By DONNA BALANCIA
Steve Perry debuts the video for his new single “We’re Still Here,” off his forthcoming Traces album, due out Oct. 5.
Traces is the former Journey singer’s first solo album since For the Love of Strange Medicine released in 1994.
During a recent interview with Q-104.3 FM’s Jim Kerr, Perry said it took a lot of emotional strength to walk away from Journey in 1987 after 10 years.
“Every once in a while somebody will say Steve Perry’s at the ball game, he’s with his beloved San Francisco Giants,” Kerr said. “Or, ‘Oh Steve decided to get up on stage with some buddies and do a song or two.’ You having left Journey were in the midst of a successful solo career. …When I read the explanation .. You decided to step away from music when you lost your love for it.”
Watch ‘We’re Still Here’ here:
“That’s basically it,” Perry said. “We worked really hard and were very fortunate to have that kind of success that means you’re gonna work exrtra hard because you are successful. We were playing big venues, it seemed like it was never going to stop. Which, I loved performing for the audience, that in itself is a very intoxicating drug unto itself.
“It’s dream come true for a kid like me from the central San Joaquin Valley of California to get into a band and become successful… But at the edge of leaving I was getting so crispy, I was just burnt out. and when I was really young, when I was five or six years old I discovered music, I would listen to these 45s and ask, ‘What are they saying?’ ‘How are they saying it?’ ‘Why does it feel so good?’ ‘Listen to those drums,’ I became captivated by the landscape of the music coming out of my record player and I never lost the passion for it. It went with me everywhere. My parents split up a year later, that passion saved me, it really did.
“Fast forward to getting the opportunity to be in the band, I took that passion with me. Through the Journey material I had the passion there.
“Through the end of the cycle we’re talking about, also mixed with performance enhancing behaviors that was called burned out. And the only thing that made sense to me band was going to be an unpopular decision and I know the band was not going to like it and I know it was not going to be nice to the fans, but at some point I had to take care of myself.
“Once I stopped I realize there’s a lot of work to be done. I had to be OK away from all that. I had to find a way to me just being enough now. We don’t become performers or radio personalities because you don’t love performing. So there’
“There’s an aspect of that that enhances your life and to walk away from what you love doing because it enhances your life is hard. To be able to be enough without it was the real challenge. I felt that had to be foundationally, inside my chest, had to be addressed.”
Will Steve Perry Work With Journey Again?
When asked if he would ever work with Journey again, he did not discount the idea.
“Right now I’m just really pleased that I found my songwriting again, my conviction to singing again,” he said. “Right now I’m just committed to what I’m doing right now.”
Kerr brought up the relationship with Dr. Kellie Nash and the promise that ensued.
“You met Dr. Kellie Nash through your friend,” Kerr said.
“Thank you for calling her ‘Doctor’ Kellie Nash, she worked very hard to get her Ph.D,” Perry said. He then recalled when they met.
” … When I met her she already had a clientele,” Perry recalled. “I showed up at her place of work … I pushed a button in the waiting room, she came out in a grey dress down to her knees and snakeskin high heels and very little makeup on … I looked at her and thought ‘Oh my goodness, she loves her work she has a job.’ It was so sexy to me to see her be so independent and loving something she’s crazy about, it was attractive to me and I fell in love with her. … She was fighting breast cancer when I met her for three years, and going through chemo which was the only thing you could do back then, and I couldn’t separate myself from her, I wanted to be wherever she was. I lost her (in 2012) we were together for a year and a half and that year and a half felt like five because it was so intense together.
“… One night we were talking and she said, ‘Honey I need to ask you a question, I said what’s that, ‘If something were to ever happen to me, make me a promise me you won’t go into isolation again and this would make this all for naught.’ I thought this was a huge statement. … It was a huge moment and I just said ‘I promise.’ After I lost her, after two maybe three years of serious grieving with assistance from professionals I got through that process, and I started to write music, I think it opened my heart up again.”
Watch the Q-104.3 FM interview with Jim Kerr here: