The ARRIVAL Interview

Thanks for calling, great to talk to you again.
Yeah, Rindell gave me a heads up yesterday, said we were going to finally do this, you know. I've been putting this off because I thought it would be better to do like sometime before the record was coming kept on getting pushed back.

Is there any way I can get a little more volume out of your phone?

Possibly. You can't hear me real well?
Not that well.

OK. Now I can hear you pretty well. Maybe its just a case of redialing or...
That's definitely what it is, it's a bit of my tinitus.

So the years of standing next to an amplifier have taken there toll?
That and a lot of the symbols, you know, symbols are like really loud when you get drummers up on risers, you know, the sound comes right down directly at your ears. And, you know, loud motorcycles <laugh>, loud guitars and loud motorcycles.

You ride do you?

Where about, just around your home there?
Yeah, well, you know, I go for a longer ride sometimes with friends, you know, we'll go...I've driven to LA before and back, you know, up to Lake Tahoe, and you know, just down to Hollister, CA, I mean it just depends. I can go scootin' around here just to get some air or I can take a longer ride.

Nice and relaxing.
Yeah, very relaxing .

Absolutely. So Arrival is now actually getting released in America. How amazing is that?
Well, its been a long time coming. I mean I think we've been done with this thing, besides the two extra tracks that we recorded just a bit ago, we've been done with it close to a year now.

Really? That long?
Well, not quite, but it feels like it is.

Yeah, I reckon. I mean it's been 6 months since Japan got it isn't it? How do you feel finally about that now?
Well, you know what, I think it's a good record and we're ready to go tour and we're ready to support it and, you know, that's about it, that's all I can really feel right now. It's not even out over here yet and, you know, there's quite a few fans that have bought the Japanese version of it and they seem to like the material live in Japan when we just played there so we're looking forward to just touring and having some fun with it.

Yeah, It's a great album. I think people will re-buy the American version.
Yeah. Well you haven't heard the other two tracks.

No, no.
I wanted to get it to you. I remember the fax that you had...the e-mail that you had sent me and, you know, I don't even have a copy of the songs.

We like said to each other, OK, when we finish those two songs we're not...none of us are getting copies, and no one at the label are getting a copy. Nobody's getting it until it comes out.

That's cool. Therefore no one gets an advanced preview right?
Yeah, well, I felt like after all the Napster, you know, the thing that happened with the record, that's the least we could do is have a couple of surprises for people that didn't buy the record yet.

Napster's just about shut down, what's your whole take on it looking back now?
Well, you know what, I have to say that, you know the whole ordeal with us with Napster was pretty shocking in the beginning, that they had gotten it from, you know, one of the execs at Sony, and it was passed on through somebody in Europe and, you know, we were all shocked. I mean, the record was just done it wasn't going to be out for months and here it was all over Napster. I mean I knew that once the record would come out it would be all over Napster like everything else is, and then I had my feelings about that too. I felt that it wasn't a bad thing but the artists do need to receive a residual and so do the companies, you know? I mean its just like, you just can't get stuff for free like that when there's artists involved; this is how we make our living. So, you know, I think until they come up with something, you know, I've been reading about it everyday in the paper, it seems they've appointed like a mediator to come in between the companies and Napster to try to come up with some sort of solution and I think that's going to be difficult to come up with, you know, the exact solution. They'll come up with maybe some basic solution and something to work immediately but then I think its going to have to be modified as time goes on. But I think that they, you know, the attorneys have spent enough money, the companies have spent enough money that they will definitely think about that before they close the books on the first mediation sessions.

As a band, did you guys do anything to try to get the tracks removed off of Napster or try and limit the damage?
You know, there wasn't much that we could do. Once they have it, they have it. You know, the label was upset about it. I was initially upset about it then I just said well, you know what, there's nothing you can do about it, and then I just started reading, like you and I have correlated before, I started reading the reviews on the record and it was something that actually worked in our favor I feel at this point.
We got to read the pre-reviews from our fans and what they thought of the record and, you know, a lot of them said the same thing that I was saying when we were in the studio, that, you know, it was a great record but it would've been greater with another couple of rock tracks. Or just more evened out as a record, you know, with ballads vs. rockers. And so, I think that all-in-all in the end that it worked for us.

Yeah, I think it might have as well. I certainly feel the same way, I mean it's a fantastic album and I think it's your best sounding album, but yeah, a couple of rock tracks is great.
What did the band feel, what were you talking about when you gathered again in the studio? Were you all in favor of re-recording a couple of tracks?
Well you know what, it all started from me. I started the whole fire. You know, I went on our web site and I started talking about, you know, everybody was asking what ever happened to "World Gone Wild" and this other song "Good Times" that we were playing live and then all of a sudden we weren't playing it, and then it wasn't on the record because John Kalodner didn't OK it and Kevin had never heard it and so everybody was asking about the song, "Why is this not on the record, I can't believe it didn't go on the record." So I started a fire basically on the web site and I said, "How many people would like to hear this and how many people would like to hear this sort of a song and what do you think if we added it to the record" and everybody came back almost like 100%, yeah do it. And so once I got the fire started then I got on the phone with management, then I talked to everybody in the band and basically twisted arms real good and then we went back in the studio and did it.

Lets start with the recording of the album. When you first got to the studio for the first time, did you have the songs written or did you right before you went to the studio?
No, we wrote the songs, we were prepared before we went to the studio. We actually wrote for like two years.

Yeah, it's been a while hasn't it?
Yeah, we had been writing for some time, you know. It was like, quite a bit of material was sitting there before we went into the studio. Actually, there was enough for another record, and then everything went down to our A&R guy, John Kalodner. He listened to it all and he picked his favorite tunes and then he sent his favorite tunes to Kevin Shirley and that's what we recorded at that time.

How do you feel about, you know, do you have to go through Kalodner to get the budget approved or whatever?
I think that's the way business works these days. I would love it to be more amicable between the band and our A&R guy though, and John, you know, in the future - if there is a future - you know, that we can sit down at a table and we can talk about what our needs are and what his needs are. I mean obviously they want to have some stuff that they can get played on the radio, and so do we. It's not like we've never paid attention to that.

