Steve Augeri


Journey - Steve Augeri (2001)




I can not tell you how long I've been bugging Rindell to set this up for me, and hoping that it would come together. Because I am a huge fan of your work, let me say.
I'm flattered, I truly am. I've read your reviews and the kind words that you've said about me. I'm thankful, I truly am.

You have some big shoes to fill. I think you've done it with ease.
For me, although I've been at this for nearly three years now, it still seems, for this first record, I still feel like we got a ways to go as far as finding the right niche. But I think we're on the right track. I think every time we play together whether it's rehearsal, recording or shows, we still get a little closer to our final destination. And I think as time goes by, I think by the next record, I think we're going to get it. If you like it this time out, I hope to think you'll really like it next time, cause I think it will be that much more where it should be.
We did a lot of experimenting through the past three years. We were fearless. We tried a lot of different styles, a lot of different directions and we figured hey, you know, we've got time. Let's break down the barriers, let's not be this or that, let's try it all. After Kevin picked his songs, it became Arrival.
But before Arrival, we were all over the place. That was a lot of fun. We learned a lot about each other, we learned a lot about each other's musical influences and backgrounds, we dabbled in a little of this and a little of that. It was a lot of fun.
I'll tell you, it was a great deal of fun.

I've got some questions regarding the songs. What I think is very cool, and somewhat ironic, is the first line you sing on the whole album - 'So I think I've got it all in place now'. What do you think, does that just about sum it up?
You know, it's funny how that just happened to be the opening lines. Sort of like when we do our shows, when I sing "Separate Ways" its like 'here I stand' kind of a thing. It just worked out that way. Yeah. I mean, I have Jack Blades to thank for that lyric (laughs).

It just seemed very fitting. Your voice sounds immaculate. It's a fabulous line and it just sounds great.
I appreciate it. I first heard a batch of songs. That was a batch of, I think, three that Neal had sent me that he had written with Jack. And each and every one of them was better than the last. One after the other knocked my socks off. That one was absolutely wonderful. In fact, there were a handful of others that I couldn't believe didn't make the record. I personally think you would have absolutely flipped out because they were really melodic, really in vain of classic melodic rock. One song in particular, that we hope to see on the next record.

This is your first recording in several years as a singer. You've been with the band nearly three years. I can't believe how quickly that's gone. On the eve of the U.S. release, what emotions are you feeling now?
Well I'll tell you, just now I'm getting a little excited. The record could have easily been out a year ago, as far as I remember. My memory isn't as good as it should be. After age 40 , I kind of lost it (laughs).
Right now, everything is starting to come together. We've released two singles out through American Radio here in the states. And they are slowly but very, very surely gaining chart position. I just checked the charts yesterday. It's a nice sure movement. They are jumping up about 10 spots a week. If we continue this gradual climb up the charts, by the time the record gets released, in about a month's time, I think we're going to have some really great chart position.
And by then, hopefully the record company will feel very confident in promoting the record as they should. We all have our fingers crossed. There are no guarantees in life. No matter who you are. Especially not for Journey. Especially in the position we are here, right now. But I think, I take a look at the charts, and things seem to be taking shape very nicely and we're feeling very confident.

What support to you feel from the label. Do you have the feeling that they are behind you?
I'll put it to you this way. I've heard from their mouth, that we're going to get wonderful support. That they love the material and they are going to give us the support. But seeing is believing. The truth of the matter is, you can only have faith. We are all going to put our faith in the music and in the band. As long as we have faith in ourselves, we're going to make this thing happen.
I have all the faith in the world in these guys. With that alone, I feel very confident.

That's a great attitude for sure. I don't think I've seen any interviews with you thus far, or not many at least, a couple in Japan obviously. For those who don't really know the story, I just wanted to cover how you got hooked up with the band in the first place. You've got a mutual friend in Joe...
His name is Cefalu. I'll try to make it brief. Because it's long distance. I don't know, what time is it over there?

It's eight in the morning.
Ah, good morning! Have your coffee? I'm making a cup of coffee right now, how about yourself?

I just make one for my fiancée actually.
Congratulations. Good luck to you.

Thank you.
Well, I'll make this short and sweet, or as short as I can.
Joe was a fellow Brooklynite who since moved to Neal's neck of the woods in San Francisco. It seems he was a Journey fan as a child. Neal was basically one of his idols growing up. Anyway, he turned out to be quite some guitarist. Before he moved out there, I had made his acquaintance and I actually sang on a few of his demos. Just brilliant. Along the lines of Satriani and Steve Vai.
This was after Tall Story's first record. And we were just getting ready to do the second album, more writing for our second album, and we befriended each other. Anyway, I did some demos with him. Off he goes to San Francisco.
Hadn't heard from him in quite some time until one day I get a phone call from him and by the time I speak to him, I had sung with Tyketto for a short time and basically went into retirement.
To put it as simply as possible, I had a great deal more success in my career than a great deal of other musicians, especially people that I know. I was able to release a couple of records. I toured some of the world. I made a lot of friends along the way. I was able to perform my music in front of thousands of people and I felt myself very fortunate. But at the time, success hadn't come my way. And the fact is, I have a family, I had a child. I guess I was doubting myself perhaps. I guess that's reality. I had to take care of business, so I took myself a nine-to-five with The Gap.
Actually, I did 2 years of construction here in New York. I became a manager. I was a maintenance manager for thirty stores in Manhattan. So when they would fall apart, I'd have to fix them. Everything from broken plumbing to electrical and painting, you name it.
So a year goes by and Joe Cefalu, this wonderful guitarist gives me a call. He says listen, Steve, I'm friendly with Neal and I was speaking with Neal the other day and he tells me that Steve Perry is no longer with the band and they're starting to look for vocalists. They are wanting to reform Journey and go on with another singer. It had been a year since I was working at The Gap and it was two years since I even sang a note in public. So I was like, that's really great but, regardless of whether I was singing or not, I thought it was just crazy. Out of my reach. It was a wonderful, flattering thing but I thought he was just bonkers.

I love this story, I love it (laughing).
Seriously. Put yourself in my position. You're talking about Journey, you're not talking about a baby band. You're not taking about amateurs. You're not talking about the little leagues. You're talking about the major leagues. Yankees, World Series.

I really do love this story, I'm enjoying this.
That's the truth. I was yeah, yeah, yeah. He said look Steve, you can do it.
Send me a tape. Tall Stories records at the time, or CDs were very scarce and rare. He said please send me a CD and I'll give it to Neal.
I told him yeah, OK, I'll do that. And a week went by. We're calling on weekends and after certain hours because we're both poor. So he takes a whole week until the rates drop like after nine o'clock. He calls me and says, Steve what happened? I'm waiting a whole week for this tape. I said look Joe, to be honest with you, I was never going to send the tape. I said I just don't think so, I really appreciate it, but you're crackers.
He said listen, I'm going to put it together. What three songs do you want me to put together on the tape? I said Joe, I don't even know. He said, I'll tell you what, I'll put this tape together. I'll pick the three songs, you leave it to me.
I did exactly that. We hung up. I thought he was out of his mind and I didn't think anything of it, truly, until I get a phone call three days later from Neal, or at least someone who said it was Neal. I wasn't quite sure if someone was putting me on or perhaps it was truly Neal. I didn't acknowledge that it was him, nor did I blow him off totally. I waited until we got off the phone.
I called Joe back immediately and he said Steve, you might want to sit down because what I'm going to tell you is going to blow you away. I spoke to Neal and I gave him a tape and it seems as though Neal knew of me from my Tall Story days. He was aware of the band. He and Jon both, when they were in Bad English, he was living in Los Angeles at the time and heard a Tall Stories record on the radio out there all the time. When Joe handed him the CD, he said we were already thinking about this guy. So it was just one of those synergy things, it was synchronicity, things just seem to come into place.
The only thing I needed to do was I begged Neal and Jon to give me a couple of weeks to prepare. Because after two years of not singing, I was basically like... nothing was really there. I auditioned; I had a weeks worth of singing with them. On the last day of the auditioning process, which was a writing and a get to know each other as well as a singing audition.
Things seemed to come into place in the clutch. Just at the right moment, the last day, down at the final wire. I guess I pulled it out of my hat. It's incredible. Sometimes I still don't believe it. But on the other hand, this is something I've dreamed of all my life. As crazy as it sounds, I was just telling somebody this today, this is what I've wanted to do all my life. I've just expected to do...not with Journey, it's still ridiculous. I always wanted to sing for people ever since I saw the Beatles on national television on the Ed Sullivan show here in the states. It just took me a little longer than everybody else (laughs).

Good luck to you. Good luck. I just think that's fantastic. And what does your wife think of this?
Well you know, she couldn't be any more happy. You know, obviously the pitfalls are for a touring musician, when you have a family. The hardest part is leaving them every so often for a couple of months at a time. How do say goodbye to your wife and children? Except thank goodness for long distance bills and cell phones. So you're constantly on the phone and you fly them out as often as you can whenever the schedules allow. We've done that the last two tours and we'll do it again this summer.

That's wonderful. This may be too broad of a question but is there any song you auditioned on for the guys? Like your first song.
Absolutely. The three main songs were "Don't Stop Believing", "Faithfully" and "Separate Ways". Here's the beauty of the story, at least for me.
As I said, I hadn't sang for two years and when I first got in there, it was pretty rusty, the pipes were real rusty. It took about a week to get them warmed up and I was a little intimidated at first sitting down with the guys. By the last day I said this is a do or die situation. Things seemed to be going my way that particular day. We recorded these three songs. After the recording they were going to send it off to John Kalodner at the record company to get his opinion. After the third song, the guys were pretty happy and Neal was kind of high-fiving Jon.
I was feeling pretty cocky and pretty proud of myself. And I had one foot out the door, I was on my way back on an airplane to New York City and I turned around and I said listen, there's one song I really, really would love to sing. All the while to myself I thinking, if I blow this, I very well could be blowing the audition.
But I turned around and said listen, can we just try "Open Arms"? I don't know what came over me, I was just crazy. But I did it, and I guess it turned out OK, because here I am, speaking with you. But it could have went the other way.

