The headline reads “Hard to believe a Burlington boy was the lead singer of the iconic rock band Journey, but Andy K Avery was just that…”
Except he wasn’t.
Andy K Avery tours as a Christian artist and speaker and is involved in substance abuse counselling.
Andy is promoted as “becoming an addict to drugs, alcohol…eventually landed himself in federal prison. Today, Avery travels to prisons, churches and schools to minister to kids and adults.”
Now that’s obviously a very positive thing and is not any part of the issue being addressed here.
The problem is that in the same bio text Andy promotes himself as a former lead singer of Journey.
The following is typical of the text used to promote himself, text found on multiple websites, multiple interviews and newspaper articles:
“Andy Avery, a former lead singer of the rock band Journey….talking about his life and testimony. Avery joined the band in 1989 after lead singer Steve Perry was unable to perform.”
As an explanation for that stand in performance you can hear Andy himself state (Link 1 below) that “Steve Perry had some health problems…” (1.40) and he sang for the band on one gig.
Further to that (in Link 2) he claims he was “in the process of taking over as lead singer of Journey…”
And this: “After going to rehab more than once, he returned to the music world and was given the opportunity to fill in for the lead singer of Journey. He sang one concert, overdosed and lost his voice.”
He has been all over Christian talk back radio and various local press promoting his time with Journey. In Link 1 at the 4.15 mark he answers this question from the DJ- “Do you keep in contact with members of Journey” with this startling claim:
“No, in fact the only person I talk to ironically is Steve Perry himself and we have become good friends….he supports me 100%...It’s a wonderful relationship and for a long time I wasn’t even allowed to say my testimony, for 15 or 20 years I wasn’t allowed. Only over the last few years I have been given permission to publicise it, through the band’s management – as long as I’m helping kids and doing things like that…they support me on that.”
Yet another promotional excerpt; “Andy has led a very interesting life, singing in rock and roll bands like Journey, Head East, and Smoke House. He’s also opened for Kiss, Bon Jovi, and many others. But according to Andy, the best time of his life followed his pledge to Christ when he started using his singing gifts to advance the kingdom. If you have heard Lee Greenwood sing "God Bless the USA," you have heard Andy Avery. He sang the demo for the song that resulted in the record company signing Greenwood. Andy now travels the country, performing and leading worship for one purpose only: GOD. Andy’s latest adventure is "A Tribute to Journey" tour, as he is the former lead singer of that group.”
And yet again: “Once upon a time Andy Avery was chosen to be the lead singer of the band Journey. That’s right. JOURNEY! I had the honor to meet Andy, sit down with him, and have an awesome conversation. Andy has an amazing story. One that you’ll want to hear….”
And if that’s not enough evidence of a calculated publicity campaign, there’s this:
“Andy Avery was the lead singer for the group Smokehouse before getting opportunities to fill in for Journey in Steve Perry’s absence. When Perry left the group, Avery was approached about becoming a member of the band, but believed that his past record of drug and alcohol abuse while in that industry was not a temptation he needed, choosing rather to grow his faith and family.
Music critics acknowledge that Avery sounds strikingly similar to Perry. Avery will perform several of the signature Journey songs, while also sharing Christian music and testimony. He travels full time and is also a performer for Royal Caribbean Cruises.”
So those are the facts being touted, but time now to look at the actual truth.
First – Andy picked an unfortunate year to claim working with Journey. The band wasn’t even active at that time as just about every fan of the group knows.
The guys last toured in 1987 before taking a hiatus that would only be broken in 1991 for the Bill Graham Memorial.
1989 was of course the year Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain were part of Bad English’s chart topping run and subsequent tour.
But we do know that strange things have happened off the record and behind the scenes at times, so I contacted all parties involved for comment.
Neal Schon: “Never heard of him” and “this is bullshit and should be taken down.”
Journey management confirmed that this person was completely unknown to them and there was no negotiations whatsoever with him.
Andy is heavily promoting some upcoming shows with John Schlitt and John Elefante. So I reached out to John who added this:
“This situation has really disturbed me and I called Andy and had a fairly lengthy talk with him and told him to cease and desist the Journey thing ASAP!! He's just the opening act for me and John Schlitt.”
“Gene Simmons was my manager and when I messed up on drugs my career was over and he kept all my music ... I was in Smokehouse for 8 years and toured with kiss Bon Jovi and many other big acts ...I auditioned for Journey and landed the gig spent all the up front money on drugs and overdosed ..end of my career ... God has given me my voice back and now I travel and doing and minister to kids ... The ppl that made the poster announced it wrong in which I'm sorry ... my testimony is clear when I give it ... Journey has had 7 diff sonnets that were hired and never toured and one made a cd that never got released …
Also please keep in mind that this was done through my agent at the time tel star ... we were all so messed up on drugs that is very hard to attach what was real and timeline ...The only thing I testify to the kids about is the almost made it story ... the agents in particular have asked me not to mention there names ... I never bill myself as former lead singer ... I promise you i am working hard at correcting things staying with dropping my pr person whom I've explained this to many times ...”
When I replied stating that this doesn’t explain the “gig” and could he provide more information, I got this:
“No gig…I was on my way with my agent that fronted allot of money and I woke up 3 months later coming out of a coma in Buena Park ... I only sing Journey songs to lead up to that story ... again sorry for the confusion. We bill ourselves in concert as Wheel in the sky a journey tribute ... Proverbs says God's time is like a wheel in the sky”
And regarding the Steve Perry friendship: “I did meet him long ago and we hit it off very well ... I wasn't the best of ppl back then ... I've worked really hard to get my life in order the last 20 years.”
The only problem here is that the radio interview mentioning the Perry bond was from 2014.
To give Andy the final say: “I'm just a has been, sooner trying to help kids ...”
In that regard, I hope Andy succeeds and wish him all the best. Safe to say that he won’t be boasting of any involvement with Journey in the future.