An interview with Steve Perry from Glamour.com
That Time I Talked to Steve Perry About Journey, “Don’t Stop Believin,” and Singing at My Wedding (What?!)
Thank you, Rob Light.
most of you don’t know Rob Light. Before last night, I didn’t even know
Rob Light. But now I consider him one of the coolest people in the
world (and not just because he managed to raise over $5.5 million for
City of Hope this year, which is the leading research and treatment
center for cancer, diabetes, and other life-threatening diseases). No,
in this case, it would be because without him being one of the most
powerful and respected men in the industry (he’s head of music and a
managing partner at CAA), I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet
and interview the one person I honestly never thought I would—former
Journey frontman, Steve Perry.
I don’t remember exactly when I
became so obsessed with Journey and Steve Perry. I never even saw him
in concert, and I think I was all of seven when he left the band. My
parents were never die-hard Journey fans. I remember being so happy that
The O.C.’s Ryan Atwood loved them just as much as I did. Whenever it
was though, I wondered why it took me so long to notice them in the
first place. And although “Don’t Stop Believin’” is and always has been
one of my favorite songs, it was songs like “Faithfully,” “Separate
Ways,” and “Ask the Lonely” that really got to me.
Steve Perry decided to take a break from the music industry—he recorded
such hits like “Oh, Sherrie” and “Foolish Hearts” as a solo artist
post-Journey—he’s stayed out of the limelight. So you can only imagine
when I saw his name on the tip sheet for the City of Hope Gala. Forget
about it, I was so there. (Oh, did I forget to mention that Stevie
Wonder would be performing and classic musicians like Heart, Michael
Bolton, and more were attending?)
But aside from being a huge
admirer of Journey and Steve Perry, I’ve also had another reason to
want to meet the “The Voice,” as he’s called. I’ve been telling people,
half-jokingly now for years, that Steve Perry is going to sing at my
wedding one day—he just doesn’t know it yet.
But here’s the
thing: I’m not engaged or even dating anyone seriously right now! But I
always thought no pressure because honestly, when was I going to meet
Steve Perry anyway? Funny how life catches you off guard when you least
Glamour: Steve, it is so nice to meet you! I have
to tell you, I don’t even know how to start this interview off, but to
tell you that I’m having a bit of a freak-out moment right now. You are
the one person I’ve always wanted to meet and interview.
Steve Perry: What?!
Glamour: Seriously?! You’re the Steve Perry!
Steve: I find that fascinating! I don’t understand that!
Glamour: See, I wish I grew up more in the ’80s…
Steve: I wish I grew up more in the ’80s too! [Laughs]
Glamour: By the time I was old enough to actually go to concerts and
appreciate your voice and what you did with Journey, you weren’t with
the band anymore.
Steve: Right, I understand.
Your voice is just incredible. And you’re going to love this part
because this is probably the most embarassing thing out of it all…
Steve: [Laughing hysterically]
Glamour: But here’s the thing: I’ve been saying to my parents, to
friends, to celebrities—I said it to Jerry O’Connell and the guys on the
set of We Are Men yesterday—that, “Steve Perry is going to sing at my
wedding one day. He just doesn’t know it yet.”
for a second while I realize what I've just said to Steve Perry. The
fact that he's now hearing the ridiculous statement that has come out of
my mouth. And the fact that he's not running away either. I, on the
other hand, think that I might. OK, let's continue.]
Steve: You never know! [Laughs]
Glamour: No way. Don’t tease me like that! I’m serious!
Steve: You never know!
Glamour: I’m not even engaged, but I’ve ridiculously convinced myself
that if I could just meet you, I could one day try to convince you to
sing at my wedding! That, and Sprinkles cupcakes is going to make the
cake. And I am so NOT one of those girls that plans their wedding!
Steve: You’ve got work to do!
Glamour: Sometimes I’ll run in to people that are like, “Oh, I’ve met
him, or I knew him,” and I said, “No, but do you really know him because
there’s going to be a day when I need to get in touch with him for
Steve: Well, we’ll talk! Really, we’ll talk!
Glamour: Well, you didn’t say no, so we’re off to a good start! But
seriously, your voice is just insane. How is your voice by the way?
Steve: It’s out of shape! [laughs] I haven’t sang much. That’s the problem. But I’m starting to warm it up.
Glamour: OK, so let’s say you’re in the car and one of your songs comes on. Do you sing along to it?
Steve: No. Because to sing that stuff, I gotta warm up! It’s kinda high. And I’m older too. It takes a lot of work.
Glamour: Oh, I don’t buy the age thing. Stevie Wonder is going to sing tonight and look at him.
Steve: But he never stopped. I stopped. I stopped for years. I stopped
to get away from it all. We were kinda big when I stopped. I was
fortunate to have had an amazing career. I just didn’t want to do it
anymore. My mother had passed away the year before and family stuff was
going on, and I just didn’t want to miss life. There’s a whole thing
called life, and it’s not just about the entertainment industry. There’s
more to life than singing and touring. The beautiful thing about this
business is if you’re fortunate enough to get in it, it’s amazing, but
it’s a choke chain if you don’t know how to put the brakes on for
yourself because it keeps rolling like crazy. The management kept on
booking us, and I had to get off [eventually].
Glamour: Was there a favorite song that you loved to perform live?