I doubt it!
I've never been much of a gambler. I'll tell you what's funny too. I was working at this day job and I told my boss over at The Gap, I said listen, I need a week off, a leave of absence. Which they were good enough to give me. But is was a gamble, going out there and doing this thing. Chasing that dream, that lifelong dream. Because I'd never been a gambler. I mentioned to somebody else, I've never been very ambitious. In fact I'm what I call an under achiever. You can give me that title. This was something..., there is a wonderful song by Ricky Lee Jones called "Last Chance Texaco". Basically it's about that last gas station before you hit the desert. This was my last chance Texaco. This was my last shot at my dream. That's the way I looked at it. And well, it worked out.

Fantastic. I did hear it once said that you used a vocal coach, is that correct?
Oh absolutely.

Just to train it up - to get fit again?
Well, for sure. I saw the coach immediately after I left the guys in San Francisco.
I flew to Los Angeles to see one of the finer coaches in the Los Angeles area. And this guy got me on track real fast. And then I saw a couple of people here in New York. And quite frankly, I truly needed one.
Whether or not I hadn't sang for two years or not because I kind of grew up singing just the way I wanted to and never had any true guidance. Going out on the road for months at a time you've got to be in've got to be an animal to be able to last five shows, two hours a night during the week and go a few months at a time.
When I was younger, when you're younger, period, you have the muscle stamina, you have the muscle tone. But once you hit a certain age, this goes for female vocalists as well, just like your body, just like the biceps kind of wither away if you let them, if you're Charles Atlas.
Do you guys know Charles Atlas over there? I mean, Arnold Schwarzenegger works twice as hard now than he did when he was a kid. That's just biology. Long story short, you really have to whip yourself back into shape and I just couldn't do it, what I used to be able to do when I was twenty out of pure adrenaline and pure youth. So I had to go and see somebody that would teach me the finer techniques of singing and think of something that would get me over those long two, three month tours. And low and behold, I've had some great teachers along the way, and it's still a work in progress. Just like anything else in a profession or any kind of educational area you can always keep learning.
Different people can teach you different things. I'm happy to say that I'm studying with a couple of different people for the different reasons and it's great fun to be honest with you.

Are you conscious at all of your natural vocal comparison to Steve Perry? Or is it something that's just there?
Yeah, you know I wasn't aware of it so much until people kept approaching me and I kept on hearing it more and more and more.
Within the last 15 years or so, especially with Tall Stories. Obviously there are similarities in timbre and even style wise. But honestly, it was a subconscious thing initially. Then when we did the Tall Stories record, as much as Jack Morrow, the guitarist would deny it, he was the first one to keep telling me Steve, you got to lay off of the Perryism. That was the word he used. The Perryism.
That was the little joke, and I was like, I don't get it. I don't understand what you're talking about. Perhaps I was in denial at the time. I just didn't see it.
He was a wonderful writer and he wrote wonderful songs that were not unlike Journey songs. He was very similar in his guitar approach, they're both really great, wonderful guitarists and they have a lot of similarities too. So I think that also added to the Journeyisms, not just the Perryisms.
But was I aware of it. Initially no, until it was brought up to me.
Before Tall Stories, I worked with a band, in fact three members of Tall Stories other than myself were originally three Brazilian musicians. And one by one, they were replaced by an American musician in New York City. Before that, we shot the tape to Columbia and they actually said this sounds like Journey meets Sade (laughs). That was the very first time anyone compared me to Steve Perry. And then it opened the flood gates after that.
But I'll tell you one thing, I'm getting more comparisons now to Kenny G lately. The visual thing. I can't walk down the street without people saying hello Kenny!!

That's funny (laughing).
You should try it someday (laughing).

I'll jump forward a little. I'm a big fan of the Tall Stories album and I had that long before you were in Journey. It took me a long time to find it on CD as you were saying. But I have it, thankfully. And I think half the album you're yes, Journey-Steve Perryish, but the other half you sound more your own person obviously but there's a little bit of another favorite lead singer of mine called Glenn Hughes in there.
Way back when, I was watching television here at home, and this is going back in the seventies, and I saw...put it this way, Burn, I was just crazy about that particular record, and Stormbringer. Glenn just absolutely blew me out of the water. I had the pleasure of meeting him during the recordings of Arrival. He was in town writing with Pat Thrall. Those two, that Hughes/Thrall record just slays me. That record kicks.

'I Got Your Number'... ah yeah...
Cover to cover, from the coolest, grooviest stuff to the two heaviest tracks you ever heard. "Muscle and Blood" and ... anyway, huge fan. Just absolutely huge fan. That dude, what he does with his voice. He takes it from a whisper to a scream. He takes it from..., the dynamics that that cat has, I truly aspire to sing with his kind of passion and his kind of control. Never mind the technical side is the emotion. Just beautiful what he does. He's my kind of guy. He's my kind of vocalist.

Really pleased to hear you say that.
Oh forget about it. Forget about it. But before him, my very first concert was a Humble Pie concert. Steve Marriott was my truly, very, very first..., aside from the Beetles which everybody liked. I was fifteen when I saw Steve Marriott and Humble Pie here in New York I was first row, my brother had taken me for my birthday. And that's when I knew, I've got to do this. I really have to do this.
I connected with Steve. It's a funny thing, we share the same birthday.

Oh, do you really?
I could swear, I'm telling you there was some connection that particular night and I said that's what it's all about. I mean I'm a bigger fan that I am...that's why I'm so charged about music today, because I'm such a huge fan.
When I got back to music, after coming back to sing with Journey, after I left the guys, when I turned around I said listen: this is kind of a far fetched thing, me coming out here and auditioning for you guys. I told them, one thing I have to thank you for is this could go one way, it could work out, it may not.
But I have to thank you guys so much for just having me out here and getting me back in touch with my love of music. Because I actually lost it. Because when I turned my back, you kind of, sort of try to bury the past because it was very painful. They unearthed it and they gave it back to me. I said if this thing doesn't work out, that's cool because I got a chance to meet you and have a little fun.
But I said you really did give me a gift in just singing again. And I said the one thing I'll do, I'll go back and I'm going to sing again. You got me back into it and you gave me back my music. I thanked them. So I've actually had this kind of rebirth thing and I've been getting in touch with my old records that I grew up and was inspired from and influenced way back when.
That's one of them, those early Glenn Hughes records and Coverdale. Those two guys were brilliant together. What a team.

I'd love to see them on a record together. There was some word that someone was trying to do that.
Yeah, I don't know. You know Tall Stories, we had another great vocalist in the band that never really got a chance to sing as much as he probably should have, and that was our bassist Kevin Dutorian. Looking back in hindsight, I would have loved to have done something like the Coverdale/Hughes thing. I'm sure there would have been some tension between the two but boy, did it make great records. Don't you think?

Yeah, oh absolutely, absolutely. Magic.
Those guys were just better. One guy was just better than the next every song you put on. Holy man.

Two enormous egos and both really going at it.
I imagined, I imagined. But the talent was there so you got to give it to them.

Oh absolutely. Look, I've interviewed both of them and it was an absolute joy talking to them, it really was. They're really nice.
Yeah Glenn was really a sweetheart, he was great. And Pat Thrall, he's wonderful.

Looking forward to their new record.
Oh, same here. It's got to be great.

I'll jump to Tall Stories still while we're on that. I actually had an e-mail from Jack a little while ago, your guitarist.
You're joking, no kidding!

Yeah! I don't know if you two are still in contact, or do you see each other do you?
It's funny, the last I saw him was at that fellow who got me that Journey audition, Joe Cefalu. He invited me to his wedding and my wife and I arrived at the reception and there was Jack sitting next to me. So it was wonderful.
It was a great re-union of sorts and we just laughed and had a few. Actually we didn't have any cocktails. Not that we don't drink or anything but we just happened to stay sober that particular day. That same night I was flying to San Francisco to meet with the guys so I was minding my P's and Q's. We had a great reunion and we talked over old times. So how was he doing? What was the e-mail about?

He was good. I actually mentioned him on the site that the Tall Stories CD was getting re-released in Japan in conjunction with the Journey back catalogue. And he emailed me going, What!!?
Oh how cool is that?

I'll have to forward his e-mail address to you.
You know, in fact, I think he had given it to me but I misplaced it. I would love it. I understand, did he mention, right now he's on tour with a Broadway show?

He didn't tell me what he is doing.
Yeah he's doing a show out here called Swing. And he's on tour with them throughout the states and he's back on the road. In a different capacity. Let me tell you, Jack, he's a guitarist's guitarist.
He went to school at a very high level music college down in Florida, University. And he can play inside out. He knows that thing inside out, upside down.
He'll play anything from Wes Montgomery to Django Reinhardt and then Jimi Hendrix. And his boy was really Eric Clapton. Boy he could whip out any Cream song at the drop of a hat. And then he had his own thing, which was wonderful.

Did you guys ever start recording or finish recording any extra tracks other than the original?
We did tons of demos. In fact, this is the crazy thing about, unfortunately, what the demise of Tall Stories was this; we were demoing and demoing and demoing and at that time we got the record out, very similar to the Journey record, about a year after it had been finished and should have been released already.
It had been, I wouldn't say shelved, but it was definitely postponed, the release date. So by the time it had come out, the timing was so wrong, it coincided with Pearl Jam's release. The writing was on the wall. The music industry in the states was going to change, was going to push this new sound. Which is very healthy, I guess, to business. Not very healthy to Tall Stories.
Wonderfully for us, we happened to go out on the road for two months with Mr. Big and that was great. It got us some exposure. We did some gigs. We did two months of touring with them, which was wonderful. They were very inspiring. The history was, this music right now was starting to get ignored by the record company. Although you'd never know it because we rolled into Seattle, the home of grunge, back in '92 and we thought it was going to be the worst gig ever.
But it was the best response that we got out of the whole tour. It was ridiculous. That was the irony thing. The irony was that the folks, the rock and rollers that were truly into melodic and hard rock were...maybe they just didn't want to hear another grunge song. They really wanted to hear something fresh for a change. Which is kind of what's happening now I think, here in the states.
You know things are kind of cycular. I think this sound, just good melodic rock and roll is coming around again. It'd be played at least commercially on radio stations that is. I think we're at a good time, here right now. Things are starting to look good right now. As far as the Arrival CD is concerned.

