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Steve Perry Signs to New Label, Contemplates Solo Tour: ‘I Miss It Terribly’

Earlier this month, Trev Lukather and Nic Collins’ new band the Effect released their version of Journey‘s 1986 deep cut “It Could Have Been You” — featuring new vocals by Steve Perry. When Rolling Stone hopped on Zoom to hear how the song came together, Perry told us that he has other projects in the works.

“I just signed with a new label,” Perry says. “I’m very excited about it, and I’ll have an opportunity very soon to work with these very, very musically creative people. I’ll probably announce who I signed with very soon. That’s about as much as I can say, but I’m excited about that, and I am working on stuff.”

Perry emerged from a 22-year recording hiatus in 2018 with the release of Traces. But he didn’t tour behind it, disappointing many fans. What got in the way? “Well, it’s a long story,” Perry says. “Uncle Steve is up in age, and everybody at this age has some aches and pains and things like that. But it’s a really good question that I’ve been asking myself too. And Trev’s been busting my balls about it for a long time, to be honest with you.”

“It’s something that I’m absolutely missing terribly,” he continues. “I can’t even tell you how much, but there’s been a big soulful reclaiming of this original feeling that I had about singing that I needed to get back to. I didn’t want to go out and just turn the wheel or turn the crank.”

In his mind, Traces was just one step on a long journey back toward rediscovering his voice after years of not knowing if he’d ever sing again. “My father was a singer that never got a chance to realize his dreams, and I did,” says Perry. “I got to tell him years ago, before he passed, that I was doing this not just for me, but for him too. This is the historical relevance to what I’m going through and rekindling, I think, about me and my voice and touring. [As far as touring again], I never say never at this point. My life has proven me just that.”

This is a topic that has come up between Perry and Trev Lukather at many points throughout the past few months. “He can still sing has ass off,” Lukather says. “Physically, it’s a big task, even for me at my age, running around the stage for an hour-plus. It’s really when he’s comfortable. But I always told him that I am here as a friend and here to push him when I can, and I want to help too.”

“We don’t just talk about music,” adds Perry. “We talk about what motivates us, what is that deep drive in us that says, ‘This is what you are.’ And to not be what you are is cutting off a limb. I am starting to really feel that.”

The first order of business for Perry is getting into the studio and cutting a follow-up to Traces and his 2021 Christmas record The Season for his new label. “These new label people are so supportive,” says Perry. “They said, ‘We don’t care what you do, we just want to do it with you.’”

A great reminder of Perry’s brilliance came earlier this year when Netflix released The Greatest Night in Pop, which chronicled the making of “We Are the World.” Perry wasn’t interviewed for the movie, but he has seen it. “Watching it was a big bag of emotions,” he says. “Seeing it for me was more emotional than being there. I just remember being so intimidated by all these people, from Bruce to Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie. It just went on and on. Tina Turner was there! That completely killed me.”

At one point, Perry remembers going into a side room to grab a snack and try to collect himself. “Standing there was Paul Simon and Bette Midler,” he says. “I looked over to Bette Midler and I said, ‘Wow. Overwhelming. Huh?’ She said, ‘Yeah, that’s why I’m here.’ We had this moment. We smiled at each other like, ‘Yeah, I get it.’”

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Watching The Greatest Night in Pop brought memories like that flooding back to Perry, but it also made him a little morose. “I’m sad that can’t happen again today,” he says. “I don’t know if it would be the Effect, Tame Impala, the Killers…I don’t know. I just wish this could happen again today for a great cause. With the times we’re in, it saddens me that the possibility of such a thing seems remote.”

We signed off by telling Perry we continue to hope and dream that he’ll tour. “At this point, I’m also hoping,” Perry says. “And it’s my dream too.”

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