Journey Reunion: Very Bad Idea

While I've taken June off from blogging to finish my second novel, Revolution 1990, I've got to take a few minutes and share my thoughts on this whole Journey Reunion buzz that's going on.

For those of you who may have been under a rock for the past several weeks, Steve Perry (former lead singer of Journey) has made several surprise stage appearances. He's come on during the encore of a few EELS shows.  This immediately raises two questions: first, "Who are the EELS?" and second, "When's the Journey reunion?"

While I'd love to time travel back to 1985 and see Journey live on stage during their Frontiers heydays, the last thing I want is a Journey reunion and subsequent tour.

Let me be clear: a Journey Reunion is an extremely terrible idea.

Here's the thing: I want to remember them how they were.  If they perform today as Journey, they are going to sound like 60 year old guys trying to play Journey. To me, it's kind of depressing. Did you see the Ringo/McCartney reunion at the Grammys? It was pathetic. Do you want that to happen to your Journey memories?

It's been what, almost twenty years since Trial By Fire and even that was a far cry from their previous album Raised On Radio which wasn't even close to FrontiersTrial By Fire is proof that as a band, Journey had tapped out their hit writing abilities.

Steve Perry has certainly moved on musically since then and that's what I want to hear.  That guy has probably twenty-five years of melodies brewing in his head and I want to hear the best of them.  Most likely it's gonna be more rhythm and blues than corporate rock. Steve even said it himself, 'Well, I hadn't sung in 20 years -- I sounded more like Otis Redding than I did in Journey." That's a hint, folks. He's ready to record and sing stuff that sounds more like "Hard To Handle" than "Open Arms."

Can you imagine the album that can come from Steve Perry's mind and voice today? After decades of the music critics trashing him for being corporate rock, he could comes back and nail it with a deep soul album. That would be huge.

And a concert that follows?  Not one where he plays stadium crowds singing "The Girl Can't Help It," "Any Way You Want It," and "Don't Stop Believin'". No I'm talking one of those smaller venues as a singer in a smoky room, belting out Detroit Motown blues from Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, and Smokey Robinson.

Can you imagine Steve Perry's version of "Who's Lovin' You?" That would be awesome. That would be an evolution of Steve Perry and a departure from his Journey years. (Pun intended there, folks.)

That's what I want to hear.

Come back Steve. But don't regress, be the Steve Perry of 2014 and not the Steve Perry of 1984.

Wal Ozello is the author of Assignment 1989: The Time Travel Wars . He's a resident of Upper Arlington, Ohio and a frequent customer at Colin's Coffee.

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