So you've got a whole bunch of Tall Stories demos lying around.
Oh yeah, bunch of demos. And what happened was, we were playing them this, we were playing them that. And basically they were telling us that this sound was over. Steve, you sound like Steve Perry.
They sound like Journey tracks. That's when the Journey comparisons were really heavy. Basically the demise of Tall Stories was that we were getting compared to Journey a great deal at the time.
So it got to the point that we were starting to do songs that were absolutely out of my style, vocally. And I was trying, I was experimenting you know. I was brave, I was courageous. I'd give anything a shot, but it wasn't me. And as much as we tried, I was just going to feel like I wasn't true to myself any longer.
So quite some time passed by and I got a phone call from Brooke St. James of Tyketto. And Brook tells me, he says, you know what? We're writing a new record and I was wondering if you had some time. Won't you come down and we'll play some guitars together, try to write a couple songs.
So we had been friends together, Tyketto and Tall Stories. We were mutual friends. We'd go see each others shows here in the New York area. They're a great bunch of guys. I really like Brook a lot, and I said sure. At the time he never mentioned anything about Danny not being present.
So I took a drive out to the next state, to Jersey and started writing some songs. And as a week or two go by I start getting the vibe that Danny is no longer in the picture. I'm now three weeks into the writing sessions and their drummer lays on the deal that Danny is no longer with the band and would I consider, instead of just writing, would I consider singing with the band.
Actually, at the time, it wasn't even a Tyketto thing. They said, would you like to form a band? We were just jelling, and it was a lot of great energy and a lot of positive vibes happening. So much that, it hadn't felt like that with Tall Stories in quite some time. We were just getting a lot of negative responses from record company and management. As mush as we loved each other's music and music ideas, the thrill was starting to leave. The thrill was starting to go, and it was starting to emerge within the Tyketto camp. So it only felt natural, it felt like the right thing to do at the time, to join up with the guys.
And I said I had learned that Danny Vaughn was no longer with the band and I really enjoyed working with them so we gave it a shot. We started writing the record and I tell you we must have wrote it in a month. And we recorded it in even less time. We must have recorded it in two weeks. It seemed like that, everything went down that fast. Just before the record was going to be released, we had another name picked out, we were going to do music that we felt like doing. We just felt, stylistically, it was just the thing that happened. We didn't try to do this or that or the other thing. It's just what came out. Just before the release of the record, the record company gets back to the guys in the band and says listen, we are not going to release the record unless you release it as Tyketto.

And it was the worst thing for us because it really stiffed the fans. It kind of limited our chances of any kind of success because everyone that expected the record out really was waiting for a Tyketto record.
Not a rhythm and bluesy, we were kind of doing 70's influence in a lot of the songs and it was just not as melodic as the Tyketto stuff was. Unfortunately we turned off a lot of their old fan base. We wound up winning back a couple of them and making some new fans along the way but I tell you, no regrets.
Great guys. We really had great times. We went over to Europe a couple of times. Traveling with a rock and roll band is always a lot of fun and we really enjoyed each other's company. Made a lot of friends.
Again, as I said, just going out and playing music for people. You don't have to go out and make a million dollars. You get into this business initially because you love the art form. The music. And that's what we did. We had a good time. And like I said, no regrets. We went our separate ways.
But that, replacing Danny Vaughn in Tyketto, was a very huge learning experience for me. Because, when I got the opportunity to work with Journey, I had learned a lot of lessons and I knew I made quite a few mistakes. Well, not so much mistakes, I knew some things to do and some things not to do. Again, I think it was meant to be.

Obviously on your first tour, maybe even your second tour, a lot people didn't know that Steve Perry was out of the band. Did you feel a lot of pressure to pull off the best performance you could?
Whether or not you're replacing such a heavyweight of a vocalist in the first place, you always go out with always want to give two hundred percent. Then you add the Steve Perry factor, and the replacement factor. Ask Gary Cherone and ask Sammy Hagar. Although, obviously both those guys were established. They had one up on me. Getting somebody who's an unknown, actually maybe it worked a lot in my favor also, it's hard to say.
Because it might have actually helped. But yeah sure, I felt the pressure. But as I learned early on, you just have to do your best. Because the minute you start thinking about it, that's when the slope gets slippery. You just do your best, as with anything. If you're a shoemaker, you just try to make the best pair of shoes you can. Same thing with singing.

Were you happy with the fan reaction?
Absolutely. I mean really. I didn't expect the response that we had gotten. We didn't expect to get everybody back, all the Journey fans. But I can honestly say that I think that we got the majority of the old fan base back. It's hard to believe. And I never thought it would happen, but they were open-minded and open-hearted enough to give it a shot. To give it a chance. And for that I'll be forever thankful.

The response to, the feedback I've got from people emailing me about the shows and any reaction to the album has been absolutely, unanimously positive.
I couldn't be more thankful. Not to say anything negative but you really can't expect..., and there are some folks. Neal and I laugh about it.
Every once in a while, there'll be a show and there will be one person out there in the audience. And for some reason, there's a beacon on them. They'll have their arms crossed and they won't have a happy face, a very sad face.
And you know, you have to respect it because they had the love enough for the band to come to see the band, and hear the music. I have to respect it. One of my most favorite bands also of all time was Led Zeppelin. And as much as I love David Coverdale, now they didn't try to reform Zeppelin, but I don't know if I would have been able to see Led Zeppelin formed with anybody else but Robert Plant singing. So I understand it, I respect it, and that's exactly how I approached singing with Journey. I'm not a cocky guy, although, maybe come talk to me a year from now. I've never had much of an ego (laughs). I hope it doesn't change.

I doubt it (laughing).
I mean that's just the way it is. I'm a pretty blessed guy. I'm just happy with my life. I've got a good life. No complaints.

Nervous heading into the studio to record Arrival?
Yeah, big time. Definitely big time. As much as I was telling myself, no.
The fact of the matter was, yes. In fact, just before the recording, we happened to get into this rehearsal studio. And do you think, after all this state of the art technology that you have, you get a world class band, get some rehearsals a week before, of pre-production, before a major recording.
And there's a less than adequate P.A. system, and monitor system. So for a week, I'm singing into the equivalent of, pick a Deep Purple concert, the loudest band in the world. I'm singing out of a, what do they call it, a vocal master. Which was a couple of ten inch speakers. My voice was toast. And here we are going in to record a Journey record (laughs). So I had to take two weeks off.

Absolutely. And I was frightened to death. I thought, oh my God, what did I do to myself? That's part of the game. You learn as you go. I was never experienced enough, never had I been in this situation where I would have known any better. I'll tell you now, next time I'll be a great deal more careful. You'll know to ask, look, I have to have this, I have to have that. I can't sing unless I can hear myself a little. Now I have that information. I'm programmed now, so I'll know that next time I go in to do the record. Everything turned out all right in the long run.
It gave me a little more grit, a little more gravel. Probably would have preferred to have been a little sweeter at times but that's all right, I was always a big Rod Stewart fan.

Rod's awesome but I think you sound sweet enough, believe me.
You know that was actually, my very first single, record actually, that I ever owned was "Maggie May". He was also one of my very, very early influences.

He's got a great voice.
Rod could do no wrong.

He's got an energy, hasn't he?
The best. He's got it all. The voice, the attitude, the look. He always did. And he still has it. He's still out there, just released a record, he's still on the radio. You turn on the radio and they'll play his new single and they'll play, you know, "Maggie May" back to back. And I'll say, That's my man.         

Yeah, I've got several of his records. I like them a lot. I was pleased to see that you're involved in the writing process on the album. You've got five songs that made the album. I thought that was great.
Yeah, I think in fact, I'm not a hundred percent sure but, I think with the American release there's seven. But none the less, whether it was a hundred percent of the record or no involvement, the fact was when I was getting into the situation it was enough to sing. Just singing. That was enough of a case load, enough of a work load to deal with. The great thing about being with the guys in this band is that they gave me the opportunity to get involved in the writing process.
A part of the audition in fact when I first met them was, as I said, was not only to the singing part, as well as seeing if we were actually compatible. If we could stay in the same room for like an hour and not end up at each other's throat. You know, any fist fights. Which is very important. But they also wanted to see if I had any kind of input as far as creativity. Coming from them, to be able to do that to a novice, or an unknown, was very generous and they certainly didn't have to. So, as I said, they were gracious to offer that to me and I couldn't tell you how happy I am that they did.

How may songs did you demo for the album? I mean there's like fourteen on there.
I would say a minimum of thirty. There had to be at least forty.

Oh wow! So there's that many demos sitting out there.
And if I may say so, there were some songs that were left off the record that I really wish had gotten onto the record. In fact, there's a song that the guys wrote with Geoff Tate.

Oh really!?
Yeah. That was absolutely amazing. Just amazing. The week that I went out to audition, we recorded four Journey songs and we recorded about four new songs. And one of them was a song they had written with Geoff and one other was "Signs of Life". In fact that was the very first song out of the bag as a Journey song. And it wound up making the record. So it has some staying power.

That's one of my favorite tracks on the album.
Yeah, I'm glad. Thank you. It didn't change much from the very first day. So it was a keeper from the beginning. And the Geoff Tate song was spectacular. Stellar. And it was just brilliant. And it didn't make the record and I swore it would. It had a great ethereal, great moody vibe to it. It was very Pink Floydish. It had that dark thing going on. And I hope perhaps a soundtrack. I think it would be definitely suited for a soundtrack or something like that. "Walking Away From the Edge" it's called.

I would love to hear some of this stuff.
You know what, if we meet up, I'll make sure we have a tape.

That would be great.
I should hope that we make it your way.

I don't think so (laughs).
Oh I think we're going to get there. We'll get to Australia.

I hope so!
I only hope so.

But if not, I'm going to try to make it to the States because I've got to see you guys.
That'd be great.

