Steve Perry Talks Journey Departure, Solo Album

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(Photo of Steve Perry by Myriam Santos; used with permission)

As full details finally emerged on the upcoming solo album from Steve Perry, the former Journey lead vocalist and songwriter openly discussed his reasons for departing the band for good some two decades ago. Following a burst of activity on social media platforms on August 13, in which Perry began to tease the long-rumored album, he formally revealed its title, artwork and track listing – and music video for the first track (see below) on August 15.

Traces is scheduled to be released October 5 via Concord Records. The album is available for pre-order here.

The leadoff track, “No Erasin’,” with a terrific vocal by Perry, was also released on August 15. Watch the music video below.

On August 17, Perry was a live guest of  Scott Shannon on New York’s WCBS-FM. The veteran disc jockey’s first question: “Where’ve you been?”

“Wow! That’s the question of the day,” said Perry. “You know, the band was really really fortunate to be successful and at some point I got a little bit toasty, a little burned out, coupled with a serious touring schedule. And like I said, being crispy. Back in the day we all had a little bit of what we might call ‘extra party behaviors,’ maybe — and when you put the ‘party behaviors’ together with a little bit burned out — I was toast.

“It was an unpopular decision I came up with at the time which was just to stop. I told the band and they were not happy about it. But the biggest thing I was really concerned with was the fans. Because I knew it was going to be a painful decision for me to walk away, but sometimes you just have to take care of yourself, even if it hurts to do so.”

Watch the interview here.

In the August 15 album announcement, Perry said: “Putting 30 years into 10 songs has certainly been an emotional experience for me. I started writing and recording these songs with the creative freedom that I was the only one who would ever hear them. Along the way, I rediscovered my love for music. Each track represents traces of my past, but is also a hopeful look into the future. I invite you to listen with an open heart.”

On August 13, Perry launched a website – StevePerry.com, naturally – and established a Facebook page and Twitter account. Each featured the handwritten words “I know it’s Been a long Time Comin’…”

This message appeared on Perry’s social media platforms Aug. 13. “Long Time” = 24 years

Those words had a double meaning: It’s been 24 years since his most recent solo album, For The Love of Strange Medicine, was released in 1994; and they’re the first lyrics in “No Erasin’.”

Watch the music video for “No Erasin’,” released on August 15

At the time of Journey’s 2017 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Perry had announced that he would release a new solo album later that year. He described the process to ABC Radio, calling it a “cathartic” experience. “I met someone and I fell in love with this person,” he told the radio network. “And I lost this person to breast cancer four years ago. In the midst of that, I had written some songs, and before I met her I had sketched some. And so about a year ago, I started recording.

“Basically, the record is an emotional expression, and a reason to make one,” he continued. “It’s been a real cathartic experience going back to that emotional place that I thought I would never go back to. And we really have been doing our very best to capture what I think are some timeless songs.”

The album’s 10 tracks include nine originals, plus a cover of the Beatles’ “I Need You.”

Traces Track Listing
No Erasin’
We’re Still Here
Most of All
No More Cryin’
In the Rain
Sun Shines Gray
You Belong to Me
Easy to Love
I Need You
We Fly

Steve Perry of Journey speaks onstage at the Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclays Center on April 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Used with permission)

At the induction ceremony, Perry used his time at the microphone to thank all of the other members, including Arnel Pineda, the band’s current singer. The band, sans Perry, performed the Journey hits “Separate Ways (World’s Apart),” “Lights” and “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

Related: Journey’s 2017 Rock Hall induction

Journey founder Neal Schon – and, with bass player Ross Valory, one of only two remaining original members – has been paying tribute to Perry with a nightly dedication of the band’s 1978 hit single, “Lights,” while on Journey’s current tour with Def Leppard. The song, co-written by Schon and Perry, was featured on the band’s fourth full length album, Infinity, and has become one of their most popular and easily recognizable songs.

Perry has also written, or co-written, such classic rock songs as “Oh, Sherrie,” “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin'” and “Any Way You Want It.”

Before the Rock Hall induction, Perry last appeared with Journey at their Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony on January 24, 2005.

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