Steve Perry's vocals epitomized the sound of arena rock in the late '70's and early 80's.

High and clear, with just a hint of raspiness, Perry's voice was a distinctive feature of rock band Journey's melodic, high-powered sound.

It was Perry's vocals that added just the right touch to such Journey classics as "Who's Cryin' Now," "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)," "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'" and "Be Good to Yourself," released before band members parted in the late 1980's.

Last summer, Perry released a new solo album, For The Love Of Strange Medicine, which yielded the current single and video, "Missing You."  (His first solo album,
Street Talk, came out in 1984 while Journey was still intact.)

The new album sounds like vintage Journey, and it has some bland moments.  To his credit, Perry's mix of rockers and ballads makes no attempt at trendiness.  There are no nods to current musical fashion - i.e., alternative-rock, punk or metal.

The album's moderate success - it made its debut at No. 15 on The Billboard 200 album chart - has put Perry back on tour with a band that includes guitarist-keyboardist Paul Taylor, guitarist Lincoln Brewster, bassist Todd Jensen and drummer Moyes Lucas Jr.

Perry kicked off the second leg of his tour Monday night in Spokane.  Perry and company perform tonight at 8 at the 5th Avenue Theatre.  Tickets are $25.50 and $37.50 at Ticket-master.

During its 10-year run, Journey became - and remains to this day - Columbia Records' best-selling hardrock band, with 35 million albums sold.  The group popularized the "power ballad" - often a soaring, guitar-driven love song.

But Perry's departure left Journey adrift.  "I couldn't make them understand," Perry told People magazine in July.  "But I needed to get off the merry-go-round.  I didn't sing a note for two years."

In the new song "Anyway," a more vulnerable-sounding Perry makes a fumbling attempt to explain why he left: "I'd like to say I'm sorry/I'd like to make amends/I'd close my eyes and tell the truth/Where would I begin?"

Before Perry left the group, there were rumors he was ill - with AIDS or throat cancer.  In fact, it was Perry's mother who was dying of cancer, and sightings of Perry entering and exiting clinics in search of help for her apparently led to the rumors.

Perry's long hiatus from recording - he dropped out of sight for more than seven years - was really the result of burnout.

"I told myself I was never going to do it again, that I never was going to sing again, that I'm finished," Perry told the Associated Press last summer.

"I didn't have any idea that music would come back in my heart."

Source Unknown, 1995  Supplied and transcribed by Grace H
After a Lengthy Journey, Perry Revives His Love For Music

By GENE STOUT

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