Steve Perry


Steve Perry (2005)

Steve Perry: Mother, Father By Mitch Lafon.



Something a little different today... When a mate sends you a Steve Perry interview - you print it! Canadian BW&BK journo Mitch Lafon talked to the great vocalist Steve Perry late last week and has granted me permission to print the interview here in full.
Former Journey vocalist and general melodic rock legend Steve Perry talks about the new Journey live DVD and much more...




At one time, Steve Perry was THE voice of melodic rock. Both fans and radio-programmers alike couldn't wait to hear his latest (be it with Journey or solo) multi-million selling song of a generation, but for almost a decade his voice has been silenced due mainly to a seemingly self-imposed exile from the music business. By the fall of 2005, he was back (sort of) doing a limited amount of print only press to help promote the Journey: Live in Houston 1981 Escape Tour DVD that he produced. In this rare and candid interview, he looks back at what was and what may be.

Steve Perry: “Talk to me – where are you?”

Mitch Lafon: In Montreal...

SP: “It's so beautiful up in Montreal. I was on tour one time up in Canada with a band called The Privilege when I was a teenager. They hired me as a singer and I was one of their frontmen and we ended up in Quebec and Montreal. In Quebec we stayed at the Chateau Frontenac and my big thrill was having onion soup at the Chateau Frontenac.”

ML: Maybe, you'll come back up here on vacation or for a show?

SP: “Yeah, but how about in the spring? Is that ok?”

ML: Let's talk about the DVD – Live in Houston 81. Why did you accept to get involved with the project? Wouldn't it be too much of a heartache?

SP: “The answer is yes – it was too much of a heartache to look back. When I first heard the tapes and I remember that show, it was too painful to think what it once was, but the only thing I could not do was... I'm a fighter for the music. I'm a fighter for the songs and a fighter for the performances and I refuse to let them be evaporated into time. If I do anything, I'm going to fight for those performances to be heard and the band is out doing what they're doing and I was approached by SONY to do it, so I said absolutely. Since, I produced the first compilation DVD. So, I got Allen Sides and we did the 5.1 and stereo mixes together then I did the editing. The interviews and all that was painful too. It was tough.”

ML: Will you be doing more DVDs like this?

SP: “I don't know if my heart can handle it.”

ML: You've been away from the band for quite awhile...

SP: “Since May '98”

ML: And you've also been away from the public for quite awhile...

SP: “Except for the World Series with the White Sox.”

ML: How was that?

SP: “That was excellent. It was so exciting. I just couldn't believe it and they adopted the 'Don't Stop Believin'' song back in July as their mascot and when they won and were going to the World Series; their communications director wanted to try and get me to game one. I got a phone call and went out there and was there for game one and two and was getting ready to leave and they said you can't go. You got to go to Houston and I had to think about that because they had booked me for all these interviews to promote this DVD. It felt good to be wanted, so next thing I knew – I'm flying to Houston for game 3 (which lasted 5 hours and 45 minutes) and I was on another planet when we won that one and game four they won and swept'em. It was unbelievable. They swept the Astros.”

ML: Good city to be in to be promoting a Houston 1981 DVD...

SP: “I didn't start the promotion there. I actually came back to LA and started doing phone calls. It was actually very funny.”

ML: You've been out of the limelight since '98. You did the Journey Behind The Music, but you really haven't put out any music. What's going on? Are the interviews and new DVD... are you coming back? Is Steve Perry going to be singing for us soon?

SP: “You know I love singing again. I've been pulling out of it and I've been missing in action for sure... I put a lot of effort in trying to put Journey back together for the Trial By Fire era and I worked hard with those guys so that we would keep our original integrity and write some good music and we did. Then I had that hip problem and it crashed on me. I had to go have surgery. There were some mistakes made and they checked out a few singers and they got tired of sitting around and one thing lead to another and we split again...”        

ML: For the final time?

SP: “Well, I think so. Only because I said to them in January of '98 when I got this phone message that said 'go out and do whatever you want to do, but do not call it Journey.' That fractures the stone to me; that breaks it. I was given an ultimatum and I don't respond well to ultimatums.”

