Xavier Gallego Morell | Dreamstime.com

Journey keyboardist, "Steve Perry has to front band at Rock Hall induction."

October 31, 2016

Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain says that if the band ends up getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame, former lead singer Steve Perry needs to come back and front the group. Perry left Journey in 1998 rather than be forced into hip-surgery so that the band could tour behind their hit reunion album Trial By Fire. He’s currently prepping his first solo album in over 20 years.

Cain was asked if the band feels that being nominated this year is a long awaited form of validation: “Not as much to me. We’ve never been the critic’s choice, y’know? C’mon, they bashed us in the ’80s and every album we put out they just pretty much laughed at and it sold platinum. . . platinum. . . platinum. . (So). . . And y’know, so much of that Hall is writers and critics, y’know? But what we’ve done over the years is just quietly just continued to be relevant. And so maybe they weren’t right about us (laughs).”

With the classic lineup of the group all currently in Journey’s road band — and former keyboardist Gregg Rolie having been brought back onto their radar with his work with Neal Schon in Santana III  - Cain was asked about the chances for Steve Perry to rejoin the band — if just for ceremony: “The door’s always been open for him to join us any time he wanted. I mean, that has to happen. That band has to play. They have to play their music — two songs and I think we get to do two or three. That’s how it works.”

Journey, Yes, Electric Light Orchestra, Pearl Jam, and the Cars lead the 2017 nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Inductees will be announced in December with the induction ceremony set for next April at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. An edited version of the event will later be broadcast on HBO.

SIDE NOTES

  • Although Journey still continues to do outstanding business on the road, guitarist/leader Neal Schon remains open for the legendary Steve Perry to reconnect with him and the group once again. Back in July 2015, Schon, told ABC News, “The door has always been open, like I’ve said a zillion times. People ask me every day, ‘Are you reuniting?’ Steve says, ‘No,’ and I say, ‘You never know.’”
  • Schon said that the band has always kept a running invite for Perry to contribute to Journey ever since the singer begged off live performances with the band back in 1998: “(We) are always like, ‘You ever want to come on and just sing a portion of one song, sing a part of a song with Arnel or sing the whole set, you’re welcome anytime you want to come. (Arnel is) not threatened. Nobody’s on any ego trip. We don’t have any bad feelings.”
  • Despite their shared history, Schon has said that he and Perry have little to do with each other these days: “(Steve) says that we love each other but we don’t like each other.  I don’t know him well enough anymore to know if I like him. I know that I love him, but. . . I mean, he won’t allow me to speak to him directly on the phone, and I write to him all the time and just say, ‘Hey, what’s up?  I hope you’re doing well,’ and that’s it, you know?  And sometimes he writes back and sometimes he doesn’t.” Schon said he’s ready to let whatever issues happened in the past remain there: “All’s we did was create timeless music. And so for that I’m very grateful. And I’m sure he is too. He said that he is. But, you know, we’re grown men and so it’s time to take the chips off the shoulder and to grow up and let the kids be kids.”
  • Schon, who called Perry “truly one of the greatest (vocalists) of all time,” spoke about Perry’s series of 2014 cameos with indie-rockers Eels, marking a bizarre and brief return to the concert stage: “I was just happy to see him get out there. I thought it was quite ironic the places that he chose to do it. But, you know, I was glad to see him sing and hope that he would do more, actually.”