveal Hall Of Fame Career

Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Dallas, TX - March 30, 2017.  North American syndicated Rock radio show and website IN THE STUDIO with Redbeard: The Stories Behind History’s Greatest Rock Bands maps out Journey’s long road to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with a two-part, two week career-spanning radio special. 
From 1981 to 1986 the biggest band in America was Journey. This band from “the city by the bay” sold more than 30 million records in that short time. Millions of people have seen them perform live over years of nearly endless touring to this day. Journey songs became the soundtrack for a whole generation of fans “raised on radio” and for new generations of fans of TV shows like The Sopranos and Glee.  It’s hard to imagine anyone who has grown up in America over the last 40 years who has not been touched in some way by the music of Journey.
The musical Journey began in 1973 with two former members of Santana, Gregg Rolie and Neal Schon, looking to form an ambitious musical outfit to perform rock fusion and rule the live music circuit. There would be multiple member changes, but none more important than the addition of singer Steve Perry.  In Part 1 episode, Gregg, Neal and Steve speak with IN THE STUDIO producer and host Redbeard about the early incarnation of the band and the breakthrough success of their 1978 fourth album, Infinity.
“The real idea behind the band was ‘Let’s go play live’. We used to knock people out. In fact as (Journey’s manager) Herbie Herbert put it, we sold  more tickets than we did records then. People would come to see the band for the instrumentation and energy of it . It wasn’t following suit with anything else on the radio.”  - Gregg Rolie
“Everybody’s feeling at the time was, ‘Look, we’re all starving to death’, you know? And it’s time we gotta make a living at this or I was going to have to get a job selling ladies shoes or something. I wanted to play music and make a living at it.”  - Neal Schon
“I had no idea what I was in for. I really didn’tt realize what a real workhorse this band was until I’d say 178 shows later, that same tour, non stop. But I gotta tell you, I wouldn’t change one thing.”  -  Steve Perry
JOURNEY  Best Of  PART 1  /InTheStudio interview is available now to STREAM at:
Part 2 will be available next week at:



Facing Crossroads, JOURNEY Embraced With Open Arms On Escape

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dallas, TX - June 14, 2016.  North American syndicated Rock radio show and website InTheStudio: The Stories Behind History’s Greatest Rock Bands  explores an Eighties classic, Journey’s 1981 album Escape, on its thirty-fifth anniversary.

In every journey there are crossroads, pivotal moments where paths must be chosen, where there are opportunities to change direction or to go straight ahead. The rock band called Journey never stuck to the straight path through an odyssey of twists and turns, changes and certainly, crossroads.

The first change came in 1978 when Steve Perry joined the band as lead vocalist, transforming Journey from an improvisational progressive rock band into a mainstream commercial success.  In 1981 there was another turning point when keyboardist and songwriter Gregg Rolie, one of Journey’s original members, left the band. In came former Babys member Jonathan Cain, and his gift for melody, especially ballads, meshed perfectly with Steve Perry’s voice.

It was no accident that Journey’s first album with Jonathan Cain, Escape, went all the way to No. 1. Selling nearly ten million copies and staying in the Top 40 for more than a year, the band scored the hits, “Don’t Stop Believing”, “Who’s Cryin’ Now”, “Stone in Love” and Journey’s first # 1 hit “Open Arms”. 

Neal Schon, Steve Perry, and Jonathan Cain share with InTheStudio host Redbeard an in-depth look at the making of Escape, with the musical choices that ultimately underscored the success of this classic album.

“(Escape) was an ambitious broad stroke of the brush... It tried to cover a lot of territory. We could have been killed for it, but Journey was in the place where that statement could be made, musically. They had the freedom to actually make an artistic statement and be heard. People were listening.”   - Jonathan Cain

JOURNEY Escape @ 35 /InTheStudio interview is available now to STREAM at:

Direct Link to InTheStudio broadcast affiliate radio station list: “

Direct Link to JOURNEY website:

Direct Link to InTheStudio website: “

STEVE PERRY Recording New Album Since March; Due in 2016

Release Year: 
Calling in to celebrate 'Uncle Joe's' birthday on LA Radio, former Journey vocalist (and all-round legend) STEVE PERRY has confirmed he has been recording a new studio album since March of this year and hopes to complete that process in the first few months of 2016.

Double Stop Podcast - PAUL TAYLOR (Winger, Steve Perry)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This week on the DoubleStop Podcast, Paul Taylor (Winger, Alice Cooper, Tom Keifer, Steve Perry) discusses his life and career. He talks about his early life, leading to joining the Alice Cooper band. He covers his time in Winger (and why he decided to leave), working on the Steve Perry album "For the Love of Strange Medicine" and the subsequent tour, his career writing for TV and film, the Winger reunion and working with Tom Keifer.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Article courtesy of FAN ASYLUM -


Steve Perry hit the stage for the first time since 1995, for three guest appearances with The Eels.


June 11 @ The Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles CA: 
"It's A Motherfucker" (Eels), "Only Sixteen" (Sam Cooke), "Open Arms," "Lights" & "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" (Journey)

May 31 @ The Lincoln Theatre in Wash D.C.: 
"It's A Motherfucker" (Eels), "Only Sixteen" (Sam Cooke), "Open Arms," & "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" (Journey)

May 25 @ The Fitzgerald Theatre in St Paul MN:
"It's A Motherfucker" (Eels), "Open Arms," & "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" (Journey)

E (Mark Oliver Everett of The Eels) explains Steve's surprise return to the stage and shares the story of their long friendship at

Bob Lefsetz analyzes Steve Perry's performance with The Eels and nails it in "Steve Perry Returns."
Bob Lefsetz sums up the joy of hearing Steve Perry's voice in "Steve Perry At The Orpheum."

We had a quick chat with Steve and he shared his thoughts on the incredible and surprising events of the past few weeks.

Your three performances with The Eels really blew up social media! The YouTube videos have several million views, you were a trending topic on Twitter and just about all major media outlets picked up the story. Were you surprised by how big the reaction to you joining The Eels on stage was?
SP:  Yes, I was very surprised. I woke up in St. Paul MN thinking I'd have a little YouTube leak about the gig and that would be it. After 20 years of not singing Live I really thought I could just stick my toe in the Waters of Love and then go home and start blowing the rust off my pipes……. but that's not what happened. So I flew out for a second one in D.C. and that was even more fun SO-- I did L.A. and that was even more FUN-NER!

After watching your performances with The Eels, we hope you are finally coming back to music. Your fans love you! How did it feel when you walked out on the stage again?
SP:  I realized in a nano second as I walked on stage how much I had missed it. I had been away from Live performing for a long time. Walking out on that Stage was like having sex for the first time in 20 years. I didn't have a lot of stamina or restraint ……. but it still felt really AMAZING!!

You mentioned that you promised your late girlfriend Kellie that you would sing again. Is that what motivated you to join your friends The Eels on stage?
SP:  The promise that was made to her was not that I would sing again but more emotional and personal in nature. Since promises are best fulfilled in secret, I think I’ll keep them that way…….. but I am keeping my promises to her.

You've said in the past that you don't read reviews but hopefully you have seen the two amazing blogs posted by famed music industry analyst and critic, Bob Lefsetz. Did you know he was at the L.A. show and what did you think of his comments on your performance?
SP:  I did not know he was in L.A. until after he wrote the article. I do not read reviews but I was encouraged by a friend to read his St. Paul and his L.A. ones. Holy Moly…….. I was stunned at some of his analogies and kind words. I wish I could have met him after the show. I can honestly say that in my lifetime I have NEVER had anyone say such truthful things about what Rock and Roll once was and should be and then include me in his words!?!  

WTF…….Thanks Muucho Bob!!!!

Would you consider recording a cover of "It's a Motherfucker?" Your take on that song is so beautiful and heartfelt.
SP:  Yes, I may record it. When I first met E…… I told him that I wanted to sing that song. It was a song that spoke to me back then and then after losing Kellie, it's speaking to me again on a whole new emotional level.

Would you consider collaborating on new music with E? You two would come up with some great material!
SP:  I've known E for many years now and I think that's possible but we both have our own process of writing and we both understand and respect how that works. It can be a very personal, alone process that doesn't lend itself to collaboration. Just listen to "It's a Motherfucker" ……… The reason that song hits me so is because I can feel the solitude and loneliness that's in it and was required to write it.
The Sam Cooke song you did in D.C. and Los Angeles (“Only Sixteen”) was amazing. How did you decide on how you were going to do it?
SP:  I have always loved Sam’s songs. A capella versions are something I've been wanting to do for a long time.
A huge part of the pleasure of seeing you on stage again is in witnessing your enjoyment of performing. Reaction from fans has been overwhelmingly positive! What's next for you?
SP:  Honestly…...It's been many years since I've tried to sing at live levels. Many years ! I think I will start rehearsing at those Live Levels to blow the rust off these old pipes. That's my plan …….. After that is done, I'm sure more thoughts and ideas will appear.

Arnel said he would gladly step aside to let you return to Journey. What are your thoughts? Would you consider a Journey reunion?
SP:  I don’t know who or what would make Arnel want to say such a thing. He's their Lead Singer and I only wish him all of the very best! There is no reunion.

Loved your "SPelfie" at the Wash D.C. show. Would you consider doing more of those?
SP:  I may do another "SPelfie" very soon.

Even if you don't do a full tour again, would you consider a few televised appearances?
SP:  I have been approached about TV but I have never been a big fan of TV appearances. I think it's a loose, fun Rockin' evening in a room with fans that makes life worth living. TV never really represents that. I am getting a bit more open to the idea though……. more than I ever thought I would. So---- I will stay open minded about it and perhaps it will happen……. but I still have my deep opinions and thoughts about it……..

Of the three shows you played (St Paul, D.C. and L.A.), which was your favorite?
SP:  The first one was in St Paul and I was truly a bundle of nerves. After 20 years, I guess that is understandable. But it certainly didn’t stop me from having the time of my life! After St Paul, I thought, “Maybe that’s it,” but E said, “Why don’t you come out to do another one,” so I went to Wash D.C. That show felt so much more relaxed for me and I was able to concentrate more on singing. I think I sang bit better in D.C. than St Paul. That was my second gig in 20 years. Driving up from Del Mar to L.A. gave me plenty of time to remember how much of an industry town L.A. is and I was hoping my performance would be good enough. I honestly only wanted to sing again in front of people and so backstage I reminded myself there are several reasons why I wanted to go out there….some you know about and some you don’t. But the bottom line is it’s about rediscovering my love for singing.




Friday, June 13, 2014
After Eels' triumphant performance at L.A.'s Orpheum Theater last night concluded with a five-song encore, including Nilsson's "Turn on Your Radio," the band was joined by Journey's legendary one-time lead vocalist Steve Perry, who has joined them on several dates of their current tour after decades of avoiding the stage.
The interesting thing about this guy is, he walked away from it all 20 years ago," observed Eels leader Mark Oliver "E" Everett, addressing the crowd from the stage, "and then in Minneapolis, he came back to sing with us. Then he walked away again, and six days later in Washington, D.C., he came back again. And then he walked away again. Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time anywhere in 12 days -- and the first time in L.A. in 20 years -- please welcome Steve Perry!"
"It's been so goddamn long," said Perry to the audience. "I gotta thank the Eels for inviting me out here -- the best band that any singer could want. I met E because of a friend of mine, Patty [Jenkins, director of Monster]. She burnt me a CD of Daisies of the Galaxy, and I told Patty, 'Someday I want to sing that song.'" Then Perry and Eels performed the Eels tune, "It's a Motherf---er." "Steve motherf---in' Perry! He IS a motherf---er," exulted E, who then joined Perry in a superb rendition of Sam Cooke's "Only 16," which morphed into a bit of Journey's "Open Arms."
"Steve, what about trying one you haven't done in a long time?" asked E. "You did that one 11 days ago."
STORY: Steve Perry Performs For the First Time Since 1995 in Surprise Appearance (Video)
"How about this one?" said Perry. "I wrote this one in LA, then I joined this band called Journey, moved to San Francisco, and we finished it up ithere, and changed 'L.A.' to 'the Bay.'" Dancing like a man at least 20 years younger than his 65 years, Perry rocked out on "Lights (When the Lights Go Down in the City)," nimbly leaping over the microphone cords perilously snaked around the stage, turning his back on the audience to groove with Eels drummer Knuckles (Derek Brown), then facing the audience to hit the high trills flawlessly, yet with a new rasp in his voice sounding just a bit like E himself.
"The 'cit-ee' is L.A.!" shouted E.
"Here's another," said Perry. "I was 18, working as an assistant engineer in a music studio... I'm out of breath! I guess I haven't done this enough lately to get in shape. Anyway, I was 18, and this girl pulls up in a Corvette with a guy, and they were mackin' it up -- tongue and shit! She denied it. So I wrote a song about it, and it went like this." Perry then launched into "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'," putting his hand to his ear to make the audience sing along (rather well) with the "na na na na" chorus. When he hit the high notes, he sounded like Minnie Riperton on testosterone.
At a party after the show, Knuckles said, "We've been bugging him to perform for years. He came to our rehearsals, we'd play a Journey song, and he'd say, 'Oh, guys, I'm not gonna do that.' He's a sweet guy we're happy to play with, not just because he's Steve Perry, but also 'cause he's a buddy."
"He does 'It's a Motherf---er' completely different," said E. "When I sing it without him, I feel like I'm just like basically talking."
"Listen, I've done the 20-year hermit thing, and it's overrated," said Perry. "Why now? It's a long story, but it has to do with a lot of changes in my life, including losing my girlfriend a year ago, and her wish to hear me sing again." Writer Joel Stein, who plays croquet with Perry and Eels, said, "I know she had cancer."
Jon Hamm, a friend of Eels, said, "You've got to remember, Steve's in his 60s -- it's a pretty impressive performance. It was really nice to hear that voice again."
"When he sang 'Only 16,' the hairs stood up on my head," said Eels guitarist and trumpet player P-Boo (Mike Sawitzke). "He sounds better with a rasp, more mature and grown-up."
But all members of Eels' croquet circle urge the public to stop believing in Perry as a croquet player. "He was bad," said Stein. "His croquet nickname was 'Hacksaw' or 'Chainsaw.'"
As an Eels singer, however, Perry shows distinct promise. "I passed the audition!" he said.




Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Steve Perry: A Legend Finds Peace

Steve Perry has been atop my "want list" for interviews since I first started this site in late 1996. I was very lucky to talk to Jonathan Cain early in the picture about the Trial By Fire album and from there I got to talk to all members of the band. But the elusive Steve Perry interview remained a dream. Until this week. On Monday October 24, 15 years of wishing came to fruition. After a month or two of planning, Steve was ready to talk to me about the pending release of Journey's Greatest Hits 2 and the vinyl remastering for GH1 and Steve's own Street Talk solo release. Nerves in check, the following interview is exactly as the interview went. Nothing cut out and no questions dodged. Of course I would have liked even more time and gone into even more depth on several questions. But that would probably result in a book, not an interview!
I'm very thankful to Steve for extending out interview time and to Sony Music and Lora @ FanAsylum for setting this interview up for me...after years of nagging!

I hope you enjoy the read and if you take one thing from this interview - Steve talked as if and sounded like he was in a very good place. It was a great pleasure and a thrill to talk to him and have him open up about some tough subjects. Not only is he a rock icon and a personal favourite of an army of fans, but he's also one of my personal favourite singers of all time. And dare I say, one of (if not the) very best melodic rock vocalist ever.