ML: Not that anybody should. Now, the hip thing was a degenerative problem. Is it getting better?

SP: “It's completely replaced. It's very good. It's beyond better.”

ML: So, you're 100% physically?

SP: “Well, I have some other physical issues. I'm not a teenager anymore.”

ML: Do you see yourself going back into the studio?

SP: “I've been thinking about the good side about this whole split up with the band that happened in May of '98; which is that I could not be kept under contract while they replaced me with a sound-alike or whatever he was... fish or cut bait. The bottom line is that the label had to let me go. So, I haven't had a record deal since May '98 and you've got to know that I signed my record deal with Columbia in '78. That was 20 years of being signed to a label. It's been a real pleasure not having contracts lurking over me... obligations and extensions until you deliver. Oh, please! It's been nice to fall back into your own life and so that's what's happened. I'm no longer in the band since May '98 and I had the surgery seven or eight months after 'that' January phone call... so, you know, I'm just living my life and I have been entertaining the idea of just getting into the studio, but it's a tough thing.”

ML: Have you been writing at all?

SP: “I've got all kinds of stuff written. Writing isn't a problem, it's...”

ML: It's not stage fright at this point in your career?

SP: “ No, it's just what do I want to do? I love R&B. I love rock. I love techno. I love remixes. I love acoustic. I love everything. When I come up to LA, I'll spend two days watching someone record 172 pieces of score. I sat back a year or so ago and watched Alan Silvestri conduct a 175 piece orchestra for Van Helsing (movie). So, when I watch that kind of arranging... I love the power of that. So, I just don't know what to do, but I'll probably jump in the studio with a four-piece section and just start having some fun and maybe do some covers just to get my feet wet. I sat in the studio for six weeks with this DVD mixing it in stereo then tore in down and mixed in 5.1... that was one of the best pleasures I've had other than the emotional aspect of being dragged through the plethora of emotions from 'what happened' to 'we were great' to 'look how young we were' and remembering all the stupid things we were doing to each other when we didn't know what we had.”

ML: You've got that built-in Journey fan base that wants to hear you do that melodic rock again...

SP: “Yeah, exactly, but I don't know if I want to become a parody of myself.”

ML: If you do a comeback album and deliver something the fans aren't expecting...

SP: “I may do a comeback album or I may do one track; load it onto ITunes and go home. I don't know.”

ML: So it is something you're thinking of?

SP: “I don't have management... I have completely shut down the store. The store has been shut down forever. I own, but I haven't flown it. I've really had to let go because emotionally... to be perfectly honest with you, if I do decide to sing again and record again, I'm going to do it for the right reasons. It's not going to be because people want a comeback record that's calculated... people come up to me all the time and say 'you should do a big band album like Rod Stewart. It would sell.' That's probably true...”

ML: It is true – it would sell gangbusters...

SP: “And?”

ML: But if you don't like it, what does that matter?

SP: “I have a spin on that. I would do that differently than anybody else's, but I can't talk about it and I don't necessarily want to do a big band album.”

ML: And I imagine you don't want to do an album of ten 'Open Arms' or ten 'Oh, Sherry'...

SP: “That's right. I don't want to sit there and (sings) 'start spreading the news...' I don't really.”

ML: It would be interesting to get you singing again and with all due respect you are one of the greatest voices of the last thirty years...

SP: “That's so kind of you to say because they've only been saying that in the last five years. They certainly weren't saying that years ago. We were considered the band that wasn't cool. It was the bands with the skinny ties, the checkered shirts and the Flock Of Seagulls' haircut that were considered cool. We were not considered timeless at all, but as time has proven and we're fortunate that the music has made the voyage with us so far.”
ML: What do you attribute that too? Here we are in 2005 and you're hawking a show from 1981 and it's still timeless, it still sounds great, the musicianship is tight and the vocals are perfect... What is it about Journey that got you this far? Why didn't you just fade away like the Flock Of Seagulls?