Exactly. You're a very commercial band.
When Herbie was managing us everything's changed quite a bit. In the beginning, you know, we pretty much wrote all of our own material, and we orchestrated all of our own material and we went into the studio and we played live and then we gave it to the record company. They never really heard it before it was done. And that was a clause that Herbie had put into our old contract with the label, that we would have total artistic control. And somehow when the new contract came about, that clause was not, you know, in there any longer. And so we had to go through different channels and this is just the way business is right now.

Well, you'd think with a band with your track record, they would be a little more trustworthy don't you think?
I would like to hope so, yes. I think they were very worried though because it's a new record, you know, with a new lineup and they wanted to make sure. But I think that also we wanted to make sure as well, so I wasn't really worried about it.

How did you go towards picking a producer? Was Kevin Shirley just such a success from Trial By Fire that you thought, we'll do it again?
You know, we got along really well with Kevin during Trial By Fire and I really think he was a big fan of the band, and we became very close just friend-wise as well as musically, and he became a good friend of the band and it just felt like a natural thing to do.

Was the feeling the same during the recording of Arrival?
Yeah. Absolutely. You know, I mean, the only thing that I kept saying that everybody got sick of was like, you know, we can't have all of these ballads on this record. And then Kevin will turn around and he'll say well, you know, look whose names are on the ballads. And yeah, I did write a lot of music on this album with Jon and everybody else this time, a lot of ballads and a lot of rock too, but I had no idea that, you know, they'd pick every ballad that all of us wrote, you know what I'm saying? Actually I was figuring, like, if I wrote three ballads or co-wrote on three ballads that, you know, maybe one or two would make it or one would make it and the other two wouldn't, so I mean I felt like overwriting like having more than enough material was better than just having enough.
Then you could pick the best stuff and leave the other stuff behind.

There's quite a different sound on Arrival than there was to Trial By Fire. I actually thinks it's one of the best produced albums you've ever recorded, what do you think?
I think it sounds really great myself. It definitely sounds like the band and it sounds like us live, and that's basically what we did do. We went back to playing live like we always have. Journey has never really gone into the studio, with the exception of a few songs, and ever cut like rhythm tracks, or like laid down the drums and a bass and a rhythm guitar and then go back and overdub. We always just go in and play live, and I play live solos and then I go back and put rhythm guitars on later. Or if I need to clean up the rhythm guitars, I'll do that later, as opposed to, you know, a lot of different producers like to work different ways but I know for myself it's better to catch me live as far as soloing and stuff like that and actually jamming with the band.

Well the record certainly does sound live.
Well it is.

I just think the sound of the album overall is just fantastic, are you happy with the way it turned out?
Oh yeah. Yeah I think it sounds great.

Lets maybe go through the tracks on the album and just get your thoughts on it now that you've had a bit of time to live with them. "Higher Place"?
"Higher Place" was something that I had written a long time ago, I mean actually the music and, you know, we hadn't really done anything with it. I had the music sitting up at Jonathan's and we hadn't really worked on it. And we were running out of time and he was busy doing some other things and so at the last minute I had grabbed the remainder of my rock stuff that we didn't get to and I went up to Jack Blade's house and it was really the first time that Jack and I had ever written together and worked together and, you know, that was what came out of our first day of working together.

That's pretty incredible for a first day's work.
Yeah. I had all the music basically then, you know, I mean we tossed around a few melodies and he wrote most of the lyrics and then, there it was, you know?

Amazing. You two make a great partnership if I do say so.
Thank you.

Yeah. I want to see some more work.
Well, you know, we have a natural thing going on you know, Jack and I. I mean every time we get together and we write something… we actually just co-wrote something for Ozzy Osbourne.

Oh great.
I have no idea what it sounds like now because he's re-recorded it, but the initial demo that I sent, or that we sent, I thought was awesome.

Fantastic. Ozzy Osbourne heavy, that's what I like the sound of.
Well its funny, you know, I don't get a chance to play that type of heavy guitar all the time so I was hoping he was going to leave it on the record, and then at the last minute, I think Sharon came in. He loved it apparently. Jack told me that Ozzy loved it and he loved my playing on the actual demo, and, you know, Jack for a week straight, Jack was calling me, and he kept saying "He loves this and I think he's going to use the demo and re-do the drums and bass or something."
I said wow that's cool. And then at the last minute I think Sharon came in and it was going to be a...I think he wanted to add it to his record as well, this was for some interactive game he has coming out.

Who was that that wanted to add the track?
Sharon his wife.

OK, Sharon, yeah, sorry - sure.
Yeah, she I guess got involved because she manages him, you know that.

And wanted to add it to the record as well I heard. But who knows, I mean this is just hearsay from me. I don't know the real bottom line of the deal… what it's gonna be, but Zakk Wylde came in and I think he replaced almost every guitar that I did. She had him re-do everything, and so, I haven't heard it yet.
But I think that he's a great guitar player and so I'm sure he did it justice.

Sure. What about "All The Way"? You described it earlier as a bubblegum song.
Well, you know, this is no mystery for anybody who knows me and has known me for a long time, that I'm more in to... I'm not a pop meister. You know what I mean? I mean we do play pop music but, I mean, always my role in Journey, except for on a few little occasions here and there, is to play like a really melodic solo over Jonathan Cain's songs, like "Faithfully" or "Who's Crying Now".
My role in the band is always to bring in the ass kickin' rock. And, so, this is what I do naturally and this is what I love to do naturally, even though I do melodic work very well and I realize that now, and it's something that I just added to my, you know, overall picture of everything, of how I look at music and what I like to play on, and so this was one of the more popier songs on our record and, you know, I mean I co-wrote it with the guys, but still in the end, I wasn't certain about it, you know?
But I think it's a good song though, I think that Kevin, you know, twisted it up a bit and he had me play some mandolins on it and some different instrumentation like that, that really made it come from a little bit different place.
Before the mandolins were on it, I really was not sure about it. But now when I hear it, I think it's a good song.