Hi Steve. It's a great pleasure to talk to you.
It's nice talking with you. This has been a long time coming.

I am extremely grateful to you for talking with me. Thank you.
My pleasure, my pleasure.

I've been running this site for 15 years; you have been at the top of my list ever since, so I can cross one off.
(laughing) So now I've been scratched off the to-do list.

Yeah, I can quit tomorrow now (laughing).
No you can't! Come on, come on (laughing). So has it been nice there? Is it winter?

It's heading into summer, but it's still a month away. Warming up.
Isn't that something? You're headed into summer and we're heading into winter. That's how it works?

Exactly, yeah. It's Tuesday morning, it's heading into summer, it's been anywhere between 80 and 40 degrees. It's typical spring.
So what have you been doing? What's been happening with your life? Talk to me. Tell me your story.

Sure, Steve. I feel like I should refer to you as “Sir” or “Your Lordship” or…
No, No! No Way! Stop! (laughing). 'Steve' is fine, 'Steve' is fine.

I feel like talking to THE Steve Perry requires something extra.
No, no, no… if my mother can call me Steve, you can call me Steve.

(laughing). Thank you! Well, Steve, is my full-time job and I've got a wife and three young boys. They're all tucked up in bed right now [it was 4.15am when the interview commenced] and I just do my best to make a living in this crazy business, which isn't an easy thing to do.
No, it's not. But you must love it. You know I had a conversation one time with Donnie Ienner who used to run Sony Music. And we were having our ups and downs on the way he was promoting, you know, projects. But then I realized at one point in time, I said to him on the phone what you had just said, “You know Donnie, you must love what you do because I couldn't do it.” I said, “I just don't know how you do it.”
He really honestly took it to heart as a compliment, which it was. Because you've got to love this business. You've got to love music to the point to where you're willing to stay in it. As Randy Goodrum told me one time, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.”

(laughing) Yeah, probably.
It's not. You know? (laughing)

No, it's not. It's not.
But the trick is everybody sees the lights and they see the show, they see the lifestyle and everything else. And in today's world, just turn on your television. All you have is a bunch of people doing reality shows doing lifestyle, not music. (laughing) You know? It's amazing.

It's like a hobby to them, not like a commitment or full-time thing. They just want their foot in the limelight for a minute.
That's right, there's no commitment. You're right.

Thankfully, you come from an era which is what I talk and write about, which is the 'golden age' I guess we could call it. You've seen so many changes.
Oh my goodness. When it started for me it was around 1978 when I joined the band. That's when I got my first break to get into the music business and I got signed to Columbia Records. And it was a dream come true back in those days to get a record deal. It was the sweetest thing you could ever have, is to be signed…next to the most horrific day of your life which would be to get dropped. So many of my friends did get dropped because they didn't sell records. I looked at it as if every time I had the opportunity to make a record – which the first was Infinity, with Journey – was this magical blessing that, I finally am in the record business and I get to make a record. But, I did not believe in my heart there would be a second one. I knew I had to love doing it, and if I could make any money I should save some money because I didn't trust there to be a second one.

Because the industry was so... shaky. It wasn't shaky compared to the way it is now, but it certainly… bad things could happen. You could be dropped if you didn't sell records. So, I was always excited about the ability to be able to make another one. “Oh my goodness, we're going to make another one? That's great!” You know, so here comes the next one. That's the way I kinda looked at it. Every one of the records for me emotionally was always like another opportunity to just do another one because the record labels would pay for us to just record music. It was… great. You know?

Yeah. And you jumped into the band and made such an impact so immediately. Did you take everybody by surprise?
Well, I've got to tell you, the thing is that I was finding my way at the same time they were trying to find their way in a new environment with me. And we all, at the same time, were struggling with what that means and what that doesn't mean. Them coming from a background of knowing what they wanted to be but they weren't successful at that. And all of a sudden they have this wicked stepson, you know? (laughing)

They have to deal with this stepson that is something that they like but they wish they could have done it their way, and why wouldn't they? Why wouldn't they have wished that they could be successful without having a lead singer? Well then the label says “We want you to have a singer” and then they went, “Well, I don't know, I don't know.” So, all of the sudden, here comes me, and I think it was a real challenge for all of us to find out what that really meant. They had to let go of doing it their way. I was bringing in ideas; they were growing. But, I will tell you this…being the singer in that environment with them as we were growing together on the Infinity record brought a certain kind of vocal strength out of me that the band required it have. Otherwise, I do not know if I would have ever found that anywhere else. And I think that at some level I did the same thing for them.

And that's what made it a really amazing band was that we all had our disagreements, which that's what bands do, who cares? The end result was that we brought the best out of each other that we could not do without each other. And that musically, I will be forever grateful because I was in a very different vocal style at the time. Then, I joined Journey and realized I had to do these long legato vocal things, and I had to sing in this range which I could do to kind of get above and be heard inside and around Neal Schon. Neal's guitar sound, which in the beginning used to be a struggle for me, actually became an asset for me to dig in, you know and go get this vocal thing. And then I'd sing something and he'd play something, and all of a sudden, as one of my girlfriends said, “That guitar and my voice went together like 'salt and pepper.'”

Oh yeah, absolutely.
They just work. They just go together forever, you know? And that's what I recently just experienced by remastering the Greatest Hits 2 and the original Greatest Hits to vinyl. I had to really focus on the tracks because they came from such a wide span of time, a wide variance of studios, with a wide variance in recording consoles, and a wide variance in recording engineers and recording techniques, and producers or no producers – Roy Thomas Baker to Kevin Elson to the band. I mean, it was just like the broadest spectrum of basic tracks and the way they sound that I could have ever been challenged with. So, to put those on vinyl again and to compile them for the Greatest Hits 2… which is coming out Nov 1 with “Stone In Love,” “Feeling That Way,”… was a real challenge. Emotionally, I had to really listen to the tracks closer than I had in years. It was truly, emotionally extremely painful for me to be perfectly honest with you because I forgot how great Neal was…and I forgot how great the band was. And I think I've gotten away from it long enough to see that. And I forgot some of the things vocally that I used to do. I'm thinking, 'I was out of my mind, what was I thinking?' (laughing), you know?


Yeah, (laughing)
Why was I singing so high like that? What am I, crazy? (laughing)

Yeah, I do recall a quote from Neal saying something like 'at some point only dogs were going to be able to hear you.'
(laughing). Coming from Neal, um, I think he was being nice. I don't know. (laughing)

Oh no, no it was a compliment! This was an old quote now.
No, I know, I know (continuously laughing). I think that's the way Neal gives you a compliment, by the way. (laughing) That's a band. That's what a band is all about right there, see what I mean? (laughing)

Yeah, I was listening to GH1 a couple of days back just to go over it again - not that these songs are very far from my mind at any point anyway because they're just, you know, so great, they're always on rotation with me. But I noted that there really was quite a varied dynamic through the GH1.
You should hear GH2! Oh my God! GH2 is even more so because it goes from “Stone In Love” into “Walks Like A Lady,” into “Feeling That Way,” “Anything You Want It,” and “Suzanne.” I mean, it's just all over. And you'll jump from a Neve console to an SSL console. Are you kidding me? The frequency challenges when it comes to cutting vinyl is not forgiving. The lathes cutting head is not forgiving. There are certain sibilance issues that for some reason you have to…in the old days you would put a de-esser across the track to make sure some of the “S's” and some of the “T's” don't throw the cutting head into complete distortion so that when you play it back on vinyl, they're not friendly at all. So, instead of putting a de-esser on it, which was old school and limits the frequencies of cymbals and anything else like guitars, and clarity in the track can be limited – instead of doing that, I chose to put everything in ProTools and spend the time finding every “T”, finding every “S,” and listening to it on a test lacquer cutting of vinyl, on lacquer, ok? On acetate. I would cut the lacquer first, see if it splattered on the lacquer, and if it did, I would go back and cut all the “S's” and “T's” to sort of give them a little haircut at about 15 to 20,000 cycles. And they go by so fast that you can't tell. In ProTools you can stretch the file out, isolate that “T” to where you're not touching anything on either side, and then shim up on the high end and then put cross fades on it and close it back up. You could never do that in the old days. But, you can certainly do it now. The only deal is, it's extremely time consuming and that's what took so long. But I did not want to sacrifice the quality of the master fidelity with a de-esser. So, I did it the new way, which is spend hours upon hours with ProTools. Did that make sense?

Absolutely, yeah. How'd you learn to do that?
I love this stuff. I love it. I've been doing it for years. I love it.

I've read several interviews with you and you always seem really excited about the technology and the gear that you can use and you know your way around a studio.
I'm building a studio right now. They're wiring it. I live down in San Diego and I just converted a portion of my house into a small studio, enough to do drum tracking and stuff like that. And they're wiring it as we speak, and I'm kind of excited about that aspect. But I'll tell you what. One of my new passions is editing film.

The options that are available to “cheat” edits and move things around and give an emotional performance in the result of such edits is just phenomenal. I love it. That's just a side passion. But anyway, let's get back to music (laughing). So anyway, where were we? (laughing)

Well, anyway, the band was really, really a great band. We all busted our ass extremely hard to get in front of people so we could have an opportunity to hopefully let them love our music. And nothing could be more exciting than that.

Yeah, I was looking through some old notes and the tour schedule that you guys had back then was brutal.

Absolutely brutal. The Escape tour, in particular, I mean…
I was like a pitbull. I still have tons of energy. My girlfriend tells me all the time, “You're the most energetic person I've ever met.” But when I was younger, I was on fire. And, so I think that back in the day when the voice was fresh and young and I had that much energy, I kept up with that scheduled pretty good. Though it was difficult at times, I was able to keep up with it.

Well not many people can do four nights in a row, one off, another three nights. (laughing)
Not with blistering high frequency notes like that.

Oh, man!
And almost two hour shows, you know. It can steal from the other side (laughing).

Yeah, yeah. Well, what did you do to keep fresh at that time?
Well, what was funny about that was I wouldn't know what I did. Or maybe I should rephrase that; I didn't know what I had left until the next day. And that was the hardest thing to have to explain to the rest of the band members, the neurotic fear that I would be going through because I'm in one city tonight and all I know is I've got to give it everything and I'm not going to skate it. I'm going to put it out there. And I would. And I wouldn't know how much I borrowed from tomorrow's show until the next day.

So I'd wake up in the morning in fear. Do I have laryngitis? Is it gone? Is it there? So I would just try to speak on the phone or say something. And then I would be in fear. I couldn't try to sing because it's too early. So, I would just shut up and live in fear for the rest of the day until about 4 o'clock, when it's too late to cancel the show. And now I'm doing the soundcheck, and now, during the soundcheck is when I find out what I have for the night. But I did get to a point where I would try my best to not borrow too much of what I need for tomorrow because I need to make it across the week at least for that day off. Then I wouldn't talk for 24 hours.

In the time that you joined the band you guys out out five albums in pretty quick succession. You put out five albums in a period that bands today take to put out one. And that's including writing and touring! You must not have had a life outside the band.
No, that is your life. That is what you give yourself to because this becomes your life. This is your girlfriend. And she needs all your time. If you're going to make this relationship work, you've got to give her 100% of your time. There was no time for anything else. None. None whatsoever.

Yeah, ok. Is that why listening back is so emotional? Because it's such a huge chunk of your life?
It certainly is part of it. Along with the emotional aspect of it, is that my mother's been gone forever, my dad's been gone forever, and I'm an only child. I look back and think, I'm so grateful that my mother gave me her encouragement when I was young and then once I got in the band, she gave me her blessing so to speak. I was touring and I was dying to come home and see her. But she just did not want me to stop for one minute. She would just say, “Oh God! You're doing great! I saw the “Faithfully” video and it made me cry. I just love it. Just go. Keep going. You're doing great.” She was happy because she had me on television and she would read all the magazines and she would keep all these magazines. She followed it very closely and she kind of gave me her blessing, so to speak, to go away, to be gone. So I don't feel guilty whatsoever. She eventually did get sick and I then did lose her, but that's when I went back to her and left the band and hung out with her for a while. Yeah, but that being said, yes, it's a serious commitment. And by the way, it wasn't just for me. It was for Neal, for Jonathan, for everybody, for the band. You betcha. Everybody went through the same commitment because we were all together far away from everything together, out there. But we loved it! Don't you understand that?

Yeah, oh yeah!
We loved it! We lived for it, you know?

Oh, you can tell through the music, Steve. You can absolutely tell through the music that this is a band that's just on fire.
Yeah. But, let me just tell you: I remember when I was trying to get in the music business in Los Angeles. There was a club in LA called the Star Wood. And the Star Wood was down at the corner of Santa Monica and I think Fairfax. And it was one of the bigger rock clubs at that time along with the Whiskey and the Roxie in LA. And I remember going there and watching Journey perform. I remember watching Neal Schon with his white Stratocaster with his Twin Reverb Fender kicked back at an angle. And his Strat is plugged into a wah-wah pedal and the wah-wah pedal is plugged into his Twin Reverb, and the Twin Reverb is on 10. And all I can tell you is I saw him play back then. And he killed me. He just killed me.

I wasn't that excited about the rest of the players to be perfectly honest with you. Though, I respected them and understood them. But, standing next to Neal, he dwarfed them. And I said to myself, “That's what I need to get with. I need a guitar player like that.” Because it's always been Page and Plant. There are two lead instruments: lead guitar and lead voice. It's not lead bass. It's not lead drums. You know. The rock and roll thing always has these two lead instruments, this spectacular interchange of melodies. And so, years later, a friend of mine named Larry Luciano in San Francisco happened to know Neal. And that's when I first met him. He was actually playing with Azteca in a concert as he was actually a member of Santana at that time. And then years later, we ended up together. It's very bizarre. Very bizarre.

Well obviously, it was very much meant to be.
I think that's the case. But there were certain sequences of events that I can tell you exactly where the dominoes fell that led to me becoming the singer in Journey with Neal Schon.

And looking back… what a legacy of songs. Seriously. There are few bands out there that can come close.
And the funny thing about that is when you listen to these tracks on vinyl, not only do they sound unique, they sound emotionally so friendly on vinyl. Oh my God! After listening to it on vinyl, I didn't even want to hear it on CD! Because it just sounds like so where it was destined to go. It's where it was born. It's where it was headed. When we were recording, the target was, “how do we make this sound great on vinyl?” And all these steps along the way were geared towards making it sound amazing on vinyl. Then CDs came along. And people started adding more top and more bottom, more top and more bottom, and making it louder and louder. It didn't necessarily make it feel better, it just made it louder. And more bright. And you didn't hear the needle tracking in the groove. So, everybody thought, “Gosh, isn't that amazing, I don't hear a needle tracking. It's so clean sounding.” And that's true. I must admit, that was a plus. But when you go back to the sonic emotional aspect of analog, meaning a needle driving through a groove. It's amazing. And I just want to turn it up, and it's just so, so good. You just want to chew your teeth it sounds so, so good! (laughs) So, you know, it's just kind of exciting all over again is what I'm trying to say

Oh absolutely! Have you reached perfection as far as what you can do sonically with the old masters?
No. Absolutely not. Every circumstance where you're recording anything has its own unique challenges. So, every single track, like when you jump from “Chain Reaction,” you know that track right?

