FOR THE LOVE OF STEVE PERRY
This website is a tribute to Singer, Songwriter Steve Perry and his amazing career with Journey and as a solo artist.
Steve Perry Answers YOUR Questions!
November 15, 2005
I'd like to say to all the fans who remember the way it was.....It was so long ago that we were together and yet, it seems like yesterday. I guess our time together is timeless, it really did happen and now it's ours forever. Because of all of you, my life was launched into “Living The Dream.” I hope we do see each other again, somewhere, someday.
When you think back to the night that the concert was recorded what is the first memory/impression that comes to mind? What was your favorite song or experience that night? I loved seeing you at the World Series having fun, even though the Sox beat my team. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your beautiful music.
SP: My first memory of the 1981 Houston show is that I had to get used to the cameras being on the stage. After I forgot they were there, I had a blast. I can't really pick a fave tune because the show has so many songs that I'm very proud to have been a part of.....The WHITE SOX experience was the most fun I've had in years. It was magic.
Will the DVD and the CD be sold together or separately?
SP: My understanding is this is the Collector's version. They are together for that reason.
I would like to thank you for many years of great music. You are one of the best vocalists of all-time. Regarding the Houston 1981 DVD, why was “The Party's Over, (Hopelessly In Love)” not filmed?
SP: Good question. When I went back to see what footage we may have laying around, I found out that we played that song on the previous night and though the recording truck was taping the audio, MTV was not taping the video. Because they were taping it for their network and because MTV was only 3 months old, I figured it was a budget thing and they decided to only film the one show. It just ended up being the night we didn't play “The Party's Over.” We do have the audio, though.
The Dual Disc format is the latest high tech development to catch on in digital home music though utilized mostly with studio-recorded albums. Was there any discussion of utilizing that format for the release of the Journey Live in Houston DVD and CD? Thanks for seeing through the production and long talked about release of this historic, landmark concert.
SP: Sony and I decided to do separate disks for now. I like the idea of having one in my car and one in my DVD player. I never really liked taping live shows because it would place heaviness on the freedom of the show. There were times when I'd show up at the arena for a sound check and see a recording truck parked in back and, HONESTLY- I'd pull a bit of a moody. But I'll tell ya NOW - I'm so glad the management did it anyway because I think this show was a real special performance that I'm glad to say, is NOW - “Journey Live In Houston 1981 Escape Tour.” P.S. – oh, and by the way, for the best fidelity please make sure to go into your DVD menu and turn the Dolby compression to – OFF. For some reason, the Dolby Corporation seems to think that all DVDs should be running Dolby automatically. This is a problem for a non-Dolby live concert like this as it was for Bruce Springsteen's “Live In Madison Square Garden.” That is why there was a warning sicker on his DVD and there will be a sticker on this one, too asking you to turn your Dolby off. The sound is too good to allow it to be over compressed for no reason.
Thanks again for giving us this opportunity and for bringing us what has to be an amazing DVD. Can you tell us about some of what goes into producing/remastering? Thank you for all you have shared and continue to share with us.
SP:The producing of the DVD started with transferring the mutitrack audio tapes to Pro-tools and looking into each and every track, whether it be drums or vocals or whatever, to see what shape they were in after sitting in a vault for 24 years. They were in great shape so then I went in to clean up some pops and clicks or other kinds of non-musical sounds. Then with a live running video of the show, the tracks were taken to Allen Sides and together we started to re-mix the show in Stereo on a R88 Neve console. This took some time because like myself, Allen Sides is a perfectionist, too. It wasn't that it had to be perfect, it was to make sure that all the hidden performances were not missed and to make it sound as big as I remember it when I was standing there.
After we had finished the stereo mixes we started on the 5.1 Surround mixes. This was like doing it all over again. Tearing it down and starting again in 5.1 is the best way to make it sound the best. That was a long one, too. I think we spent 6 weeks on all the mixes. Then Michel Rubenstein and I started the video editing and assembling of the interviews, the slide show, the 1981 CBS promo piece and then doing some edits on the main show. I took the video and all the mixes to Bob Ludwig and he mastered the audio in Stereo and 5.1 Surround. The cover artwork was being done at the same time at Sony by David Coleman. There are so many little things, like the main menu pages which all had to be designed and inserted..........the bottom line is it was a 3 month project and watching it would run me through memory banks in my head ALL OVER AGAIN. Yes.... I would go from working, to TOO emotional to look up at the video screen. I did not know I would re-live it but I did and it was painful and very wonderful, too.