Oh it is. It's a great ballad. Absolutely. "Signs of Life" is one of my favorite tracks on the album.
That was actually one of the first tracks that Jon and I worked on when we got back together. We started writing for a new record when we didn't know if we were going to have a band or not.

This is after the Perry departure?
This was after we were just in, you know, we didn't know what we were going to do. The band was basically in hiatus, he had hurt himself, and we didn't know what was up. You know, I had nothing to do at the time and Jon didn't know what to do, and I said why don't we just start writing.

Actually, I think that's about the time that I interviewed Jon last time, yeah.
I said, why don't we start writing, I mean, you know, maybe Steve will decide that he wants to come back, maybe he won't, but at least when we decide what we're going to do, and we figure out what's going on, we won't be starting right at the beginning again. So I felt that we used the time wisely and we just started writing right away and we started compiling material.

Any other songs of that era that made the record?
Yeah. There is actually. "All the Things" was one of the earlier tracks that I worked on with Jon. "Signs of Life", "All the Things"...

Yeah. Absolutely, we'll run down them. On "All the Things", that is just a wicked guitar solo you've got going there.
Actually, you know what, it's a good guitar solo but the one that I played on the demo, I thought was even better.

Yeah. I just - it was like, you know, off the cuff and I always play the best when I'm not thinking and it's like usually the first take for me when I'm completely blind with what I'm going to do. And then I have to go back and try to copy it, you know, or reproduce it, you know what I'm saying, after that. And it never comes out quite as good. I thought definitely in that song, that was the case.

It's a wonderfully heavy, basic blues riff isn't it?
Yeah. I wasn't really sure about that song.

You know, when we did it, I mean, I liked it, but I wasn't sure that it was a Journey song, you know? You know, it's sort of like, that's been the consensus of people now that I've heard the record too, from what I can gather, I think it's really more of a live song, than it is a record song.

It sounds like a Hardline song, actually.
Yeah. Easily. You know, those are a lot of my riffs and ideas as well as on all the Hardline stuff. You know, I wrote a lot of those heavy riffs.

And it shows a great side of Steve's voice doesn't it on the record?
Yeah, definitely. He's a chameleon, Mr. Augeri has a lot of different things he can do and personally I think one of the best songs for him vocally on a record is like "Kiss Me Softly". I really like his R&B inflection.

Yeah. Let's talk about that track. Another Jack Blades track. You and him?
This was, you know, Jack and I were sort of on a roll at this point and we had written like four or five tunes, and, you know, I just went up to his house and we were writing every day. And I didn't really have anything in mind, and I started playing this riff that I was messin' around with, for months and I actually pictured it much heavier, the same guitar riff that it opens up with, you know, but it was much faster, and it was heavier.
And so I was explaining it to Jack and he just went back and he hit like this loop that he had, this R&B loop that sort of sounded almost like a seal R&B loop on a drum. And then, you know, he goes, "Try playing that against this". And so I played the riff, and then all of a sudden, I was playing really clean Stratty like guitar, sort of like "Walks Like a Lady" type clean Strat tones, and we just went with it that way.
And, you know, by the end of the day, we had a completed song, and we sent the DAT out to Steve, and then Steve messed with it a bit more and he changed a few of the melodies on the front. He actually sang everything in a lower register.
I had written different melodies originally and he used pretty much the same phrasing, and he lowered everything and he sang it sort of in this low sexy type thing, you know? I was really happy with what I heard when it came back; I thought that he did a really great job on it.

It's really a neat song. It's a real change of sort of angle isn't it? While remaining flowing with the rest of the album, it's just a little something different.
Well, you know, I think it's important that we move in different directions. In the future I would like to even, you know, be more experimental like, you know, I love the time period in the band when we were doing Frontiers and Escape; I mean we were really experimenting a lot. I think now is not the time to be really, really safe all the time. You know what I mean? Everybody knew we needed to get our foot in the door with this record and just make people aware that we are working, we've got a working entity here, we are gonna tour, and that we can make music again, you know? I'm just hoping that the next stuff we work on, everybody's got an open mind to be a bit more experimental and try to go in to some new directions.

Talking of something like that, I love, I think "Living To Do" could've come off of Late Night.
Thank you. Yeah. It was something that my father and I had written a lot of the chords before he passed away. It was a couple of years before he passed away, and it was one of the last things that him and I sat down on a piano and we were playing together and I've got a couple still in my head that we wrote that I've never done anything with yet and they're probably going to pop out somewhere. I was like…I woke up one morning and I remembered all the stuff that we were doing in that song, and I was going up to Jonathan's to write and Kim Tribble was out, the lyricist that we worked with, on that song, and went up to Jon's and I just started playing it. I said I've got this bluesy idea and before the day was out, that song was sitting there. We really didn't change much at all in the studio on that one from the demo.

It's the first time I've heard that guitar sound I think since Late Night, it was great.
Well it's more of a blues inflection for me, you know?

Absolutely, Absolutely. It's a great track.
"I'm Not That Way" got left off of the American release...
Yeah, this is another one of the songs that I brought into the band.
You know, I brought in all the chords and originally I was playing it on acoustic guitar and it had more of a Sting feel to it. And in the end it ended up sounding more like a Backstreet Boys thing to me, I don't know. I think that we missed it a little bit on that song. Even though it turned out well, I think that we missed the boat on that one a bit. And, I think it's a good song; I still think it's a great song, but I would've preferred it to be done a different way and I think that it was smart, you know, removing that one from the record at this point.

To me, it sounded a little bit like, "It's Just the Rain" from Trial by Fire.
Yeah. I mean we needed some uplifting stuff, you know what I mean. We didn't need another slow song. I'm talkin' tempo, I'm going, you know, we've got a lot of same tempos here, we need some up tempo, up tempo, you know?
I think that we made the wise move there.