I know every track there is, Steve!
Right, well think about “Chain Reaction,” the way that sounds. You should hear that on vinyl. Then go to “Walks Like A Lady.” Now, those two tracks are so different, they have such different sonic challenges, they have such different emotional performance challenges, they have such different nuances to them that it does not sound like it's the same band at all. And that's the beauty, that's the diversity that people I think are starting to catch on to that I was so very proud of being a part of – that Journey could do “Chain Reaction” or “Separate Ways” and then turn around do “Walks Like A Lady.”

Yeah (laughing).
You know what I mean?! And then turn around and do “Good Morning Girl/Stay Awhile?” And then turn around and do “Don't Stop Believin'”? It sounds like a different band every time.

I must say that I am partial to your latter era, you know singing and recording. I'm a huge fan of the Raised On Radio album.
Wow, I really appreciate that because I think that was an amazing accomplishment. I think that album was a very adventurous departure I dare say. And, though it did not do as well as the rest, I think on that album you'll see an exploration of grooves and changes and vocal styles and harmonies and choruses that were different from anything that came before. I was proud of it because I thought that we needed to grow. And we could have very well just grown and become the next musical change. But, I had a feeling that people kinda wanted us to stay in a certain genre and not move that far.


They always do…
But at the same time, I think the band needed to grow you know, a bit. And I had just done my solo album, Street Talk.

I love that record too.
And Jon and Neal had that record. So when I got back to start writing the next record, they kinda liked some of it to where there were more R&B grooves and more R&B changes as a base of what they had seen me do on my solo thing. And, we kind of incorporated some of that. And it just kind of met somewhere in the middle, you know?

It sounds like it. The second half of the record has so much soul in it…its just unbelievable.
Give me an example, I'm curious of one that comes to mind.

Well, “Happy To Give” for one.
“Happy To Give” is one of those songs that Jonathan Cain and I were just messing around with. And it just had that digital presence to it to where it just sits there in the nicest, simple digital landscape, almost an ambient track before there was ambient music. You know what I mean?

Well, I've got to say at the time the record came out; there was nothing else like it.
I thought so too, but nobody picked up on it but you! (laughing)

I'm sure there are others. (laughing)
And I love that track, you know? It was an emotional sentiment that I was going through at the time…'where is that one, someone's who's happy, happy to give their love,' you know?

Well I've got to jump right in and interrupt you, Steve. I want to give you a compliment: this is what I love about your music and your songs. You pour your heart and emotion and soul in to it, and the fans can hear it. I can hear it. And I think that's what gives such a resonance with people.
Wow, that's so sweet. That's the nicest thing anyone's really said about my voice.

Well I mean, many people have copied your style. They may have the power or the range. Or maybe – not even the range because you're insane, but they don't have the soul is what I'd like to say.
Oh my goodness, that's the sweetest thing I've ever been told. Thank you so much for that. Um, I don't know what to say.

Well, as a listener I get swept up in it every time.
Oh, thank you very much. I can only add that I just don't stop singing until I start to believe it. And sometimes, I'm my worst enemy. And I'll walk past stuff that emotionally moves people but it doesn't move me yet. And I'll keep pushing and I can walk right past something that was good enough because I'm extremely difficult on myself.

I've picked up on that.
Yeah. For instance, I've got a large amount of songs and I've got them demoed up vocally and I haven't really sung them in a master approach yet because I don't want to sing them on my laptop with drum machines and keys when that might not be the basic track. I don't want to accidentally capture…I have done this. I've actually captured moments on my laptop that I probably could never do again. And hopefully I'll just transfer this to HD ProTools and keep some of that. But, it's a moment in time.


I'm going to come back to that Steve, but just on the subject of Raised On Radio. I just love where your voice went starting with Street Talk and then through Raised On Radio and onward from there.
You know what's bizarre? Do you know that Columbia Records and the Journey management never told me that I had a hit record in Australia? They never told me that “Oh Sherrie” was a hit. Do you know that that's the God's honest truth? I did not know until a friend of mine from Australia told me.

Wow, wow. Oh my God.
It's as if I wasn't supposed to know. I couldn't believe it! That it was a big hit!

I was actually going start the interview with this fact, that you are far better known here for “Oh Sherrie” than you are for Journey.
That's what someone told me and I never knew it until recently. And that's the “swear to God” truth!

To this very day, “Oh Sherrie” is still all over radio and Journey barely gets a listen. It was massive down here. It was just massive. And that was my introduction to you, because I'm a little bit younger.
That's where you first picked up on it?

“Oh Sherrie” was the first Steve Perry/Journey song I ever heard.
Oh, that's amazing. Wow.

And then I was sold from that point on.
Was “Foolish Heart” a hit there too or not?

Lesser so, but yes. It doesn't get airplay now, but…
Right, but “Oh Sherrie” still? Wow.

Yeah, it was massive, and the album was massive. If you say Journey, some people know and some people don't. If you say “Oh Sherrie,” oh yeah everybody knows that! (Laughing)
Oh my God, I did not know that until recently, and I mean within the last two years. And it's frightening to admit that to you. But it's the truth.

It's just hard to get Sony to know that, you know? They have the same mentality as “Let's do Rocky 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.”

You know, they want to do the safe move. They don't necessarily want to branch out and just believe in things. They're not big believers, you know? (laughing)

It must have been a big call for you to self-produce that album on their dime. It must have been hard to convince them?
They were scared to death. They thought that I was going to spend a lot of money and they weren't sure what I was going to do. But you know, I ended up doing it relatively inexpensively and quickly because I had great musicians. There were no computers back then. Everything you're hearing on the Street Talk record is absolutely performed in the studio and captured on a piece of tape. I mean if you threw hamburgers in the studio, you would get hamburgers on tape you know? So, there was not a computer to be found, no auto tuner existed. Nothing of today's era existed during '84-'85. So, that is real musicians like Larry Londin on drums, Bobby Glaub on bass, Craig Kramph on drums, Michael Landau on guitar…

What a legend he is!
I mean amazing players! Randy Goodrum on keyboards! I wrote “Foolish Heart” with him and he helped me with the lyrics of “Oh Sherrie.” And we wrote “She's Mine” together and that's him on the keyboards. I mean we're talking players who spent their youth reaching for the ability to perform with feel. And when these guys play, the performance is dripping with feel.

Absolutely! And that's what engages me, the listener. I don't want to hear false perfection. I want emotion and feel.
Right, right. Yeah, of course.

Don't take the life out of the record.
Well a good example of a band that reached for perfection, but didn't have a lot of R&B in them, but their perfectionist quality was so good and so amazing was Def Leppard.

Yeah, yeah I love Def Leppard!
Right! I love Def Leppard. But Mutt Lange took them to a pristine place of rock clarity and pristine performance to where it was something you could not ignore because it was so amazing. But it wasn't R&B (laughing)

No, no! (laughing)
Right? It was just amazing rock!

Yeah, yeah. Other end of the scale.
Other end of the scale, but equally amazing in its own right, you know?

Yeah, yeah, but you know what, Street Talk still sounds amazing, I can't wait to hear it on vinyl.
Oh geez, it sounds so good on vinyl!

And you know what, it sounds good on anything. Because those songs were just so alive.
Right. It was a special time in my life I think. I had just come to Los Angeles and had decided I was going to go ahead and do a solo record after Neal Schon had just done two with Jan Hammer. I told Herbie, our manager, “Well, he's done two. I told you if he does some solo stuff I'm eventually going do one too.” So I came to LA and I did a demo session with Niko Bolas, a brilliant engineer and in a small studio. It had an API console and it was a 3M tape machine and that was it. So we did this demo with Craig Kramph and some musicians and from those demos, just to see if I could have fun, came the song “Strung Out.” And that song “Strung Out” on the Street Talk record is the demo from those sessions.

Really? What a great song.
Yeah, so that was the qualification that told me that I could have fun in the studio by myself too. So, then I went back and recorded the rest of the record and wrote it with Randy Goodrum and a bunch of people.

Wow. I haven't told anybody I'm doing this interview, but I made a joke online saying “how can I fit 148 questions into 20 minutes, so…” (laughing)
No, please go ahead. I'll try to extend it best I can.

I appreciate it any time you've given me Steve.
No, no, no! Continue, we're good, we're good.

There's so much I'd love to ask you, but I just wanted to say thank you…
Well do, continue, please! I'll listen! I'll tell you anything you want to know (Laughing)

(laughing). I just want to say “Thank You” for some of your songs in particular. “Running Alone,” for example.
Right, you know John Bettis and I wrote the lyrics to that.

Oh, it's such a big song.
It was such a challenge to me. Do you know how much recently I have been using the lyrics in that song to keep me from depression? I have my own ups and downs because I'm an emotional person. I'm not on medication or anything, but I have my highs and lows like anybody else. But the lyrics in that song…

I've dealt with that myself.
Well the highs and lows of passionate people is just what comes with it. That's all there is to it. And I think once I started to understand that, I can sort of ride the waves and be a little more forgiving unto myself and not expect it to be something other than it is. But what helps me go through the lows lately has been the lyrics in “Running Alone.”

Is that right?
“The trick of the dreamer is keeping yourself from the blues.” And “I don't mind running alone.” I mean that lyric to me is something. John Bettis, who wrote a lot of songs for many people in Los Angeles is a great lyricist, just a straight up “smoke a pipe” kind of lyricist, you know? He really helped with that.

Well this is why some of your songs mean a lot to me personally, you can struggle with happiness when there's no reason.
I do, I do know that. People think, “Steve Perry should be the happiest guy in the world, what problems could he have?” Well let me tell you what problems Steve Perry has. The only problem Steve Perry has is that he's alive just like you are and he has to wake up in the morning like you do and he has to face the world exactly like you do. I'm no different than anybody else. I don't have some special coupon that excludes me from life on life's terms. There is no special coupon. Though, I'll tell you something Andrew: When I was younger I thought that if I could become famous and everybody would love me I would kind of have a special coupon. But guess what? The reality was that after I'd attained that, I realized that I am no different than anybody else. I still have to live life on life's terms.

Yeah. Yeah. Have you battled with that recently?
When Journey broke up for the second time, which was after I went back and got Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon and said “Why don't we make a record again?” And we decided to make a record, and we decided to call it Trial By Fire…when we got back together for that and we ended up breaking up again and breaking each other's hearts again. I'm just talking about one unto the other. I'm not saying anyone is right or wrong. It's just what bands sometimes goddamn do. When that happened a second time, I think it damaged all of us again. And, from that experience, they went on; I went away. From that experience, they went on with someone else. And I went away. I did. I've been gone. I just went away and tried to figure out how to live life on life's terms and just come off the ride. Just put my feet on the ground. I think that has been the challenge and also to allow myself, Andrew, to start dreaming again, because the dreaming is where the music is. But the trick of the dreamer is keeping yourself from the blues. See what I mean?

So what I'm trying to say is you can't embrace your whole life if you're shut down. I found out that I can't just run away and shut down. I'm losing the rest of my life doing that. So I started giving myself a chance to write music again. And that meant that I had to dream again. And if I get into the fantasy of dreaming again I'm going to have the blues again. And if I'm going to feel the blues, then I'm going to be depressed. And then if I'm going to be depressed, I'm going to write music. And if I write music, then I'm going to feel good again. And if I feel good again, I'm now back again on the rollercoaster. So, I thought in my mind it was better just to run away and not feel any of it. And you know Andrew, that worked for quite a few years but it certainly isn't a way to live life and I do not recommend it! (laughing) I do not recommend running from life, though I needed to. Because the break-up was so painful for all of us. And I'm not saying just for me, goddamnit. I'm saying for all of us. Please, I hope you print this. I want you to print this. The break-up was painful for all of us. But it necessarily had to happen.

Yeah. You can see from comments that have gone back and forth in past interviews. Neal pretty much says it as it is without a filter. You can take his comments as “Wow, that's hurtful” or whatever, but you can tell that he was hurt too and that's the way he expresses himself.
Sure, sure. I mean everybody has their way of expressing themselves. And everybody processes their anger in their own way. And so, you know, as I said one time in an interview a long time ago, it was a live interview on I can't remember…I think it was Bob Colburn. We were live via satellite and the band had just replaced me with their first singer, the first of three.

And they said, “The band is probably listening on our affiliate in San Franciso. What would you like to say since we've have about three, four minutes left in the program.” And I sat there and I said, “You know Bob, I really don't think there's any wrong here. I think everybody in their life does what they believe is right for them. I believe they're doing what they feel is right for them at this time in their lives and I'm doing what's right for me in my life. I don't think there's any wrong here. I think it's just people doing what they feel they need to do.” And that's okay.


Amazing. At this point I must say again that after Raised On Radio my favorite Journey album is Trial By Fire.

I just think that album has so much heart and soul in it.
Yeah. I think it was a great record, too. And I'm going to tell you something: we literally did it and we were insistent on doing it ourselves. Though there were a couple of members that wanted to bring some outsider writers in that were contemporary, I fought against it to be perfectly honest with you. I said “No” and I won't even tell you about it, who said it. I said “No.” I said, “Let's get together and be what we are. I didn't call you to get us back together for us to be somebody we're not. Let's just see what we've got right now.” So we went back and did it the way we always did. We wrote sketches, we rehearsed them, and we made cassettes and DAT tapes of rehearsal, went back and just worked on those, and just started to cultivate the ideas. And from all that came that record. And the song “Trial by Fire.” Do you know how that song came about?

I'd love to know, because it's one of my favorites.
Neal was at the rehearsal hall and, God bless Neal. He is absolutely, insanely committed to just noodling on the guitar, mindlessly all the time. And so he'd get there early and I'd be walking in, and I'm an early guy. And everybody else shows up about when they do. And I heard him noodling. And I walked in. He had just gotten a digital Echoplex. And the digital Echoplex allowed him to record about 3 or 4 loops and loop them wherever he wanted to. So he'd step on the pedal and play something. He had a drum machine linked in to that. He would step on it again and that would mean the end of that. As long as he did it in time, then it would just loop and it would allow him to play with himself while we're not there.

And he started playing this thing, this thing that was amazing, which was the solo of what later became “Trial By Fire.” And he's just playing this beautiful thing, the drums going (making drum sounds), and he's playing (humming the guitar solo melody). I go “What the fuck are you doing?!”

So I walk up and I just start playing bass with it. And I'm going (singing) “It's just another trial by fireee.”

[Yes folks, Steve Perry just sang to me….and he sounds great!]

You know and all of a sudden we're doing this thing. And Jon walked in, and believe me, it was just a matter of seconds, me and Jon wrote the lyrics and that song was done. And when my hip crashed, that song saved me.

Yeah, it did.


Wow, that's another song that I play a lot for myself, you know? (laughing) and I also play “Anyway” from For The Love Of Strange Medicine.
Do you know what that's about?

I'd like to know. It sounds like a goodbye song.
No it's not. I want you to read the lyrics again. It's about Journey. “We believed in music. Brothers til the end, a fire burned between us…” We did believe in music til the bitter end.
This is what the song's about – just about every time somebody gets close to being able to talk about something that really needs to be talked about, it would get too emotionally close. And the best I could do was “anyway, what was I saying?” You know what I mean?' Everybody does this, we go “anyway, it's not important.”

So if you notice the song does that. The character of the song goes [singing again!] “We believed in music, brothers til the end. Nothing stood between us, a fire burned within. Oh how I remember, wounded but alive. Lost in our… insanity… escaping to survive.”
It's about the band! It's about Journey and what happened to Journey within itself.