Is there any possibility that you might follow up the Houston DVD with an autobiography/memoir? Thank you for all the amazing music over the years.
SP: For now I think interviews and Q&A like this will be the ticket.......all the best.
Describe the feelings you experienced singing in front of packed stadiums and the connections with your fans while they sang in unison with you or, at times, back to you when you held that mike towards them.
SP: Like having one huge Private Party and everyone is having a great time watching me do what I dreamed someday I would have the chance to do. Oh boy was it SWEEEEET!!!
Were there times when you were working on this DVD that you felt you couldn't get thru it and kind of wished you never started it?
SP: Well if the truth be known......YES. I thought I was going to have an emotional crash one day because “Open Arms” and “Don't Stop Believin'” were so emotional for me. I had never heard them sound so good. Every time I'd say on film, “Here's some new Escape music for ya” and JC would start DSB, the audience would respond in a way that would break me down. I'd tuck my feelings back and not look at the screen till it passed. I think in many ways, these performances are better than the masters.
I'm sending this message from Japan and I've been a BIG fan of yours since I was a high school student! (I'm 32 now). Will the Houston DVD be released over here in Japan, too!?
SP: YES - It will be released in Japan on February 1st of 2006.
Your voice and songs have made my heart sing for over 20 years. You also helped me to reconnect with one of my sons that I had not been able to find in a long time. Thank you for that, too. My question to you is, are you at peace and happy?
SP: That's a very powerful question. I think I'm in a good place right now. I've had some personal, tough times but anyone who's alive has those. I'm glad for you that you've reconnected with your son. My Dad left when I was 7 years old and we didn't get back together till many years after I was off the road. At least in the end, we had 5 good father and son years together before he finally passed.
I still remember the night I watched that concert for the first time on MTV. The band sounded so good. I remember the part where you almost got hit by Ross's bass guitar, but managed to dodge it.
SP: That was a close one. Ross was facing Neal and I came from behind him and to his left just as he was pulling his bass back to his left and into my right eye. Ross didn't see me. It was a close one.
Many DVD's have "Easter Eggs" (hidden features). Are there any Easter Eggs on the Houston DVD, and if so, any clues where to look?
SP: Not that I know of.
Do you ever listen to contemporary Christian music?
SP: I love all music if it's done well. I've always loved Sam Cooke's early Gospel years.
I was thrilled when I heard that the White Sox had chosen “Don't Stop Believin' as their teams “theme” song/motto! It was great seeing you enjoying yourself at the World Series! As a huge baseball (SF Giants) fan myself, I can only imagine at what a thrill it must have been witnessing and being a part of a winning sweep! Did being in the “spotlight” again motivate you to get back out there again? To start writing and/or singing again? Whatever you do Steve...you have given us...the fans...a lifetime of treasures in your voice and music and for that I am eternally thankful!
SP: Oh my...you're killing me with your sincere words. I thank you so much for your kindness and your support. I never wanted to disappoint any fans......and me not giving you what you wish for, sometimes makes me feel sad but I'm so glad you said, “Whatever you do” and then your words were so kind. I'm really taken with this question. Please know this - I am eternally grateful for everything you all have given this kid from a small farm town. My wildest dreams were realized and you were all there making it all happen. I Thank you, I Thank you, I will forever, Thank you!!!
Is there any chance we might see a DVD release of some of your solo material like the Street Talk videos or the promotional material for FTLOSM ? Thanks for keeping us believing all these years!
SP: You reaching out to me for more of the things I, too loved is truly inspiring. I always had confidence in my work but I think I got all my hope from you fans. I would like to assemble a Street Talk / FTLOSM DVD. There is a lot of footage that I have from rehearsals and from interviews. I never taped the live FTLOSM Tour because I wanted the performances to stay emotionally free. It was a really fun tour.
