Steve Perry: Stage return was just for fun

Former Journey frontman Steve Perry made a second surprise guest appearance with Eels over the weekend – but he's underlined the stage stunts are just for fun.

And he’s reiterated that there’s no chance of a reunion with Neal Schon and co – despite current frontman Arnel Pineda saying he’d be welcome to reclaim his “righteous place.”

He last week led a song in front of an audience for the first time in 19 years when he guested with Eels, and repeated the escapade over the weekend, performing four songs with frontman E and his band in Washington. He’s also released a self-shot video of his earlier walk-on in Saint Paul, Minnesota – view it below.

Perry says: “People have been putting two and two together – but this wasn’t about a reunion with Journey. There is no reunion. I was just having fun.”

In Minnesota he performed Journey classics Open Arms and Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’ along with Eels track It’s A Motherfucker. He explains: “I’ve always loved It’s A Motherfucker because it’s about loss and pain. We played it together in rehearsal, and the next thing I know I’m in Saint Paul. Someday I’m going to record that song.

“In a world where it’s hard to keep a secret, it felt so much fun to walk out there to an unsuspecting crowd.”

E, real name Mark Oliver Everett, introduced him by explaining he’d walked away from Journey because “it didn’t feel right.” Perry says: “I couldn’t have put it better – that’s exactly what happened. It had run its course.”

He says of his moment in the spotlight: “When E announced me I thought I’d take the piss and hang back a while. But finally I’m out there; the audience saw me, and I hadn’t experienced that kind of emotion in quite a while. It was beyond exhilarating.

“I was so grateful that they were so loving and happy to see me. I was just as happy to see them. I had forgotten how much I’d missed it.”

Asked if he was happy with his performance, he replies: “Well, I hadn’t sung in 20 years – I sounded more like Otis Redding than I did in Journey; and I love Otis, so that’s not a bad thing. But after twenty years, wherever you hit that golf ball is where it lands. I just wanted to go out there and hit the ball. I was pretty pleased with what I pulled off.

“I’m not the person I was thirty years ago; that person is gone.”

Perry recently confirmed he’d been writing material with a view to recording a solo album. He says his Eels experience has made him more determined than ever that his latest songs should be heard, adding: “it’s very important for me. I wrote a new song just last week.”

Perry recalls Journey’s first single

Steve Perry guests with Eels

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.