Call out the name Steve in the vicinity of your local Frontiers-men and you're likely to get two gorgeous babes scurrying to do your bidding! That's 'cause, since the late 1970s, Journey has had the pleasure of two talented rockers who go by that sexy moniker! Steves Perry and Smith have a lot in common besides their names and their musicianship but there's a lot that sets them apart as well. Want to know what makes your favourite Steve the individual he is? Read on as 16 tells all!
Let's Get Physical!
First, the obvious. These handsome Steves are very similar in body type. They are both 5'8" tall and 140 pounds and each sports a brown mane that occasionally varies in length. Both Steves are slim and in good physical condition, with Steve Perry being a vegetarian and Steve Smith loving health foods. Smith's nickname in fact, is Crunch for the sound he makes when eating granola!
On certain days, with their backs to you, you might have trouble telling who's who, but if it was one of Steve Smith's moustache and/or beard-sporting weeks, you'd know the minute he turned around! His brown eyes would give him away too 'cause Steve Perry's are greener-than-green!
In Days Gone By
The separate paths that brought these two greats to Journey, started on two different coasts. First, there was Steve Perry. Born six years before his compadre in Hanford, California (Jan. 22, 1949), Stephen Ray Perry was an only child. Active and mischievous to the point of distraction to hear him tell it! he often drove his mom, dad and later step-dad crazy with worry over his antics. His parents' divorce was painful and as a teen he was teased about the size of his nose. That made him shier than he already was, but music helped him come to terms with himself and his friends.
While Steve Perry was getting into mischief with the likes of actor Jan-Michael Vincent, who also grew up in Hanford, Brockton, Massachusetts (with the help of Bruce and Lorraine Smith of course!) gave birth to another future rocker on August 21, 1954. This little Smith turned out to be one of five siblings, so he didn't have to try to get attention through mischief all he had to do was get up in the morning! Five kids were a walking, talking pack of energy, and they were a comfort to each other. The close-knit Smith family encouraged Steve's ambitions to be a schoolteacher and even his artistic abilities (Steve says he'd have been an artist if music hadn't called!) and then when it became clear that jazz, and then rock 'n roll, would be his all-consuming interests, they gave him their support and best wishes.
A Steve For Every Type
When it comes to personality, there's no denyin' these two dolls have got plenty! Fact is, they're quite different though!
Steve Perry is a serious, extremely private individual. Nervous (he bites his nails), and perhaps less able to trust others after his solitary childhood experiences, he's careful with people till he gets to know them better.
Sometimes he regrets being in showbiz because of the lack of privacy and all the flying he has to do he's had one close call too many! but most other times he wouldn't have it any other way. He also doesn't socialize much with Journey, preferring to keep things fresh between the members of the band.
Steve Smith, on the other hand, counts the band members as his closest buddies and keeps his easy-going nature at an even keel. After all, to this Steve, being one of a "family" of five is just like being back home in Brockton! Unlike Steve Perry, Steve Smith has no regrets about showbiz, but when he's feeling worried, he shares Perry's habit of nail biting. Steve is open and loving, adores being a dad son Ian is his biggest fan! and is extremely sensitive of others. There's still a bit of the child in Steve Smith and all you have to do is watch him go at those video games to get the idea!
Home On The Range
Steve Smith shares his great big San Francisco redwood home (complete with pool and tennis courts) with wife Susan and baby Ian. Steve indulges himself with cars he has two BMWs! drums, tapes and stereo equipment. He enjoys cooking, is great at Defender and loves playing horsie with his son. E.T. practically put him away he loved it so much and when he's not busy playing jazz during his time away from Journey he just did a solo LP with Tom Coster called Vital Information! you can find him watching old movies on TV.
Steve Perry's private life in Shaker Lake is as you'd expect, private, but he does say that he and friend Sherry (sic) enjoy their home, dogs Frankie and Johnnie and frequent fishing trips. Steve also cooks and though he's hung onto his trusty old Volvo, has also got himself a snazzy BMW to drive! Though you can often catch him tuned into his stereo popcorn in hand Steve's as likely to continue his childhood adventures via trips to Mexico and trips to the sky! This cutie's into hot air ballooning he prefers activity rather than the lengthy and serious books Steve Smith enjoys yet he spends as much time at home as possible too. After all, there's that much sought after privacy within those walls! You'll understand why, when you meet Steve, you'll want to approach him slowly and with sensitivity. He's cautious and needs just a little more room than most.
What these two talented fellows share above all else, is their love for music all kinds of music! But while Steve Perry was always a rock 'n roller, Steve Smith started out a jazz drummer. Perry is a self-taught stylist and songwriter; Steve Smith had lesson upon lesson and only writes occasionally. Of course, one of the most outstanding differences between these two music lovers is that one sings Mr. Perry and one doesn't Mr. Smith! Though Steve Smith may join in on a vocal if the mood hits him, his primary function with Journey is to play drums and that he does superbly well!
Steve Perry plays drums too did you know!?! and he'll soon be following in Smith's and Neal Schon's solo footsteps by working on his own solo album. Journey is the first big band Steve Perry's ever been with (Smith's been in a few) and is often cited as the main reason why Journey started getting such rave notices with their Infinity album.
Well, there they are, Steve Perry and Smith for your rock 'n roll pleasure! So mix 'em, match 'em, love 'em any which way you like, no matter which Steve is your type, you'll be in first class company all the way!
© 16 Magazine Inc., Volume 25, Number 1, July 1983.