Steve: They were all some of my favorites, they really were. I would
say that “Separate Ways” was a strong song I liked doing. I loved “Send
Her My Love.” That had some vibes to it. “Open Arms”…I remember the
first time we played “Open Arms,” and Neal [Schon] won’t remember this,
but he didn’t want to play the song because it was a ballad and it was
going to be our fifth single. I said, “We gotta play it.” So we played
it, and as soon as Neal played the opening notes, the whole place
screamed. Neal was very happy. It went from that to “that song really
kicks ass,” even though it was a ballad!
Glamour: “Faithfully” is one of my absolute favorites.
Steve: Jonathan Cain wrote that song all by himself, which you can tell
by the lyrics is very emotional because he was going through a tough
time with his wife, and they ended up breaking up. So the song is really
Glamour: I know the band has Arnel [Pineda] now, and he’s great, but there is no one like Steve Perry.
Steve: Well, that’s very sweet. It’s a great gig, and he’s doing great.
Glamour: With all respect to Arnel, would you ever consider down the
line any type of reunion or is it too hard to even think of?
Steve: It’s too hard to even talk about to be honest with you. It’s too
hard to talk about. But God only knows. One thing about life that I
realize more and more is you can never say never, although it’s probably
better to say no.
Glamour: I totally get it. Now, City of
Hope. Tell me about your relationship with Rob Light and your
involvement with the organization.
Steve: When I did my solo
album, Rob Light was the one person who stood by me and convinced
promoters that Steve Perry’s solo album/solo tour is something they want
to embark on. He convinced a bunch of people to take a chance, and they
did. So because of Rob Light, people took a chance on me.
Glamour: On a personal note, my condolences because I know you recently
lost a very important person in your life to cancer, and I know you had
skin cancer earlier this year.
Steve: It’s getting better. As long as it’s off my body, I don’t care [if there is a scar].
Glamour: Listen, I’m the sunscreen queen, bringing it with me on every red carpet I go to.
Steve: Let’s do an ad for sunscreen! It’s just not safe anymore to be in the sun anymore. It’s not safe.
Glamour: Exactly. So lastly, I know you joined forces with the Chicago
White Sox in 2005 when they won the World Series and adopted “Don’t Stop
Believin’” as their anthem through it all. Then last year, you sang it
for the San Francisco Giants, who beat my beloved Cardinals in the NLCS.
Steve: Here it comes!
Glamour: So which team are you singing it for this year?
Steve: A-ha! I knew it! Well, I’m shocked the Dodgers are doing so
well. I’m shocked. Now, they did load the team up. They bought some
great players because they have the budget, but I don’t know. And
listen, I’m not a Dodgers fan. I’m a Giants fan, and that’s a rivalry,
but I gotta tell you, the Dodgers are really kicking some ass and they
have a really good shot at this.
Glamour: They play “Don’t
Stop Believin’” at Dodger Stadium, so I’d like to think that since
you’re a Giants fan, if they came to you and asked there’s no way you
could say yes. That’s like if the Cubs asked me to do something for
them. It’s a non-negotiable! (Sorry Cubs fans, I do love Chicago!)
Steve: Do you know that the Dodgers play [Don’t Stop Believin’] in the middle of the 8th inning?
Glamour: Yes! Yes!
Steve: Do you know when I leave? [Laughs] I leave at the top of the 8th! I wanna beat traffic too! [Laughs]
OK, so then this happened.
Let me just say, Steve could not have been cooler. Beyond
down-to-earth, so sweet, and incredibly gracious. That, and the fact
that he didn’t run away from me speaks volumes.
And then Randy Jackson came along and this conversation took place.
Glamour: Do you remember when I told you I wanted Steve to sing at my
wedding back when we were at the Clive Davis party? And then you
screamed out on the red carpet, “Find this girl a boyfriend now! Steve
Perry needs to sing at her wedding!”
Randy Jackson: Dude, I love him. Don’t you love him? [Randy starts singing the lyrics from "Faithfully"..."Highway run..."]
Glamour: Oy, look what I’ve created. Anyway, I asked, and he said we’ll talk!
Randy: Dude, he said he’d perform at your wedding?! Is he well? Is he sick? [Laughs]
Glamour: Are you jealous? Do you want to perform too?
Randy: So me and Steve can perform at your wedding, but you’re not getting married yet?
Glamour: Right. But getting you guys seems like the hardest part, so if
I can cross that off my list, getting the guy should be a bit easier,
Randy: Yeah, we need to find you a guy!
found myself telling Michael Bolton that I listened to “Time, Love and
Tenderness” at the gym the other day. (I wish I was kidding, but I’m
not). That was after I gushed to Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson that I was
belting out “Never” on the way to the event. It was like 1985 decided
to show up tonight, and turned me into a five-year-old.
*Steve donated three guitars at last night’s City of Hope event, which
he will sign personally. He also donated 40 vinyl greatest hits and
Steve Perry solo’s on 180 gram virgin vinyl. He’ll personalize them for
fans who end up purchasing the items. Visit City of Hope’s website to
find out more.
*On a somewhat related note, PBS’ “Independent
Lens” series picked up a documentary about Arnel Pineda’s road to
becoming Journey’s current lead singer. Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s
Journey is set to make its TV debut Sept. 30 (check your local PBS
Are you a Steve Perry fan? Which musician would you most want to sing at your wedding?