Producer Kevin Shirley on Journey, Joe Bonamassa, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin

Still, that had to be difficult when you worked with Journey hooking back up with Steve Perry – there was so much acrimony between everybody at the time.

“Well, there wasn’t when I worked with them. To be brutally honest, I had never even heard Journey until I started working with them. I didn’t know a thing about them. [Former A&R exec] John Kalodner called me to his office and he played me Separate Ways, and he asked me what I thought, and I said, ‘There’s a lot of reverb on that.’ And that was my only comment. But when I got together with the band, I wasn’t starstruck or anything. We went to work in a warehouse for six weeks, and we fine-tuned every drum fill and turnaround. They had a good time. They were Journey again. It was fantastic.”

Did you have the feeling that Steve Perry and drummer Steve Smith were going to quit again? Which, of course, they did.

“No, I didn’t. But you know, Steve Perry developed, and he reached the point where he…you know, people’s voices change. You look at a guy like Robert Plant, who’s doing his Alison Krauss thing now. In 1969 he was doing the Whole Lotta Love Thing, and he just doesn’t do that anymore. Same thing with Steve Perry, who probably struggles to do Open Arms now. He was probably scared to go out there and have trouble doing what people wanted.”

How has it been producing Journey’s current lineup with their new singer, Arnel Pineda? Does it get tougher with a heritage act as the years go by?

“Uh…it gets tougher when somebody in the band is frustrated. And there are frustrations in this band, for sure.”

Can you elaborate?

“Well…it’s probably not the right time for me to do so, especially when we’re finishing up a record. But it’s not easy trying to make a record when there are opposing forces in the band. There’s people who want to be in a heavy rock band, and there’s people who want to have hit ballads. It’s just a matter of who stamps their feet the loudest.”

There was a rumor going around recently that Steve Perry wanted back in.

“Well, that’s just that – a rumor. But I can tell you he’s still a key component of the decision-making part of the band. Nothing gets played or released without Steve Perry signing off on it. I’m not privy to the details of their arrangement, but I can tell you this: if Steve Perry wanted to be back singing with Journey, everybody would find a way to make that happen.”

via Producer Kevin Shirley on Joe Bonamassa, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin |


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