SP: “Well, it's because it was a real band. When I joined them they were a band and when we replaced Ansley Dunbar with Steve Smith – it became a bigger band. When Jonathan Cain came along and I started writing with him... I had written all songs with Neal from 'Anyway You Want It' to whatever and that was one kind of band, but when Jonathan came along we turned another corner in the evolution of the band. This particular tour (Escape) was the first time Jonathan was onstage and it turned the corner. The work we had done previous had built a fan base and now that they were really showing up we were turning a corner musically and they just liked it. We didn't have any calculated things. There was nothing pre-calculated about the music ever. Never did we second guess, it was just 'let's do this. Ok.' If you listen to the albums, I don't know how many groups you'll find that have 'Separate Ways' and 'Still They Ride'. That's left and right. You go onto Escape and you'll get 'Who's Crying Now', 'Open Arms' or from other albums 'Dead Or Alive', 'Where Were You'... these are all on the DVD by the way, but we were all over the map. 'Good Morning Girl' was a little acoustic piece. 'Patiently' was the first song I wrote with Neal when I was waiting to get into the band and I had dreams of being a singer in a rock 'n roll band. I sat in a hotel with him while he was out opening for Emerson Lake and Palmer and I wrote 'Patiently' and that's what those lyrics are about – 'for your lights to shine on me. For your song inside of me this we bring to you.' That's what it's about. I was dying to get into this thing, but from the heart stand point - not from a calculated stand point and today everything is so calculated. Don't you think? The music business has become like the movie business...”

ML: Also, the music business doesn't develop an artist anymore. It's give me a hit single and get the heck out of here...

SP: “Isn't that sick? The guys who helped build the Journey fan base were record label executives like Al Teller and all the guys that worked at the label at the time that are escaping my mind. They helped believe in the band and they would go three, four singles deep into every album...”

ML: They would also go three albums... You had three albums to make it. First one was the trial, second was the hit or miss and the third one was the do or die...

SP: “More than that. We had Infinity, Evolution, Departure, Escape...”

ML: They would give you three albums minimum to develop. Now, you get single one maybe two...

SP: “That's right. It's like television. They release a TV show and if the numbers aren't good – it's cancelled next Tuesday. It's unbelievable – there's no faith anymore and nobody believes anymore. That's why it is the way it is. There are corporate executives that should say to their superiors 'this is the single – we have to go on it' would they ever say that? No. Would they ever say 'the band is crazy about this song and believes in this song? No, they won't say that either. Will they ever say 'I went and saw the show and this song is getting a lot of audience response. I don't know why, but we should go on it and ask radio to play this... NO! They'll do what's calculated and safe.”

ML: They want to appeal to the lowest common denominator and get as much money out of it as possible...

SP: “They are not making decisions based on belief. They are making decisions based on fear. They assess it and say 'well, let's not do this and we shouldn't do that... so, what's left? Let's do that.' They're decision making process is based on calculated fear assessment. Instead of – 'wow – I don't know what it is about this one song, but I sure do like it.' Those guys are gone; they just don't do that anymore. I'll tell you a quick story – 'Who's Crying Now' that song was intentionally recorded and arranged so that the solo (back then songs had solos) was at the end. The song goes out on a solo and that song is long. The record label came to us and said 'as soon as the solo starts you'll have to fade it or radio won't play it.' I said ' well, radio can fade out and go onto the news. I don't care, but we're not going to cut the solo.' They insisted that if it said it was four minutes fifty seconds or whatever radio won't even add it to their playlist. So, I told them to put whatever on it... three minutes whatever, but I'm not fading the solo and they were adamant about it and said we were killing the song. It's not going to be a hit because you won't fade it, so just fade it. It's no big deal. I said 'look – Neal played the most beautiful solo on this thing. It's simple, heartfelt and feels timeless; the melodics are timeless and I do not want to kill that solo. So, fought for it, the song becomes a hit and the stations never pulled out of the solo. When it goes to that melody (sings melody) – it's timeless and it's not the melody that's in the song. It's another melody; so is that so wrong? No! So, I'm glad we fought for it against all odds. Plus, Neal would have been really crushed... he would have been destroyed.”

ML: I'm surprised the record company didn't go ahead and just cut if off...