Favorite songs off the album, that did make the album?
I swear it changes. In fact, I'll tell you what, going in to the recording I felt exactly the way Neal did. We wanted to make a rock and roll record. And then after everything was recorded, I found myself listening to ballads, or at least the less up-tempo, and the less mid-tempo. I jump depending on the mood that I'm in, I play the music that I can relate to. And so if I feel like jumping into the car and I've got to get to an appointment that I'm late for already a half hour, I'll throw on "Higher Place". And it gets me there. It makes that hour drive turn into twenty minutes, and a speeding ticket.

I play it on the way to work to, believe me.
You know, I think one of my favorites is "We'll Meet Again". It's one of my favorites and I'll tell you, it turned out a great deal different than the initial conception of the song. I especially like it because the inspiration to writing it was...after coming off tour on the first record, I was so impressed, getting back to the fans and the fans reaction. I was so impressed with their reaction.
And it was so difficult at the end of the night, after a two hour and fifteen minute set, to leave these audiences that went from skeptical to just charged and happy and elated that they had been to a Journey concert. And I was equally as elated that they were enjoying us, that when we came off the road I had this idea of just trying to express how I felt about how I can't wait to get back on our next tour. And how we would meet again. And that was kind of the general idea of the song. And the funny thing was, Neal had written a song years ago and laid a demo on it of a couple of really incredible rock and roll tracks, and that was one of them. In fact if you ever heard it, it was a guitar song. It was a major, major guitar song. It was a huge guitar song with like the guitar, rock and roll song. And it turned out to be quite less than that, but still I think it turned out to be one of my favorite tracks.

Yea, it's a real moody track, isn't it?
What Jon turned it into was beautiful, and I'm happy it made the record. I love that.

It's a great track to end the album, isn't it?
I think so, yeah. I'll tell you what I like, getting back to the up-beat thing.
What I do like about the record is that, and probably what I'd like about Journey or what I've always liked about them is they are...there's always room for negativity in life. And one thing that these guys have always been able to do for me, is lift me up a little bit when I'm down. Or put a smile on my face, or make me feel a little more hope than there may actually be. Or hopeful for tomorrow.
And I think that's what I really like about this record is that it seems to have a common thread. Although the songs may be diverse, stylistically, there seems to be a common thread in positively. It's not for everybody, and not for all times because sometimes I like to put on a Black Sabbath record, especially with Dio, like Heaven and Hell or Mob Rules. My point being, I like to turn a Marshall up on eleven just like the next guy, and play hard and heavy and dark stuff.
But then you have to have the other side, and I think the other side, a perfect example of that is a Journey record. I think that although it may not be the Journey of yesterday, I think it still carries on that positive direction that the band always had before.

I think it picks up perfectly where you left off. I think it carries on perfectly.
We've been torn about the balance of the record, whether a slow, up-tempo, hard, heavy or this or that. But in the long run, at the end of the day, I was happy with the integrity of the music and definitely, definitely satisfied with that.

Tell me about the two new tracks you went in and recorded.
Here's the thing about the two new tracks, Neal is a rock and roll animal. This is what makes this band, or for that matter, many bands very special. This is what fuels them. You have two definite and dynamic personalities in the writing team. That being Jon Cain and Neal Schon. Jon can rock like the rest of them but his forte in my opinion....

He's the mellower one, isn't he?
I will be opinionated now. He can write a ballad or love song, whatever you want to call it better than anybody. And then Neal can write a rock and roll track better than anybody's business. So to me, in my opinion, again this is not factual, this is just my observation.

I tend to agree with you.
I think these guys have their fortes. So that being said, you got the best of both worlds. Somewhere along the line, I hope, somewhere down the line I want to find my place somewhere in the middle (laughs). But I like being the middle man right now. Where was my point?

Two new tracks...
The two new tracks, OK. I think one of them, to me, is absolutely stellar. And that would be "World Gone Wild". I think it's on the level of "Higher Place".

I can't wait to hear it.
To me, it's on that level. It's got a real musical and lyrical level of integrity. That's what I'm saying. The other track is definitely more of a party rocker. You know it's kind of, I'm not going to say it's a throw away. But it's definitely a party song. Every record needs to have a good time and it's like a no brainer.
It's a rock and roll song.

Something like "I've got a Reason" maybe.
Yeah, precisely like "I've got a Reason". So you know, it's like put on your jeans, let's have a good time, let's have a party or get a six pack and let's have our friends over and let's dance, kind of thing. Where the other one's a great deal more deeper. That's my view on them.

Fantastic. When are you off on tour again?
It sounds like we're going to be starting in the first week of June, it looks like. They haven't got everything one hundred percent confirmed yet. I'm still waiting for the actual schedule. It looks like something around June, first week of June.

And you've got my other vocal hero out on the road with you opening, John Waite.
Oh, you know, that's another crazy thing. I've had the Baby's Greatest Hits, or is it The Best Of? I think they call it The Best Of. The one with the bronze baby shoes on the cover. I've had it in my glove compartment box for a year before Jon and Neal called me. I used to go and I'd play that all the time. When I was stuck in traffic or something.
So I've always been a fan, I've always loved John's voice. And I've always loved their music. And it's funny how things come full circle. It's silly. It's really crazy. Honestly, I was as big a Babys fan as I was a Journey fan. It's going to be interesting to say the least. To have all these guys on the same stage and the same backstage area.

That's why I'm going to get over and see it. I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I'm going to get over and see the show.
It's going to be a rock and roll circus I assure you (laughs). They've got some great John Waite stories and they always amuse me with them. So I want to make our own stories for 2001. If we don't tell you in person, I'm going to make sure I have a couple of stories for you next year. Or at least after the tour.

That sounds pretty good. That sounds like a date.
Yeah, please make sure you come out first. That would be wonderful. If you come out, you could come see a couple shows.

Well, that's the only problem, you have to sell your third born, or first born to be able to afford the airfare out to the states.
I bet. And that flight's a bitch too.

And it's a shocker. It's not something you can do and just come over for the weekend. It takes a weekend to get there.
I hear that. Well you know what's crazy, it's just the time difference is wacky. That's what really knocks you out.

It is, it is. Like It's Sunday morning here, 9am. And it's the end of summer.
Yeah, and your toilets flush opposite.

When I went to Brazil I found that out, and I thought, that's amazing! Then I wondered, why do I even know this (laughs).

One of those things.
It's scary.

Look, it's been a real joy talking to you. And one of the things I've really picked up on while speaking to you, and I'm really pleased with, is that you're a fan of great music along the way as well.
I've got a young son, he's twelve. And I look at him and I think... wonder where he's going to be in ten, fifteen, twenty years. Where his life and his path will take him. And you can't choose for your children, just like my parents couldn't choose for me. Somewhere along the line, you see something that inspires you or you gravitate towards. And somewhere as a child I gravitated towards music as many of us do, whether as a listener or a performer.
It's such a wonderful part of life that should never be ignored. It's funny that I actually did it one short time, and I promise you I'll never do it again. It shines sun where there's been absolutely none, there's been a void for a long time. Puts a lot of smiles on a lot of faces where there normally wouldn't be. I'm in a kind of feel-good business and I'm glad to be doing it.

Well, you're certainly doing that now for a lot of Journey fans I can tell you that.
Well, I appreciate it. Andrew it's a pleasure to speak to you man, especially after all this time. I enjoy your website very, very much.

I appreciate the comments back. Thank you.
I'm curious, in addition to your website, do you publish a magazine as well? Or is it strictly the website?

No, it's strictly the website.
It's great. Because it's international. It's great to be on board.

Absolute pleasure. And you're helping me out by just doing this interview. Like I said it's great to speak to you finally. I can't wait to get it on line basically and see the reaction.
Cool! Well that makes two of us.









Tour News
Legendary golfer Jan Stephenson is proud to announce the Legendary Voices of Rock tour featuring the music of Journey and Kansas with Journey’s lead singer Steve Augeri and Kansas’s lead singer Robby Steinhardt. Steve Augeri will be singing Journey’s greatest hits such as “Any Way You Want It” and “Don’t Stop Believing” while Robby Steinhardt will be playing his iconic violin and performing Kansas hits such as “Carry on Wayward Son” and “Dust in The Wind”. Tour dates and ticket info available at
The Legendary Voices of Rock show is two hours long and will visit Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart and various cities in between including Tweed Heads, Armidale, Port Macquarie, Newcastle and the Central Coast.
The Legendary Voices of Rock is presented by champion Australian professional golfer Jan Stephenson. Jan Stephenson has been presenting tours throughout the states, and this is the first time she is doing it in Australia! “I am so excited to bring these American treasures to Australia, the Legendary Voices of Rock tour is going to be an incredible time for people of all ages,” says Jan Stephenson.
Steve Augeri is an American rock singer best known as the lead vocalist for the rock group Journey from 1998 to 2006. Steve recorded three albums during a successful eight-year tenure that brought the world’s most accomplished melodic rock group back to the stage for multiple world tours to millions of fans, most notably for the songs “Anyway You Want It” and “ Don’t Stop Believing” which are still popular today, used in shows like Glee and movies like Charlies Angels.
Robby Steinhardt is best known as the rock violinist and singer for the group Kansas, to which he was the front man and co-lead singer along with keyboardist Steve Walsh, from 1973–1982 and 1997–2006. Steinhardt's violin sound, and its interplay with the guitar and keyboards, defined the Kansas sound. His lead vocals provided a contrast to the high tenor of singer Steve Walsh and the two often played off each other and sang in harmony, with Steinhardt sometimes taking the lower scale, but also holding the high notes in songs such as “Cheyenne Anthem” as well as the spine tingling scream during “Portrait (he knew)”.
Stormbringer will back both Steve and Robby. The band effortlessly delivers air tight renditions of hit songs like Queen's ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, Pink Floyd's ‘The Wall’ and Bon Jovi's ‘Livin' on a Prayer’. Possessing a rockin' catalogue of non-stop party and dance songs, the band provides crowd pleasing music to perfectly match any large event. Stormbringer features soaring lead vocals, crisp four-part harmonies, thunderous drums, dramatic keyboards and crunching guitars in their hundred-plus song repertoire.
The Legendary Voices of Rock will play 13 shows. VIP tickets include a pre show reception hosted by Jan Stephenson and a meet and greet and photo with the stars, plus an autographed poster.
8th of April: Twin Towns, Tweed Heads, QLD
9th of April: Chandler Theatre, Brisbane, QLD
10th of April: Lazenby Hall, Armidale, NSW
12th of April: Glasshouse Theatre, Port Macquarie, NSW
13th of April: Civic Theatre, Newcastle, NSW
15th of April: Ettalong RSL, Ettalong Beach, NSW
16th of April: Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL, Hurlstone Park, NSW
17th of April: Panthers Leagues Club, Penrith, NSW
19th of April: Melbourne Pavilion, Melbourne, VIC
20th of April: Wrest Point, Hobart, TAS
22nd of April: Rooty Hill RSL, Rooty Hill, NSW
23rd of April: The Concourse, Chatswood, NSW
24th of April: Souths Juniors Club, Sydney, NSW
Tour dates and ticket info available at

STEVE AUGERI Launches New Solo Single 'In The Moment'

Release Year: 
News Feed

Journey former lead singer STEVE AUGERI releases single entitled 'In the Moment'

For nearly a decade, Steve Augeri was the voice for the iconic band 'Journey.'  He has gone on to create a solo career that is garnering some fantastic new music while, 'Living in the Moment.'

