What's the best Steve Perry song
Steve Perry releases his new album after 24 years
Posted by Mike Langer on.
The legendary singer of the band Journey, Steve Perry, will release his new solo album "Traces" on CD, LP and in digital formats on October 5th after 24 years.
With his previous band Journey he had numerous hits such as "Wheel In The Sky", "Anyway You Want It", "Separate Ways" or "Don't Stop Believin" ". But other successes also followed solo, for example “Oh, Sherrie” or “Foolish Heart”.
The video for the song "No Erasin", a key song on the new album, documents how good Steve Perry's voice is still today. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oawl9e-tFVM
"I know it's been a long time comin '..." - these are the first words with which Steve Perry begins the song "No Erasin", the optimistic, life-affirming opening title of "Traces", his first solo album in almost 25 years. A lot of feeling, a lot of soul, a lot of conviction already resonates in these very first lines when Perry, who was to become world-famous as the voice of Journey and then also celebrated great success as a solo artist, opens what is probably the most personal and emotional work of his long career. ..
Certainly the waiting time was long, there is no question about that, but sometimes it takes a little more time: The result, “Traces”, is one of the reasons why it is such an immensely mature and inspired album. More than that: Steve Perry is running into a form that he would probably no longer have thought possible himself in the meantime. Equally massive, powerful, but also very intimate and personal, Traces doesn't sound like a rock veteran who dips his toes into the old rock waters again after a long time - instead you hear an artist who is so absorbed in his music , his vision that he could hardly believe it himself. “To be honest, I even thought in between that music was no longer an issue for me. That my heart was finished with it, ”Perry says. “I had a great time with a great band, and then afterwards I even had the opportunity to let off steam as a solo artist. After all, it was time to be honest with myself: In my heart I knew that this feeling just wasn't there anymore. "
All the hustle and bustle and associated excesses took their toll, as so often happens in the music world: So a burned-out Perry made the momentous and, as he says, absolutely necessary decision to turn his back on this whole business in the late 90s. Most noticeable was how rigorously he made this cut, because he actually never looked back. “Yeah, for a long time I couldn't even really hear music,” he recalls. “I played my last concert with Journey in February 1987. And then came the day when I realized that I just couldn't go on with any of this. I really felt like I had to jump off this carousel that kept turning; I had to get out of this big mothership that we had built together with so much hard work. "
Said mother ship, the band Journey, had already turned out to be one of the most successful and influential bands in the history of rock - this not only underlines the admission into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in April 2017. On this occasion, made Perry made one of his rare appearances to thank his bandmates and fans at the induction ceremony. “Thank you for all the music that we wrote and recorded together,” he said that evening in Brooklyn, “it will be in my heart forever.” And in the hearts of the fans, because those classics, the Perry wrote with Journey - including hits like "Open Arms", "Separate Ways (World's Apart)", "Lights", "Who's Cryin 'Now", "Any Way You Want It" and the ultra-long-lasting "Don't Stop Believin'" “, To name just a selection, are still running around the globe.
While this long series of successes is now a long time ago, “Traces” actually ties in with a point in his musical career that even predates this important time with Journey: Because even when Perry grew up in California's San Joaquin Valley, the music was that by far the most important thing in his life. She was his greatest passion on which all subsequent successes were based. And yet a good 20 years ago the point was reached when he simply knew that he had to take a different path. It sounds outlandish and remains inexplicable to many, but Perry, one of the greatest voices of the last century, simply lost faith at the point. Which is why he finally did the only thing he still thought possible: "I stopped singing," he says, looking back, "and began to live life according to its own rules."
For a long time it looked as if this would put an end to this exceptional career. It took love, and ultimately the loss of an extraordinary partner, before Perry's desire to share the music that was still in him flared up again. In 2011 he met a certain Kellie Nash, who was doing her PhD in psychology, through his good friend Patty Jenkins, the film director who also used Journey's “Don't Stop Believin '” in her 2003 film Monster , in those days but just struggled with breast cancer. In the months and years that followed, the relationship between the two Perry's life turned completely upside down. “I've had a couple of relationships, and each of them changed my life,” the singer says, “but when I met Kellie, it was a whole new level of change. I had to turn my whole being inside out to make my heart feel whole again. Sometimes it is almost the case that a heart does not feel full before it has been broken. "
When Nash finally lost the battle to the disease in 2012, it broke Perry's heart - and it was important to him to keep a promise he had made to her. “When Kellie was feeling really bad, she wanted me to promise her that I would no longer isolate me like that,” he recalls. "She taught me a lot during the time we had together, and one of the things is that it is much better to love and lose that love again than never to enjoy that love."
Little by little, Perry pulled out the first song sketches, approaches that he had partly shared with Kellie, whereby highlights such as “Most Of All” or “In The Rain” were created before they first met. These pieces also seemed to describe their love affair and to be about how this encounter would ultimately turn his whole life upside down.