SP: “They would do that today which is why I'm glad I'm not signed right now. I would probably take a bat to somebody's desk.”

ML: That's the one new advantage, if you were to release new music, you don't have to go through a label. You can go through ITunes...

SP: “Isn't that amazing? I think the Internet is so freeing to music as we've come to know it. I think it's the best thing that has ever happened. It's phenomenal because as an artist you've never had so many choices. You just never have. I could get somebody right now to build my own site and put downloads on my own site. I've yet to do it though.”

ML: Is there a reason?

SP: “I'm just a little bit... you're going to ask me 'what is it, right?' But I don't know.”

ML: It's the question everybody has been asking, right?

SP: “No, we've been talking mainly about the DVD and the performances.”

ML: I apologize...

SP: “We can talk about this. It's ok. I don't know – it's a tough one... (pauses)... Twenty-four years ago when I did that DVD – when we recorded it for MTV... (pauses) It was a different landscape at that time, of course. MTV had aired for the first time in August of '81 and three months later we were recording this for MTV. It was a brave new world with this video music thing... (pauses) It was a different time – we had a mission as a group... (pauses) I emotionally was unstoppable... (pauses) My mother was alive and pulling for me. My father (though they weren't together) was pulling for me. My grandfather was alive... The whole landscape of that has changed... (pauses) You lose some of the incentive that you didn't realize was driving you to do good... to do it... to do IT. Now, that it's been done I'm trying my best to digest it. When I was doing this DVD, it was an emotional rollercoaster that I didn't expect. A friend of mine warned me because he knows me well. He's a TV director and he said 'I know you. You're going to get in there and be mixing and editing and it's going to be rough on you.' I said ' Ah, no biggie man – c'mon I did the other DVD.' And he said 'but that was assembling videos and synching up new masterings. This is going to be different. It's like making a mini-film.' And oh, God – he was right. It drove me... It dragged me through a plethora of emotions that I didn't expect. When I heard 'Open Arms' I got choked up. There are certain vocal things I did in 'Open Arms' that I'm not sure I'll be able to pull off exactly like that again because it was such a moment and I had reached beyond the master recordings to what I knew it could be. For example the lyric in the second verse 'wanting you near' that lyric is sung exactly the way I wanted it to be sung and I didn't know I hit it. I didn't know I got it. So, I'm sitting there mixing and watching the QuickTime video because I have to pay attention to audio and visual... so I'm watching it and just being dragged through... (pauses) through the whole thing again. The Whole Thing AGAIN! I'm dragged through our time together. I'm dragged through, 'what happened?' We were great together and then I'm dragged through the people who thought we weren't great and who used to belittle us in the press and I thought 'fuck them too'. How can that be fucked up? We were great! See you assholes... you know what I mean? We weren't fucked up – you used to tell us we were faceless and corporate and all these horrible things and all we were trying to do was keep our focus and play what we loved. Now, I'm looking back at it for the first time as a person in the audience... I'm not in the band and it's been years since I've been in the band. It's been years since I've been on that stage. I'm an older guy and this young kid up there on that stage believed in what he believed in and damned if it wasn't pretty good and I got emotional about it. I just felt vindicated. I really felt vindicated for my beliefs and my faith and my tenacity that I got such a bad rep for... it's just that I was NOT going to lay down. Betty Davis said “if you have a bad reputation – you must be doing something right.'

ML: She's absolutely right. It must really feel good after all these years. I was around back then and remember people complaining about your voice, that you were corporate and everything you just said...

SP: “They said it about a lot of groups.”

ML: I'm a Kiss, Cheap Trick and Aerosmith fan – all of those groups got dragged through the mud back then...

SP: “Foreigner got hit... everybody got it. They all were faceless.”

ML: Except Kiss – that only had a face, but no music talent, right? Not only did those groups survive, but are still setting trends to some extent. Anybody who looks into melodic rock has to start at Journey – you just have to.

SP: “And that's a big legacy to live up to. At the time, it was just living up to your own expectations. Now, it's become something else. Something you always hoped it would become. How do you deal with that?'