Following the critically acclaimed single 'Faces,' Steve Augeri has produced a musical statement reviving the vintage 'Classic Rock' style and has transported it into the modern age.  With influences such as Queen, The Who, Humble Pie and contemporary rockers Muze, this new radio friendly rock anthem 'In the Moment,' conveys a positive message not unlike the transcendent hit by his former band mates with, 'Don't Stop Believing.'

Augeri has written, produced and played all the instruments on this cut which surely showcases his phenomenal musical abilities.  'In the Moment,' will take you back to a time when guitar anthem songs ruled radio.   

Augeri is currently touring worldwide with 'The Steve Augeri Band,' performing your favorites from his 'Journey' days and his new songs that are sure to become classics.

'In the Moment,' is now available on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon, Rdio, Deezer, Tidal, YouTube, and Beats/MediaNet. You can find out where Augeri is performing live by visiting his website.


Thursday, June 12, 2014


Steve Augeri: Tall Stories & Opportunities - One Singer's Rock N Roll Journey

When Steve Augeri left Journey a major chapter in that band's history closed. Steve took some time off....and was missed. Now we have the new archive Tall Stories release to discuss and hopes of a revitalized solo career ahead. There's also the amazing Firefest performance to revisit. But there are other questions to ask and I hope they have been asked here respectfully and I think Steve respectfully answers those questions.
I've said before and I'll say it again here, that Steve is one of the good guys of rock n roll and the dignity and grace to which he has dealt with adversity and to which he speaks of here only serve to strengthen that reputation.
I hope you all enjoy reading this interview as much as I did conducting it...just a week or two back...February 2009.

Steve! It's Andrew!
Hey, Andrew. How ya doing?

Good! How are you, mate?
I'm doing great! What's happening?

Well, same old stuff basically.
Yup, Yup. Yup. Same ole same ole.
You watching any of that Superbowl? Do you follow American Football at all?

Not a lot…apart from this time of the year, but I didn't get to see this game, no. I was working.
Yeah, it was pretty cool. It was an amazing game actually.

And did who you were following win?
No. Actually, I was pretty neutral……

You just wanted to watch?
…until one of my buddies starting betting, throwing some money around. So I literally just bet against him and I took $40, U.S. from him. (laughs)

(laughs) Good on you!
Well, frankly, I usually go for the underdog but I have a great many friends who are Pittsburg fans.

So I kinda went in there, at first, a little partial to Pittsburg but then when my friend started talking trash, I just had to take his money! So there it is.

We actually had an Aussie boy playing for the Cardinals but…
Is that right?

…yeah-the kicker is an Australian guy…
I didn't know that.

A retired Aussie Rules football player here that retired and went to play there and get his shot but unfortunately, they didn't win. But that's ok.
It was a great game. You know what? That last play—it was kind of debatable so, frankly, it could have gone either way. One of those things.
One of those things. And, did you watch the halftime show?

You like Bruce up there?
You know what? I always appreciated Bruce Springsteen. I gotta say... a good many years—maybe twenty years ago. I was given seats… We were once courted by, Tall Stories was, the legendary Mike Appel of Bruce Springsteen fame [former Springsteen manager].

...and he once threw me some tickets-whether or not he was still with him or not, I don't know because of bad blood, etcetera etcetera—somehow, one way or another I did get a couple of seats to go and I was absolutely floored.
Just absolutely blown away. He played an hour and a half, went away for a couple of minutes and came back and did another hour and a half……

Yeah! (laughs)
….and it was just unbelievable! I walked away just having a great respect for him, aside from the key songs that you can't help but love.

But then to see him do them live and to see the absolute outpouring of dedication from his fan base was ridiculous. It was great! So, I have always…..I had a new born respect for him—this going back, like I said, 20 years ago. 30 years of my life I was kind of just non committal...(laughs)

(laughs) then to see him come out and he absolutely…he didn't have to say a damn word. The place became unglued.

Now I've seen many half time shows—U2 was brilliant, the Stones were very good, but even the Stones didn't make it happen the way Bruce did. He came out and he could have left after the first song and people would have been talking about it for twenty years, it was that good. So, it was great!

Yep, yep, he's good. You make an interesting point about 2 things: Bruce and his band on the last tour played something like 70 odd different songs through their setlist…
Unreal. I saw his album in the store the other day and I just bought it sight unseen. I absolutely figured if this guy still has something to say, and there was quite a buzz with the movie and The Wrestler soundtrack—that he had written the song and there was quite a buzz about it—so picked it up. And I gotta tell you, I was SO entertained by the record. It didn't sound like it was all re-hashed; it sounded like he had some tricks up his sleeve. He sounded current and very contemporary and he sounded like Bruce has always sounded so, you know, it's inspirational to see somebody who's a couple of years my senior, if that could be possible.

(laughs) Yes.
…still kickin' it, kickin' out the jams and doing a really amazing job of it. Kudos to him.

Yeah. I bought it sight unseen myself, actually, for the same reason.
Now, speaking of birthdays, we should wish you a happy birthday
Yeah. How' bout it?

—a couple of days back, right? (laughs)
Yeah. (laughs and laughs and laughs)

Can I rub that in a bit then? [Steve's 50th Birthday!]
Pretty incredible.

Yeah!! So what did you do?
Pretty incredible-a pretty momentous occasion. We had ourselves a good weekend. We kind of based it around the Super Bowl; we had a huge party. It wasn't planned that way. We actually had some things going on where we sort of held off. We have a member of the family who is not 100%. They were thinking about going into surgery and this and that, and my home was going to be home base for them, here in New York. As it turned out, things didn't' work out in that way so, at the last minute, we put together a little impromptu celebration. The second part of my celebration is going to be somewhere under a palm tree, on a sandy beach. You know?

Yeah. You're smack in the middle of winter; you must be about ready to leave it.
My wife, Lydia, promised me—she's allowed me that much. I think when you turn 50, you know---before that it was like the birthday week. You had the birthday week it USED to be birthday. Then, we got a little greedy and we made it a week thing. So now I'm going to try to stretch it out to the year.

I like it!
Something to look forward to when you turn 50.

Great stuff. Well, let's talk Tall Stories.

The record's out! Can you believe it?!
The cat's out of the bag.

You can actually buy the second Tall Stories album.
That's right. And you know what? It just barely came out a little later than Guns N Roses' Chinese Democracy.

They got it. They beat us to the punch.

(still laughing) I'm only joking! (still laughing)
But, maybe we'll go down in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest band to take the sophomore plunge, you know?

It's been a while. I'm just about to—our label, as you know, is about to do the Alias album. That's their second unreleased album as well. It's about the same time frame - 1993.
Oh. Really. No kidding? Well, frankly, the record was literally recorded, actually written and recorded between the years of '92 and up until '96.

That long?
The band technically split up, just days after New Year's Day of '96. But, we were writing and recording all the way up until that time.

I thought it was pretty much all at the same time a little ealier.
In fact, the very last year--Tom Defaria technically left the band in '95.


And, we worked with a gentleman named Glen Grossman on drums, who was a GREAT drummer, just a little crazier than myself. (laughs) So, he was just a little left of center. He was eccentric; let's put it that way. (laughs)

But, he was a wonderful drummer and we actually did quite a bit of writing and recording with him as well. So, like I said, technically, the record was written and recorded between the years of '92 and '96.

Ok. I actually had thought it was in the can by '93 but that's not it.
No, no.

So, did you have a label attached to it all that time? Or, did you leave Epic prior?
No, no, no. Epic saw fit to drop us, I'm gonna guess….aw….jeez, I don't know the exact year, but I do remember…I'm gonna try…… I don't want to misquote myself here, but do you remember when Epic dropped Iron Maiden?

Uh...I don't remember [Spring of 1993 it turned out tobe…]
I'll tell you why because I remember seeing that and I thought to myself, “If they could drop Iron Maiden...(laughs)..anything can happen!”

(laughing) Good business move!
I'm trying to remember if it was around the same time frame. All that craziness was going on. Bands that you thought were…um…well, to say it bluntly, making their record labels…

Yeah, rich!
...good for their bottom line...when you thought that that was the case, they were cutting people left and right.

Disappointed, yes. Surprised, not quite.

Yeah, there was a wave-a tide of change, wasn't there.
You bet.

A tsunami I said in my review which I posted. I don't know if you read the review…
(laughing) That's a good terminology.

A tsunami of flannel (laughs).
Yeah, that's pretty good. That's pretty good.

The ironic thing is that we were on the road with Mr. Big at the time - this was the year they had their big record, and they had their number one single here in the states—and we were rolling into Seattle. I remember, I can speak for myself and I think the rest of the band-we were pretty intimidated thinking, “You know, they are just going to HATE us!”

