LOS ANGELES - When Journey performed its final concert tour in 1986, music industry observers predicted that the band's velvet-voiced singer Steve Perry would scale lofty heights as a solo act. But nearly seven years later, Perry has yet to record or tour.
Though the singer rejoined his Journey bandmates for a 1991 tribute to the late rock concert impresario Bill Graham, Perry's absence has prompted unsubstantiated rumors about illnesses and incapacitating vocal ailments. A Columbia Records spokesman said the singer is currently in the studio recording a solo album. Perry declined to speak to the Daily News about the new Journey retrospective, "Time3."
But journalists aren't the only ones getting the cold shoulder from Perry. He was asked to contribute vocals to two unfinished tracks for the commemorative box set. "He didn't want to know about it," said former Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain.
Though no one seems to know what prompted Perry to swear off performing for such a lengthy stretch, former associates have differing speculations. Former Journey manager Herbie Herbert attributed Perry's disappearance to creative debility. "I think the long and the short of it is that Steve Perry decided that his creative well was dry, and therefore Journey's well was dry." Herbert said. "It's a bitter pill."
Cain said Perry was showing signs of exhaustion as early as 1982. "People made threats to him, and other things were happening that were very painful," he said. "Physically being a singer is very demanding, and Steve isn't like Mick Jagger, just prancing around.
"He'd bleed a little every time he sang. I think he was tired of bleeding."
Cain said Perry's weariness worsened as the recording of Journey's final studio album, "Raised On Radio," dragged on. "Emotionally things got very hard on him. His mom was dying, and he was a very devoted son.
"He couldn't just let a nurse take care of his mother.
"He was flying up to the San Joaquin Valley from San Francisco all the time to be with her.
"It comes down to living life. And when Journey was together it was almost like a machine - time schedules dictated everything.
"Steve had been singing professionally for 10 years and it was like a marshal hanging up his badge."
© Los Angeles Daily News, 1993 (Transcribed by Marsha)