Journey Force Interview - "Reflections"
Force: We've received a tremendous amount of calls and letters in response to the Christmas card that you sent out and the donations you made to the Northern California Earthquake Relief Fund on behalf of the members of the
Force. Were you here when the earthquake hit?
Steve: No, I was in Los Angeles. I was in the studio when my accountant called and told me that there was a serious earthquake in San Francisco. My first impression was that it was just another quake, because we have so many rumbles all the time. When I got back to the hotel, I turned on the television. The Bay Area couldn't get their systems up but they were feeding into the network so in L.A. we could get more information than San Francisco could. We saw footage down here that was just frightening. For the first time in my life, I can't even remember, when, I truly, truly felt emotionally homeless. It threw me back pretty hard and the next day I felt exactly what I thought I wouldn't feel. Everbody talks about the post-stress syndrome; I thought, 'oh sure, I won't go through that.' It hit even harder the next day, especially when I was trying to reach people I knew up there. It took two or three days before I could get through. Finally a friend got a message to me through my office... an early, early morning call. It was a pretty frightening experience, I'm sure, for everybody who was there but I think it was equally as frightening for people who weren't there.
Force: That's interesting because we've talked to so many people who were here but we haven't talked to many people who live in the Bay Area but weren't here, to see how they felt about it.You mentioned you were in L.A. working on your album. How's that coming?
Steve: (pauses, then laughs)
Force: See how we eased into that one? Set him up with the earthquake question, then...
Steve: (more laughter) There you are, you ask me about the earthquake which is a very, very sensitive issue with me because it opened up a lot of feelings and I confronted a lot of my fears personally about life and things. Then you say 'and speaking of the earthquake, how's the record coming.' (laughs) You should work for CBS News or something. (more laughter) Well, about the record... when you're writing songs recording them and singing them, there are certain jobs to be done and you do them when they present themselves. That's what I've been doing. I've been taking care of the singing part of it, and now I'm in the mixing stage on most of the songs. I'm not quite sure if I've even finished. I can only continue to work on the record like a painting. When it's done you pull back and say 'I'm dropping the brush. I don't want to put any more paint on this.' That's the balance, to know when to stop. I understand that, but at the same time I'm really enjoying the making of this record and when you do something you enjoy doing, it's kind of hard to stop. I guess if anybody else wants to enjoy it, I should get it done!!!!
Force: There are alot of people who are anxious to hear it and see it out.
Steve: So am I! I'm anxious to hear it and see it out, too. (laughs) I'd like to hear it on the radio just once. I mean I've heard so amy groups out right now that sound so much like Journey it's jsut amazing to me. I think we've had this conversation before, but I think the intensity and the clone-ability of groups copying the Journey essence is amazing. I've always heard that imitation is the highest form of flatter, but I don't know. (laughs) It's obviously making some people happy, whether someone else plays it and it sounds like Journey or Journey plays it, the music makes people happy so I guess that's not a bad thing.
Force: A few months back you went onstage here in the Bay Area and performed a few songs with Bon Jovi. How did it feel being back onstage again?
Steve: (pauses) Wow. I'd forgotten what it felt like to be onstage. I was really, really pleased that Jon (Bon Jovi) was so insistent on me going out there and doing that because I came to watch them do their show and he was the one who kept saying 'come on!' I was saying 'Jon, this is your crowd; they love you. This is your show. I just came to watch you guys play. I'm more than happy to enjoy your show just as I'm sure the audience has come to see you for the same reason.' He kept on going 'no, no, no, no. You've gotta come up, man. We'll do this Sam Cooke tune "Bring It On Home To Me." We also did "Reach Out" by The Four Tops. "Reach Out" was a song he'd seen Journey do at the Meadowlands in NJ just before Bon Jovi started their tour. He knew "Reach Out" and they were doing it, so I said 'well, I'd love to do it.' I hadn't been out there in a couple of years, so I grabbed the mic and said to myself, 'I'm just going to go out there and enjoy myself.' And I did; I enjoyed it very much. A friend of mine who works on the Bon Jovi crew gave me a microphone that he had for years. I used it on the Infinity tour and I couldn't believe that he had this same mic and I recognized it. It really was a fun thing and it was great to hear and see the crowd's response. It made me very happy!!!!
Force: The crowd response was pretty overwhelming. Since you enjoyed being onstage again and everyone obviously enjoyed watching you perform, is it something you want to do behind the solo record?
Steve: Well, that's out of my hands. I don't know what will happen. I'm just trying to do the best I can to live a good, quality life nad make some quality music. If the record is successful and if it seems like people want to see me go out on tour, then I guess that's something I woud love to do. But that's not in my hands, really.
Force: We wanted to wish you a happy belated birthday. Did you do anything special?