I'm going to speak at least for Tall Stories. And, as great a band as Mr. Big was, they were nowhere near anything grunge-like. So, they are just going to go in there and just put their noses up—hold their noses.

Instead, it was the entirely opposite reaction. It was if WE were the breath of fresh air-something they hadn't heard in a great some time. It was a really great and pleasant surprise. It was one of the highlights of the tour.

Yeah. We called it the “Big and Tall” tour.

(laughing) Fantastic!!
Like the clothing line.


Mr. Big is back together this week.
Did you say that they are getting back together?

They announced it, sort of, overnight.
I gotta tell you-I'm SO happy for them, because they are an incredible band. Is it the entire original lineup?

Yeah, the original 4 guys. Pat, Paul Gilbert, Eric and Billy.
Eric was something to behold every night.

Yeah. I love the guy.
To listen to him is….I don't if anyone has got more of a richer, more pleasant listening voice than Eric Martin. Something else.

Yeah. I'm a HUGE fan. Yup. And, a tremendously nice guy, too.
Yeah, you bet. I remember the last I spoke to Eric, I was in Japan—I had a few sakes….

…and a fan handed me the phone and it appeared….perhaps…..we may have gotten him out of bed—let's put it that way.

And, um…that's the last I spoke to Eric. So, I'm not sure he's speaking to me or not. (laughing)

(laughing) No. (laughing)
(laughing softly) I HOPE he is.

The album, the Skyscraper as it's been dubbed, the second album…it was a noticeable change in direction from the first anyway, no matter whether it was released now, then, whatever. Why the change? What was going through you guys mind then?
Well, let's see. The first record was written—if we released it in '91-ish, technically—if we had released it then… there was quite a couple of years in preparation for the record. So, let's say, at the very minimum, that we had written the record anywhere from '88 to '90. I'm thinking. I gotta say, minimum, for 2 years prior to that, we were writing and demoing that record. So, I'm gonna say, safely, around '90-ish before the record was finally released because Epic sat on it for about a good year.


Right. Right.
And, the longer they sat on it, you know, the tide was changing and, unfortunately, it made matters even worse for us.

But, at any rate, you gotta figure that from '90, and we literally did split up in '96 at the drop of New Year, when champagne corks were popping, unfortunately the cracks and crevices were severing the ties within the band. So, you could say that within that 6 years, there was a lot of room for growth and we did evolve quite a bit. And, for several reasons, but certainly, at the very least, for normal reasons, for natural reasons, we four, just felt it was a natural progression for us to grow and just evolve, whether it took us in this direction, that direction or the other direction.
So, to us, it was a healthy metamorphosis no matter what we turned into. Fortunately for us—well, we thought it was the right thing to do because if it's true to you, as opposed to forcing yourself in one direction or the other, then that's the way you gotta do it. You've got to be honest with yourself, first and foremost. So, the band did go and experiment a great deal. These 10+ songs on Skyscraper, to me, are the best representative and the most honest representation of the band and the best expression of the band from those years.

That is as basic and as honest an answer I can tell you. To be anything more or less or different wouldn't be honest with ourselves or our fans. That's the long and short of it, really.

Yes. Were there specific influences…..
Was that winded enough for you?

YES!! (laughs) NO!! That was GREAT!

Were there specific influences you were drawing on? I mean, there was quite of a Led Zeppelin vibe to several songs I felt…I thought.
Well, there's no denying. One of my most influential bands, myself, growing up as a kid was Led Zeppelin.

They were huge here in the states. I know they were worldwide; they were big. I don't know how big they were in Australia. God knows they were large everywhere but, in New York, they were gods. And classic rock, rock and roll when I was growing up and coming of age—the HUGE bands were, to name 2, Deep Purple—I'm just throwing out a couple—they were up at the top—they were on the throne.

So we couldn't help but be influenced. And, the fact that I was singing as a tenor early on, it was a natural thing that I kind of gravitated toward.
Not to mention that there has also been said that there is some similarities to early Jeff Beck Group, some Faces—Rod Stewart. Rod Stewart was one of the very first records that I ever owned—a 7 in 'Maggie May'.

Obviously, there are some overtones in “You Shall Be Free”, which is the 10th track on the album.

Yeah. I like that.
That's kind of homage to that era and that sound that we were kind of weaned on—born and raised on. And I'm speaking, I know, for Jack and Kevin as well. Jack, especially being a guitar player—we couldn't help being influenced by guys like Beck, Page, Clapton and those guys from the original Yardbirds. I think that kind of comes out as well too, these kinds of roots that the band had. British rock-blues that was interpreted by the British, but originally conceived by African-American blues players-they re-hashed it and did their thing. And, then Tall Stories came along and we did our thing.

So it's kind of like third generation.

Yes. Absolutely. There some amazing playing on there! I mean, there's really some intricate moments.
Yeah. You know, I hadn't listened to the record until last week-I think it might have been the day it was released in Europe. I hadn't listened to it for quite some time, probably since the mastering process. And I was trying to get my head back into the music before I started doing some interviews. I have to tell you; it's not for everybody but for me, after listening to it from front to back, there's nothing I would change. I'm 100% proud of it….

You should be.
And that's how I feel about it. I'm extremely proud of it. The unfortunate thing is that I understand that, of course, our first record was embraced by the melodic rock fans and the like. It hurts me and pains me to think we shut a door on that because we certainly didn't intend to. I think there's still a portion of the record that can be perceived as, and still embraced by, this genre.

I agree. Absolutely.
But, the record does as I said as the band has evolved, it has—the record has a great deal more layers than certainly our first one did.

I agree again.
But, I'll tell you one thing, on the other hand, when you do think back in retrospect, the first record was not your paint by numbers melodic rock record.

No, I don't think that it was. I think that some - if criticizing the direction of the second album – may have forgotten where the first one came from. It's a little bit left of center than just commercial rock.
Which may be, in the first place, why people kind of took notice of it in the first place.

So there it is. It's a progression; it's a natural progression. But again, more importantly than anything is that we felt it was a true expression, a true representation of us. And, certainly, today, looking back at it now, any other record would have been a false representation.

Well, that's good. You've got to be honest. You've got to be true to yourself. The entire process of mastering took a long time itself too, didn't it? You had a lot of problems with the drum tracks?
Well, yeah. The truth of the matter is that when the drums were initially recorded, they were recorded on what was at the time, state of the art drum equipment. We had the absolute luxury of recording in a room where Foreigner, where Mick and Lou and the guys, were also demo-ing—writing and demo-ing songs.
So there was a great vibe in the room where there was this great energy where we were kind of ----I like to think we were drawing on as well.
Damn Yankees were also writing and recording..

Love that band.
In fact, Michael Cartelone, er—I don't quite get that pronunciation quite right….

…and me being Italian, I should be ashamed of myself!

Michael had recorded with us quite a bit as well as did a show or 2, which was really fantastic because he is such a great drummer…



Right. Yes, he is.
Anyway, getting back to then, we were recording in this studio-we had the luxury of using Foreigner's things, and unfortunately, the drums were the most lacking out of all the tracks. We tried. Literally, we tried so many processes and spent so much time and a great deal of money trying to preserve, and trying to use the original performances. So we tried to use samples and triggers because Tom's playing was… it was the thing.
It was it; it was the right performance for the song. So to go and –the LAST thing we wanted to do was go and just replace it, even with Tom, whether it was with Tom or ANY drummer because there's a magic there.
The record was literally recorded, I would say, 95% of each and every track was as live as you can possibly make a record these days. I mean, from beginning to end, there were minimum overdubs, as possible, as much as we could get away with. You know. Jack would literally play the song from beginning to end. Some of the solos that you hear on the record-the majority of them-are the same solo he played, in the room, along with the rhythm track, with the band in the same room, with the bleed of the drums bleeding into it, and with the vocal mikes bleeding into it. So it was really good; there was just something magical that happened back then that we tried to preserve as best as possible.
When it got in the way that we couldn't, when the audio started suffering tremendously, then we….and this was 2 years after or into the process, Jack and I finally decided that “well, now it's time to bite the bullet and replace the drums”.
We first went to Tom, of course, because he was the initiator of the drum parts and he was the vibe master. He was the man behind the kit and when he was unable to fulfill that, at that particular time, it was unfortunate. We took it upon ourselves to look and have some guest drummers on. I think we found a great bevy-a great chorale of amazing New York City studio guys.


Well, it certainly sounds good and it sounds consistent from start to finish.
Yeah. I know, personally, I don't know that I'd ever be able to tell whether it was one drummer or another one.

Yeah-and I didn't. I thought it sounded pretty consistent, start to finish. So I think you did a very good job.
Uh-huh. Thanks.

You and Jack still work in the business and Kevin's still touring. Tom's out, isn't he?
Well, Tom is in and out. He does…because you can never 100% leave the business...I know that he still plays once in a blue moon for his own enjoyment. Kevin probably plays 4 nights to 5 nights a week. And, he's made a great living which is unheard of for a musician! Let's face it, guys. Musicians are reading this so you know what I'm talking about so he's got a wonderful gig right now. In fact, this is a dilemma that we're facing; we want to get our asses up and go out and do a bit of a tour to promote the record and we're having a very difficult time to get Kevin - to convince Kevin to come out on the road because it would cut off his life line. It would be sort of rolling the dice in Las Vegas so to speak.
So, this is the kind of thing that you would do when you are 20 years old…..

(laughs) Yeah. (laughs)
And certainly, 20 years ago, when we were a baby band. But, you never say never and the wheels are still in motion. I've got Jack raring to go, you know?

But I need to have Kevin; I desperately need him too because he's my second voice in the band. Vocally, he's got a brilliant voice and he is such a kick ass bass player.
I don't know if you know this but he had a lesson or 2 from Jack Bruce when he was a kid—he wasn't more than 8 years old.

Oh really?
His dad was in the business. He's probably seen every band under the sun, certainly coming up in the 70s and even in the late 60s. He was fortunate enough to - Jack was sweet enough to - sit with him and give a couple of bass lessons.

Wow. You couldn't forget that.
That's Kevin's claim to fame—one of them, anyway.

