Classic Rock

Steve Perry

After 22 years out of the game, the hero of AOR battled demons and personal tragedy and returned to the airwaves.

- Interview: Paul Elliott

Journey man Steve Perry fills us in on how he overcame self-doubt to make his long-awaited comeback album – with one song that is, quite literally, a bit ‘old hat’…

Welcome back. It’s been a while.

I’ve lost track of the years. It’s a long time, for sure. But it really doesn’t matter.

After all those years without making music, how did you start again?

I never thought it would come back to my heart again, because I’d lost the passion for music some twenty years ago. But it did come back. I started writing. I bought a laptop and ProTools and I started sketching some ideas.

Did it come easily?

No. There were moments where I was wondering if it was going to show up or not. Moments where I’m going: “Do I think this good or not? Is it just me?” So I would play some of my sketches for good friends of mine, and from there I started getting my compass back emotionall­y as to what I thought was good enough to finish and get into the studio.

Did you work in isolation?

Mostly, yes. I had a studio in my house, and outfitted it with everything I always dreamed of having. It’s a really sweet, powerful little place. I recorded the whole album there, with the exception of one piano overdub, and the strings, which I did in Capitol Studios in Hollywood.

Was there ever a point during the making of the album when you had doubts about releasing it?

I had no contractua­l obligation­s. I was not on a label, so it was really up to me to decide if I like what I’m sketching or if I just want to delete it. So that gave me an intense amount of creative freedom.

What does this album represent to you?

This record is what I am now. After being gone for so long, I’m pretty different. But these songs have meaning. For sure, there are songs about Kellie, really heartfelt songs, but there is also joy in them, for the love we had. And in other songs there’s some of that old rock’n’roll aggression.

In the video for No Erasin’, the album’s lead track, you throw on a fedora hat – the same hat you wore in the video for your first solo hit, Oh Sherrie?

Yeah, I did that for fun. When I did my solo tour back in the day, I would sing the opening to Oh Sherrie and toss the hat into the audience.

There is so much emotion in your new songs, just as there was in Oh Sherrie and all those Journey hits. They were all big to me. I gave every one of those songs their just emotional support, and all the believabil­ity in all the performanc­es you could possibly put into them.

So is there more to come from Steve Perry?

In this record, you can hear how many places I enjoy going musically. I will continue to do that. The response to this album has been overwhelmi­ngly wonderful. It feels good.

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