See what I mean? It really is. We were brothers til the very end. You can't become successful in such an endeavor like becoming a world-known rock band unless you really band together, which is where the term “band” comes from…unless you band together like war buddies and you're absolutely brothers til the end. Though you have your moments and you hate each other, you're joined at the hip because you have a mission. And we had that. We had that spark. We had that goalpost in our hearts, all of us. And it truly was a fire that burned inside us all. And that song was my homage to them and I don't think any of the Journey members ever heard it to be honest with you.

Okay, interesting. I can see every bit of what you're saying but I can also say it speaks to me on another level as well. Very personal. I just like the personal aspect of the song. You've opened yourself up and you're being very honest in the lyrics, the vocal is very raw, it just really speaks to me.
It was a great track. I got to write on that record, I think, correct me if I'm wrong, didn't I write that one with Tim Miner?

I think you did, yes.
Tim Miner and I wrote that one along with a song called “Missing You.”

Yes, another great ballad.
And so, Tim Miner is just an amazing gospel artist. The guy's got an amazing voice; he's just one of those sort of like successful underground Christian artists. He's genius, he's truly genius. And I wanted to write with him, so I did.

And you used another Christian artist, Lincoln Brewster on that album.
That's correct.

What a fantastic guy he is.
Great, great. You know, I wish the solo tour could have come to Australia. That would have been un-be-lievable because that band we put together with Moyes Lucas on the drums, and Paul Taylor on keys, and Lincoln was unbelievable, and Todd Jensen on bass.

Oh, that's right, love Todd.
And everybody sang. All four of them sang and then I sang, so we had five really strong voices. So there were no samples, there was just really great playing.

I've got to say that “You Better Wait” is one of the best opening tracks on any album of any time.
Really? (laughing)

I love that song! That is just a massive song for me. I play it constantly.
Yeah, Sony didn't like it, just so you know.

Psh! What do they know?
What do they know? They've got their heads so far up their butts they don't know what they're doing. (laughing)

It's too bad because it used to be a music company. Somewhere along the lines it became something else.

Well, it became Sony Corp. didn't it?
Yes, it did unfortunately.

Let me jump straight back. 1994, you come off the road at the start of 1995 and the solo tour was finished, right?

Surely…at that time…you had no way of knowing that it would be your last tour.
If I recall – hold on, you're giving me to the “way back” machine, hold on, let me pull this up in my head. The solo tour was my last tour. Yes. I had no idea. I was going to keep going but I got very sick. I got on the East Coast and if you look up the weather of that year, the East Coast got blanketed by incredible, large doses of snow from the top to the bottom of the East Coast. And we were out there and I got pneumonia. And I ended up in a hotel taking antibiotics and anti-inflammatories to get my lungs to calm down. And I couldn't get 'em to calm down. Finally, I had to fly back to my doctor out here. I left the trucks and crew out there for a few days to see what he said. And he said, “You need to go to bed or I'll put you in the hospital.” And I went, “Well shit.”

So I had to shut the tour down. And it was such a fun tour! It was the first time I'd ever done a solo tour. So, you know, I had so much fun reconnecting. This is going to be funny and it's a little bit over the top, but I guess it's because I was having so much fun. If you go on YouTube and you type in “Steve Perry,” I think if you type in F-T-L-O-S-M…

Yeah, I think you're talking about something I've already got and seen many times.
Yeah and if you go there, you'll see a bootleg of me having fun with the audience in the middle of this thing where I start talking to them saying, “I want the girls to sing to Stevie one time” because I had not been in front of an audience in so long! Oh, I had not been in front of an audience in so long and I was having so much fun and I want the girls to sing “I miss you Stevie!” And they sing, “I miss you Stevie” (laughing)

And then, and you know I'm looking in the audience and this guy's crossing his arms thinking “What the hell are you doing?” And I said “Well if you were up here, you'd do it, too!” you know? (laughing)

Because it was just so much goddamn fun! You know? (laughing)

I've got a VHS tape of this and I think it's New York or Toronto or something, one of the shows.
Oh, it might be the Beacon. It's either the Beacon Theater in New York or Toronto, you're right, I'm not sure which it is.

Yeah, yeah. I've watched it over and over – a bootleg VHS, I love it.
Yeah, it's fun. It's really fun. I really had a blast on that tour and it was a thrill to be rolling down the highway again in a bus. There was just something magical about rolling down the highway in a bus. There's just something great about it.

Well you speak so fondly of that…and your job for so many years was being the lead singer, the front man. You can't turn that off, surely?
I have turned it off, though. I had to turn it off and go away because it was too painful. I did. When my hip crashed and I had to have a hip replacement, that was so, so crazy. I never had anything stop me like that. I was a pit bull. Nothing stopped me. I could do anything. All of a sudden, guess what? You can't do it. I was fighting and resisting and pushing harder and it was just killing me. It really got my attention, and I had to sort of, I had to grow up a bit into the fact that I had to slow down. I had to have a hip replacement, and the band was telling me when they thought I should do it. And I said you know what, “Major surgery like this is not a band decision.”

You know, I'm sorry, it's not! So I said that I would get it done, but I didn't get it done quickly enough. I must say that they just wanted to get on the road. And, so there was an ultimatum given to me and I don't respond well to ultimatums.

Well I don't either. I can understand that.
Especially, Andrew, since I had gone back and put the band back together for Trial by Fire. But I have to respect the fact that they were impatient and they wanted to go out there. They were trying to get me to either go to surgery right away or they wanted to move on. And so I had to respect that at some level, looking back. At some level, I had to respect it. At the time, I fuckin hated it! I hated them for doing it; I hated them for giving me an ultimatum. But now I can look back with clear eyes, you know. I can't blame them; they just wanted to get going. I was going to go to surgery, and I did. But not on their timetable. So I did that. I had my hip replacement and the rest is history. They've gone on and I'm where I'm at.

This is a hard one Steve. Do you like the fact that they're out there playing songs you wrote with them, helping continue the legacy of Journey music? It must be a really hard thing to emotionally process still.
I will tell you that in the beginning it was exactly what you said. It was emotionally very difficult to process it because I fought hard to get in to that band, I fought hard to be the best I could for what the band needed a singer to be, and I always wanted to be part of writing the best music that could be part of all that. And I did not want to see it become anything less than the integrity that we achieved together as a result of all that! So, I did not want to see that happen. But, it was going to happen anyway. So, it looked like that's where it was going. Life had showed up and there was a fork in the road between us. So, we went separate ways dare I say, not making a joke. And that's okay. Now, I look back at it as the most painful time of my life. But you know what? They need to love their lives. They love performing out there all the time. The fans love the songs we wrote.

They do, they really do.
I just think that it's really okay. It's really okay.

It's amazing to hear you talk this way.
It certainly is a wonderful gig for all three singers that were there after I was gone. It was a wonderful gig, you know?

One of those singers is actually one of my best buddies in the whole world, Jeff Scott Soto.
Uh huh? By the way, of all three singers – now I've not heard the other two, but I know in his own right, with his own music, with his own songwriting ability, this guy's a very talented guy! And of all three maybe they should have stuck with him and continued to write music, but that might have required that they let him in emotionally a little more? (laughing)

Maybe? (laughing)
Maybe… But I think that might have been a challenge. And so I think that possibly, he was the one that I think would have been a growth because he brought a lot of his own self in to it.

Oh, I agree with you so much. And do you know how much he loves you!
Well he's a very talented singer-songwriter and could have been an incredible addition to the band. I don't know what happened, because then they've moved on and now they have their third singer. So I don't know the workings and I've listened to really none of them to be honest. I just know his reputation is really great, I have friends who talk about him.

He'll be proud to hear that.
Lora & Cyndy (Fan Asylum) are amazing fans of his and I keep in touch with them.

They're great gals, yeah.
Oh, ridiculously great girls.

And by the way, they've never once taken sides on any of this. Do you believe that? That's how spiritually fit these girls are. They are so spiritually fit, they love everybody and don't want to get in the middle of it. It's incredibly wonderful.

I love you as a solo artist every bit as much as I do as part of Journey. So for me, it's such an honor to talk to you now because this completes the Journey circle for me. You know, I've talked to everybody and I love that.
Well, we have to move on Andrew, I hate to say, but we've got to.

That's all right Steve, can I ask you one more? I have to go back to talk about new material. I want to know about here and now. You've come out in interviews and said you've got 50 songs, or you've written songs, you've had some guys in to record for you.

Where are you at and when are we going to see you back on the stage?
Well where I'm at is I've been sketching everything in my laptop in just a demo sketch form. And the good news is I've got some really fun moments in there, great things going. The bad news is that they're demos right now and they're just sketches. And I like 'em. And I've converted an area of my house into a studio big enough to track some drums if I need to, so that should be done I would say in the next month or so. So my plan is to get in there and start recording some of these with musicians and start trying to get some tracks actually built on some of these songs. But that being the case, the only thing that would stop you from hearing it would be me because I'm my own worst enemy. I have always been. I'll play things for friends and they just think they're really great. And they'll tell me the truth if they're not.

I'll say, “Gee, my voice is a little out of tune here. I've got to sing this again. This bugs me, that bugs me.” And they'll say, “I'm sorry, I don't' hear that.” But I do. And so, you know, that's the problem. So the only problem I have is that I'm the only problem I have, you know? (laughing)

(laughing). Well stop! Stop!
Well I'm trying. But it's always been that way whether it was recording with Journey or the solo album; I would never stop until I was happy. But I have been known to walk past some emotional moments reaching for things that I think could be better. So that all being the case, I have to be careful because some of this stuff might be good enough as it is and I don't even know it. I'm going to have to really start to have to look at it.

Well, you need to send all the songs to me to be as the impartial judge and I will do the work for you!
Yeah, okay (laughing). If you come to San Diego, I'll play 'em for you! (laughing)

I'm on the plane tomorrow! My wife might not like it, but I'm on my way!
(laughing). Well I have been playing some of these sketches and demos to people so I can get a barometer of which ones to focus on first. But the thing is, when I was signed to Columbia and I was in Journey and I was signed to Columbia as a solo album, they're sitting there. They're ready to go, they're ready to roll. And there's a certain time limit that you have to get you motivated which does not allow you to either not release it or go back and fix it. You say, “Well I guess that's it, I guess it's going out!” So that's missing. I'm not signed to anybody. I'm free. I can do whatever I want. But that's the good news and the bad news, you know? (laughter)

Yeah, well I'll send you a dollar and sign you to my really small label that I've got here.
(laughing). Well I need a label in Australia!

Well I'm here, I'm ready. Let's go. I'll give you until December! (laughing)
Okay, that's good? See. I do need a time limit. It's true. You know, there's an old adage in the music business that if you have until December for instance, to do the record, you will get the record done. If you have until June to do the same record, it will take until June! (laughing)

Yeah. (laughing)
You know?! It's true! It's kind of the artistic mentality I think that kind of comes with it. Now you are going to transcribe and print everything I said 'cuz I really don't want you to filter. Because what I feel and what I say is what I feel and what I say. I really do love the Journey guys and I know in their hearts they love me. Maybe we don't like each other like we once did. Or maybe we never really liked each other to start with. But that's all okay! Because you know why? Because I know deep down we love each other and when we were together, we were good. And we don't have to be together to know that. We just can know that. Right?

Yeah, for sure.
We should just know and the fans should know that I think deep down underneath the calamity and each of our own stupidity is the fact that we really do love each other. Maybe we don't like each other that much, but we do love each other.

And whether we're together or not, what we did together proves what I just said.

Absolutely, oh absolutely. And you've got a legacy that few bands can touch, if any. Have you been too far removed from the band now to ever go back for anything, any occasion, even a one-off…anything?
That is the most difficult question you could possibly ask me.

Yeah, which is why I saved it until the very end.
I can only say at this point that I have an absolute commitment to do what I started which was, to come out of what I would call a removal of myself from any hope to be near music again and allowing myself the right to suck and try to write music again. If I don't give myself the right to suck, I won't write music.

Well you're being hard on yourself again! (laughing)
No, no let me finish! I have to allow myself the opportunity to dream and see what I can find because I don't sit down and decide I'm going to go to Ralph's (grocery store) and write music. That's not how I do that. I just have to be open enough to suck if I have to and while I'm doing that, I'll find something wonderful. And then I'll follow that.

Well, I don't think you could suck if you tried!
Oh no. I'll play you some shit, I can suck! (laughing) I'll play you some shit where I really suck! (laughing) Then you'll go, “Steve you're right, there's a few things where you kinda suck!” (laughing)

(laughing) No, come on!
The truth is, it was a hard come back to this point. So I cannot think of anything more than finishing my studio and recording this music that I have laying around. I can't think of anything more important right now than that in my life. And I think Journey's doing what they love doing, and they've been doing it since 1998. And I'm doing what I'm doing, and that's about it.

Yeah. And you're still writing new stuff all the time now?
Yeah, I am. I am. I just came up with one the other day.

Well, it's been a real pleasure talking with you Andrew. I'm sorry it took so long for us to finally get together. I really hope that you do post my latest effort which is an eBay auction that benefits Susan G. Komen, ( where people can win a 15-minute phone call from me and an autographed copies of GH 1, 2 on vinyl along with my Street Talk album. All proceeds go to breast cancer research so, that's what we're doing. I think we're over $10,000 right now. If you can't afford to participate in that auction for whatever reason, then you can go to the special donation page we have set up on the Komen for the Cure site ( and donate a dollar. Because it would be really appreciated.

Yeah. I've already given it a plug and I'll certainly give it another good plug for sure.
Listen, you take care of yourself and thank you for such an insightful, wonderful interview. I had no clue that I was going get into all this emotional stuff with you but I think what happened is it's overdue because you and I have never spoken. And I hope you got what you were looking for and I hope I was clear.

Very much so, Steve. It's been 15 years' worth and I really appreciate your time.
All right Andrew, we'll do it again I promise.

Steve, one final thing before I say goodbye. If I do a festival for the 15th anniversary of my web site next year – can I at least look you up to ask you come and play?
Well you can certainly bring that to my attention, but I can't tell you what I'm doing the rest of this day! (laughing)

Exactly! (laughing)
So I have no clue, I mean, you know, my life has made some left turns on me that I didn't see coming. So I can't make any promises to any one anymore!

Well of course not!
But we'll certainly talk about it again somewhere down the line.

Thank you Steve! You've got to get this record out!
Alright, take care!

Alright, bye.

I hope everyone enjoyed the interview - look forward to hearing your thoughts and thank you again to Steve Perry for taking the extra time to chat.


c. 2011 / Interview by Andrew McNeice / Transcribed with thanks, by Ehwmatt.