You wouldn't forget that in a hurry, would ya?
And, he kicks some ass on blues harp, man. You know. He can play the blues harp.


That sort of brings us to the Firefest performance. Did you enjoy getting up there with the old comrades again?
I certainly did. (laughing) I have a funny story because I know we got a lot of mixed feed back about the show. I'll give you MY take on it.

We had—unfortunately we were unable to rehearse as often as we should have and certainly, in retrospect, I KNOW that's the case. So, the next time the band goes out, I guarantee that we will be absolutely to our optimum-a well oiled machine.
That I promise myself. But, you know what, it was rock and roll. We had committed to do the show; we went out there, rehearsed as much as we could, which was only 3 times but we went out there and, considering that, I think that the guys did a great job. The only one regret I have is that - I had such a Spinal Tap moment - was that we didn't have any road crew. We came over - the 4 of us; it was a skeleton crew. So, I came out before the show and plugged in my guitar and got my microphone stand all set. I had myself all situated. Usually, there is a curtain in front of you but there was no curtain so it's all out there for everybody to see. But, that's ok.

So, I had myself 100% set. I go backstage and we're getting ourselves geared up to go and getting ourselves all charged up. I come out and the sound engineer was doing what he thought was his job and he was actually being a sweetheart. He saw I was playing guitar and he actually changed my straight stand to a boom stand. And he also proceeded to wrap the cord around the stand.
So, when I came out, without a guitar, I tried to take the mike out of the stand. I absolutely—I just tangled myself up more. I tried so desperately to keep my cool, you know?

We are such creatures of habit.

Yes. (still laughing softly)
We have our traditions. Not to digress but I once had the opportunity to work with Michael Schenker. Michael would never walk on stage without his leather jacket. It looked like he had had it all his life, since he was a child. He just had these rituals and I've known countless musicians who did. We're a strange bunch.

So there I was. I thought I had myself in gear, ready to go. I got thrown a little bit of a curve. It threw me off a little bit. It took me about 3 songs to get my game back together.

After about 3 songs or so, I felt confident. I think the guys felt confident and we just had a good time.

You know, it's funny that you should say that because I said to you after the show, “Did you relax a few songs in?” And you were like, “Yeah!” (laughing)
That was it. It took that long to get over the initial (laughs) Murphy's Law thing. It was great! It was interesting. You plug into a line of Marshalls and it was great fun. It was great fun! We had never had the opportunity to play England.
We knew we had somewhat of a fan base there and there were a handful of folks out there that were, amongst the other bands, there to see us. So we were so happy about that.

Absolutely there were.
We had a great time. And, it wet our appetites a bit so that we make sure that we go ahead and do it again.

Yeah. Absolutely. And, it must have been nice to really nail the vocals too.
Well, you know what? Like I said, it was a rock and roll show, rough and ready, and I certainly felt my oats now and then. It was good to perform those old songs and we even had a chance to play some of the new stuff as well.

I think I really get off on the newer material as well.

Especially the newer material.

So, you are trying to put some dates together, which is great but the upshot of that is that Tall Stories will remain and ongoing concern, then? Hopefully?
Well, here's the worst case scenario--or actually the best case scenario is that I can get the entire gang, which I don't think is possible. I'm hoping for 3 out of the 4. Tommy gave us his blessings and so, at the very least, we're gonna have a really adequate, more than adequate, replacement. I have a short list of drummers but I can tell you that each and every one of them is a star in their own right. If I can't get Kevin to commit, then Jack and I, at the very least, are going to put together another rhythm section. I know he and I have a motivated---and I think I have certainly more motivation or more to gain or more to prove than any other guy. So, at the absolute VERY worst case scenario, is that, if I can get their blessings, I would put my solo band together. Whether before or after my new record and then I would continue to perform Tall Stories songs in the future.


You know, hopefully WITH the guys and, if need be without them. As I said think I can get their blessings and one day would be able to join me, I think that would be terrific.

But I don't know what I'd do without Jack so… and as I said Kevin...either one of them. But, the show must go on...and, um, I've got to rock and roll.

You've got to rock and roll. I love it! Solo record, then? You've just touched on that. It's still in the works?
Yeah. Well, what's happened is that I've had this psychological block about the Tall Stories record and I had this sequence of events in my mind that I needed to get this out. And now that this is finally--once it was……At the beginning of the new year, I turned over a new leaf and started head strong and full force into my solo effort.

So that's what I'm doing currently.

Great. Is there a direction you can allude to?
You know, I would LOVE to! The only thing I can tell you is that it is probably going to be a lot less stripped and lot less raw and a bit more produced!!

Oh good!!
I think it's going to fall somewhere in between a Tall Stories record and a Journey record.

Well, that sounds perfect to me.
Yeah. You know what? Because I've had the honor of working with one of the finest bands, one of the finest melodic bands in the land.

You can help but, you'd be a fool not to learn some of their ways, you know?

In fact, John Kalodner once said, in fact the week that I was asked to join Journey, he had some of the wisest words he'd ever mentioned to me, or that I had ever heard personally. A few of them were, “when you work with Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain, be smart enough to keep your eyes and your ears open.”

And so, there you have it. It would unfortunate if you didn't pick up a morsel or 2, or some little gems of information from those 2 guys because their kings of their craft—they can write a song like nobody's business. I hope to think that a little bit of it rubbed off.
So, I do want to incorporate some of their standards, for lack of better words, their standards and apply some more of my personal expression.

I think that's where the Tall Stories—I don't want to sound like a…a….I think the truth of the matter is a Tall Stories record is a more of an honest representation of myself personally. It just is. I can't deny that - it just is. When I was asked to work with Journey, I walked into a situation that was quite beautifully established by Steve Perry.

Yes, of course.
And who wouldn't have it any other way. So, you know, you had certain guidelines and certain parameters that you needed to stay within. That's all wonderful, fine and well. With Tall Stories, and certainly with a solo effort, you break down the barriers.

You are free to experiment and try, perhaps shoot yourself in the foot…

...but you have that luxury. You know what I mean?

I do. I do.
So it's great to come from the Journey camp and now have a chance to, well, for latter of better or anything, just prove myself.
I look forward to doing that.
I hope I can get a couple of people to come along.

I am absolutely convinced you will, Steve. In relation to Journey, I'd love to talk Journey for a little while if we could….
Sure! I'd love to.

I really do believe that the guys wouldn't still be in the position of strength they are today if it wasn't for the effort that you put in and what you brought to the band when you did. They were at the crossroads. You were the person responsible for continuing the legacy after Steve Perry and you brought a lot to that band.
Well, I appreciate that. I'll tell you what. I would certainly say that there were probably a good many vocalists that could have done EASILY the job that I did.
But it just so happened that I was the lucky one. I won the Journey lottery back in 1998.

So it happened to be me and the reality is that for 8½ years we took the band that had been on hiatus for quite some time. They didn't forget but they needed to be reminded. Do you know what I mean?

Look, I was absolutely plucked from obscurity and I was absolutely more than willing. I mean, God! They took me from the Gap stores! I was swinging a hammer at a Gap store.

That fact alone is almost legendary now.
Sure!! I'll do it!! I was MORE than happy to jump aboard.

So, again, it was fortunate for me, and there could have been a slew of others guys that they had considered and I was the lucky one. So, lucky me. In 8 1/2 years, I would tend to agree with you. And it was a great ride!!

You delivered though! You delivered. They could have picked someone else and they could have fallen on their ass.
(pause)They COULD have but yon know what? I guess I was, I think, I was lucky.
I was lucky that eventually the fans came around. You know, um……it was difficult at first. The fans didn't want to know about it. But, you know, the band persisted - they had faith in me and we persisted. We went out year after year and we built. The audience started out in 1500 seat theaters in 1998 to the mega concerts that they are doing today. And so, yeah, I'm proud of the time that I spent with the band. I think they, I know that they are well aware that we did it together. And frankly, unfortunately for me, I couldn't continue on. My health—I couldn't make it. The whole journey.

As did Steve [Perry] had to take a step back and re-evaluate his life and perhaps his health, I had to do the same. It was a mutual thing that we came across and I think, in the long run, certainly, it certainly worked out wonderfully for the band.
For me, if you were to compare my health today to 2006, I'm a different…I'm physically regenerated. I mean, I can't say it any better. I was a physical mess and I needed to get away and unplug. And that's exactly—the doctors told me that's what I needed to do. I did it and I'm so glad I did because, frankly, had I not, I may not...we wouldn't be having this conversation and I wouldn't have a voice to even speak to you one the phone.

Yeah. They talk about the band's catalogue being the hardest catalog to sing in music, you now.
Sometimes, I just have to shake my head and say, “how did this man do this?” I pray that Arnel takes really good care of himself and I pray that the band looks after him, because after several vocalists down the line, you gotta get wise and just say, “Hey, listen - that's your guy. Take good care of him because we want him to last a few extra -a few more years, than the last 2 did.
And I'm sure they will.

Did they take care of you? I mean, the schedules were grueling, even up until the last year, weren't they? Did you have a say in that?
(long pause) I'll tell you what - the unfortunate thing is that it comes down to the individual. I can never point a finger; you can't point a finger at anyone but yourself. So, if the schedule was grueling, then I didn't have the backbone to say, “Stop. I'm getting off the train.”

Do you know what I mean?

“You're killing me.” It's just…that's the bottom line. So, the only regret I have is that I didn't have the courage to say stop. I may know what…frankly, to be honest with you, I did…but the train kept going.
That's…we had built from 1998 to 2006, and God knows to the present, there was an absolute and was if you had a locomotive just started up, just restarted, let's face it, cause they were there. We started and there was no stopping it. The machine was going.

So, you know, life moves on. We're only human; you can only do… we're not Superman, which is a very coincidental song, which closes our album.

Funny. You'd think the song was written yesterday. (laughs)

(still laughing) Maybe it was. Maybe it was…..

Yeah. Maybe it was…
I was a witness from afar obviously, sitting here at my computer, reading feedback and stuff but that very last show that you played with the band - the 3rd date of that new 2007 US tour. You had to drag…well, not drag, but you had to ask Deen to come out front and sing for you.