Now the record goes out on a great song with "We Will Meet Again". I really liked the drum sound. Where did the drum rhythm come from?
Well, you know, it started a long time ago. I came up with the drum riff and Deen changed it. He changed it into his own thing. Then we changed the whole song around, with the addition of the piano to it and Steve's melodies that he put on it.
It just blossomed into a very cool song. We were playing it live in Japan and it was just a great song to play live. It actually jams a bit more live than it does on the record.

How are you finding working again with Deen?
I love Deen. Besides being a phenomenal drummer he's a phenomenal singer and he really adds a lot vocally in this band.

Awesome. And how do you find the lineup on stage these days compared to the old lineup?
Well, you know, it's different, it feels different, but if feels great. It's a bit more rocky, everything seems to rock a little more with Deen. You know, you can't take anything away from Steve Smith, he's an amazing drummer, and Deen will be the first guy to tell you that. It feels different, but it feels good.

Steve Augeri, really, I don't think you could've picked a better singer.
Yeah, I know what...<laugh> I've got a friend over here that's delivering a Buddha right now, in my garden <laugh>. That's awesome. Hold on one second Andrew.

Sure, sure.
<talking to another person> He's like, come down here.

Where's he from?
It's Michael Carabello, my friend the conga player from Santana. He's getting me a birthday present, a concrete Buddha in my garden.

Lovely! A Buddha! When's your birthday Neal?
It's February 27. There's a bunch of birthdays in this last month. Jonathan's is the 26th, I believe his wife's is the 22nd or 23rd, and Rindell, our tour manager, was at the beginning of the month, Steve Augeri's was at the beginning of the month. February was full of birthdays.

Well happy birthday for the other week!
Well thank you.

All right. Tell me, what songs didn't make the album then? How many have you got left over that you actually recorded?
You know what, I really haven't counted, but there's quite a few.

That many? <laughs> Not two or three or anything?
Yeah, and some really good stuff as well.

OK. Any plans for it?
You know what, when it gets around time and we get done with the tour, when we start thinking about putting another record together, we'll have to go back through and decipher that and sort of skim through everything and see what lives and what doesn't. But I think it's good stuff even if it doesn't end up being Journey material I think that it does have life somewhere else.

About a year or two years ago you shopped a demo with Steve Augeri and you gave it to your friends to listen to. Was that right?
Oh yeah, we let people listen to it and they thought it sounded great.

How many tracks was on that?
We had recorded "Remember Me" and it was a few others. There was about four or five songs.

OK. I just wondered if there were any songs on there that didn't make the album?
Yeah, there was probably...I can't remember exactly what was on there, to tell you the truth, it's been a while. Jonathan might be able to tell you, he would probably remember.

OK. So what are the chances of you and Jack Blades doing a record?
Well you know what, we've got some really great material that I actually wrote for Journey that we didn't end up using that I was dumbfounded at, actually I thought it was really a lot of the stuff we were missing elements of, you know.
And Kevin, I guess, didn't hear it, the material, he didn't think it was what we needed. Although I thought it was what we needed and what I wanted to do, you know. So there's some great stuff sitting there and I think I'm going to sit on it a while more cause Steve Augeri has added to it and he's actually co-written some of the stuff with us now and he put vocals on it and it sounds wonderful.
So I'm going to sit on it for a bit and wait and see what happens when we go back in to do another record. If it doesn't make it at that point, then I'd have to say, yeah, that Jack and I are going to do something with it. Obviously we'll get a different singer to sing it.

Maybe Jack? Or maybe you and Jack?
Well, you know, I was thinking actually, if we were going to do something like that, Jack can sing, I can sing, and, you know, we can use Deen on drums and he can sing all the high stuff.

That'd be cool. I want to see that recorded.
Yeah, well it's not going to sit there forever I can tell you that because I think the stuff is smokin'.

Awesome. But there's no immediate plans?
I want to sit on it for a little bit. It sounds like it's the type of material that's not going to get old really fast.

Yeah. Now you're an all right singer, when are we going to get to hear you on lead vocals again?
You know what, I'm ready to open my mouth again and start singing. I really am. I'm just completing two records right now.

What are you working on?
I've got two solo projects that I've been finishing, and they're both instrumental records. One is, of all things, this is for Higher Octave, so I came up with this idea a while ago because I was well overdue to give them another record and they started calling and said, "We'd really like to get another record, you were supposed to have one like a year ago, or two years ago, you know, we haven't gotten one since Electric World", and I'm like, Oh man I'm so busy, what can I do? And so the first thing that popped into my head, I was like so what if I do a record of all, the biggest hit ballads of all time.

Yeah. And so they ran it by everyone at the company and they ran it by Virgin because Virgin distributes them and they all loved the idea.

What kind of tracks do you have on there?
I did "Caruso" by Andrea Bocelli, and it's a great version of it. I did "Hero" by Mariah Carey and it's rippin' guitar, it's not a little jazz record. It's not supermarket music or K-Mart music, or elevator music, is what I'm trying to say. It's actually very bold, screamin', singin' guitar. "Hero" sounds amazing I think. I think they all sound really good. I've got "Hero", and then I did Roberta Flack, "Killing Me Softly", and I did Bryan Adams, "Everything I Do, I Do it For You", I did Shania Twain, "From this Moment", I just did "Our Love Goes On (The Titanic Theme)", which is like ripping. And these were all very challenging songs to do, if you can imagine, because they've got amazing vocals on them, first of all; so I have to sort of simulate this vocal without sounding like elevator music, so you can't really just play the melody on the guitar. You have to dig into the melody, find the melody, and then you have to do your own thing to it. For the most part I'm really happy with the way everything has turned out. Now I only have one song left to do and I'm doing a Leon Russell song, "Your Song", but I'm doing a Ray Charles version of it.