Herbie Herbert: One Man's Journey


Herbie Herbert is one of the music industries most colorful characters. For a period of time he was the #1 manager in the business, taking Journey – a band he put together with Neal Schon – to become a multi-Platinum selling stadium act.
And in taking the band to the stadiums, he also helped pioneer the way we watch bands in such settings. The video screens and high-tech productions that dominate tours today were developed by Herbie and the company he and Neal remain partners in – Nocturne – who are today behind tours by U2, Madonna, Metallica, Def Leppard and of course, Journey.
Herbie also broke Swedish hard rock act Europe in America, not to mention taking Mr. Big, Roxette and Steve Miller Band to more Platinum sales and sold out worldwide tours.
He is vocal in his opinions and calls it like he sees it, which doesn't always please some folks on the receiving end.
But few people have been in the position Herbie was in and when the chance to interview an industry legend presents itself you don't turn that down.
I have long followed the business side of the music industry, so Herbie's insights were something I was looking forward to hearing and he doesn't disappoint.
I do think this is a different interview than the infamous 2001 interview which was viewed by some as caustic in nature. And I'm pleased about that – but Herbie still has a number of things to say about the band he spent 20 years of his life guiding, some of which you may agree with, some of which you may not agree with.
There are some points within this interview that I clearly do not agree with, but I respect Herbie's opinion and the experience he has in this business to make those comments.
As was previously the case, Steve Perry remains in his sights as the band's number one problem. Why is this so? Well…one interesting comment from Herbie says a lot. In talking about the band, Herbie says: “I would just like to make my living and do what I think I can get done here. So from my point of view that got stopped and mucked up quite a bit. There was no reason for them not to continue in '84, '85, '86. they could have been a polished Grateful Dead and that was my model as a deadhead.”
I feel that Herbie saw his long held vision for the band altered by Perry and therein lies the root of the problem. Read the interview and make your own conclusions about the personalities that make up this story.
Journey has a long and complex history, with a number of different eras and different fans of those eras. It makes for an interesting world.
At the end of the day, I would like to hope that this interview could be used not as a springboard for new arguments, issues and debates, but rather as a piece that closes the chapter on the past – a glorious musical past that has left us with so many lifelong memories.

Without Neal Schon and Herbie Herbert there would be no band.
Without Steve Perry there would not have been that electric chemistry that helped deliver a catalogue of songs few artists could compete with, sung by a golden voice envied by all.
Without Steve Augeri the band may not have recaptured the imagination of so many fans, allowing the band to continue into a new era.
Without the fans…there would be no point.

Thanks for reading - Andrew.


Good evening Herbie. Thank you for granting an interview. I know you don't do too many.
No, I don't.

I'm not sure, but has Kevin Chalfant told you anything about the website or myself?
Not really but I believe I've heard about it because if I'm not mistaken you guys are the ones that somehow in Sweden determined that Steve Augeri was singing to a hard drive.

Ah….well, I didn't have anything to do with that myself, but you are correct in that those claims appeared on my website's message board – posted by the sound guy from Sweden. Some chatter was already taking place and…heated debate continued as it always does on that board. The Sweden thing kind of took on a new life from that point onwards.
Yeah it did and I thought that was a healthy thing, that that came to light. Because, you know I think they dodged a real bullet there. They could have easily been reduced to Milli Vanilli quickly. What's unfortunate about that is Neal Schon's the real deal.

To generalize a little here – many big acts use samples and even shadow musicians behind the scenes to enhance the sound they are delivering. Why that need for perfection?
Well, because the money at stake on any given night is humongous and unlike motion pictures or television you can't say freeze or let's re-tape that or can we do that over or can we shoot tomorrow or whatever. Rock 'n roll is, always has been the most intense, high pressure, and if you're in that pressure cooker and you do get involved with drugs at all, then you're very quickly weakened. And you can't cut it or if you're as clean as can be there's a high level exposure. Every city you get to you gotta go to radio and retail and go to in-store appearances. You gotta have backstage meet and greets with all the record labels and the branch in that town and the various radio station personnel.
All the radio stations, you need their support in each market so you're pressing the flesh and kissing babies and catching the flu.
I remember with Steve Perry we had a four night sellout at the Reunion Arena in Dallas and he really was in rough, rough, rough shape and it was the one time when I had to sit down and go 'Steve', it's horrendous, this is why the pressure is what it is, but we would put in suspense the settlement on this, what at the time was an obscenely big gross in rock 'n roll and until we returned and played the postponed fourth date we couldn't settle because all the deals were really tightly negotiated predicated on four days.
They were extraordinary low deals but they were justified by the band playing four nights sold out in the round and all the ancillary income from parking and all would be frozen if he couldn't perform. And so, somehow he got through that performance and in those days, when that happened, the crutches hadn't been developed.
They hadn't come up with the Akai Samplers and the various technologies that would allow for it. But there was a famous lawsuit that happened in Detroit where it was discovered that a band were playing to just a big reel to reel tape machine out in the soundboard and there was a substantial award - a big settlement against them, a big judgment.

Against what band?
Against Electric Light Orchestra and Don Arden and Jet Records and whoever for basically doing a fake thing, a Milli Vanilli kind of thing.
Journey really, I can remember sitting down one day and putting headphones on and watching a video of the last concert with Gregg Rolie back in 1980 in Tokyo at the Sun Plaza. And being just astonished at how good these guys could sing. You know, Jon Cain was never a Gregg Rolie as a voice but he's been trying and working at it for frickin' years now. He tries to cover those Gregg Rolie songs and he marginally pulls it off and Deen Castronovo is such a frickin' franchise talent. Great singer, great drummer, tremendous talent and so they really could pull off serious vocals. They didn't need the crutches. With Augeri they did. They needed the crutches, they needed the help. He had trouble. It was rough. I never understood why they went with him. They could have gone with Kevin Chalfant.

You have been a champion of Kevin's over the years haven't you?
I really have. Of course he was in the Storm with Gregg Rolie and Ross Valory. And when, you know I had absolutely nothing to do with it, I was on a sailboat going between the Hawaiian Islands and then doing a saltwater fast and was gone for about two and a half months. The day after I got back they were roasting me for the benefit of Thunder Road [October 1993] and they'd put all these bands together that wanted to perform at this benefit and it was sold out and I didn't pick the bands or book it. Journey performed that night and I was stunned. And they performed with Kevin Chalfant. This is researchable because in Rolling Stone, Random Notes, that must have been '93, it said, and this was one of the most cutting quotes I've ever read where it said “Not even Steve Perry's mother would have missed him in the band.” Now that is deep. (laughs) I mean, if you're a writer and you think and say wow that guy really thought about that line.
I mean, he wanted to fuckin' play out a zinger there, ya know? (laughs) So yeah, and so Kevin was pretty flawless at all times and really could sing in that really high range. But, he did an album of Journey covers.

Yeah, that was last year – very good CD too.
Yeah last year and the thing is, I think the reason that he didn't get put in the band then is because, you know we're all, how old was Perry when he sang most of these songs, 30, 31, 32, 33, when you're in your 40s or 50's, forget about it. There's no chance, so Kevin was knocked down a half step. I'm not gonna go to a piano or guitar and try to figure that out. And he really intimated to me that this was done in the original key. Yeah, but barely, you know if you're a half step down from a major to a minor or whatever, you know, it's a significant change in the tonality and everything else. And for whatever reason, the band, Journey has always had an obsession with playing the songs in the original key. Despite the logic, the unavoidable logic, that if Steve Perry was still in the band, and I know that there's a giant public out there that would love nothing more, they're clueless to the fact that the guy can't sing anymore.

A number of people have suggested such a thing…
No, I said it in the one interview I did other than this one. No, what the hell, I said listen, here's what I want you to do. Go out there. There were so many people out there in Golden Gate Park for Bill Graham's wake. The Grateful Dead, Aaron Neville and all these artists performed and Journey performed that day. Journey performed, you take these songs and you get a tape of that and they took them down two whole steps. I mean, this is from E to A. They passed G to A, you know what I mean?
Knocking 'em down hard and Steve Perry's voice was all broken up. So, you know, forget about it. It was just so revealing. That was in '91 at which point that day I hadn't seen him since 1986 Raised on Radio and that was five years. And what an ugly encounter that was with Steve Perry that day.
That was the last time I ever saw him, Bill Graham's wake, and if I never saw him again it would be too soon.

You've certainly been outspoken about Steve Perry. Your 2001 interview, which was dubbed Castles Burning - [] - your last really big interview I think, become kind of infamous.
Oh really and who did I do that with?

It was with a guy named Matthew Carty.
Oh yeah, Matthew Carty, that was the guy. The guy from Phoenix or whatever, that was, you know the funny thing about that one was, at the end he said 'Now I have to ask you, why did you give me this interview.' I said, 'You're the only one who ever asked.' And I'll tell you what. This would be the astonishing part. What I think is significant about that is how the artists feel that they're so the center of the universe. That surely the interest in what is the every nuance of their life is so, you know, as if it were important or whatever. Nobody ever tried to find me. Nobody was ever interested enough to ask me any questions let alone the questions that kid asked. That kid asked some good questions because obviously people were, well, I think it stirred up a lot of controversy.

It sure did…
What it really proved more than anything is the power of something that I was very responsible for. And make no mistake, I have the utmost respect for the talent of these individuals. I selected them man by man. I negotiated and put them into my band.
You know what I mean? And it's because they were extraordinarily gifted but when you have that sort of creative genius it doesn't mean that on the other side of your brain, left brain function where it's acquired knowledge about how to act, how to be, you know, that part that doesn't have narcissistic personality disorder, you know, that's the hard part. Very little exposure, you know? It becomes difficult after a while. Who's human to human, you know? That's the problem. In the long run though I have ultimate gratitude, ultimate gratitude and I'll go to my grave as Neal Schon's greatest champion and fan. I think he is just extraordinarily gifted.

He certainly is. One of the questions I was going to ask you and I'll throw this at you now – but I don't think Neal gets his share of love from the critical press.
I've never understood it. I've kinda thought maybe because of the origins of where Neal and I came from, from when he was 15 joining Santana and I was Carlos' personal guy and just had a great love affair commence right then with Neal. And I've kinda always said, you know, Carlos closed the door behind him. On the guitar legends thing you know, Page, Plant, Hendrix, Carlos Santana, those people could be mentioned in the same breath and for you to distinguish yourself and rise above the din of all the other guitarists you're really going to have to swing a big bat. And you're gonna find, you're gonna look up and you're gonna go wow, I guess Eric Clapton wasn't just a lead guitar player. I mean at the end of the day he became a great personality singer and great song selection has a depth of catalog and after while you go wow.
Of course Neal was always a major Clapton fan so he didn't need to be told anything like that but he didn't really connect the dots. And so I wanted him to be a songwriter and a singer and in the songwriter since he's a melody savant, you know, just something else, you know, but it's been tough and people have been very reluctant to give him his due although I think he's been incredibly influential and they just don't talk about it. And whatever, it's never been de rigueur to mention Neal Schon. I think he scares the hell out of a lot of people. Even technical people that are great players like a Steve Vai or a Joe Satriani or a Eric Johnson or you know? It's just across the board because he's just a, he has some sort of sensitivity and touch and feel and voice. Did you hear the album he did for Higher Octave called Voice?

Oh absolutely.
I mean now, who can do that?

I've got every one of his solo records. I think he's astounding.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it. (laughter) It really is true you know. He's just something else.

I've got a lot of questions for you Herbie and…
I'm sorry to just ramble on. Go on and ask your questions.

I didn't want to cover a lot of territory that Matthew's interview already did because, credit to him for getting that great interview online, but there's a lot since that point in time that's happened that I'd like to ask you about.
OK. I've been very, very retired and very, very uninvolved.

I think you keep your ear to the ground though right?
A little bit, yeah. I mean Neal will call me and tell me all the things he's doing and of course and way back in the very beginning when he first found this singer on YouTube he called me and had me listen to it.

Oh great, Ok, look I'll get to that in a second Herbie.
I wanted to ask you, just for the people, you know the younger readers of my site that don't know the Herbie Herbert legacy - you started off in San Francisco with Bill Graham who obviously was a legendary promoter.
How did you hook up with Bill?

We met at the Acid Trips Festival, I think in January or early February of '66 and just had various encounters when he had the original Filmore Auditorium and then at the Filmore West and we just became very good friends. He was like a second father to me and a mentor and he is the one who, when I asked him what I should do, having been offered a job by Johnny Winter and Steve Paul from Peter, Paul and Mary who had a big hit at the time - Jet Airplane - and their manager was Albert Grossman.
Bill knew both of those gentlemen and what should I do, and both offers started at $150 a week and in 1969 that was a lot of money, believe it or not. And he said, 'I think you should go to work for Santana'. And I said, 'Santana, why, they don't even have an album out?' And he said, 'well they're gonna have an album out' and he had just returned from Woodstock, which I didn't go to, and he said the world heard Santana at Woodstock, when their album comes out it's gonna explode, and he was of course totally right.
So I said 'What can they pay me?' And he said 'maybe I can get you $75 a week'. So I said, 'you're telling me to not even consider those other jobs for half the money with Santana?'
And of course, Bill goes “You asked, I told you, you owe me nothing.” (laughter)
So I took the job with Santana and loved it, just loved it. And I loved that man, then along came this little punk kid guitar player, Neal Schon, and there's a wild story about how that evolved and somehow Gregg Rolie said to the owner of a studio, yeah I'll help you produce some local club band and Neal was in that local club band. So it was fantastic. Gregg Rolie was always a joy to work with.

I've only had a few dealings with Gregg but he has always been very genuine.
Uh huh, and his band's great. He's doing fantastic. If you go and see his band play right now he lets you know that he was a very big part of both Santana and Journey. A very big component, and really the leader, you know. Musically, the band leader and it was devastating when he left Journey. I was fuckin' crushed.

And you covered that in the Carty interview. He'd just had enough at the time. Yeah, it was just, you know, bad things were brewing. He knew it and he didn't want to live through it. I think he felt that Perry was gunning for me from early on and I don't know why.

Yeah, so you started off with Sanata and moved through the ranks and then put Journey together and you were doing pretty well initially. Where did the desire to turn Journey into a bigger act come from?
After the first three albums, and by the third album the inmates were allowed to run the asylum. Meaning that Journey got to produce their own third album, Next. You know, there was a real cult following. They were like a jazz/fusion/rock kind of thing. We played with Weather Report, Majahvishnu Orchestra, Santana, and Robin Trower and bands like that. And it just went over perfect and I loved that original band and many people did. I think the first album in real time sold like 150,000 and the second album sold 250,000 and then the third album did 100,000 or maybe 150,000. So with that, and the thing that people can't quite keep in perspective, is where Journey was in that. All the other bands in their supposed genre had really come and gone. Boston, Foreigner, Styx, REO all those bands had their hits way before Journey had theirs. In fact some of those hits were from things borrowed from Journey. I think if you'll listen to I'm Gonna Leave on the Look Into the Future record, track 5 side 1, it's Carry On Wayward Son, by Kansas. They just lifted it. And if you listen on the third, Next, album to Nickel Dime, that's Tom Sawyer by Rush and they didn't modify it very much.

And that, I think, is the biggest song of their career. That's a pretty big career and so they were kinda left in the station when the train left. They were standing on the platform watching the tail lights of the caboose go wailing away in the distance. Then you look up and it's 1977 and they've toured all year, all through Europe with Santana and another big tour with ELO both in '76 and '77 and it just wasn't happening. And you look at the charts and its Donna Summer, Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Disco Inferno by The Trammps. I mean it was as clear as ringing a bell that era was gone and basically Columbia Records said that. It's over.
So I was just in a complete scramble and they were gonna drop the act. So there was a scramble to do something to modify what we were doing. So I said we'll change it, we'll go commercial, I'll put in a lead singer and this guy that was in charge of artist development, Arma Andon had a singer that he liked that was managed by Barry Fey in Denver and that guy was Robert Fleishman. So we tried him and did a whole tour with him, with Emerson Lake and Palmer and even played stadium dates. And he was just very difficult to manage. And somewhere along the line I finally got a Steve Perry tape. I'd met Steve Perry numerous times, had thought about him numerous times. There were just certain moments. I mean when I was going to make the deal for Robert Fleishman in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge with John Villanueva we both looked at each other and I goes, 'Steve Perry. I still have never heard that fuck, but I have a feeling about him'. Then when I finally did hear him, I listened to him for about 60 seconds on tape and I tried to chase him down, but he's already left the music business. I talked to his mom and he was working in a turkey farm in Visalia pounding nails with his stepfather Marv on the weekends trying to pay back his debts.
He'd borrowed all this money from them while he lived in LA and put his bands together and put his demos together and did showcase after showcase to managers, to labels, to agencies, and nobody ever heard it. Nobody ever wanted it.

