Indie rock band Eels has been around since the 90s. However, a recent performance featuring a legendary arena rocker may have led to the biggest piece of mainstream press they have ever received. Not only is it odd that a somewhat obscure band would garner the interest of such a prominent music icon, but even more intriguing is that fact that this former lead singer made the recent, random St. Paul, Minn. performance his first in roughly two decades. Former Journey front-man, 65-year-old Steve Perry has, for whatever reason, decided to get back on stage after a 20-year-hiatus which purportedly stemmed from a desire to step back from the overwhelming limelight which tends to envelop in-demand rock stars. Although, does the man famous for belting lyrics to songs like Don’t Stop Believin and Wheel in the Sky really need a reason to serenade the world once again?
It seems that Perry is actually a fan of Eels and may actually be collaborating with them on some upcoming tracks. The band, while not mainstream pop, has received industry acclaim over the years including walking away with a 1998 Brit Award for Best International Breakthrough Act. Their music, mostly penned by front-man Mark Oliver Everett may at times be described as controversial, dark, and personal. Meanwhile, it can be heard on various movie soundtracks, such as Shrek, Hot Fuzz, and Knocked Up. Apparently, Perry had been following the music of this California based rock outfit and gained a particular fancy for a certain song of theirs that shall remain unnamed in this very politically correct publication.
Somewhere along the way a true connection was made between Mark and Steve, although one can imagine in the music biz that all it takes is for “your people” to call “my people” and the relationship is born. So there they were on Sunday, May 25, about to make a little rock history for fans spanning multiple generations. At the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul Minnesota, Steve Perry gets back on stage after practically 20 years to do what he does best. After singing a certain fairly well-known Eels song with the group, Perry rallies the band to back him on two of his hits made famous when he was in the super group Journey: Open Arms and Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’. From the footage making it’s way around the Internet, it seems Perry did not disappoint and at least one YouTube clip has risen to boast over one million hits.
Unfortunately for true Journey/Perry fans, this treasure of a moment may or may not lead to more live performances of “The Voice” (Perry’s nickname, coined by Jon Bon Jovi) singing hits from the 70s and 80s. There has at least been no reported talk of Perry reuniting with Journey anytime in the near future. It was in the late 1990s that Perry suffered an injury which took him off an upcoming scheduled tour with his former band-mates. Amongst a combination of health issues and rumored clashes amongst the group, Perry ultimately called it quits. It has also been said that Perry’s desire to remain in the spotlight faded in a business that oftentimes cherishes money over music. Perry’s last live performance with Journey was in 1991 and his last solo gig was in 1995.
With the recent headlines Perry made by getting back onstage after almost 20 years, it seems like there may be more of “The Voice” to come, just not with his former band-mates by his side. Perry has been supposedly writing a multitude of new songs which he may decide to unveil at live shows in the near future. Meanwhile, Journey has continued to maintain a level of their own success, touring and performing live with Filipino singer Arnel Pineda, who has an uncanny talent for capturing Perry’s world famous vocal sound and was discovered on YouTube by guitarist Neal Schon.
Opinion by Josh Taub