Oh sure.

I mean, God… What was going through your mind?
Well, I'll put it this way—it wasn't pretty BUT thank God for Deen. And then, I have to say, for the band. Thank God for having Jeff nearby so that he was able to fill in for me and they were able to continue and finish the tour. But, uh, it was not a pretty situation and I would never want to re-live something like that again. But, the old story…if it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger.
You live and learn. One thing I will tell you that I will never put myself in the situation—THAT position again where I…when you KNOW you're hurting and you know that you need to rest, you've got to step back and just do it. I just didn't have the, you could say, the smarts. I didn't have the smarts to say, “Stop. Stop the world. I want to get off.

And so, instead, it ran me into the ground and, luckily for me, I was able to pick myself up out it, dust myself off and continue on.

Did you sense the end was coming for a while?
Well, you know what I did sense was ….um…. I DID sense that, when the tours were coming around, I was taking longer to pack my bags.

The first year, I had my bags packed a week before we left, before the plane left.
(laughing) And, by the end of my tenure with the band, my bags may not have even been packed until the day I left. The other thing was after 8 years, you start missing your wife more.

You start missing the little creature comforts of home. I felt like I missed half of my son's growing up. And that, I tell ya, is one of the biggest regrets I had was missing that. Those were the moments you can't go back and retrieve.

So, things like that, you know, start compile and pile up and start to eat away at you and, eventually, it breaks down and you start, you know, re-evaluating. You start re-prioritizing things in your life.

I think, again, I had lost someone very dear to me, in fact the record is dedicated to him, Nick - he was actually my brother-in-law and my best friend. I saw him and I saw his family loose their dad and their husband. There was a moment there, unbeknownst to my fans and the public, where I thought my days were up; I thought I was…you know...I thought I wasn't long for this earth.

That serious?
I can tell you that everything gets put back into perspective when you have a situation like that - a life threatening situation. And so, finally, when the change did happen, and I was off the tour and I was sitting at home, the one thing that did get me through, because it was a pretty sad thing to deal with—anybody would say that. It's no fun being sacked from Journey or from McDonald's - sacked is sacked, right?

Whether it's mutually or not, like I said. It's still…as mutual as you can get it. The bottom line is that it was the right reason because my body was just...needed to do it.

Again, getting back on track, you put into perspective and you say, “Look. You're a rock and roll singer in a rock and roll band. Life goes on. There are wars on the other side of the planet; there are people hungry in Africa. You're just a singer in a rock and roll band. Pick yourself up - it's not the end of the world. It's gonna be ok.” And you know what? At the end of the day, you're gonna be alright. I've got a smile on my face and I'm a happy man today and that's all I can say. I've got a new record out. I'm writing new music. I'm singing again. The sun's shining once more for Steve Augeri.

It's inspiring to listen to you, Steve. You certainly do put things in perspective and I appreciate that.
Honestly, there was a dark period there for a while but we all go… a lot of us go through it, for one reason or another, and it just kind of took it's toll on me. I'm glad I got through it and I'm certainly not alone. Some people can relate to it and understand. So, that's the deal.

Yeah. I spoke to you in the UK about the hammering you took on my message board….
(laughs) Oh yeah. (laughs)

(laughing) I didn't enjoy one bit of that, as much as I'm sure as hell you didn't.
No. No, but you know what, getting back to….you can't color…you can't candy coat and you can look to the world through rose colored glasses. You gotta face things, eventually, and so that is basically the bottom line. If you are glutton for punishment, you go out and (laughs) you read it everyday. But I wasn't gonna do that so I certainly did not.

I'm glad.
But of course it got back to me…

Of course.
You are driving in a car and you see some road kill on the side of the road - you take a peak every once in a while. I wasn't oblivious though. Just put it this way - I knew who I am and what I'm about. What people were talking about me and what they were saying about me was um….they were being misled and didn't have 100% of the story. long as YOU know the truth and YOU know the facts then you can stand up and look at yourself in the mirror everyday.

Yeah. Your proudest moment?
Wow, that's a good question.

I have to tell you something that's really pretty special about these guys [Tall Stories]. When we first did that get that opening spot for Mr. Big, I was the only married man in the band at the time and I was the only dad. I had had my son. He wasn't but a couple of…maybe he was a year or two old. Back then, we were doing odd jobs like painting houses, construction, bar tending-anything a New York actor or musician would be doing at the time.

We went on the road and we got a couple of bucks per diem; I think it could have been…I think we got $35 a piece a day-no salary. Just enough to maybe pay your rent and this and that. The guys got together and kicked in - I think they gave up and extra 10 bucks each so that I could money home to my wife and feed my kid. To me, THAT'S a proud moment for me because that's the kind of guys that these guys are...were then and still are today. That's a proud moment. I'd like to say it was walking on the stage of Madison Square Garden, but that wasn't the case.
We never did get that opportunity. One very proud moment was walking out on stage with Journey and having them out in the audience. I know they were feeling pretty good about that; I was a pretty proud fella doing that.

The other Tall Stories guys were in the audience.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

So that was pretty groovy I gotta tell ya. As well as, I remember having the opportunity to introduce them to the Journey guys and always feeling like a proud papa to them, my old fellas. Introducing them - that was pretty cool.

Excellent. Recording-wise, are you happy with the legacy that you've left with Journey?
I think I'm almost satisfied. I love to say but you wouldn't be telling the truth. You always want to do your best. Ultimately I would have loved to have had a successful single. I think I said this the day I joined them up until the last days I was with them. That was always a goal of mine but unfortunately didn't happen.

So I've got to find another vehicle for that. That's what I'm working on now. But I am proud of a great deal of it. I'm very proud of the Arrival record and a lot of everything else we recorded-the Red 13 and Generations. But, you know, the minute you are satisfied, that's the time you want to turn out the lights and go to bed.


(laughs) Yeah.
I'm not ready. I'm staying up a little later. Mom and Dad, I'm stayin up. (laughs)

(laughs) Awesome. One thing I did want to ask you quickly - did the band ask you back after working with Jeff Scott Soto?
After you'd had time to rest and stuff?

Uh……actually they didn't. But I think some time had passed and I think, you know, whether they intended to or not, I could never say. They were fortunate enough to find Arnel.

And I can't think of a better guy to fill the spot that he's filled. I think his voice is absolutely spot on for the Journey sound. And when I say the Journey sound—the legacy that Steve made with them…

As a band member, not alone but as a unit, and I think Arnel does it so well. As I said, it's remarkable when I listen to him. I'm looking at myself as an out of body experience, thinking about myself when I first joined them in '98 and thinking, you know what, this is This man's big shot and his big chance and that was YOU. How great was it for you and so be happy for him. Quite frankly, that's exactly how I feel.

I'm literally, I'm totally, totally all for the guy cuz I see myself several years ago doing what he's doing and I'm thinking, boy, he's having the ride of his life right now.

And he deserves it.

Well, you know, your words again-inspiring and humbling. Everybody says you're one of the best guys in the business. Even management, after you had left, said to me—they just spoke with such high regard for you, your time and dealing with you and how they regretted that it was no longer the case. There's something to be said about being the good guy isn't there?
Well, let's face it-we're not always the good guy but (laughs) we try!

(laughs) It's not always possible.
There's a little of everybody inside you and I and you have a choice of letting the good out and the bad and I just choose to stay as positive and do the right thing. My dad and mom raised me to do the right thing. It's an Italian American Brooklyn expression that we use.

It's big, good fellas that you might hear—I've never heard it in the sopranos but you should have. That was the expression—do the right thing. You just try to do the right thing and I'm not gonna say it's the golden rule but…um… comes back at you.

I'm a strong believer in Karma.

Yup. Me too.
Look, we're not all perfect; we all make mistakes and I've made plenty. You know, you pay the price, you pay your penance, and you get on with it and you go forward. You pick up the pieces.

Yup. My wife and I are of the same thinking. Absolutely.
And we learn. We learn everyday.

Yup. We do! We do!
And, John Kalodner, yes, I'm still keeping my ears and eyes open.

(laughing) That's great advice.
Uh huh.

Great advice. I think there is a lot still to come and I think you've picked up a huge fan base with the band and everything that you've done. There's a lot of people that are really, as you know, as you saw at Firefest, there's a lot of people that are passionate, believers in what you do and are looking forward to everything that comes next.
Yeah, well, I'm fortunate to have come by these people and certainly to grab their attention and I'm gonna try to hold it.

Fantastic. Great talking to you Steve.
Andrew, the same here, man.

I really appreciate your time.
I appreciate the review. (laughs) I wasn't tickled pink but I'm gonna tell you what I do think - I think you're an honest man and I would never ask anything less of you.

Thank you, mate, I do appreciate that.
Right. I was thinking to myself...I want you to also know something - when we gave you a thank you or a shout out on the record

I didn't see that yet.

It wasn't because we weren't bribing you or buttering you, up.

We did it because of your honesty and because of your sincerity about music period, whether it's this music or that music. You are and were and still are a friend of the band. No matter which turn we go, we can respect you and I just wanted to let you know that too.

Thank you.
Now every once in a while, we have a heart to heart. This is my second one with you! HA HA HA! (laughing)

Yes it is!!! (laughing and laughing)
I didn't want you to think we were trying to bribe you and I hope your readers didn't think that, too. So, I need you to know that you're alright in our book - certainly my book that's for sure.

I really enjoyed the time we spent together in the UK…

That was the greatest Indian I've had in a long time.

That was pretty good, yeah…
You know, coincidentally, a friend of mine invited me out to have dinner that night. I turned him down cause I had a very important date that night. HA HA HA!

Thank you, mate, I really appreciate everything you've said and your time. It's a great interview and I'm sure – hopefully it'll promote the Tall Stories record and the band and yourself a little bit further.
I hope so. That's great.

Thanks, Steve.
Alright, Andrew. Great chatting with you.

You too, mate.


c. 2009 / Interview by Andrew McNeice - February 2009
Transcribed by Debbie and / Photos: Marty Moffatt - Firefest 5, 2008.


Subscribe to Steve Augeri