Steve Perry Says His Songs Are All About High School
Steve Perry revealed that his songwriting was all geared toward capturing feelings he experienced in high school, and argued against anyone being talked out of reaching back into their past to recover things that mattered to them.
He also noted that some of his performance came from feeling that he didn’t have a voice when certain negative experiences took place in his childhood.
“Everything I write comes back to high school,” Perry told the New Statesman in a new interview. “I know it sounds funny, but everything. It all comes from the emotions I grew into during my adolescence. Those moments are not to be tossed away.”
He became “emphatic” as he explained, “If something means something to you, go back and get it and make it part of your life. And anyone who doesn’t understand how important that is, you tell them to fuck off.”
The strong phrase appeared a number of times in the conversation. He addressed his refusal to undergo hip surgery, which contributed to his departure from Journey in 1998. “When they told me they checked out some new singers, it’s like your boyfriend saying ‘Look, I really love you, but I need to know if we’re getting married or not because I’ve checked out some other chicks,’" he recalled. "It’s like saying, ‘By the way, drop a few pounds, too. Get your nose fixed at the same time.’ Fuck off.”
He reported that he enjoyed making his upcoming comeback album Traces in his own time and without exterior pressures. “No one had their foot on my neck saying, ‘Are you done? Are you done?’ Fuck off,” he said.
Asked about why he’d chosen to become a singer, Perry replied that “people don’t become performers because they don’t have needs." "Singing, though it can be very lovely, is essentially a primal scream," he explained. "And I was screaming pretty loudly – and quite big.”
He then referred to undisclosed events that took place when he was nine years old. “There was a lot going on but nowhere to take it," he said. "It happened to a lot of kids, as I find out. … But there was nowhere to take that stuff back then. One of my needs to perform was the need to get myself heard. Now, please, do understand, I’m not complaining – but there was nowhere to talk it out, so I got to sing it out instead.”
Traces comes out on Oct. 5.