Ray Charles, great stuff.
Yeah, Ray Charles does an amazing version of this with orchestration, so it's a really well orchestrated record and its actually just myself and Gary Siramelli and he is like this amazing programmer and he basically did all the strings, he did everything, the drums, the bass, everything, on the computer. And I could just not believe how good they sounded when I heard it back. What was the other song the Andrea Bocelli had that was a big single?

I don't recall the name.
It has an Italian title. I can't remember the name of the song, but I did that one as well.

Hey, I need some music for my...actually, I've got to congratulate you here in a minute, but I'm getting married in January, so I need some music and this sounds ideal.
Wow! Cool! This record will be out by then.

When's it due?
It's going to be done very shortly. They're going to stick it out pretty quick here. The going title I have for this record right now is called, Voice. It's basically, my guitar is the voice on all these songs. And then the other one that I'm just finishing right now too, is more of a techno fusion type record, and it's very cool. I've got Omar Akeem flying out here next week to put on drums, and this one is a bit more jammin', you know, there's like some jammin' guitar on this record. I don't really know what the title of this record is going to be yet. I'm thinking of calling it Playground.

What label is that for?
That's for Higher Octave as well. I had some time off here and I owe them three more records, so I figured I'd knock out a couple while I had some time off and that's what I've done.

Nice to have the talent around to do that.
Well, you know what, it was a lot of work. My playing is the least work out of everything, I mean I have to sit there and mess with it and end up being happy with it until I'm happy, I'm not going to let it slide. Igor Lynn did this record, so what I did, I found two of the greatest guys that do this sort of work where they build the tracks and everything, which takes a lot of time, and I hired them both at the same time and got them working on two separate projects. Then at the end, they're both getting done about the same time and I just come in and I play on everything. Then we move things around if things are not working. It's a great way to work man, I love Pro Tools.

Yeah, everyone raves about that program.
It's a really wonderful way of thinking and working. One of the records I made right downstairs at my house in a bedroom. It's amazing and it sounds huge.

You're getting married very shortly? Congratulations.
Yeah. I'm getting married this month (April) on the 28th.

Great stuff. Congratulations.
Thank you.

Where are you getting married?
In Minneapolis. I've got Prince's old band The Power Generation, most of the people from that are playing at it.

That's nice. A nice wedding band! <laughs>
Yeah, Michael Bland and his band.

Hey, can I hire you guys to play at mine?
I'd love to say yes, but I really don't want to start playing weddings <laughs>

I could never afford it.
You can use our records though.

You guys did play a wedding though last year didn't you? Whose was that?
Oh man, I can't even remember. I tried to forget about that, because I couldn't believe that I was doing it. It was for quite a bit of money and this guy was this big, you know...

I heard he had some money.
He had a lot of money. I mean he flew us down in Lear Jets and flew us back in Lear Jets, it was all pretty incredible.

I couldn't offer you that.
Actually, Rod Stewart played at it, we played at it, REO played at it, and I think one other guy...I can't remember his name...a guitar player/songwriter.

Have you got the support of Sony for this? Are you pretty happy with their support, do you think?
We're going to find out here. I think they've got a lot to work with and I hope they don't blow it.

Me too.
I know they won't blow it and I'm really not worried about it because I'll tell you what's going to happen. As soon as we hit the road, that's when it's going to start picking up, I really believe that. And "Behind the Music" has helped already.

Really? I heard it was a great show. People are saying it's one of the best ever.
It was a good show...I would've liked to have seen more of some of the other members of the band in it. I thought it was mostly the Steve Perry story. But I think that in the end, it was all a very positive thing for everyone, and the ratings of the show were very high. As soon as the show came out, our catalog just went nuts.

Really? That's great. Steve Perry's last words on the show left everyone shaking their head, what was up with that?
You know what, I have no idea what was up with that, and that's what everybody said on the show. I said it on the show, I said I don't know how you can not feel a part of something that you're completely controlling.

Tell me this. You guys were out on the road on the Raised On Radio tour and you were playing two Steve Perry solo tracks in your set. How is that not being a part of the band?
Yeah, I'd like to know that myself, I don't know.

How did you feel about playing "Strung Out" and "Oh Sherry" in the set?
You know what, to be quite honest about it, I did it because we had played one of my songs off of the record I did with Jan Hammer; we were playing "No More Lies". So I very well couldn't say, "No I don't want to play something from your solo record", because I had already done the same thing.

I didn't know that.
But I would've preferred to have just played Journey material.

This time around there are so many songs to choose from, are you just going with the hits and the best tracks off the new album?
Actually, no. We're digging back into a lot of our old material as well.
Before we went to Japan, we rehearsed for a couple of weeks, and we worked up all kinds of stuff. Sort of wiped the webs off everything and refreshed it and brought it up to date. We're digging back into the past and then we're digging into more of our obscure rock songs, and we're updating them. You know, when we played in Japan, we played a different set every night.

Yeah, I heard that. Rindell said that.
We're going to be doing that more in the States and we're even going to be mixing it up more so.

Great. What about playing outside the states? Have you go any plans at all at this point?
Well, you know what, we need to get offers. We definitely...we played Japan, we played Central America, and we had a blast doing both of those. We would love to come to Europe, we'd love to come to Australia, but we need to get offers from promoters.
Before we can do something like that, and preferably what I'd love to do...I mean I've been to Europe before and I've played the little theaters tour, and that would be all right to do that, there's nothing wrong with playing smaller places and that's not where I'm coming from, that I don't want to do that, but you end up losing your ass, money-wise, doing that. I'd prefer if there's some big festival, like rock festivals going on, where there's a lot of bands...I want to get in front of a lot of people. If we come over, I would love to get in front of a lot of people and just do an ass-kicking set, and not play a bunch of small venues.

What about a club/pub tour - something on a smaller scale?
The only thing, the only problem is, there's not much money in it, and it gets very expensive to load all the equipment, and road crew, it's just expensive bringing everybody like that when you're playing very small places and you're not big.
You end up losing a lot of money. Which, at this point, we really can't afford to do as a band.

