“It’s like any emotional, committed relationship. At some point, they seem to all have a shelf life and bands are no exception,” he said. “Life has moved us all on in different places in our lives. . They’re doing what they’re doing – they have been since ‘98. And I’ve been doing what I’m doing, which is living my life and having a personal life.”
Perry, who rarely does detailed interviews, spoke to The Associated Press by phone last week, ahead of Tuesday’s release of Journey’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 and the remastered version of Perry’s 1984 solo album, Street Talk, which included the No. 1 hit “Oh Sherrie” and the ballad “Foolish Heart.”
His former band mates have continued on since Perry’s departure 13 years ago, performing as Journey with a new lead singer, Arnel Pineda. Pineda sounds like Perry, who was once ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as No. 76 of the greatest 100 singers of all time.
Perry doesn’t dwell on the band’s current lineup, saying that everyone has moved on, but said he relishes the songs he did with Journey that keep getting airplay.
Thirty years after its release, Journey’s most memorable hit – “Don’t Stop Believin’“ – manages to keep getting rediscovered in new contexts. The song, which Perry wrote with Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain and guitarist Neil Schon, has shown up in the Broadway show “Rock of Ages” (which Perry said he hasn’t seen), the cut-to-black finale of “The Sopranos” and the movie “Monster,” for which Charlize Theron won an Oscar for best actress. Most recently, it appears in Brad Pitt’s “Moneyball.”
But it has probably reached its youngest audience through the hit TV show “Glee,” which has also featured other Journey hits “Faithfully” and the medley version of “Any Way You Want It/Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin.’“
Perry said he’s stunned that “Don’t Stop Believin’“ continues to resonate with so many people.
“It’s very shocking because now I’m getting it for 7-, 8-, 9-, 10-year-olds coming up to me, and they love that song and they’ve made it their song,” said Perry, 62. “It’s just amazing to me.”
He said that when he was first shown the pilot for “Glee,” he wasn’t sure if he wanted “Don’t Stop Believin’“ to be used. He said he and his former band members are careful to make sure Journey’s songs are used to their standards: “There’s been so many requests for silly food products over the years.”
Perry said he and Journey members don’t speak directly to each other about authorizing the use of songs, or much about anything else, but instead work through representatives to reach agreement.
In recent years, he says he’s received offers to appear on “Glee” and to serve as a judge on “American Idol,” where friend and former band mate Randy Jackson is a judge. But he’s turned those and other offers down because, he explains, he’s not a “front-camera guy.”
Lately, Perry’s been dabbling in film editing and writing music for a possible solo album, a challenging process after years of being away from the music business.
“I’m going to be recording sometime soon,” said Perry.
He said he’s recorded three cover songs recently, but would only disclose that one was a Beatles tune and that he has played his new music for just a few friends privately.
Perry said his signature voice, which stretches for high and long notes in many of his songs, is in good shape overall. At one point in the interview, telling a story about one of Journey’s first tours, he broke into the Journey song “Feeling That Way.”
Physically, though, he’s battled health issues. He had hip replacement surgery 13 years ago, and has struggled with a “pretty substantial amount of arthritis that’s not comfortable.”
“I live on anti-inflammatories,” Perry said, noting that he has had some arthritis-related surgeries over the years since he left Journey.
Still, he says he’s feeling good overall. He even left open the possibility of touring again – just not with Journey.
“We have severely, emotionally gone our separate ways.”