I don't get that at all.
I was pretty astonished by it. I got it in seconds. I got it, and so I wanted, and you know what? At that moment, when I heard it, I was thinking that and well it was really truth, Robert was pretty well in the band and Neal loved Robert Fleishman. They really liked him. He was just a poodle in heat to deal with as a manager. He was like (using whiny voice) “Oh everybody, would you clear the dressing room? That person smoking over there….” That kind of, you know, oh man please. If this is before he's got his first paycheck what's gonna happen?
So there was that side of it and so at that moment I just liked this band. I wanted to sign this band. It was called Alien Project. And I said I'll do this. I'm gonna make this happen. And from my first phone call, that very weekend, the bass player in that band died in a car accident which really left Steve Perry very fermished [messed up].
When I tried to talk him into coming up and spending a week with me at my house he couldn't afford to. I talked to his employer, got an ok, told him I'd pay him the money he was gonna lose, pay his expenses, he can sleep on my couch. He did all that and I started workin' on him and said ok let's forget the Alien Project. Let's talk about Journey. And it was not an easy negotiation by any stretch. He was afraid of Aynsley Dunbar not having a groove, being too white a British drummer with very minimal exposure to soul or R&B and not strong on the backbeat. I loved Aynsley, I still love Aynsley, great guy, intellect. You know, talent with an intellect, that's why I worked with Steve Miller for so many years. I like the resourceful type people, the Jeff Lynne's of the world. But you know at a certain point with Perry, Aynsley only lasted one record really, the Infinity album. Then we terminated him and brought in Steve Smith.

And that was the start of the hits era for the band…
Yes, in truth yes, their first top ten hit was Who's Crying Now from Escape. Although people want to swear up and down that Lights and Feelin' That Way and Wheel in the Sky and all these familiar songs, you know, the Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin', Anyway You Want It, and songs that got so Goddamned much airplay you got pounded by them but they really were never hits. And a lot of that airplay was subliminal. And a lot of it was not really subliminal it's called foreground music.
That was little discovery about these companies up in Seattle, Washington at the time, AEI Audio Environments Inc., and their lobby's loaded with all of Journey's platinum and gold because they played up nationwide like you can't believe on their in-house proprietary music systems. We did big promotions with all their people and access to Journey tickets and merchandise and meet and greets and things like that and oh my God the airplay we got from that was incredible. So every shoe store, shopping mall, restaurant from the Rusty Scuppers to Houstons, you know, there it is. Getting all that airplay, those are all gross impressions and they cume up to a level of recognition and familiarity that makes people really believe that those songs were hit songs. They were heard so much it just wasn't on normal, it certainly wasn't on contemporary hit radio which is how you get a hit single.

Yeah exactly, in the classical sense.
Anything and every kind of radio but that, you know.

You were credited over those years with taking Journey further than maybe they would have gone on their own as well as building the whole idea of a live touring circuit weren't you?
Yeah, it was kind of a sneak attack because when the industry is used to a certain methodology as to how it works and how hit bands work what kind of hit it takes on the radio to go platinum, what it takes in terms of contemporary hit, CHR they called it at the time, radio. R&R Parallel One stations was the bible at that time and we weren't getting any of that yet selling millions of records. This is totally beneath the radar and one of the other techniques was we would fashion the most fantastic radio spots that would emphasize our emphasis track that we wanted the most airplay on and we would run those. Sixty second spots back in the day when radio was cheap to buy. In the '70s it was cheap, cheap, cheap, and we'd pound those and you know those radio spots were airplay. They were cumes [accumulations], they were gross impressions and you know, they're proving that theory right now in the most recent Apple campaigns. The music today that they're using on the new Apple Ipod or the new Air [laptop] da-do-da-do-do and all of a sudden you're singing the song and that's the way it works. Familiarity creates comfort which creates a transaction. So that's what it was all about, how to cume up gross impressions of a band that is not radio friendly in a disco world.
In a disco world and another thing that was very effected was the artwork at that time. Creating a unique, highly recognized imagery within your target demographic so when they see it, so by the time we got to the Escape album it did not have to say Journey on it. And what I would suggest is, no matter how that lineup is perceived, if Jon Cain all of a sudden comes in and it's the classic lineup, OK, OK, but there was a bed there already a base of sales. They'd already sold 12 - 14 million records by then. Across Infinity, Evolution, Departure and Captured, you betcha. Look at all those records. I think Infinity's quadruple platinum, I would imagine Evolution is, I would think Departure's at least triple platinum and the double album, I know Captured is past double platinum.
A double album past double platinum and at a time when lots of live albums come out and no one fared that well, the Eagles or anybody. So they had a hell of a thing going and the way we said Escape was E5C4P3 and the way we wrote the band's name, it looked like Russian and a lot of people never figured out how you had to turn it on it's side to see it say Journey and that was only on the shrink wrap. There were some graphics on the actual album cover itself, but when we initially put it out it was just the egg with the scarab Escape vehicle busting out of it. That's it. Then they made us change it and put some stuff on it. We didn't need to. Blew, blew units out everybody knew what that was. It didn't need to have a name on it. Then of course, right then and there is when Steve Perry really wanted to muck with the formula. You know, he really wanted to put things through a lot of changes.

In the years you've had to reflect on that have you come to a definitive conclusion as to why he wanted those changes?
No, he'd send Sigmund Freud to the hills, screaming and rippin' out his hair. (laughter) He's a tough nut to figure.
Who knows, it's probably very petty jealousies or whatever. It seemed like he wanted, you know it was especially revealing to me when we had his solo album and I was managing him with Street Talk, and the song Oh Sherrie, and I mean I tell ya, he really had a gun to Journey's head right then. He had me, and I was just committed, I'm gonna make this happen because also as a manager it was going to be what I felt would be a very rewarding thing for me to know that in view of the failures of virtually every major artist coming out of a major group to have success on their own. The members of Pink Floyd, or Hall & Oates, or the Cars or any band that was huge. Aerosmith or any of theses guys, they do solo records and it's a dud. Phil Collins at that point had failed to go gold on Face Value and the one record that had come out as a solo record that had done extraordinarily well, virtually the same time, was Bella Donna, Stevie Nicks. She did triple platinum and we did more than double platinum in just America alone on Steve Perry's Street Talk. And I can tell you honestly, he denigrated me at every possible opportunity and said that I sandbagged him, that I fucked him, and I you know, and that the record of course should have been much bigger than Escape and showing total ignorance to the concept of branding and what we had built over so many years.
That was '84. We had incorporated Journey, or Nightmare to furnish the services of Journey in March of '73. So here's eleven years of building a brand and a business and he wants to eclipse it with his first release. And if he doesn't I have failed and even though there is a history of nothing but abject failure on solo projects.
So I don't know man, it's like fighting the impossible fight. I remember one time he phoned me at my house and just went nuts about Be Good To Yourself having been the first choice of a single off of Raised on Radio. And I said, it's a great song, it's a great production, it's great sound, it's Journey. That was the problem.
It sounds too much like Journey. Well too many of the other songs sound too much like a glorified Steve Perry solo record. You'll have to remember on Raised on Radio is when he had me remove Ross Valory and Steve Smith from the band. Of course that was completely ridiculous and I forced him to pay them as if they were there on the tour and everything.

Absolutely, that's what I think you do for your people. There's very little chance that Ross Valory or Steve Smith would remember it let alone reciprocate but that is the honest to God truth. I made sure they were taken care of. I thought it was patently ridiculous and thought that Steve Smith was one of the best drummers on the planet.

And still is.
And he has been recognized as such I believe for longer than anybody in history as the best drummer in the country for something like twenty years running.

What do you think Steve Perry's problem with Ross and Steve was? I mean they were hardly the decision makers of the band.
No, because he wanted to divide and conquer. There was a real relationship I thought with Steve as regards my relationship, my father/son relationship with Neal Schon. It was a pretty serious thing as I would say to people half serious, half in jest half as the truth of the world, I would say 'This is my Neal Schon, he didn't turn out that good.' (laughs) And I'm not talking about him as a guitar player at that point, obviously not, I'm his biggest fan.
These guys, when they screw the pooch not only can they not learn commitment, anything that comes along that they like better they get uncommitted real fast. And when they make a booboo, and booboos happen and the thing is when I make a mistake I have no expectation or notion of unringing the bell or puttin' the bite back in the apple. It doesn't occur to me. To them it's the gospel, of course that's possible, which I find hilarious. I find that humorous. That part of the business I surely don't miss. Management is a rough go, I tell ya.

Oh, I don't know how anybody could live on the road or get into that 24/7. It's hard enough just being a commentator on it.
You know at the end, especially on Raised on Radio, Steve Perry insisted I be on the road. It made it very, very difficult to do my job vis-à-vis phones and access because in those days, even in '86, you didn't have cell phones. You know, I mean we barely had the advent of fax machines and thank God for that, know what I mean? I spent my life on the road with no electronics, no benefits of the computer age.

Yeah I guess people forget about that. How did you do it?
It was so frickin' hard Andrew. I'd be in some country in Europe or the Orient and just run to a pay phone and oh my God, foreign currency, foreign languages, numbers, prefixes, country codes, man I wanted to go beat somebody up at a bus stop. (laughter) Just for the hell of it (laughter) just to take my aggressions out on someone.

It is amazing how quickly we get used to the technology we have and can't imagine life without it. But not too long ago – we didn't have it at all.
It's really true and now they really do have modern conveniences. But you know, oddly enough, and this was the least anticipated thing in my life, after I retired from management for some frickin' crazy reason I decided to become an artist and sing and play a little guitar. I had a total ball, and you know, played the Filmore 18 times with the legendary Sy Klopps blues band []. All the best venues, all over the west, all over the country really with Sy Klopps and just really enjoyed it. When I stopped from that and they retired on the stage at the Fillmore, Bill Kreutzmann said you and your guitar player and me, let's form a band and we'll do Robert Hunter songs and so I said sure, let's do it. We created this band called the Trichromes and got up, got on a tour bus, went for six weeks with Bob Wier's RatDog and Phil and Friends and I had the complete touring experience. And not like a Journey, we were the opening band. And when the tour was over I told an audience of 40,000 at Alpine Valley what a revelation, what a joy, what a breeze, what an extreme fallacio everyday. Just a blowjob, you get treated so well you know I was ready to get on the bus and start it all over again the next morning. I thought that on those buses on tour you got no sleep and that the labor board could literally make an argument that me and my production company, Nocturne, which is one of the preeminent production companies in the world today and we have so many tours and so many crews that they'd come and make an argument that this is 24 hour 7 day a week employment and you have to pay overtime on every hour. They're on a bus, it's not restful sleep they're working the whole time and I just had all these nightmares going on thinking of business exposure and so forth. Then when I went and did it I've never slept so good in my life. And everybody else was that way. It was just phenomenal. I mean so what the hell and all these years I'd given these artists the benefit of the doubt I was so naïve and wrong. It was just, you know, I mean let me tell you, that isn't work. If any one of those guys could walk in a manager's shoes one hour they would be exhausted and require hospitalization.

I can imagine it. I've seen it and I wouldn't want to do it.
You know, when I was Sy Klopps I never did a single thing. Pat Morrow was the manager of Sy Klopps and I never picked up the phone and said a business word one time. He did a brilliant job. When I was a manager I knew I was management, was the key catalyst, and when I became an artist I got that reconfirmed yet again.
I know I'm drifting astray and I know you have more questions.

I could probably spend a week talking to you because I love the industry and I love the business so it's a privilege to talk to you.
And you're in Australia and Journey was never really happening there.

You know what? I actually got into Journey originally via Steve Perry's Street Talk album in 1984 because Oh Sherrie was a huge hit single here and that voice!
But Journey – although every album was released here – never had a big hit single here and had never toured here.

He [Steve Perry] didn't do any touring really for that record. I got him finally to do Oh Sherrie on tour with Journey.

You did? I always figured that was Steve's idea.
Yes it was my Idea so as to moot the need for solo touring on Steve's part. Journey also performed Don't Fight It - the song Steve did with Kenny Logins and Foolish Heart too.
Then, when he tried to do his theater tour as Steve Perry with Lincoln Brewster and…

…In '94…
That was I guess very much a struggle. There were certain cities where he booked and calendared and then postponed, then calendared and postponed then ultimately cancelled and never played the market. Couldn't get well, couldn't sing, I didn't see any of that tour but I just heard that it was pretty rough.

Steve hasn't performed live since that point and has only recorded one album - Trial by Fire with Journey again.
Trial by Fire…I listened to that one time and not one lift off. Not one moment of this is gonna go somewhere. Monotone, monotone, I don't know what was going on with that. They really genuflected and signed all these agreement to try to supposedly get him to make a record and tour and I told Neal Schon that I swore on everything holy that he would never tour. 'He'll never do it; I promise you that, I'll bet my net worth'. He didn't take me up on the bet but I was of course right.

That was the last time that Steve was seen with the band. Just about every other band on the planet has reformed at some point since then, including many of them doing it now, but there is absolutely no sign of Steve Perry ever returning from the fray is there?
I really don't think so and to be honest with you I don't think it would be desirable. I mean just in a fantasy world. People want to remember back to a fantastic time when a great, there was a moment when surely Steve Perry was the foremost, contemporary vocal stylist in America. I believe that. Male vocal stylist, he was right there on point. Everybody loved that voice and he touched many people with songs, many of which that Jon Cain wrote like Faithfully and Open Arms. Man they hate it when I tell that story about Open Arms. You know about how they were fuckin' just denigrating Steve and just talking stink. He's in there trying to sing Open Arms with Kevin Elson, Mike Stone and I'm goin' 'he's singin' his heart out, he's tryin' to nail this fuckin' thing'.
I mean you know it was (whiney voice) 'Is that Perry Como, and its so frou-frou' and they're just teasing him awfully. I took Neal and Jon into the backroom and go 'What the fuck are you doin' man? He's obviously written a fantastic song.' Jon Cain goes 'He didn't write that, I wrote that.' And I was stunned. I just looked at him and my mouth dropped open, it go 'Just making your behavior all the more remarkable, unbelievable.' Sometimes man, you can write a brilliant song, (idiot voice) duhhuh, duhhuh, but if I asked you to think it might hurt you.

So they were in the studio giving shit to Steve while he was recording?
Totally giving him shit. I mean seriously giving him shit.

I don't get that.
Anti-inspirational to the max.

I guess Jon Cain and Neal Schon really have become the partnership that has held the band together over all these years.
Well I guess so. I really don't know about the inner workings and the chemistry of it. To me it's always been a situation where I felt that from way back that they should just move on from Steve Perry. I'm talkin' I wanted them to move on in '84.

I heard you wanted that. That would have been an interesting twist.
For them to allow him [Perry] to hold the band hostage, and the money in '84 and '85 and every year thereafter because that '86 money could have been just a real Journey tour with just a replacement singer and this kid they have now [Arnel Pineda] can sing that material right now in the original keys in a very credible way and there's no way Steve Perry could touch that.

