Long Missing AOR-GOD Makes A Miraculous Comeback


Metal Zone, January 1995
Joergen Holmstedt
Transcribed from Swedish by Ozzie, have mercy on my grammar and spelling!

The phone rings and the voice is undoubtedly his,

SP: It's nice to be back.

Wow, where do I start? Here's God himself on the line and I'm bursting with questions that I've collected during the years. Let's start with the obvious: Why has it taken so long to make this soloalbum?

SP: The album only took about 8 months to make. It took me longer to come to an honest answer if I really needed to make another album. It has to be done with passion, or not at all.

What was the turning point? (SP takes a deep breath)

SP: It was a long turning, not only one thing. Slowly I realized I'm a vocalist and that I want to sing. I wasn't sure about that for a while. I was so tired of most things.

Yes, it's easy to suspect that you've spent a lot of time on the darker side of life. Not least throu the lyrics-

SP: First my mother dies during the recordings of "Raised on Radio", Journeys last album. After that I had to finish it, mix it, rehearse for the tour and then do the tour. After the last concert in Alaska I was emotionally exhausted. You can't heal your wounds on tour. I had to get off. After that my granddad got cancer. I spent the last 8 months of his life with him. When I thereafter started started to write songs again - I don't want to say they were datk, but melancholic. I always write from what I feel.

The only thing I don't like about "FTLOSM" is the vocal production. Your voice doesn't need that distortion.

SP: Ehh, I think much of that comes from my voice sounding rougher today. It's no longer that little (starts to sing) "lyiiiing beside youuuuu...", that Journey-voice wouldn't work with this material.

But the record sounds very much like Journey.

SP: What? You think so? You're joking!

No I think it's a natural follower to "Raised On Radio", just a bit harder.

SP: Wow. Well, I'm just who I am.

During the years SP has been working with several people whoms tunes aren't on the album. Old writing partner Randy Goodrum ("1988-89 some time, one of the first people I wrote and recorded with since I started to come back to music again"), super hit maker Mark Spiro ("I love some of the songs we made the summer 1992"), ex Baby-drummer Tony Brock ("we worked 1991-92 some time"), Alice Cooper's first guitarist Dick Wagner ("we wrote 2 songs 1992"), Peter Collins ("he produced for a while 1991-92 but it didn't work out as good as with Jimbo Barton") and Extreme-guitarist Nuno Bettencourt ("one of the songs - "Always" - is absolutely wonderful").

Although it's been said that much of this material been so bad that the record company refused it, Steve says many of the songs are great.

SP: I plan to release at least 3 of them as bonus-tracks on every single off the album. Neither he wants to admit the stories about the record company refused to release several finished albums made since Journey. - I've had a finished product but never delivered anything to the record company. I make lots of recordings - then I pick the best.

I've heard that you've put 1,5 million dollars of your own money to be able to finish the album?

SP: I've put some of my own money into the project, but I don't want to say how much or why. It's private.

Another rumour is that you one day got so angry in the studio that you destroyed a synth worth 3000 dollars. In it was samplers Jimbo Barton made for the next Queensryche album, which made Jimbo so angry he left the studio. You're supposed to have rushed after him, caught up on him in the street and apologized and begged him to come back...

SP: Not true! It was a computer I broke, and it had nothing to do with Queensryche. I lost patience when we couldn't agree about something we'd disagreed about for a long time. I never asked him to stay, instead we took a break in the recording-sessions. During this time I tried some other people. But in the end we agreed on continuing, Jimbo and I.

The song "Anyway" seems to be about the time around Journey falling apart. What do you mean when you sing "I'd like to make amends"?

SP: That I want to beg for forgiveness for my part of the craziness in the end. I wasn't Mr. Perfect, but none of the others were exactly angels either. It's all a very complex story...

"Wounded but alive, lost in my insanity, escaping to survive" you sings in the song. Is that how you experienced the last time in Journey?

SP: I wounded myself. Everyone does I think. Life was so hard then, with my mother passing away and granddad getting worse. After the last tour I had to escape it all. But I'd like to add that I'm not complaining. The time with Journey was the best time of my life.

How do you think your old bandmates will react on the song?

SP: Positive! It's a memorysong with origin in our greatest moments. Or do you find it negative?

No, cause you sing "brothers till the end". It seems like you want to leave the old stuff behind you.

SP: We had a fantastic friendship in the band - we were as close as a battlefield troupe. But we lost the commonship. I don't know if we'll ever get it back, just that it all depends on what we'll do and don't do to each others and Journey.

Of course you know that Neal Schon, Jon Cain, Ross Valory & Steve Smith tries to put together a new Journey with vocalist Kevin Chalfant right now?

SP: I've heard the rumours.

What do you think of it?

SP: I don't know. It's up to them.

So you don't mind?

SP: I have no comment on it right now. I think it's the best way for me. They have to do what they believe they need to do.

They say you don't want to be in on it, they have to do it without you. (Perry gets upset for the only time during the interview, he raises his voice):

SP: My friend! (deep breath) I'll tell it to you very clear. I left that band after 10 years, ok? It'd been perfect for me to immediately make it as a solo-artist, but I didn't, because my reasons to quit was emotional.

They continued and did what they had to do. What they're doing now they are doing because they want to. It has nothing to do with me. To say that would be as I'd tell you 'you have to marry that girl or she'll marry someone else'.

SP: During the time I've spent looking for the passion to make this album, they've been able, had the freedom, to make every album they've wished to make. I just can't get off my solo project and make the people I've worked with disappointed. I have to give it all for this album, as with everything I did with Journey. I gave Journey everything for 10 years, doesn't that count for something?

So what you mean is that you can't see a reunion in the future?

SP: It depends on what we're doing and not doing until then, to Journey and our selves.

In other words: No hard feelings like the case with for example Black Sabbath and Ronnie James Dio, when he first left the group. If everyone involved keeps clean the extremely popular "Escape"/"Frontiers" line-up might come alive sometime in the future...

It's easy to understand that Steve Perry with great interest will watch the other guys trying to reform Journey without him, and to see the result.

During the time he wants to get out on the roads with his solo-band. They're Lincoln Brewster (23 years old, until now, unknown who plays on the album), Paul Taylor (ex Winger keyboard player who did most of the stuff on the album), Moyes Lucas (the drummer from the album) and Todd Jensen (bass player from Hardline, Neil Schon's (ex)band).

SP: Towards the end of the year we hope to be out on the roads. I know I haven't been in Sweden since 1978, and I'd love to come back. It's one of the most beautiful places in the world, Steve Perry thinks.

Steve Perry's favorite Journey albums:

1. "Raised On Radio"

SP: We took some chances here. The result came out very well but wasn't too successful. That's why the people involved seldom talks about this album. An successful album have lots of parents - but a failure has none.

2. "Frontiers"

SP: Another interesting development to the band. We became more aggressive than during "Escape". The papers gave it bad reviews, but I'm still proud of this album.

3. "Escape"

SP: A very good album and the first one with Jon Cain in the band. A fresh start for something new with Journey that became very, very successful.

SP: Another favorite-album is "Street Talk", my first solo-album.