“So it wasn't about finishing with it and going on, because on the contrary, I wanted to take everything with me, relive all my feelings and express them in the songs - hopefully to be able to move and help others,” says Perry . “One evening she said:‘ If something happens to me, promise me that you will not withdraw yourself like that. Because then I would have the feeling that all of this was in vain. ’I never forgot this sentence and this conversation in the years after her death ... and then my love for music gradually returned."
Finally, Perry brought in his co-producer and sound engineer Thom Flowers and got to work in his own studio in California. “So we first went through all of my demos - those musical traces that I had left behind. And then we started putting together a group of great musicians. ”So here, too, Perry kept his promise: he brought other people to his side to make his vision a reality, he didn't go into isolation again.
“In the beginning I only created a few of these tracks electronically on the computer, but in the end we had to translate these songs into reality,” says Perry. “That meant that musicians had to come along - real people who bring their hearts and souls to the studio. Every musician who can be heard on this album has contributed musically and emotionally. An example: Vinnie Colaiuta - he doesn't just play drums, he plays music! As a rule, he happens to be sitting on the drums when he does that! Without exception everyone who wrote or recorded these songs with me made this record possible in the first place. "
What you notice after a few bars is that Steve Perry's voice has even more soul today than it used to. It sounds experienced, matured: "I've always seen my voice as something processual, something that you keep working on," says the singer and laughs. “Singing is always an unpredictable thing. After all, your instrument isn't exactly about placing a finger on a string, pressing your finger on keys, or holding drumsticks. Your instrument is just ... you! "
The already mentioned first album harbinger "No Erasin" is about an emotional homecoming. "It's about a class reunion in the old farm community where I grew up. Specifically, it's about this return: You make contact again with someone you haven't seen for a long time, in a place where you used to hang out and make out - only the whole thing is a metaphor for my audience, which I have been for years have not seen, and suddenly I'm back at their side, sitting in the back of the car with them, so to speak. "
Another highlight of “Traces” is the song “Most Of All”, written together with Randy Goodrum. Goodrum had already co-wrote Perry in the eighties, for example for songs like “Oh Sherrie” and “Foolish Heart” from the successful first solo album “Street Talk” (1984). "The song‘ Most Of All ’was written two or three years before I met Kellie for the first time," says the singer. “And because it's about losing a loved one, I never played her the demo version of it. Deep in our hearts we both hoped that the power of our love might be able to give their immune system a helping hand ... and that's why I was afraid to bring this sadness of the piece into our world. Well, that's why she never heard him. But at some point I realized: This song was about Kellie - and that even before we met. Now he's definitely talking about her. "
As for “No More Cryin '”, written by Perry and Dan Wilson, who used to be part of Semisonic and otherwise worked with Adele, among others, with Booker T. Jones helping out on the Hammond organ, that's “really nice difficult to talk about. I just want to say: There are also hints about the isolation, about my past, although all of this ultimately turns into a love song. But when someone else hurts you, there is usually some kind of love involved. It wasn't until the very end that Thom discovered this song on one of my drives, and it was he who really wanted to start there and continue working on it. It's now one of my personal favorite songs from the album. "
In the course of the album, which is structured extremely coherently, “Traces” ends up with a hard-won feeling of being still alive - a small victory against time, which ultimately has to win against everyone. "Under neon lights, we claim this town / No one can take us down" is one line from "We're Still Here" - we are still here. This song, which Perry wrote with Brian West while he was composing a massive string arrangement with David Campbell, was inspired by a foray through Hollywood: While walking the streets of the metropolis, Perry felt a very special connection to the younger generation which is just as wild today as it used to be ...
In general, on “Traces” Perry finds the balance between the setbacks and losses that life inevitably brings with it, and a feeling of hope, of new possibilities. Over the driving foundation of “Sun Shines Gray”, which Perry composed with John 5 and Thom Flowers, he sings to go with it: “Even though / Our love was lost somehow, some way I know in my heart / We'll love again , and won't let go. “So it goes on ...
Perry is also looking forward to the upcoming concerts for the new album, although he has not been on a stage for so many years. “One of the groups that kept reminding me of my love for music is The Eels. The singer from the band, E, used to ask me again and again if I could not join in for an encore at their concerts. So at some point I agreed, took the stage after about 25 years - and I was really nervous. I had no idea what my vote would or would not do. But that voice that I was worried about was suddenly just there. And that's because the audience wanted it this way: I should go out and find this voice for them. It was then that I realized that I need the audience to find this voice. I can't do it alone. "
"I wouldn't have even started again if it wasn't absolutely honest and really about the music itself," the singer concludes. “I don't want to exceed anything that I've done before - or exceed anyone else or anything. I don't care about any of that today. In the end, it's very simple: when I had something to say again, I said it. And now I just want to make the music that is really close to my heart, that means something to me. I hope that then maybe it will really mean something to other people as well. "
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