Sorry, this isn't a DVD question, but I was hoping you would share what kind of things you enjoy doing in your spare time or if you have any hobbies.
SP: People always wonder what I'm doing now. I'm really living a normal kind of life. I go to movies, baseball games, the Fair, go on road trips, sing a bit here and there, mostly in the shower or in my car, I think about my life too much, worry a bit too much every once in a while, laugh with friends, remember the past, wonder about the future, and hope for a good nights sleep. I really love a good cup of black coffee in the morning when I'm checking my e-mails. I obsess on sexy cars. Stare at beautiful girls and tell them how lovely they look........I could go on and on and on....!!!
I was a senior in high school and the whole world was a head of me! Having a brand new album from Journey made this even more exciting!!! Your voice and the words of this music was so awesome even to this day!! Your energy was electrifying!!!
SP: I love this. If you were a senior in 1981 then you're 42 now. That would make me........ah.......never mind............thanks for the good stuff!
Journey and Steve Perry is the most widely listened to music in my household. My son who is 9 has heard your voice since he was a baby and he has his own collection of music from you now. My son wants to know what flavor of milkshake you would order? I told him I would ask.
SP: I LOVE chocolate.......then second would be strawberry.
Did Josh Groban meet you the night he sang the National Anthem at the Sox game? You are his favorite singer. Would you ever consider a duets album?
SP: I saw him sing but then he was whisked away and I didn't see him again. I'd love to talk to him sometime. He's a very talented guy.
”Don't Stop Believin'” has been revived and played recently in so many entertainment venues (a major motion picture, a popular television show, a professional baseball team's new inspirational anthem). Longtime fans as well as a new generation of fans are identifying with, and rockin' to, that incredibly popular song. Other than DSB, what song from the Houston DVD do YOU feel was your best performance as lead singer (and why?), and.... which song was the best performance from the band overall?
SP: That's an impossible question to answer. I love them all for different reasons. I think that the performances on the Live In Houston 1981 DVD are the best I've ever heard thus far. The band had a mission, and that was to be the best it could be. I think this show is a testament to that.
When you go back and review the work of Journey as you did for the Escape DVD, do you ever find things that you would do differently now? I mean, do you mess with perfection? Does the artistic drive dictate that you must?
SP: I've always reached for more from myself so I could be happy with my performance. I don't like settling for “OK” or “Not bad” or worse - “FINE.” Fine is never good enough.
Do you remember what it was like stepping on stage for the Houston concert, knowing that the concert was going to be recorded and then broadcast on MTV? What kind of impact do you think it might have had on the MTV generation?
SP: Once I got used to the cameras in my face I ignored them and had a great time. As to what impact this show has had on the MTV generation, I'm part of the MTV generation and I think MTV forever changed the way we looked at music. Nothing was and is as powerful as MTV. They were always good to us and played all our videos. There is talk that this 1981 Houston show may air again on MTV and VH1. If you want them to show it.......email them and let them know.
Will you be taping any interviews for this DVD release?
SP: I'm really not sure yet but I will be doing all sorts of print press.
The music world misses your golden voice. Would you consider releasing some previously unreleased tunes?
SP: I have a lot of demo's and other stuff but when will I release them? - I'm not sure.
I am so happy to see that "Mother, Father" will be on this DVD. It has always been a favorite. Could you give us some insight into this song and its inspiration?
SP: It's about the family and all the life stuff that can test its core strength. It also has to do with alcoholism in the family.
If you could have any meal, anywhere... what would it be and where would it be?
SP: It would be anywhere in Italy in a restaurant by the water.
I know you've been a sound engineer for quite a while and with your work on Monster and with David Pack and then on this project—The Escape Houston ‘81 Show—I was wondering, how have you learned the new technologies? Have you just picked them up intuitively?
SP: The new technologies are amazing. I once had a reputation for being a perfectionist. I never understood that because all I was doing was reaching for performances that with the old school technology, took time. NOW - I can do the same thing in 5 minutes, so the goal was always the same, it's just easier to get to than before.
