Rock!: What I hear when listening to Street Talk is a lot of 1964. Is that the right year?
Steve: Well, it has its influences major amounts of music that were very pop and rhythm oriented.
Rock!: What were you doing in 1964?
Steve: Oh, playing in a band playing drums and singing in a band.
Rock!: Were you listening to a lot of Motown?
Steve: I listened to all kinds, I was into all kinds of things. I was influenced by every artist, I think, of any imaginable type. I mean, I like country music; I listen to rhythm-and-blues, rock 'n' roll a little bit of everything.
Rock!: What kind of town is Hanford, California, where you grew up?
Steve: It's near Fresno it's a small town, a nice town. I don't know how many people live there now. But it's a very small town, kind of an "American Graffiti" type of town. Nice little main street, right in the center of town.
Rock!: Did you do a lot of cruising around?
Steve: Oh yeah! Sure, a lot of that.
Rock!: When did you first know you could sing?
Steve: When I was seven years old I think I started singing around the house.
Rock!: Did your family pick up on it, or was it just yours?
Steve: I don't know I just started doing it, and I enjoyed it so much that I started listening to the radio a lot. And I used to sing along.
Rock!: What's the first song that you ever sang along with?
Steve: Probably a Kingston Trio song "Tom Dooley" or something like that.
Rock!: Do you still sing along with the radio?
Steve: Yes I do! I like the radio I'm a radio listener.
Rock!: What kinds of stations?
Steve: I'm a button pusher. Whatever, you know.
Rock!: The first time you heard yourself on the radio, was it strange?
Steve: It was an exciting thing. And when I first heard the solo album, that was especially exciting.
Rock!: Is it hard for Sherrie to hear her name all over the radio all the time?
Steve: Probably so. I mean, she likes it. It was meant as a flattering thing. It doesn't bother her so far, I don't think.
Rock!: Is it true that the guys in Journey aren't too hot on the album?
Steve: I don't know what happened. We don't keep in that much contact. But the only guy who did call me was Steve Smith, and he said that he liked the album a lot. I mean, not that I'd call them right away and say that I'm crazy about their albums either, but I've heard mixed reports about what they feel about it. But I won't say anything, so I can't
Rock!: It seems like emotions come out on your album a lot more strongly than anyone's ever heard from you before.
Steve: Yeah, people didn't know I had that in me, did they?
Rock!: It didn't seem to come out as much before.
Steve: Well, it's a group situation, a real collaborative thing. And you have to go with the band's feeling and contribute to it. It's a band concept, totally different from a solo project. I can make a track perfect for me, but that's not what a band is, so they're not going to want to do exactly what I want to do, they're going to wan to do what they want to do. And that's healthy at times, because that is what being in a band is all about.
Rock!: Does that create a balance in the band, rather than one person being in control?
Steve: It balances itself out. A little friction is good sometimes.
Rock!: How do you do lyrics? Did you write most of the lyrics on the album?
Steve: With Randy Goodrum, we all collaborated on the album. And John Bettis did some lyrics too.
Rock!: Do you just come up with a phrase that sounds good and then build around it?
Steve: It depends; everything is different. It's a chicken-and-egg situation, because you don't know what comes first sometimes. "Foolish Heart" came out immediately, but I can't explain how it happened. I just put my mind in sort of a free state where I can come up with an idea. Sometimes the lyrics first, sometimes the melody first.
Rock!: Was any of it stuff you've sort of been kicking around for a while?
Steve: No, it was all done in three-and-a-half to four weeks before I recorded. None of it had really been accumulated. I mean, it had been planned that I was going to do this, but I wanted it to be fresh and what I felt at the time.
Rock!: Were you surprised when it turned our sounding the way it did? Or did you expect it to wind up like that?
Steve: I pretty much knew what I wanted it to sound like. I just went in there and recorded them. I know it sounds sort of nebulous, but it is like that.
Rock!: It must be really hard to explain the creative process to people.
Steve: Yeah, if I could I'd put it on a computer. And then it would be no sweat!
Rock!: Are you happy with everything you've achieved in the last few years?
Steve: Yeah, I think so. I'm really, really pleased with what I've done, and really pleased with what I've accomplished.
Rock!: When did you first feel that you needed to make a solo record?
Steve: Well I think probably just before I did the thing with Kenny Loggins. I started getting the feeling with "Don't Fight It". So I guess I didn't fight it very much, I just went with it. I planted an infectious seed of freedom in there.
Rock!: Is that how you see it?
Steve: Yeah, I see an awful lot of freedom. It is a double-edged sword, but it gives an awful lot of freedom. I'm sure any of the other guys would say the same thing. Neal has done his three albums, and there is a certain amount of freedom. I'm sure he enjoys doing it too, because it's not a group concept.
Rock!: What is it that you most want to get across about the record?
Steve: That it is an honest album; it's a very honest project. And it's not like a glass table. It's more like a nice wood table. You know, it's got structure to it; you can't see through it it's got something to look at, something to see.
Rock!: Do you have any advice for Rock! readers?
Steve: Well, if you've got something that you want to try, and you believe in it, don't be afraid to run along and go for it. Go after it!
Rock!: Is that true for you?
Steve: That is me!
Steve Perry Goes Solo
Rock! Magazine, August 1984