ML: I have no idea...

SP: “By the way if you're going to ask these questions – we kind of have to answer these questions as to what was going on with me back then versus now. It's a perspective that's interesting. A lot of it too... the music at that time... you were forced to perform everything. There was only one way to sell what you believed in and that was perform it and that was going to be live. MTV was three months old when we recorded this DVD. It was baby in diapers – it had no idea what it was. It had no power and I tried to go back to MTV and see if they had other elements or extra footage lying around and they had nothing because they burned over the tapes of that night. All I had was the final cut because they had no idea what they were going to become. They were too new and nobody had a clue. They were directionless. They were writing the pages as they were turned... everybody was and that reckless abandon is what created what we are calling timeless now.”

ML: Musically, there has been a loss of that 'fire' in bands and in MTV... there is no soul to anything anymore. It's all calculated...

SP: “They always said MTV would change the face of music forever and in some ways it did.”

ML: It did – for the worst.

SP: “It took the performing aspect out of it, but now they are getting back to it. Now, they realize that it's a great medium to promote performance. For a long time, it became a video lip-synch issue and it gave everybody credibility even if they're not performers. There's a lot of careers built on artists that have never performed, but they can make a great video and make a great record... and they were 'artists'. Then they'd decide to go on tour and work that up. A lot of them would run tapes, a lot of them were fake and would have mouth and ear pieces with little microphones in front of their faces and dance around. It was a totally different thing.”

ML: In terms of this performance – the band.. the five guys on stage (Steve, Ross, John, Neal and you) was that the ultimate line-up? Does this represent Journey well?

SP: “That's the quintessential line-up. Although, I don't want to take any credibility away from the line-up that existed with Greg Rollie and Ansley Dunbar. That was the earlier line-up that I joined and had it's own musical direction that was valid. It was a different kind of a band, then it changed when we got Steve Smith in there and Greg Rollie stayed. Then we got Jonathan Cain and I think the band turned a bigger corner. That became the Escape line-up that launched itself to another series of albums, songwriting and performing that was bigger. By bigger I mean it had a bigger pronounced sound to it... a mightier unity of the players than the previous one.”

ML: Jonathan brought a lot to the band... vocals, backing vocals and overall musicianship.

SP: “Yeah – right! And Steve Smith was a fusion drummer who was with Montrose... that's where we saw him play every night and I turned to Neal and said 'this is the guy we should have in our band. This is what we need.' I admit I was making trouble, but I had a gut level... that we had to look at making a change.”

ML: It was a good change...

SP: “Well, time has shown that to be the case, but at the time it had a mixed response.”

ML: By the way – with the producing of the DVD... is that something you see yourself doing more of?

SP: “I love it. I really love it. It's very very emotional and stressful though.”

ML: In general or doing the Journey stuff?

SP: “Both.”

ML: Do you want to do other bands?

SP: “I have shown up many times with little groups... friends of mine and I'll be a fly on the wall and help them. I do it all the time for fun and for free. I've be doing that for years.”

ML: Do you want to sell your services as a record producer? Hey record companies call me up...

SP: “No. I don't want to necessarily do that. There's a couple of groups I would like to do a track with here or there.”

ML: But not a whole album from conception to the final mixes?

SP: “It would depend on the group. If I believed in the group I would do it. If I believed in the song, the singer and the band. It would be easier doing my own thing, but that comes with a whole other set of demons.”

ML: If you did your own thing would you want to produce it?

SP: “Just yesterday, I was thinking for the first time ever 'should I just let it go' because I'm always so involved and that's the problem. I know what I want to hear and it can go against someone else's vision, but at the same time my own vision has built my own direction and sound. So, what am I doing? Do I want to become Cher and 'Do You Believe In Love' and let someone make a left turn for me? I don't know – I'm not that kind of guy. I do hear things completed in my head and try to follow that lead, but I don't know. I do know that I worked hard on this DVD and tried to make it sound contemporary sonically. That's why I chose Bob Ludwig and Allen Sides.”

ML: Satisfied with the final product?