It was so good to see you at the Chicago game. You look fabulous. I hope you're in good health and doing well. What is your favorite song on the DVD?
SP: Thanks for the nice words. I really love “Stay Awhile,” “Open Arms,” “Mother Father,” and “Don't Stop Believin.” Oh, and “Who's Cryin' Now.” OH forget it, I love the whole thing for all kinds of different reasons. P.S. “The Party's Over” on the CD is one of my fave, one-of-a-kind, LIVE versions, too.
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you've done in the past with that gift of a voice you have there! It's like none other. Would you ever consider Broadway?
SP: I was asked a while back by a close friend who has had hits on Broadway but I respectfully declined.
Do you still play the drums? Do you have a favorite memory from the Escape Tour that you could share?
SP: My drum chops are really weak now. I haven't played in years. The Escape tour was when the band really came together and my singing had turned another corner. It was great.
Regarding the Escape Tour in 1981, can you please try and describe what it felt like to be on stage fronting the world's most successful band? If you could rewind to 1981, is there anything you would change?
SP: We might have gotten along better as a band but success changes everyone, not just bands! We did the best we could at the time.....it's what bands do.
I just want you to know that “Easy To Fall” got me off drugs and has helped keep me clean for three years now. Did you have any idea that your voice and music would impact so many people for so many years, and that so many people would still really love you so much?
SP: You are the very first person that has ever told me this. It is about alcoholism, drugs, relationships and what happens when it all stops working. Congrats' on your 3 years.
Do you think you sing better live, on record, or in the shower?
SP: Well, of the three, in the studio, I can hear myself in the headphones with effects and then it's easy to get lost is the fantasy of the song. That's when some surprise vocal things can happen.
It's great to see you out at baseball games and having fun. My question is: Will Barry (Bonds) break the record next year?
SP: Oh yea....I think he will....I'm not sure how much of his knee will be able to recover. I do think he'll play left field and he will be whacking it out of SBC Park into your San Francisco Bay!!!!!!!
Do you do much reading in your spare time? If so who is your favorite author/book and has anything you've read ever inspired you to write a song?
SP: I never had a book inspire me to write but real life stuff has always been where I pull from. In everything you've ever heard me sing, there are pieces of real circumstances that have happen or I wish would.
When you are in your car going down the road with the radio on & one of YOUR songs comes on the radio, do you sing along with it?
SP: Oh my, are you busting me now. Well......first I listen to the track to hear how it feels. You see, over the years my perspective on all the tracks has changed. I don't hear them like I did. I now hear them more like you do. I guess getting away from it all has given me that. Oh and after that......I sometimes sing along and double my voice as if I was in a studio. I once got caught on the freeway singing to the radio by some fans driving next to me. They gave me a thumbs up.
Your songs have always made me smile whenever I hear them. What song makes you smile whenever you hear it?
SP: “Alea” by Donnie Iris, “Crazy” by Seal, “Baby I Need Your Lovin” by the Four Tops, “Cupid” by Sam Cooke, “Clocks” by Cold Play, Neal Schon's guitar solo on “Suzanne,” Joni Mitchell's voice, Jackie Wilson's voice, the drums on “Rockin' Robin” and many, many MORE!
I remember that you once stated that your dream was to write the ultimate song. While most of your songs are the ultimate to me, I was wondering if you feel that your dream has come true?
SP: No not yet, but I do remember saying that. There have been times when some of that was realized. There has always been a special place in my heart for “Still They Ride.” It's a cinematic tune.
Have you ever considered getting more into the producing side of the business and producing other artists and bands? Is this something that interests you at all?
SP: Oh yea and from time to time I help players in the studio get vocals or tracks. It's a way of sitting behind a console for a pinch.
Do you have any songs that you now feel very differently about than when you performed them?
SP: All of them have changed for me. I guess the time away from them has healed any “this or that could be better” thinking.......I do hear them with a more free perspective now. Sometimes they shock me to the point that - Dare I say - “They're much more emotion than I remember.”
What did you do while on tours to keep your voice in shape? Seems that singing night to night with such a range can be hard on one's cords.