What about doing a stripped down tour, just you guys and your guitars and jut picking up stuff there.
Well that's a possibility, you know, I've been talking with everyone about that, there's definitely...I don't need to bring all my stuff. I can rent gear and I can still get away with that, there's no big problem.. I think we can all do that. But we have to get an offer on the table so we can all look at it, so management can look at it and we can say yeah or nay.

You guys would love to play the UK, I guess? Have you got any firm plans, other than the US at this point?
No. Not really, we've got like about close to three months worth of dates I just saw yesterday in the US and that's it for right now. The tour is now is with John Waite, Peter Frampton, and us.

Tell me, you've just jumped into my next question, John Waite, what's happening there? Is he going to join the tour?

That's awesome I think.
Yeah, he's decided that he's in.

Too cool...
You know, I kind of started a rumor on our web site to see what kind of excitement it would generate from our fans. I'd have to say most of them were very excited about it. So a lot of them weren't crazy about my idea, I had an idea about John Waite opens the show, Peter Frampton plays, we play, and then John comes back on and plays with us at the end of the night and we play some Bad English songs, and our fans went, "No, I think that Journey should close the show, Waite should not close the show with you guys, but it would be great to see you guys play with him in his set, at the end of his set." So I went, that's a pretty cool idea.
So once again, using our web site and the Internet you can get it first hand from what your fans think you know.

It's a great medium isn't it.
I love it.

Yeah. I remember, I think I was the first one, I was talking to Jonathon, I was talking to Rindell, I was the first one to put online that Steve Perry was officially out, and I got absolutely abused and shit-canned for it.
Yeah, well that's a touchy subject. Ever since "Behind the Music" came out, I mean all kinds of people have different feelings about that show. All I can tell you is that it is just the topping of the ice burg, that show.

I mean, they didn't want to make a big controversial show even though it was sitting there. You know, they had interviewed Herbie Herbert, they had interviewed Irving Azoff, a lot of us, you know, were tied and gagged and were not able to talk because of contracts we had signed with each other. But I'd have to say that a lot of this stuff, they could easily do a Part 2, and a lot of it got left on the floor, a lot of the real stuff people want to know about.

Really? Was there more to the Steve departure than just his hip then?
Well, no, I'm not going to say that, I mean who knows what the real reason was, but there were a whole lot of logistics that were not gotten into, and pros and cons about a lot of things.

Yeah. But I think you guys have picked up and done the right thing, you know, you can't sit around so long and wait. I think you've got a wonderful singer working for you now.
Well, you know, that was one thing in the show that caused a lot of controversy, in one section it said we waited months for him. And I called up the producer and I said months? Are you kidding? We waited years. We waited ten years and then we got back together and then it was close to two years.
We asked for a commitment from him, we just said, "Do you want to do this or do you not want to do it, we'll wait for you if you do want to do it, if you'll commit to it", "No, I can't commit to it, and I can't commit to doing my operation", and so at one point Jon and I turned around to each other and just said, look, we could be sitting here forever, I mean, do you want to move on, or do you not? And I said, we've got nothing to lose at this point. We had already rebuilt this thing somewhat, and I want to continue doing it.

You guys auditioned, or thought about a couple of singers - you only auditioned a couple - one of which was a bigger name. I really couldn't see it working, but you must tell me, describe how it sounded, with Geoff Tate from Queensryche?
Yeah, he was a really great guy, a super nice guy, we got along really well.
We ended up writing a song, but it sounded nothing like Journey.
You know, and a lot of people are like, you know, I'm reading...I haven't posting anything on our site because there's so much heat and commotion going on there right now, and everybody's feelings about Perry being gone and the new singer Steve Augeri and how he's just a copy of Perry and blah, blah, blah.
Naturally, we had to get someone, because most of our music was based around Steve's vocals. It was not like Van Halen where everything was based around my guitar playing. It would've been much easier had it been like that, just to pick up somebody completely new that didn't sound anything like Perry.
But years ago when I heard Steve Augeri's voice when he was in Tall Stories, I said, this is when I was in Bad English years ago, and I heard him on the radio and I go, man if we ever wanted to put Journey back together, and Steve Perry didn't want to do it, I would call this guy, because I know we could make it sound like Journey.
It's nothing verbatim you're trying to copy everything this guy has done, but you need to have someone that has similarities to be able to pull off the old material.

Of course.
Because basically, that's what our fans want to hear, all the greatest hits, and then they want to hear everything up and above that. And how would you do it with someone that can't even sing that stuff? So that's the whole reasoning.
I mean people are like, some people are pissed off that we got someone that sounds like Steve, but I just know that there was no other way.

Yeah. I think if you go back and look over history, most bands that have had a successful replacement vocalist have done the same thing.
Plus, I know we made the right decision because this man is a great guy.

Yeah, I keep hearing that.
He's got his feet firmly planted in the mud, and he's a Brooklyn, New York guy. He comes off that way, you know I've never seen him act different, he's just a very cool guy, he's a very gracious guy, he's got the ultimate respect for Steve Perry, and our fans. He's trying to do as much justice as he can do to the older material.

Yeah, I heard a little bit of the live stuff, I'm looking forward to seeing the DVD come out, when's that due out?
No, not the DVD, but the live TV. There's a free TV thing that Irving has worked out, Irving Azoff has worked out where people that have dishes, satellite dishes, are going to get an hour free show of that, and it'll be running the whole month of April, I think.

Cool. And what about the DVD release?
We don't know when we're going to put it out. We're still talking with them, it's already finished, and it's very good, I actually haven't heard the 5.1 yet, but Kevin did.
My company Nocturn, my company with Herbie Herbert, is going to be going out with this this time, so we're going to be using the brand new screens we got in back of the band, so we'll be having cameramen on stage with us every night. There's a zillion different ways you can record the band every night with hard disk recorders that are out there, and I'm just saying, we've go the cameras, technology is here to be able to record the band every night. I said, "Lets record every night", you know what I mean? And then we're going to capture one of these shows is going to be pure magic. It always happens. But it never happens when you only set up one date to record. It always turns out to be good, but it's always not your best show. So how can you do it unless you record every show?

