A juggernaut of the 80s, Journey is making quite the resurgence this year. The band is on tour with a new lead singer and its classic song “Don’t Stop Believin’” is reaching a whole new fan base thanks to the Fox hit “Glee.” The cover of the song went Gold back in October and continues to be a top-seller on iTunes. But what does former Journey front man, the reclusive Steve Perry, think of all this?
“I would give it an A,” Perry tells PopEater exclusively. “I think they did a good job.” He then added, laughing along the way, that “A+ is reserved for the original. That’s a little shameless promotion, forgive me.”
When asked directly if ‘Glee’ “crapped on” the song, the singer answered honestly. “No. They did a really nice heartfelt high school interpretation of a song,” Perry tells PopEater.
Perry has maintained vigilance with projects using his former-group’s classic song, making sure they “don’t degrade the music” — even insisting on knowing how the ‘Sopranos’ producers were going to use the song to end that iconic series. “I didn’t want to see Tony Soprano get whacked during Just a Small Town Girl,” Perry tells us.
For ‘Glee,’ Perry was shown a rough cut of the wildly popular show’s finale before it aired and was blown away. “I thought it was edgy writing and I was impressed,” he says. “That was before we got to the song.”
He’s not alone in loving the revamped version, which hit gold certification for digital sales in excess of 500,000 downloads.
The new take on the tune didn’t exactly bring back high school memories for the rocker who didn’t do the glee-club. Not surprisingly, he rocked drums in an R&B band. “The jocks didn’t like us and the glee club didn’t like us,” Perry admits. “We were admired by the people who went to the after-game dances. They could dance to our music.”
The dancing continues. Perry even heard that whole new generations of “Believin’” fans were belting out the tune as ‘Glee’ producers accepted the gold plaque for the song. “There were people around the area singing during the ceremony,” Perry says. “Can I ask you one thing? What is possibly wrong with that?”
I have always wondered what happened to Perry. Journey was the first concert I ever saw, during the “Escape” tour. Steve left the band to pursue a solo career, had a few monster hits including “Oh Sherrie,” then disappeared. I do remember reading that he had some kind of degenerative hip disorder requiring major hip replacement surgery, that prevented him from performing live. According to his official web site, Perry is retired. It’s a shame, because that guy can sing his face off. Rolling Stone named him one of the “Top 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.”