SP: I wouldn't talk to anyone all day till the sound check. This put a little moody vibe on my relations with the band but it worked for my voice. I also think I was young and lucky to sing in a style that didn't tear it down.
As a child my Mom always read to me and my favorites were the tales of Bros. Grimm. Did your Mom read to you as a small child and if so what was your favorite childhood story?
SP: I don't recall Mom reading too much at all but my Dad always sang to me, especially at bedtime.
Do you still have that beautiful black tux jacket you wore that night on stage at the Houston show?
SP: I have almost all of them. I'm not sure if I have that exact one but I do have several black ones.
One of the reasons why you are my favorite artist is that you are so passionate when you sing. One can feel that you put your heart and soul into a song. I was wondering if you are passionate about anything else?
Like many singers have, I wonder if you ever sang in your church choir as a child.
SP: When I was 7 years old my Mom put me in a Barber Shop Quartet. We would sing at all the local functions and later I was in different choirs. I then jumped quickly to being a drummer-lead singer in an R&B band. We'd play all the after game dances all around the Valley. We were good, we were funky, we were R&B.
I always have one of your CDs in the mix at my coffee shop. What are your views on public places like mine playing your music in the background for their customers? Should additional royalties be paid or is buying the CD / DVD enough?
SP: No worries.....I appreciate you playing the tunes. I hope your customers don't get tired of hearing it.
I was just listening to FTLOSM and boy do we miss you. In “Young Hearts Forever” there's a small reference to a Phil Lynott/Thin Lizzy song, also Captured was dedicated to Phil Lynott. My question to you is: What is your link with Phil Lynott?
SP: I always respected his talent. In the early days with Journey, we toured together. I thought it was a real sad loss when he passed. So talented and I really loved his talking style of vocal phrasing.
Do you find it difficult to work on Journey projects due to the past circumstances with the members of Journey and if it is difficult, other than for the fans, why do you do the projects?
SP: Yes. The DVD did bring back many good memories and some not so good. I'm sure the same goes for the other guys, too. I do it because I have and always will believe in the songs and their timeless quality. This Houston DVD has some of the best performances of those songs. I just wanted them to be heard one more time, in all their LIVE glory.
I would just like to say first that you and I have something in common. We were both at every single concert you and Journey did in Houston! Why don't you ever wear a watch any more? May seem like a stupid question but I really would like to know.
SP: I have a cell phone if I should need to known the time. Besides I always know what time it is, It's NOW. hehehehehehee!!!!
What is the most difficult thing you have found about being a musician?
SP: After having some success, I think it's living up to the hype that comes with such success. It's almost impossible. That's why, when I do interviews, I never read them or watch them. I'd rather stay on my side of my experience and let you have yours all for yourself.
What was the most difficult song for you to sing during the Escape tour?
SP: At that time they were pretty much all OK and not one was more difficult than another. NOW - later, around 1983, I'd say the last high note on “Faithfully” was something I had to save a little up for, which was usually the last song.
I have been a fan of your voice and music since I first heard you in 1979! You are my favorite singer of all times! Just curious, is there a special lady in your life?
SP: There was, but as we speak, I'm single.
We all know you are a baseball fan. Are you a football fan, too and if so what is your favorite team?
SP: I've yet to get into the football thing. All that slamming into each other makes my body ache just watching it. I'm a baseball kind of guy!!!!!!
Being that the holiday season is now upon us once again, I always wished that you would grace your voice to some holiday music. So, my question to you is have you ever seriously considered singing some holiday music?
SP: Oh yes.....I'd like to but my problem is I don't know what to do first because I like all kinds of music. I do like listening to Nat Cole though, he's so smooth and classic.
Since the World Series, the song “Don't Stop Believin'~” is the #3 downloaded song. How excited are you that there is a second, possibly a third generation listening to your music?
SP: VERY!!!! To think that a whole new generation is getting into these songs is the greatest reward for everyone that was ever part of this music.
After FTLOSM was out, you mentioned in an interview that you were interested in creating a Web site, where you would have songs that would be available for direct download. Have you given any more thought to this idea?
SP: I still own steveperry.com but have yet to fly it. I guess I'm a bit reluctant for crazy personal reasons.