So you might do a live record down the track?
Well, who knows? If we go out and we end up recording every one of our shows, that would be easy to do. I could see us doing a double live record.

Yeah, please don't cut it to just 15 tracks, let's do a double.
Especially, we'll be switching setup every night, we'll have so much material that by the end of the tour we'll have covered, like, you know, 40 or 50 songs.

Describe to me with one word, or one sentence, your last live album, Greatest Hits Live.
I don't know. <laugh> That's my word, "I don't know".

I heard you weren't happy.
I wasn't happy with the choice of....everything that was picked, once again, I had no control over. Steve had picked the material and Kevin mixed it, and I thought the performances that were picked, were definitely not some of the better ones that I had heard that we had done.

Is it a little bit studio fixed?
No. It was not fixed at all.

Completely live?
Completely live.

Although some of it needed to be fixed. That's what I'm saying, I mean, it seemed like all of the tracks that were picked were tracks that I had out of tune guitars in, or Jonathan had glitches in the keyboard. Usually the band is right on, but you do have nights where people make mistakes and it seemed like all the tracks that were picked were guitar mistakes and keyboard mistakes and not sounding that great and, I don't know, I just did not care for the sound.
If you listen to Captured and then you listen to that, it's very weak.

Well hopefully, you'll get a chance to make it up. Let me ask you about a couple of songs quickly if I can. One of my favorite tracks, I don't think I've asked you this before, is a track called, "I Can't Stop the Fire".
Oh, with Eric Martin. Yeah, I wrote that years ago for that movie "Teachers".

You played on that though didn't you?

Because I've never read the credits on who played on it.
That's me on guitar. Actually, I wrote the song with Eric.

Yeah, I though so. And who else is in the band there?
I can't remember who played drums on that or bass. That's a very long time ago.

Did you record anything else, or just the one track?
No, I remember I did that track, I did "Just One Night", that was off of one of Eric's first records.

Of course, his first solo record, yeah.
I think that was it I'm not sure, there might have been one other track I can't remember.

So it wasn't like an album project or anything
No, we just got together and wrote a few tracks.

OK, because I'm a huge fan of Eric Martin, I must interview him soon here one of these days, but I thought he'd be a good person to do a project with.
Oh absolutely. We haven't actually been talking about that, but it's funny I run into him every once in a while and him and I definitely had some chemistry when we worked together. That would be interesting to toss around again, actually.

I actually think it's one of his best vocals he ever did.
Yeah, he can sing, man.

He's awesome. Another guy I know you're a bit of a friend of and I'm a big, big fan of and one day I'll get a chance to speak to is Sammy Hagar.
Yeah. Actually I just spoke to Sammy.

Oh did you really?
Yeah, and so I talked to him about...I'm going to be going over to his house in the next few weeks. I'm going to go over there and I think him and I are going to sit down and write a few songs.

Fantastic. You two guys have to make a record together.
Well I told him that, you know, the Piranha Blues release we did I said man, he goes, I'm talking to him and he's in Mexico and he said, "What's this record you stuck out Piranha Blues?", and I said, "Man, I played some of it for you" and he didn't seem to like much of it when I played if for him, it was in the rough stages, and he says, "Man, my cousin called me and he says this record just kicks ass", and I said, "Well, yeah, it does kick ass and I would've loved to have you singing on it". Richard Martin did a great job, but I would've loved to have Sammy Hagar, you know?

Yeah, cause you did the HSAS didn't you, that still sounds great today.
Yeah, I know, I love that record.

Oh God, it's so good. Did you get the re-mastered CD?
Yeah, I have the CD.

Oh it's fantastic.
We rehearsed for two weeks, wrote like 20 songs, in two weeks, rehearsed for two weeks, and then went and recorded live, and then we went back into the studio and I added a lot of overdubs on some songs, but basically all the end tracks were live, like all the lead guitar solos, and the bass and drums and vocals.
And then I just enhanced it on some tracks, I put more rhythm guitars, whatever.

I was in San Francisco in '92 and saw Hardline with Mr. Big. That must've been like a San Francisco rock reunion or something, because you had Eric Martin there, but you brought Sammy Hagar out to do "Top of the Rock" at the end of the Hardline set.
Yeah. Then you heard some real lungs <laughs>. That guy has got some serious lungs, I'm mean full out volume. Him and Jimmy Barnes, man.

Oh Barnes, yeah.
Him and Jimmy Barnes, have got sirens.

Did you know, it's an absolute fact, to this day - they still regard Freight Train Heart across the world, and definitely here in Australia, as his best record.

Absolutely, without a doubt. He's singing some absolutely appalling shit these days.

Oh yeah, he's doing these cover records and these horrible soul blues records, even his rock albums don't really hit the spot, he needs good song writers with him. Working Class Man and Freight Train Heart were just wonderful records.
Well that's the only time period that I paid much attention to him because you don't hear much of him in the States.

I should send you what he does these days, I mean he's still a great vocalist, but, you know. You guys were going to do a band thing with him permanently weren't you?
With Jimmy?

I don't know, I don't recall talking about a band. I mean, I had played a few shows with him and played on the record, that's about it.

Yeah, OK. You didn't think of a more permanent thing to do with him in the States?
Well at the time I was still in Journey, I mean, we still had some stuff going on and I wasn't about to leave that, and really I had not gotten an offer from him to play in a band permanently. He had another guitar player, Johnny Diesel, and he was a great guitar player.

Yeah, he still is, he's good. I'm sorry I diverse on the subject a bit...Sammy Hagar, what are you going to write with him for, just anything?
Who knows until we get together, it's been a while since him and I sat down and tried to write anything so who knows what it's going to turn out to be, it's going to be very interesting.

Fantastic. I'd love to see you guys do a record.
I'd like to write him a really classic heavy ballad, like a heavy power ballad, something that's just classic though. You know, it's easy to write rock with Sammy, you know, it's so easy for me to write rock and roll with the guy.