I'm gonna come back to this in a minute… but right now, in '84, the mid '80s if they'd have made a break, a similar sort of break as what happened with Van Halen in '86. They brought in Hagar and did a left turn with their sound and they lost some fans but won some others - just like Journey did in '78.
Exactly, that's when they shifted to Sammy Hagar from David Lee Roth. Right exactly and that was a brilliant move and very effective and you know I made a solo record that you may have in your collection called Hagar, Schon, Aaronson, Shrieve.

Absolutely, love it, for sure.
And you know, we know Sammy really well. He's one of our best friends, he comes to our birthday parties and yadda, yadda, yadda.

Oh I love Sammy. I'm an absolute diehard Sammy Hagar fan.
Yeah exactly, he's a great friend and of course we knew intimately. And of course I love the story of the '78 Journey tour with Journey, Montrose and Van Halen. The tour started on March 1 in Racine, Wisconsin 1978. And I said, 'Hey Neal, be sure to get a look at the opening band. I want you to go and see them and give me a call.' Then I got out to Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland, the big cities, Pittsburg, Philly, every time I'd say 'Hey Neal, you seen the opening band yet?' He goes, 'No man, I never get there on time. I'll do it, I'll do it.' When I finally get to New York, I'm sittin' in the lobby, Pat Morrow the road manager brings 'em in. He's taken them out to the NEW radio and the Sam Goody stores and all that and they got just enough time to grab their clothes and maybe a little bit of food and I say 'hey Neal have you seen the opening band' and he goes 'no' and I say 'give your room key to Pat. He'll bring your guitars and all your shit. You're going with me right now'. I took him to the theater. We were sold out 3500 people and I said let's just walk in and sit down. We walk in the front door and sit down and he looks around and says, 'Where's all the people?' I go 'the people don't come until very late. I mean hardly anybody sees this band'.
And even when we were done there was maybe a thousand people out of 3500 when their set was over. But when they started playing Running With the Devil and You Really Got Me and Jamie's Crying and all that stuff, and all the guitars Neal was just blown away. Blown away and he says 'man I gotta meet that guy, I gotta learn that stuff and I mean, you think he'll teach me that shit?' (laughter) I says 'man if you'll teach him some of those melodies you come up with'. He say 'whadaya mean'. I go, 'the man can't believe the melodies'. 'You mean he watches me?' I said, 'He watches your every note.' On this whole tour he hasn't missed a note you played and you haven't seen him once. So from then on he never missed a note. And they've become very good friends.

Ok, to jump to another point as far as touring – it seems that playing live is about the only way to make money in this business these days? The pressure is on a big tour.
Well now wait a minute.

Don't get stuck in the old, tired, fucked up, ground into the ground model of the traditional exploitive record, you know, Columbia records deal. Well you know, even though Journey had a 37% royalty, hey a phenomenal deal and they were well paid by any standard, but still it doesn't compare at all to what a single freestanding retailer can do for you. What Victoria's Secret did for Spice Girls or Target or Best Buy or certainly a classic example that Journey's following because of Irv Azoff,…

…is the deal with WalMart, absolutely. They blew through 3 million units for the Eagles faster than the record business did back in the, unless you could go back to the peak in the early '80s or something.

It's a phenomenal number isn't it?
It really is. I mean if out of one location WalMart's nationwide and a double album, priced right, $11.99, if they paid the band $8 a unit or something like that, a mountain of money, you know. Twenty four million or something like that and it's not a loss-leader.
WalMart makes money now Journey's gonna have the 11 new songs, the 11 old songs, the DVD that Nocturne is shooting right now.
WalMart's gonna price that really well and Journey's got, I mean this is a chance. The new Eagles record was very, very good and if they can get airplay and have a hit off of that record, wow. I mean it's defying the odds almost unbelievably. Having a hit is like moonwalking on water.

You once, I've gotta quote you on this, you once said that you had a better chance of your dick growing another foot than Journey had of having another hit single.
I admit it. That's what I said. I've got a better chance of my dick growing a foot. Sure I'd love it to happen but it's not very likely, and actually upon further review I'm not sure I'd love it to happen. But anyway, it's just the likelihood. I think I'd stand by that quote and I think the Eagles have just done what I've said. They've just walked on water.
For the 60 year old set to come out and you know Journey can make a great new record. Especially with someone who can still go somewhere with their voice in that tenor range. The songs have to live. The whole idea with Journey was songs that started someplace, took you somewhere, and resolved that and brought you back. Which is a very difficult thing, most guitarists, if they know how to launch a solo and keep it interesting for more than twelve bars, they don't know how to resolve it. That's another thing that Neal's a master at.

Brings it back into the song doesn't he?
Yeah he does and so they could make a fantastic record. I have no doubt about that. The point is how do you get it listened to? How do you get it heard? I mean the business has so hopelessly, for so long, been a contemporary youth oriented business that they have walked away from multimillion dollar brands.
Columbia let Chicago and Heart and Journey and Santana and all these brands that they branded for so long, let 'em go away and they're a huge success. Heart at Capitol, Chicago and Warner Brothers, Santana obviously with Clive Davis but previously with Polygram. What the fuck are they thinkin'? What the fuck? This stuff took so long and so much money to cume up the gross impressions over such a long duration to become nigh onto, if not a household word. This is the hardest thing to achieve.
Madison Avenue looks down their nose at the record business because these guys don't know a thing about selling records. And they were so right, and now everybody thinks they can pick off the record business. It must be embarrassing.
And the precipitous slide into the abyss, do you know when it started? When Steve Jobs took fuckin' a week to get every CEO, every president in the fuckin' music business to drink the Kool-aid. And give their entire catalogs, opening Pandora's digital box, and that shit will never get back in the box, and that's all master recordings going out digitally. And the way music is stored, distributed, sold and listened to has completely changed and they're not invited to the party.
They get paid for their catalog, a little bit, but the real beneficiary is Steve Jobs who really dominates the business from not only software and the delivery side of it but also the hardware and how people listen. The biggest mogul in the history of the business and I think he spent a weekend figuring out how to be the biggest music business mogul in history. He's also the biggest motion picture mogul in history. And he's a majority share holder of Disney all of a sudden. And so this is really important stuff.
Then everybody else said yeah, let's go pick off the record business. And I mean everybody from Starbucks to Victoria's Secret thinks they can do it better and you know what? They're right. They couldn't fuck it up, I mean, by accident they could do it better than the record industry with focus.
Now, if you want a label to push the button you'd better be ready to give up your soul. I never, you know, if Journey, if Jon Cain, or any of these guys wanted to really be honest, and say wow, what was the greatest luxury than Herbie Herbert ever afforded me as an artist? They never had a record company executive step anywhere near them in the studio, in the songwriting process or any part of the creative process.
We completely controlled everything vertically; album covers, the content, the songs. I sequenced each one of those records, and somehow fought to get the record covers the way they were, and I named all the albums. That's what you need, is to have some focus like that. It's not an ego trip, it's marketing expertise. It's branding expertise.
I have nothing invested in this egowise. I would just like to make my living and do what I think I can get done here. So from my point of view that got stopped and mucked up quite a bit. There was no reason for them not to continue in '84, '85, '86.
They could have been a polished Grateful Dead and that was my model as a deadhead. I wanted to just have them, and they were so huge in merchandizing and you know what else? The Journey Force Fanclub was a force to be reckoned with. We really had created the virtual affinity group, but it was physical, it wasn't virtual. It wasn't virtual, it was physical. It wasn't in the computer age. It was physical mailing lists. Well we did have computers. We had the first program that would manage our fanclub and automatically print labels and weigh and sticker and send out newsletters and the whole thing. And they had such a high membership, I think 600,000 at one point.
That list, they sold the fanclub, disregarded it, and just thought that had no value. They almost thought of it as an albatross and a liability. They sold it to Tim McQuaid who ran the Force. He turned it into Fan Asylum [] and turned it into a very successful business. He sold in the internet age and made seven figures. And it was the very same computer tool set that he bought, no modifications. And we invented all those things that you get when you're in a fanclub and go to the box office up until an hour before show time, show your Journey Force card and buy up to five tickets near the front, fifth row or closer and we would hold those seats. Then and hour before the show we'd send them out front with a bullhorn and just fuck over the scalpers. Any leftover fifth row seats, face value at the box office, right here and people would run standing in front of the scalpers right at the box office. You know, and it was just a fantastic thing the way that worked. We invented the travel packages. And you could travel with the band and do the meet and greets. These things were phenomenal.
The velvet rope concept, all those things were created by the Force. These are things that are so valuable now and they just walked away from the whole tool set. They could have just been making their own CDs since they were dropped from Columbia and selling them like Ani DiFranco direct to their own active hot list that by now would have been converted to active email addresses and everything electronically and been completely in business.

So they missed a real opportunity there?
They just don't understand that there's something more to it than just writing songs and singing and playing. That business component of it and the thing is I was pretty much solely focused on that. All the other activities were done in the vacuum of their absence. They said well we're not gonna, even after Raised on Radio in '86, I said fuck it then, I'm gonna do this band Europe from Sweden. I got the job for Kevin Elson to produce it, I'm gonna break it, they released it, they failed, I'm gonna rerelease it and make it a home run. I was playing it for Jeff McClusky and Jerry Mickelson on the back of a band bus outside of the Rosemont Horizon on Journey's Raised on Radio tour, and Steve and Neal came into the back of the bus and said 'oh man that's tired and in the weeds. That'll never happen'.
That was The Final Countdown. It went fuckin' #1 all over the world. (laughter)

Yeah, that did pretty well.
Yeah, then I did the Roxette project and that was very successful, almost dominated the charts there for several years.

Oh they were probably, I was in retail at the time, a record store, and Roxette were the biggest band around.
Yeah and I got them from the get go. I broke The Look here in this country and I there was no looking back, you know what I mean. And I had four #1s, three #2s and two top 15s in two years and sold 60 million records around the world.

That's gotta be good for everything!
Yeah that was fantastic. I just got a big hardbound book in the mail, all in Swedish about Per Gessler [Roxette guitarist] and I looked to see if they had any pictures of me anywhere. But I was a folk hero when that was happening because of what happened with Europe and what happened with Roxette and another Swedish band called the Electric Boys. They were very good, toured with Mr. Big and Hardline, one of Neal's bands.

I saw that show. I saw that show in Marin County California in '92.
Ok, so you know all three bands, Electric Boys and Mr. Big and Hardline. I thought that was a good tour.

Oh, it was a phenomenal lineup. I love Hardline. I'm a huge fan, actually I'm a very good friend of Eric Martin.
Well there ya go and I worked with him for 12 years before I could finally break, that was a long story breaking that To Be With You single. I traded all my Grateful Dead memorabilia for that hit. It's a long story but I mean that was very, very rewarding because you know, I had a lot of people say well you did that thing with Journey and you know you're pretty lucky. And I say 'Lucky, man the harder I worked the luckier I got.' They just kept drumming me on being lucky. I go yeah I must have a horse shoe buried right in my ass. You know but then, Europe, that wasn't luck. I levitated a dead project. Roxette, that wasn't luck. Everybody in the business, everybody turned me down on Roxette. And EMI, I got the record getting played here in this country then EMI changed their mind and said OK, we'll keep it and go forward so I worked with EMI. But right at the last second Doug Morris said, I want it, I want it. I said Doug you waited too long I wanted to make this deal a long time ago. But Roxette, that worked out well and then I did the Mr Big deal with Doug Morris instead. That worked out well too, so you know when you just start taking them all from the garage all the way to #1, I never had a #1 with Journey.

Yeah, isn't that strange?
Number 2 with Open Arms hopelessly behind Endless Love Dianna Ross and Lionel Richie. So I said I'm gonna do this. I got to #2 with Carrie by Europe again and then with Roxette I finally had my first #1 and then with Mr. Big that was my last #1.

Well you deserved that.
That was the fifth single off that Mr. Big record.

Yeah I know. I have the records. I bought the first Mr. Big album the week it was released because I loved all the guys individually and I thought wow what an amazing idea.
You know, I was trying to do them on a legitimate, you know, as a shredder band. And the first single was Addicted to That Rush. I was bold. I wanted to have the real thing. I didn't want to homogenize those guys but eventually if you wanna fuckin' have broad based appeal you've gotta go with something that gets you that hit. And you know, To Be With You, boom. All of a sudden they sell 10 million records around the world. So how do you argue with that?

Eric Martin keeps telling me that's a song that just keeps on giving.
It is a song that keeps on giving. Yeah, that's the one that probably pays his rent to this very day.

Absolutely, yeah, just jumping back to Journey – looking back over the years - they seem to have a history of dramatic vocalist changes don't they?
Well, but how about from Tommy Johnston in the Doobie Brothers to Michael MacDonald? From China Groove to Takin' it to the Streets all of a sudden, totally different voice, what did the new voice get, four or five Grammies. You know, and so you can make these changes. You have to just have to be bold and go forward. And you know at that point I have every right to say God dammit, I wanted to do that with Journey and they were just chicken and the left a lot of chips on the table for what I call in reality 15 years. From '83, because in '84 they should have moved, and so you go from '83 to '98 that's 15 years. How are they ever gonna make up for that lost time?
I mean shit, I got tired of waiting and then when I'd waited all that time and they were ready to go forward they wanted to go with Steve Perry and I told them from the get go that we were gonna have to write a letter and say that we were doing this and offer it to Steve Perry. But in the event that he accepts I'm going to have to decline because at that point it's been about nine years of utter bliss not having to see him or talk to him or deal with his craziness. Man hey, once bitten twice shy. I'm not going back. I have a profound philosophy that our president, Bush, is incapable of articulating but it's very simple. Fuck me once shame on you, fuck me twice shame on me.

You're on record as saying that Steve Augeri was a good choice and a top bloke, and we all know he was a top bloke, but things ended on a negative note for him also.
I don't know what their relationship was like but I thought at first blush, looking at Steve Augeri I like his body language, I liked his look on stage, until I realized it's either hard drive or, you know, and often he would drop his microphone and the vocal would continue. And even for me, it took me a while to realize, Oh, it's not necessarily a hard drive there, you have Deen Castronovo, who could in fact do an even more credible Steve Perry and especially on the ballads. And so on the ballads Augeri would drop his mic and the note would be held and I finally realized.
Because he's got that little teeny bend-around microphone or headset that Deen has and it's not like you can really tell when he's singing. Without video screens, that's where video becomes so crucial. It really does so you can see that. If you're at the mixing board that's invisible, you're not looking at somebody's lips move. At least not me anymore.
I'm sure they passed it off as something for medical reasons or whatever and leaving a notion or tone that maybe he could be returned or that he could return to the band but I think not.
I think it was real and I think that even if you were in fine voice, as maybe this gentleman from the Philippines is right now, this is a rugged expectation.
And to really make it pencil financially you really want to try to get to and try to maintain at least a four night a week date density. This is easy to do in the northeast but very difficult to do in the west because it's so far apart between markets like LA, San Francisco, Seattle. And the secondary markets like Fresno, Sacramento, and Eugene don't yield much more than you're production nut. In some cases it's really hard and so where do you get a third and a fourth show? So it's very hard to route with and density in the West and when you have a high density to pay the bills then you run the risk of vocal hardship.

Yeah, which unfortunately and sadly happened with Steve Augeri.
I think it becomes a chronic problem. The pressures of live performance and you know it's just singing one time too many in any given week and you get a little rough and then it makes it rougher and you need recovery time. And you know what? As you get older you need more and more of it [recovery time].