I read that you thought about being a DJ at one time. Given it any thought recently?
SP: Yes, but it would be totally anonymous so it could have no expectancy on it. I'd have a radio name and no one would know it's me. That would be fun.
In honor of the Houston DVD, would you mind if we (the Houston Astros) borrowed you from Chicago (White Sox) next season? They can have Biggio, we get Perry, and then maybe we will have a chance.
SP: If I could do anything I wanted I would want to be able and good enough to play one time in Major League Baseball. The players all remind me of what the music business used to be like. Players that must be good enough to go out there and PLAY. Those Killer Bee's are some serious hittin' boys!!
Do you ever just hang out and play any musical instruments for relaxation? Piano, guitar, bass?
SP: I go to recording sessions and watch 70 to 140 piece orchestras' play score for film. It's sounds so beautiful that it's almost not real. I mean, how do these musicians play with such feel reading sheet music like it was something they've played their whole lives? Unbelievable and relaxing.
I met you when you performed in Boston years ago and you were very kind. You autographed a photo for me and it has been in my home office ever since with a place prominence. I meet quite a few “famous” people in my business and am always afraid to meet the people I most admire for fear that they are not so nice (it has happened). You did not disappoint me and for that I'm very grateful! Are you ever afraid to approach other celebrities for fear of being disillusioned?
SP: YES Oh YES!! I was in L.A. back in the 80's and I was having lunch at a Mexican restaurant when I looked over to see Gladys Knight sitting across the isle in the booth. Oh my, I was stunned because I always loved her voice, especially her vocal on the song, “Neither One of Us.” SO - I was in the same fear as you, I was afraid to say “Hi” or “I just want you to know how much your voice means to me” because - If she was not nice, I would be unable to continue loving her. So I didn't do anything except dig her from across the room. I've heard she's nice but like you I didn't want to take the chance.
Are you/were you a fan of hard rock/heavy metal? Some of your music with Journey was clearly in that genre.
SP: I love the power of certain heavy metal acts. I went to a Rob Zombie / Anthrax concert the other night and they were great. If it's good - I like it.
What was your best time in Journey? When was it that you went to yourself “WOW, I'm having the time of my life?”
SP: I was in some arena in the mid west and as I was singing, I looked to the upper right tier of the arena and heard my voice soaring up to the top of the hall and I was watching it happen as if I was along for the ride. It was what runners describe as a kind of 3 rd person high. I knew then, it was all really happening!! I was LIVING THE DREAM!!
It was nice to hear you sing with the boys in Chicago. I was actually on board the USS Ronald Reagan somewhere in the Pacific Ocean when I saw you live on TV. Anyway, my question is when is the next solo album coming out? I think that the fans miss you a lot including myself, a big fan of yours. We play your music everyday out here in the Pacific.
SP: You guys are the best. Thanks for all your kind words and all your selfless devotion. It really makes me feel good to know that you take our music with you out there. Wow, that's the very best compliment anyone could receive. Thanks and be safe.
What is the greatest thing that fame has taught you?
SP: That all things eventually must come down. Especially fame. When the Journey ride was over, I knew I would have to come down to life on life's terms. In the beginning I didn't like it because whether you're a baseball player, a politician, actor, or a singer.....after you've been pampered with special treatment and plenty of YES people, it's easy to get spoiled. Eventually everyone's got to come back to their real lives. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I'm good now, too.
I was a service brat. I moved several times in my teen years. Luckily, in July 1981, I moved to the little tiny town of Lake Jackson, TX—40 miles south of Houston. I went to both of the Houston Summit shows!!!! I have always been proud of that. I just want to let you know, you are my source of Joy! I have attached so many of my memories to you. I hope that is something that gives you comfort.
SP: You're giving me comfort right now..........thank you very much!
What was the inspiration behind “Happy To Give” and why was it never performed live or filmed? It's truly beautiful music, lyrics and delivery.
SP: It's a search for the right one kinda song. It's a dream of everyone but maybe, while your looking for what you want you may pass over what you need. I'm starting talking in riddles so I think I'll stop for now.