Yeah. I like his softer stuff actually, so that'd be good if you could. I like it when Sammy slows down. Have you heard any of the craziness of what Van Halen are up to?
I haven't heard anything and I have no idea. I'm just like whatever man, I can't tell what's up.

Do you think Journey could get away with going 18 months without even a press release?
Well we went along for 10 years without a press release!!
We never broke up and we never had a press release. Steve just didn't want to work and we were on a hiatus. Hiatus for ten years you know.

That is a shocker isn't it?!!
OK, tell me, to wrap up Neal, I sent you that cover CDR of bands doing Journey songs.
Oh you sent me that tape, right.

What do you think of bands going out and doing Journey stuff. What do you think of the material?
I was not that impressed to tell you the truth. I thought "Edge of the Blade" was interesting....

Actually I thought that was probably one of the better ones.
Well I thought it was one of the better ones of all of them but there were really some not so good ones.

Yeah, I know, there were a couple of shockers.
But it's flattering that somebody even wants to do your material.

I thought the last track, "Separate Ways" wasn't great. (James LaBrie version on the Rock Superstars Vol. 3 CD)
It was not that great.

I think probably the best track on there was actually the acoustic, "Send Her My Love".
Yeah, I recall that.

But I did like "Edge of the Blade" (Jorn Lande), I thought that was pretty good and I thought "Stone in Love" (House Of Shakira) was pretty good too. Do you get a laugh out of bands doing that?
Well I wasn't laughing, no...well actually I was laughing a little bit inside, it was funny to hear someone else doing your stuff. I've never actually heard a Journey cover band. I know there's a lot of different cover bands in different parts of the States that do Journey material, one in Chicago, and one in...I can't remember, there's a band called Escape that does our stuff, I don't know if they're Cleveland or Chicago, or something like that. There was one in LA a while ago, and I've never heard any of them, so I don't know, you know, so it was strange to see or hear anybody doing our material.

One last question to wrap up. I'm actually doing a second web site to run in conjunction with my current one. It's going to be based on classics, all of the old stuff that people have missed, because that's what I get asked all the time, you know.
Oh, I think that's a great idea. Records that sort of went by the wayside.

Yeah, exactly. The most common question I get asked is, "I love all this stuff that you've got on your site, I've just come back into the fold after 10 years in the wilderness because of MTV and all that. What have I missed in the mean time?" So this is what the site is going to concentrate on.
One of the things I'm going ask different artists is "What do you consider the best rock albums out there"? Have you got favorite records that you really admire?
Yeah, absolutely. They're all really old records. Any one of the three Jimi Hendrix records, the first three. I love all of Led Zeppelin's stuff, but I really like the first record. I love all of Jeff Beck's stuff, but I really love that first record Truth. For rock records with vocalists, I think that him and Stewart were really great in that time era. And I love the first Small Faces record with Rod Stewart.
I thought that was a great party band. There's so much good stuff man, but I loved all the Cream stuff. I particularly loved Wheels of Fire, because that was the record that really sort of took me and stuck me in the improvisation world of guitar. Listening to that record I sort of figured out how I could move around on the guitar. And then you know, that's just rock, but I have my favorite Blues records and Jazz records and all different genres.

What do you think of Mr. Santana making a good comeback in the last year or so?
I'm really happy for him. I'm especially happy for him that he's a guitar player <laughs> and, you know, that I play with him and I'm glad to see someone that's a bit older than me that had a big comeback like that. It's exciting, you think to yourself, "Well, the same thing could happen to anyone, you know."
You come with the right record at the right time.

It could even happen to Journey.
Absolutely, I definitely think we're a contender.

Lets hope it starts with Arrival!
Lets hope man I'm keeping my fingers crossed. We're going to give it our all. We're going to pull out all the stops and we're going to give it our all.

Fantastic, fantastic. Well, I think you and John Waite on tour together is the most marvelous idea, I hope that comes off.
Well it's funny, you know, John and I had talked about a while ago, and I was saying to Jon, "We couldn't find anybody that we liked that was available to go out with us."

I thought Jonathan wanted to beat John Waite up.
No, no. I mean the past is the past. I heard that Waite thought that we both hated him. You know, maybe at the time when the band broke up we were not fond of each other.

Things just got frustrating?
Yeah, things got very frustrating and twisted up, but I mean so many years have gone by, I don't hold grudges against anyone. I don't hold grudges against Perry, I don't hold grudges against anyone. It's just, time moves on, people change and this is what you have to go with.

Actually, I've got one last question. Everything's going so well with you now, the record is fantastic, it's one of my favorites, I think it's better that Trial By Fire, etc. Steve Perry comes back to you now and says, "I'm ready to come back to the band. I'd like to." What do you say to him?
I think that we've got a solid band right now and there's no going back. Like he said in the interview on TV, he said, you know, when Jon called him and talked to him and said, "Well we'd like to move on", and Steve said to him, "Well there's no coming back", and Jon said, "We realize that."

I think that's the right thing to do, have some consistency. Lets hope there's many more Augeri fronted records to come.
You know what man? This is our first record in a lot of sense to me, it's almost like, I'm looking at it like we don't have any other records out there. Sure, we're playing the greatest hits and we're able to pull that off with Augeri, but really it's our first record, and so I think we're going to acquire a lot of new fans as well as take some old fans with us. We'll lose some of our old fans which is natural when you change the front man. But I think all and all, all we have to do is stick with it and keep pumping out great music and we're going to be fine.

I agree. Fantastic. OK Neal.
All right Andrew.

I think that's about it. I think I've covered everything.
That should hold us over for a while.

Absolutely. Great stuff. OK well we'll talk via e-mail.

Thanks for you time man
You're welcome.

Thanks buddy, I appreciate it.
Yeah, thank you. G'Day now!

Thanks Neal. Bye, bye.

C. 2001 - Andrew J McNeice &