Article by Thom Jennings

Video: Steve Perry performs with The Eels filmed by Paul Frank

Saturday, June 7th, 2014, New York – Three of the biggest names from the arena rock era, Foreigner, Styx and Journey are all hitting the road this summer, and still headlining major venues years removed from their commercial heyday, and without their original lead singers.

The recent induction of Kiss to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame underscores the schisms that can split a band up, and just how deep they run. The concert going public seems more forgiving, and many bands seem to survive the departure of original members. In many cases, the lead singers can still go out and sing their hits, and two out of the three lead singers of the aforementioned band are doing just that.Steve Perry of Journey

Until recently, Steve Perry has been noticeably absent from the music scene. Perry resurfaced last month in St. Paul Minnesota with a group called The Eels. Perry sang an Eels song, a Sam Cooke cover and two Journey classics, “Lovin’,Touchin’,Squeezin” and “Open Arms.” It was his first time performing Journey songs onstage in 20 years, and a week later, he appeared with the band again in Washington D.C.

The three groups have an interesting shared history when it comes to their lead singers. Lou Gramm (Foreigner), Dennis DeYoung (Styx) and Steve Perry all faced temporary health problems and subsequently their bands replaced them with singers that sound similar. In fact, they sound so similar that Foreigner, Styx and Journey all released albums of rerecorded versions of their hits with the replacement lead singers.

The Styx situation is a little different because Styx had three lead singers, DeYoung, Tommy Shaw and James Young. DeYoung was replaced by Lawrence Gowan, and in an interesting turn of events, DeYoung’s solo show features August Zadra, a Tommy Shaw sound-alike.

DeYoung and Gramm have released solo material within the last decade and continue to perform their major hits, but Perry had remained silent. Leaving Journey fans without the ability to hear their songs sung by the guy who originally recorded them.

Perry’s performance caught the eye of current Journey singer Arnel Pineda, who tweeted “He should come back. His voice is still has it..missed that voice,”after someone shared the Steve Perry performance with him.

One can only speculate what the resurfacing of Perry onstage means. Journey with Pineda at the helm are booked solid this summer, hitting the road with The Steve Miller Band for a number of dates. Pineda has not only rerecorded the Journey classics, he has handled most of the lead vocal duties on two albums of original material.

Perry’s return to Journey would substantially change the band’s performance; Pineda is a young and energetic singer that runs across the stage in much the same way Perry did in his younger years. While Perry and Journey guitarist Neal Schon have a storied history together, one has to wonder if the chemistry onstage would work, especially since it appears that the two have been estranged for the majority of the last 20 years.

While reunions can be wonderfully nostalgic, Foreigner, Styx and Journey are all still putting on great shows, as are DeYoung and Gramm as solo artists. Inasmuch as it would be cool to Steve Perry in Journey, the better scenario would be if Perry went out on a solo tour backed by musicians he feels comfortable working with again.

Whatever happens, it’s great to see Steve Perry back, even if it was just for a couple of performances.








Video courtesy of Paul Frank Media 
Steve Perry a Journey Back
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