Monday, October 31, 2011

Steve Perry Journey Interview Posts at

Melodic Rock is one of the sites I troll frequently for music news, and I have noted over the years that the guy who runs it is a big Steve Perry and Journey fan, and he has broken some great Journey stories - to me, at least.

He has been trying to land an interview with Perry for years and it finally happened. Please go to the MR site for the whole interview but here are some of the highlights:

On joining the band at the demand of the label:

Well then the label says “We want you to have a singer” and then they went, “Well, I don't know, I don't know.” So, all of the sudden, here comes me, and I think it was a real challenge for all of us to find out what that really meant. They had to let go of doing it their way. I was bringing in ideas; they were growing. But, I will tell you this…being the singer in that environment with them as we were growing together on the Infinity record brought a certain kind of vocal strength out of me that the band required it have. Otherwise, I do not know if I would have ever found that anywhere else.

On re-listening to old Journey tracks for the upcoming Greatest Hits 2 CD:

Emotionally, I had to really listen to the tracks closer than I had in years. It was truly, emotionally extremely painful for me to be perfectly honest with you because I forgot how great Neal was…and I forgot how great the band was. And I think I've gotten away from it long enough to see that. And I forgot some of the things vocally that I used to do. I'm thinking, 'I was out of my mind, what was I thinking?' (laughing), you know?

On the vocal demands of the Journey repertoire combined with the band's grueling tour schedule:

I didn't know what I had left until the next day. And that was the hardest thing to have to explain to the rest of the band members, the neurotic fear that I would be going through because I'm in one city tonight and all I know is I've got to give it everything and I'm not going to skate it. I'm going to put it out there. And I would. And I wouldn't know how much I borrowed from tomorrow's show until the next day. So I'd wake up in the morning in fear. Do I have laryngitis? Is it gone? Is it there? So I would just try to speak on the phone or say something. And then I would be in fear. I couldn't try to sing because it's too early. So, I would just shut up and live in fear for the rest of the day until about 4 o'clock, when it's too late to cancel the show. And now I'm doing the soundcheck, and now, during the soundcheck is when I find out what I have for the night.

On life after the second Journey breakup:

People think, “Steve Perry should be the happiest guy in the world, what problems could he have?” Well let me tell you what problems Steve Perry has. The only problem Steve Perry has is that he's alive just like you are and he has to wake up in the morning like you do and he has to face the world exactly like you do. I'm no different than anybody else. I don't have some special coupon that excludes me from life on life's terms. There is no special coupon. Though, I'll tell you something Andrew: When I was younger I thought that if I could become famous and everybody would love me I would kind of have a special coupon. But guess what? The reality was that after I'd attained that, I realized that I am no different than anybody else. I still have to live life on life's terms. When Journey broke up for the second time...I think it damaged all of us again...From that experience, they went on with someone else. And I went away. I did. I've been gone. I just went away and tried to figure out how to live life on life's terms and just come off the ride...So, I thought in my mind it was better just to run away and not feel any of it. And you know Andrew, that worked for quite a few years but it certainly isn't a way to live life and I do not recommend it! (laughing) I do not recommend running from life, though I needed to. Because the break-up was so painful for all of us. And I'm not saying just for me, goddamnit. I'm saying for all of us. Please, I hope you print this. I want you to print this. The break-up was painful for all of us. But it necessarily had to happen.

You'll have to read the rest of the interview to find out what Perry thinks of the band continuing on with other singers and other topics. It would be cool one day to have Perry reunite with the rest of Journey for one gig, like Pink Floyd did for Live8 or Zeppelin for the O2 gig. But even Steve Perry knows how demanding his songs are to sing, and I wonder if he'd be able to do it justice to himself. Still, how cool would it be to see one more time?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Paul Stanley Has Vocal Surgery

Love 'em or hate 'em, KISS boasts one of the best front men to ever grace the stage, vocally. Paul Stanley's pipes have improved exponentially over the decades and I have always been blown away at his vocal power. Forget that he sings inane lyrics and his oft-laughable stage banter has warranted whole CD collections on the bootleg market.

Put it this way - I can see KISS replacing Gene Simmons some day with some clone they pull from a tribute band or more likely, a well-publicized and promoted reality show a-la Rock Star: Superonova. Hell, they already replaced Ace and Peter! But who could ever replace Paul Stanley? I don't know. You don't agree? Go try to sing Love Gun and get back to me.

Anyway, I had noticed a rasp creeping into his vocals, especially on some tracks on the recent Sonic Boom CD. I thought, well, shit can't they fix that in the studio or have him re-do the vocal?

Guess not. According to reports, Paul had vocal surgery on Tuesday. Per CNN:

KISS lead singer Paul Stanley underwent successful surgery for "recurring vocal cord issues" Tuesday that the musician said Wednesday "come with 40 years of preaching rock 'n' roll." 

His doctors say Stanley, who's been touring and recording with KISS for nearly 40 years, will make a "swift and complete" recovery, according to a statement from his publicist. 

"I hold myself to a higher standard than others do," Stanley said. "With that in mind, I wanted to remedy a few minor issues that come with 40 years of preaching rock 'n' roll."
Here's to a speedy recovery Starchild!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Awesome Live Rendition of Abbey Road Medley

The 'side 2' medley of songs on The Beatles Abbey Road that starts with "You Never Give Me Your Money" and finishes with "The End" has got to be some of the best 16 minutes of music ever recorded. I am not kidding. The collection of little songs span all sort of different styles, and the flow is damn near magical.

The climax of course is a mimi drum solo out of "Carry That Weight" by Ringo followed by traded guitar solos between McCartney, Harrison and Lennon (in that order) and the final "and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make" bit. Makes the hair on my arms stand up every time.

There is a group of musicians called the Fab Faux that includes Will Lee, bass player in David Letterman's Most Dangerous Band. I had read about this group and how obsessive they are with recreating the sounds on The Beatles albums down to using the same kinds of amps and guitars.

My friend nedmusic passed on this truly gorgeous video of the Fab Faux doing the Abbey Road suite live in the studio last year. It is remarkable, and what is truly awesome is the vocal work. They really, really have those vocals nailed and if you believe what you read, there are no overdubs here - it's all live. Enjoy!

The Fab Faux - Abbey Road Side 2 (mostly) from The Fab Faux on Vimeo.