Steve: Not really, I spent a pretty quiet birthday. I was staying at a hotel and they were nice enough to give me a cake. I took it down to the office and shared it with the staff. We all sat around, had coffee and cake, talked and laughed... it was good. Also, I've gotten a lot of letters and cards from all the fan club members who wished me happy birthday, which is really uplifting and nice. Birthdays were always something very special that my mom took extremely joy with. Of course, I could never understand why. I mean, she had me that day. (laughs) She used to really enjoy doing the birthday thing. Now, when birthdays do come, I have to stay focused on the importance of that day. It was really a day of celebration from my mother's standpoint that she had a son. I can look back and say that was the day my mom had a son and I became... me! It has a lot to do with parents and gratefulness for what you have and what you've been given.
Force: We've entered a new decade.... the 1990's. Did you make any resolutions?
Steve: (pauses) I did make some, but they are just like the things you say to yourself when you blow out the candles on your birthday cake. They are best not to be said because they are personal, maybe even emotional desires that you want to give yourself as a gift so you can feel better about your life. Those are the kind of things I've given myself or tried to allow myself to have, but as far as any outside goals, I really don't have any. Most of the goals for 1990 are internal for me. I feel if I can meet those internal accomplishements then everything else will just be better.
Force: You have written a lot of great lyrics over the years. Do you have a personal favorite?
Steve: (pauses) There's so many of them that I don't know. If you look at the entire time that I was in Journey and then the solo material, too, there are so many lyrics. The lyrics that bring hope are the ones I like the most. Songs like 'Don't Stop Believin'' and 'Be Good To Yourself.' 'Be Good To Yourself' is a really powerful song about putting too much importance on the outside of what people do or don't give you. You know when nobody else will, you'd better be good to yourself because nobody out there is going to give you what you really need. You have to give that to yourself. That lyric is pretty prominent in my mind right now, but there are a lot of them that are my favorites for so many different reasons. That's a hard question.
Force: Is there anything that you would change in your life if you could go back in time?
Steve: Regrets are tough. I don't really know how to answer that. To go back and say 'if I had it to do over again, maybe I wouldn't have been this way in that certain circumstances,' or 'I wished I would have been more like I am now' is unfair because I had to work my way through so many things. Unfortunately, some of the residue of me being a certain way in my past got me to where I can look at it objectively now and think 'I feel better now', or 'I wish I would have done something differently.' It's hard to go back and have regret for something I've done only because those things have played an important part in the big picture. I hope that's clear. After saying all that I'd say if, in a perfect world, *if* I could be thinking the way I am now, then I probably wouldn't have done some of the things I've done.
If there was a wish I could have, it would be to have seen people that have touched my life and people who's life I have touched, place a better priority on the ral importance that each of us played in each other's lives instead of taking it for granted so much. That's something that would be great. In the case of Journey, I think we took it a lot for granted how many people we were touching. I think we *knew* and were grateful but we were so wrapped up in going so fast; it was moving so quickly on us. Only after you get out of it can you look back and really realize the kind of music you were involved in. It's just like any relationship, whether it's a past marriage or whatever. Anything that has the word relationship is a day to day thing.
In relationships, there's always going to be those thoughts that maybe we shouldn't have been so tough on each other. But some of that is necessary and some is important. Time is a precious thing and it would be nice for people to get along better. This is just a wish for the world, really. It's not just a relationships or bands. It's a feeling that I look back on a lot now. It's a general feeling that fits everywhere. (pauses) You ask me a question, you're not going to get a simple answer, I'm telling you right now, (laughs) you sit me down and ask me a question and you've got me! (laughs)
Force: Well, that's about it. Anything else you'd like to add?
Steve: In closing, I would like to thank everyone for sending in the responses to the Christmas card I sent out explaining the donation I made to the Northern California Earthquake Relief Fund on behalf of the Journey Force. The reason I did that was this year, instead of going out and sending a Christmas card with a picture on it or giving friends new Veg-o-matics or something like shower radios, instead of doing a worthless thing like that, I felt it wasn't in the spirit that ws intended. I decided to give friends and all the fans out there, who are also friends, close and far away, a gift that actually would do some good. Something they could actually feel. That's why I decided to donate in everybody's name a given sum of money and when it was all done, I had a big check because that fan club list is big (laughs). It was really fun; it was really worth it because I committed myself to it and I went all the way with it. It really felt good to turn that check over to the Relief Fund. Anyone else out there who is a Journey fan who just wants to send somthing, even just one little dollar to the Earthquake Relief Fund, it would be incredibly appreciated and I would really appreciate it on their behalf. They'll let me know about it and it would mean so much. See you all real soon. Thanks a lot. Take care of yourself. Bye.