Yeah, and you were saying at the beginning of the interview that modern technology allows you to make compensations for that.
That's exactly right. So realizing the horrific financial ramifications of failed performances or inability to perform or muddle through it or whatever, I can certainly understand the underlying reasons why they would potentially do this.
But you don't do it as a matter of practice on an everyday basis. You do it on an emergency basis and then you allow the band to have some latitude, some spontaneity for Neal Schon to play an extra eight bars on a solo if he feels like it. Expose one or two links in that choke chain, loosen it up a little bit but it's tight. It's really a tight thing.
I would want to get out from that noose. I've had that conversation with Neal any number of times. Why don't you just loosen that up a little bit. It feels a little regimented through the material.

Now you're talking about the band using a click track? []
Yeah exactly, I mean you're stuck. You've got to nail the exact arrangement, the exact meter and you cannot deviate or vary from that meter. So once that song's clicked off you'd better hold tempo perfect. You know what? I love click tracks from a meter standpoint. I think timing makes the music, tuning makes the musician. You really, when the time and the meter is really right, it gives power to the music and when you have bad meter you can't dance to it and you fall in a heap.

And after Steve Augeri came Jeff Scott Soto.
I really didn't think that Jeff Scott Soto was the right choice.

He has much more of an alto voice. There was a lot of material, especially Raised on Radio material like I'll Be Alright Without You that he might have done really well on but if you're gonna try to do the really high songs like You've Got Something to Hide or La Do Da or whatever, I can't recall, I went and saw them in concert and there was a bunch of material that was so far out of his reach he was just as bad as Augeri at his worst so you can't. If you make a change it's gotta be an upgrade. Kevin Chalfant would have been a much better choice at that point. Kevin Chalfant would be a much better point now. I don't know.

But they have gone with Arnel Pineda.
I've listened to the record that he has made and the songs that they've chosen on this 11 song thing and the performances are very credible. Have you heard it?

Oh no, I'm eagerly anticipating it though. Have you heard it already?
Yeah I've got a copy of that and it's in my truck. I listened to it and I thought he did a very good job. I gotta tell ya.

With the re-recording of the old hits, the sacred ground so to speak?
Yeah, sacred ground, well how sacred is it? Anybody is given leave to do that.
They're public domain now. Kevin Chalfant, anybody can do a Journey Greatest Hits record and see how they fair. You know and provided this is, I just think he does pretty good, pretty damned good.

Well here you're talking about a singer competing with the world's greatest melodic vocalist at his prime in Steve Perry, so to come close is probably doing extraordinarily well.
Yes that's right. I think I agree with that completely. To come close and he comes better than close.

Wow, I'm really pleased to hear such an enthusiastic endorsement.
I guess many fans are worried about the band treading on sacred ground by re-recording those tracks. Why do it?

Look at Frank Sinatra - he comes into the world and he puts together a string of hits that was formidable for Columbia Records and has a whole career. Well then he wants to come out west. He gets offered a boatload of money and a huge royalty to record for Capitol. So of course, sacred ground although it was he re-recorded the entire catalog for Capitol and it was hugely successful. I mean this is the stuff dreams are made of and he was such an important artist you can't imagine. I mean Steve Perry, I took Steve Perry and Steve Smith to see one of Nocturne's tours and it was on the opening night in Oakland Coliseum. Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis and Dean Martin, ya know, and I said 'come and see the classics. You'll see Dean was the inventor or smooth before Perry Como and Andy Williams and all these guys'. This was the guy and you'll see so much of Michael Jackson and the dance moves and everything from Sammy Davis and then when the Chairman of the Board gets out here, phrasing, delivery, material he's just gonna hammer you. Of course that happened. Steve was impressed. How can you not be? And so then Warner Brothers came along and said 'we'll give you your own label and a mountain of money if you'll do it again'. So then he recorded it all again for Reprise. Now what happens is, in these contracts there are provisions for re-recording clauses and usually a re-recording clause would elapse in seven years at the outside and often in five. So then your re-recording restriction has expired. Now it's your song. You're allowed to re-record it and if you can re-record it somewhere and get it fresh and have a new mechanical royalty for it at the current statutory rate and get a new artist royalty for it from a new label or a much higher royalty from alternate means from re-recording it, go for it. I was one of the guys in fact advising guys to follow the Frank Sinatra model and do just that.

This is great. I really wanted to hear your take on this so this is interesting.
It's a way to generate revenue. I had Steve Miller put his greatest hit together and re-recorded them and I sold it to Arcade in Europe for TV advertising. I sold it to my buddy Michael Gudinski at Mushroom Records [legendary Australian record label] and got a gold album on my wall, from a re-recorded Greatest Hits by Steve Miller. All new sell it to Michael Gudinski, made the deal myself. Is he still kickin' around down there?

He most certainly is.
Good, he's a good man.

Yes he is he's done a lot for music in this country. So basically you're saying don't get hung up on the original because you've already got them?
Right and you know sometimes this stuff gets re-recorded and is much better. It's much better. One artist and manager that took my advice and actually came to my studio to do it was Bill Thompson with the Jefferson Starship and Mickey Thomas and we took these records and these tracks and I remember one day we figured out that the average cost of each track of their greatest hits record was in excess of $150,000. Many of them were produced by guys like Ron Nevison and Peter Wolf and yadda, yadda, yadda, and I said let's come in, and I really believe in today's age with all of our new, modern recording technology, that in complete A-B comparisons we can smoke every aspect of every one of your greatest hits. Deeper, broader bandwidth, better stereo soundstage, better tuning and timing and record quality, reduce of noise floor and I mean the only thing that would be questionable is the quality of the vocal performance. If you can deliver that vocal as well or better than the original we can absolutely eclipse all the original recordings. And we did that and we did it for $15,000 for 15 songs.
So when you have a second shot at it, you know like 'Boy would I like to have another whack at that.' And sometimes you can hit it out of the park. You know what? I always felt that with Journey. So when I was putting together the Greatest Hits or putting together the Boxed Set [Time 3], I remember this, I'll admit to this, I always favored the track live off of Captured that Kevin Elson produced. For instance, as compared to the horrible recording quality in truth, although trendy and the moment and with lots of oral excitation and layered tracks, but those Roy Thomas Baker tracks on Infinity and Evolution were wanting. I mean if you listen the Wheel In The Sky off of Infinity and the bass drum and everything else even for 1978 it was almost kind of a medieval recording style. You know I really, I just thought he did a piss poor job. I really didn't like Roy Thomas Baker. And you have great songs which is the nucleus, the epicenter of our business, and so they had great songs and they had great performances. What was really bad was the way it was recorded. I remember going to Cherokee and he was playing back the songs and he'd blown up the speakers and I said please Roy, don't play it back so damned loud. I want to hear it so I'm insisting that I don't want it to go over 104 DBs. So I'm listening back at that level and I'm hearing this rattling and this ticky-tacky like somebody's got BBs in a plastic bottle or shaking a canasta or something. It's just awful. I'm hearing this and they couldn't hear it. It was driving me crazy. Finally I reached over to the knob on the board and turned the sound off and was gonna yell at him. But then the minute I turned the soundboard off and the speakers down I still heard the rattling, even louder. I said there it is, it's really loud. And I looked to the left of me and there was what he insisted on using. His own Stephens 40 track recorder, and every VU meter and every needle was tick-tacking pinning. Totally pinning itself and red lining and making almost drum rolls. Forty meters rattling and that was what was making all the racket. And I looked and I said look at this thing. You're so over-saturating tape it's creating compression and limiting just from over-saturation. You're just pushing the life out of this recording. And so, if you take songs like, whatever, Lights or Feelin' That Way or any of those songs from Infinity or Evolution or Departure and the Captured versions are usually vastly superior.

On the new recordings, are there any one or two or three songs that you thought the band really nailed? I don't even know what songs they've rerecorded yet.
Oh, I don't have the list in front of me. I remember there being, they did 11. There are more songs that need to be recorded than 11. I remember being pleasantly surprised that they did Stone in Love. They didn't do Ask the Lonely which was always one of my favorites. Ask the Lonely and Only the Young were originally on the Frontiers album.

And they should have been, what great songs.
What great songs and instead they were pulled off and Backtalk, because Steve Smith wrote it and he voted in on, it was a terrible glorified Bo Diddley, and Troubled Child, a real down Roger Waters kind of you know, funeral dirge kind of thing.
I feel that with Ask the Lonely and Only the Young, and with the original Frontiers artwork, not the space alien last ditch effort to get the record out on time because he rejected the Kelly/Mouse cover which was brilliant, I think it would have eclipsed Escape. But he really didn't want that.

He really didn't want that and then of course when his record didn't sell as well then he kinda wanted to sabotage the Raised on Radio thing and bring Journey down to the level of him on his solo project. And getting rid of Smith and Valory and destroying and you know it's not a matter, I would say to Steve Perry, it wasn't a matter of what you want it's about your fans and the fans of this band. They're not all here to see or here your. Ross has his fans. Steve has his fans. I have to believe, especially with the way Steve Smith has gone on and the accolades he's received in his career and how Ross has continued to perform at an high level, you know, that, you know, dude you were wrong. I mean, Hello.

I saw there was an alternative cover for Raised On Radio also.
Yes there were multiple covers on Raised On Radio. At least two other than the one used.

And now, 22 years later fans are still debating the whole Raised On Radio album.
Oh are they really?

Absolutely, people still argue the point on…
…whether it's even a Journey record or not.

That and the whole change of style and where the record fits into the Journey legacy.
That's interesting. I never knew that until this moment that they were astute enough to realize it's hard to call that a Journey record.

I should send you a link to my forum, or maybe I should do you a favor and not send you a link! But it's arguing in the most infinite detail over the band and Raised on Radio is a constant. The whole lineup, the tour, the sound of the album, some people say it's their favorite album and some people hate it.
I have to admit it cost more than all the other Journey records put together. The guy, Bob Clearmountain you know, it's a very well done thing but it's just a bastardization of Journey. It's a corruption of the formula. It's very good, great songwriting, songs like Girl Can't Help It, I love I'll Be Alright Without You.

Oh I love the album. I think it's great but it's a different beast isn't it?
Yeah, it's a different beast and Randy Jackson, I don't know if you ever see him on American Idol and Journey being his claim to fame.

I can't take him seriously sometimes.
Yeah I know 'Yo dude yo.'

I see him with that hairdo from '86 and the clothes!
It's pretty rough and they've actually showed videos of him wearing those clothes on American Idol. Hey dude, your lack of humility knows no bounds. I mean wow, that could be embarrassing. But I guess it's so dated that he, you know, and it's his link to credibility really. Everything else, well he was just a hired side guy there too.

Purely hypothetically speaking here, but during the mid '80s with Steve and the band on the road, if technology had been available then, could you see Steve or the band using technology to assist their performances?
Well yes, well I don't know. We were doing it and had the technology and were triggering Akai samplers on background vocals and were perfectly capable of doing it on any lead vocal we wanted to on the Raised on Radio tour.

Yes, we pioneered this technology. We were, you know, that's my thing, production, so they had somebody right there. I'm managing, but I'm right from the back of the truck and I want to be on the leading edge. Just like Steve Miller was the first national tour to have in-ear monitors and it created a whole revolution. No monitors on stage, no equipment on stage. Everything off stage, just drums and keyboards and that's it. No speakers on stage, nothing, clean, clean, clean stages and I was certainly all about that in the Journey stage design. We carried our own stage and we were so oriented in sound, lights and production. We owned all that stuff, and you know, I'll tell ya, it's somewhat of a phenomenon that as egocentric as the music business is that other bands would unabashedly approach us for production services being so enamored and see these Journey tours and be so impressed that they would swallow their pride and come to us and ask us to do it for them.
Whether it was The Who on their farewell tour wanting their set designed and video on their '82 farewell tour or Loverboy wanting us to do the lights for them and just various production services, we must have had 20 concert halls pay us to build barricades like ours for them for their venues. Our stage and our barricades and the design and they were portable and they were put together and they were bullet proof. You could not bend or break these barricades and so you know, just good stuff like that.
I wondered, I've always wondered, I guess that Journey just didn't get that. It wasn't on their radar, it certainly wasn't a source of pride for them. And in '84 I came to find out that they had had a meeting with Joe Brown with a production sound company in England and offered to sell him Nocturne. And for what they basically hadn't been repaid. They invested two million and they recaptured a million two fifty of it and so they were outstanding, unearned three quarters of a million dollars. Hey, we were only a couple years into it at that point and they're earning back quickly and so the offered to sell it and that's when I said I'll buy it. That's just crazy. I'll buy it for that very same price. It does over 20 million a year you know. What were these guys thinking? Holy shit. Neal stayed in on Nocturne.

Yeah I though he did.
He's the only one that did and all the other guys must just be scratching their asses. What the hell, you know? And that was really Steve Perry that was the influence to say liquidate the investments, liquidate the real estate, liquidate the production company and he must have brushed a hundred million dollars off the table right there. And you know what? These guys should want to beat the livin' shit out of this guy. He cost them so much. He cost them so much. And cost himself so much and I've always said it's almost like he wants revenge and you know the old saying, 'if you want revenge dig two graves'.

Interesting. I guess Steve wouldn't be too happy about the guys re-recording stuff now.
He must have put up a fight to have that stopped. I think he probably did but I think he had to throw in the towel. What can you do? California is what's called a Right to Work state. They've never employed that strategy but it's as good and any you're gonna find. I mean they should have never, ever kowtowed to him in the slightest. I've never understood it but wow he sure carried sway with Journey, with Irving Azoff Management, and with the record company too. Impressive, I tip my hat. And all negative, nothing that would benefit or inure to the benefit of Sony, Columbia, CBS Records, whatever or Journey. As a matter of fact he just cost them money at every turn. So why, what's the attraction you know, what's the attraction here?

Nocturne sounds like a massive company these days. Is that early decision to buy into it paying off?
Nocturne is, we're buying two high definition, major investment right now for Metallica, one of our clients, who's gonna do such a massive stadium tour that we're gonna hopscotch complete productions. Mega-productions and so it's a business where we do a lot of reinvesting and if we want to maintain our market share and continue to be the #1 video company in music then we have to continue to invest but it's something that, the company went through it's first incarnation from '79 through 2001. Then we just kind of folded that down, refinanced and funded a whole new company and we've been doing fantastic, but we have to buy a lot of new technology. The whole advent of high definition basically meant all of our old MTSE standard systems were obsolete.

Ok so Nocturne's a sort of retirement investment.
Yeah, retirement, and not that it's not making money and it makes money, but a lot of the money that it makes is in assets build up and so core value of the company we have taxable assets without any cash so the company funds all of our taxes with increases in equity and gives us money too but it's not like it's making us rich.

And meanwhile Neal's still out there on the road doing what he does best.
Yeah well he, I saw a relationship that started out I think in Denver the first time that Neal Schon and Steve Perry sat down to write a song they wrote Patiently. That's such a great, great song. You go from there to Neal is doing the cocaine, drinking, fuckin' the chicks, doin' all the fuckin' things that Steve couldn't do as a lead singer. And then going out on stage totally hammered and playing perfectly. And then he'd go on a binge for a week, come into the studio hammered, and do all of his guitar parts, in that condition, on the whole album in the next two days and that's it. This guy, you know you take his album like Voices and I don't think Neal spent two whole hours on any track on that record and every single effect, everything you hear comes out that way on his guitar. The engineer has two stereo channels totally flat no EQ and all the effects, everything you here Neal does, on the fly, real time. The dude plays equipment every bit as good as he plays guitar. He's a frickin' genius with it and he just moves right through the whole thing and he'll play a couple bars, get it in his