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Steve Perry Exclusive Interview: ‘It’s Been a Long Time Coming’

In an exclusive interview with Tara Madison, Perry confirms he has a new album coming out.


Former Journey frontman Steve Perry gained incredible success with the band from 1977-87 and again from 1995-98. His last solo album was “For the Love of Strange Medicine” in 1994. And then … radio silence.

What happened to Perry? We’ve all heard rumors of a huge falling out with Journey, but truthfully, no one fan could speculate what exactly went down in the end.

I’ve been blessed to have seen Journey in concert four times. Once with Steve Augeri and three times with the current singer, Arnel Pineda. The most recent being Aug. 11 at Fenway in Boston. I’ve always been a huge fan of their music and wished I could have seen them with Steve Perry, but I was young and always under curfew. Thanks, Dad.

On Monday, I noticed a crypic message on Perry’s instagram and Twitter pages (social media accounts that had previously been scrubbed of any news from the legendary singer/songwriter): “I know it’s been a long time comin’.” A gif that could be a hand written message.

Link in bio. . . . . #steveperry

A post shared by Steve Perry (@steveperrymusic) on

To me, the earth stopped spinning in that moment. All I could think was, “Yes! Yes, it has.” What does this little nugget of a tease mean? Then, the Earth resumed the spin, eventually in warp speed and I learned that Steve Perry has been working on new music. My fangirl flag was waving high.

Is this real life? It’s been so long. How would he sound now? What really happened in the late nineties? Where did he go? Why did I almost feel I had to mourn the passing of the voice that I grew up with?

I found out today that it wasn’t as dramatic as we might have thought. But certainly, perhaps, more heartbreaking. For Steve Perry himself.

“I just had to stop,” says Perry in an exclusive interview.

In a strange, yet kismet turn of events, Perry called me in the studio this morning. I was open arms and ready to get down to the nitty-gritty of what’s happened, what’s happening, and what will be.

“It’s been quite my own personal journey, to be honest with you, you know, since I left (Journey). I had to sort of walk away from it, with a sincere desire that I had to find a different life,” he said. “I just needed to find a life that was enough on its own. …

“It took me a long time to get that passion back. I mean years.

“I needed a break and I needed to be OK in my life on my own terms, meaning I had to be enough. I love the audiences and I love performing, and every night the adoration was overwhelming, but at some point, my love for music got a little bit damaged, and I was afraid that I was losing my initial love for music that I discovered when I was 5 or 6 years old.”

Perry’s father was a singer, and he recalls watching his dad perform when he was 4-years-old, looking up at him thinking, ‘I can do that!’ Eventually, Perry was the lead singer in a cover band, performing the hits of that time, until ultimately singing his own songs and then joining Journey in 1977.

After he left Journey, Perry focused on himself and eventually met the love of his life, Kellie Nash, a psychologist, through friend Patty Jenkins, who was directing a Lifetime special about breast cancer, featuring Nash who was in stage 4 of breast cancer at the time.

“She showed up when I stopped looking,” says Perry, speaking of Nash.

“There was something in me that rang a bell and then my head said don’t do this. She’s not well,” Perry recalls. “You know, I’ve already lost my parents. I’ve lost my grandparents. I don’t want to lose anymore. I’ve had to leave the band. I’m just trying to be OK alone.”

Thankfully, Perry followed his heart and spent a year and a half with a woman that fought for her life, and he never left her side, faithfully, until she passed in December 2012. Perhaps it was finding Kellie and himself in the process that Perry was able to get back in the studio, after more than 20 years.

Whatever it took, Perry confirms he has a new solo album named “Traces” that comes out Oct. 5. In addition to producer/guitarist Thom Flowers, Perry worked with some amazing musicians on “Traces,” including drummers, Josh Freese, Vinnie Colaiuta and Steve Ferrone; bassists Pino Palladino, Nathan East and Travis Carlton; guitarist John 5, and keyboardists Roger Manning and Jeff Babko.

Is this new album a completely different sound than we know from his Journey and solo days? Perry assures us that his iconic voice hasn’t changed much. Sure, maybe he doesn’t have the range he used to but he still has a high falcetto and has evolved in his music composition and lyrics.

“My song writing has sort of evolved with me in it. It’s still me, but the candy wrapper around it is a different wrapper,” Perry explains.

The title track “No Erasin’,” is a song about reconnecting with someone at a school reunion, but if you really want to dig deep, it is a metaphor about missing his fans and performing for an audience.

“The whole record, ‘Traces,’ has got very many different kind of like, moods and emotions to it. There’s some happy stuff, some rock-and-roll stuff, some fun stuff, but there are two songs on there that one leans towards the loss of someone dear to you called “Most of All” and the biggest one, that is absolutely the most painful is a song called “In The Rain.”

It’s about the loneliness of grieving for someone. The rest of the record is an amazing experience to listen to for me because it brings me back to emotions of writing music,” Perry explains.

Perry has been writing music for decades. So, what is his favorite song? “They’re all like chidren. Which one is your favorite? I can relate. Will Steve Perry go on tour next? He is not sure he’s ready.

“Traces” contains nine original songs and a cover of the Beatles’ “I Need You.”

Amazon Track Listing for Steve Perry’s ‘Traces:’

“No Erasin'”
“We’re Still Here”
“Most of All”
“No More Cryin'”
“In the Rain”
“Sun Shines Gray”
“You Belong to Me”
“Easy to Love”
“I Need You”
“We Fly”

Here’s a look at “Erasin'”

 

Pre-order Traces HERE

Hear the full interview with Tara Madison here:

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