SP: “I'm completely satisfied with the project, but there will always be issues. The sound quality I hear in the studio, you lose when... you know someone will make an MP3 of it. That changes everything. You do one thing to it; it changes it. Echoes respond differently. Digital converters eat echo and it loses some of the lush echoes you worked so hard on. That's just something I have to live with. There are certain things that are easier to do logistically with ProTools on a live project like this than with tape. There were certain pops and clicks in my special wireless mic. It had a lot of vocal qualities that I loved, but it also had a lot of problems because it was transmitter microphone. It would over modulate and there was a couple 'pffs'... it's everywhere and with ProTools you can get rid of it. It's fantastic. So, I was able to clean up problems that back in the day could not have been fixed. It enhanced the performance by not letting something like that distract it. You're in a restorative mode like when you take an old painting and just try to clean it up.”

ML: Any other touch-ups?

SP: “There really wasn't a lot of touch-ups on this. There really wasn't. Not one re-record was done. I will tell you... we did two shows and on the day-off between those shows... we knew we were on tour and we knew it would be aired on MTV with a quick mix. So, we got around one mic and sang the backing vocals against ourselves. So, that we could blend that studio thing we do with the live vocals; so that they would have a little shimmer to them. That's the only thing we did. We called that 'vocal help.'”

ML: That was just for MTV?

SP: “It's on the DVD too.”

ML: But the original ones from way back then?

SP: “Yeah, the band was on tour three months ago and we aren't speaking. So, believe me - we weren't in a room together.”

ML: It speaks volumes about the band that you didn't have to...

SP: “Well, it was great performance. It really was a moment where... I didn't like walking up to the back of the venues and see a recording truck because I would get a little moody and cause a stink about it. I didn't like the idea of having tape running. I like the shows to be free and have nothing hovering over them like 'the tape is running' because it changes the band's ability to be reckless and free. I like reckless and free.”

ML: It also make you over aware...

SP: “It instinctually makes you over aware that tape is running. You get more concerned that things be a little more performed, I'm so glad that there's no fall back to the masters to this performance in Houston. I think once the show started nobody cared... we just played. Though, I did not like to video or tape shows – I'm so glad that this one was because I would have been wrong to not have this one. I would have been really wrong.”

ML: It captures the essence of the band...

SP: “It really does and there's another laying around that we don't know what's going to happen to from 1983 – JFK Stadium in Philly. We had 14 cameras running film.”

ML: You want to produce that?

SP: “I don't know if my heart could take it. By the way I do want to say when you watch the DVD turn the Dolby to off. There is no need for it. It's been digitally recaptured. It will severely change the fidelity.”

ML: Anything else to promote or plug?

SP: “There's a band I like. I think they're fun and reckless called The Rock 'N Roll Soldiers. The lead singer is a talented kid called Marty... they're working on a record right now which I think is coming out on Atlantic. I like it – I believe in them.”

ML: Thank you for your time...

SP: “Thank you very much for your candid questions and your sincere feelings about this. All this is good stuff and I don't mind talking about the fears and where I'm going and where I'm not going and where I've been. I'm trying to put my arms around all of it and when I'm done with that... who knows? I'll either sing some more or maybe just be glad that we had what we had.”

ML: Well, I think I speak for many when I say – we got to hear you sing some more...

SP: “I'll do my best – thank you. I would like to sing with the Rolling Stones one night and if by chance, I record something let's talk again.”




STEVE PERRY - Traces (Full Feature Review)

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

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

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

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

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



STEVE PERRY Japanese Release Announced

A Japanese release of “Traces” has been announced for October 5. Initial listing states a “planned bonus track”, but no further details as yet. More info to follow. You can preorder via my personally recommended and trusted source:
Traces / Steve Perry

STEVE PERRY - No Erasin' (Single Review)

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

STEVE PERRY New Album 'Traces' Out October 5

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

STEVE PERRY At Long Last Signals His Return

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

STEVE PERRY Recording New Album Since March; Due in 2016

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


Friday, June 20, 2014
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Article courtesy of FAN ASYLUM -


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WTF…….Thanks Muucho Bob!!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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




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




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