I have heard many rumors about me over the years. If they were all true, there is no way I would still be alive! This is one that I probably hear the most. There are many versions of this story out there. Hell, who knows, maybe I’ve screwed up what happen a few times myself, depending on what condition I was in!
This is the real story. Short and sweet?
It was about 3 o’clock in the morning when the phone rang. I was asleep. It was very rare that I would be asleep at that time. It was 1984 and I must have had a short time off, which was very rare in Cheater!
I answered, on the other end of the phone was a girl’s voice and a lot of noise, “Hey Jeff are you able to talk?’
I recognized the voice. It was a girl I had dated some time ago and we were still great friends. I’ll call her Joanie because I haven’t seen her in many years and wouldn’t want to use her real name without permission.
“Hey Joanie, what’s up? Where are you?”
“I’m in Los Angeles,” She said.
Joanie was a model and knew a lot of famous musicians and music people. She was always being invited to parties like this. She was very smart and very beautiful.
Joanie proceeded to fill me in… She was at a cocktail party at the time of the call. A gentleman came up to her and said, “Is that a band or is that your personality?”
At first she didn’t know what he was talking about until she realized she was wearing a “Cheater” pin. Her response was that it was a band. She then realized who the gentleman was.
I’m going to call the man a “prominent member of the band Journey.” I don’t feel comfortable using his real name. You never know how people feel about it.
She said to him how funny it is that she would be meeting and talking to him because the singer in the band from her pin is a good friend of hers and that people say he sounds a lot like Steve Perry. (Steve Perry is the singer for Journey.)
He, much to her surprise, became very interested in that and asked some questions about me. As she talked to him he then remembered hearing about me!
He told her that when Journey was performing in Buffalo some time ago, a local agent had given him Cheater’s record and that he and “another prominent member of Journey” were curious about me.
“Ten Cent Love Affair, right? He said. “What’s the singer’s name again?”
She told him my name. He asked her if it was possible to reach me. Joanie said of course! She told him she could call right now.
He said great and they went into a quieter room, but not before grabbing “another prominent member of Journey” who was there, to come along.
He introduced himself to me on the phone and I told him it was great to speak to him, I’m a big fan. What he then explained to me was a shocker. Steve Perry was leaving the band! He said it is not public knowledge yet and asked that I not speak about it to anyone.
We spoke for a while about my availability to come to LA to audition. The “other prominent member of Journey” jumped on the phone and was much less formal and more to the point of what was going down. He was a ball breaker (like me).
He had some interesting and somewhat negative things to say about the music business and was not horrible, but not real lovey dovey, about Steve Perry and The situation.
I could have talked to him for hours. As it was we talked for a long time. It was a great conversation. We laughed and joked around a lot. It was easy to make him laugh and he was cracking me up too. This did not feel like a conversation with a total stranger… He and I could tell that we hit it off real well. He ended the call with how much he thought I would fit right in and that if I can sing as good as he hears he would be pushing for me.
I thanked him. I was pretty excited. Both guys said goodbye and said they would be calling me in a few days to make some arrangements for me to come to California.
When Joanie got back on the phone we were flipping out. She was so happy that she ran into them and I thanked her a ton for the introduction. We said our goodbyes and I told her I’d keep her posted.
The next few days were nerve wracking to say the least. I couldn’t tell anybody and I couldn’t do anything but wait!
“Prominent member of Journey” called me back, just as he said he would. He told me that there is a lot of discussion going on in the band and management and that they weren’t ready to pull the trigger on auditions yet, but he wanted to be sure to get back to me and let me know that he would be in touch again soon. He also said, “Hey! “other prominent member of Journey” said to tell you, as far as auditions go, in his mind, you’re the only one!”
We laughed and I waited for another call back.
When he called back sometime later my hopes were dashed. …He informed me that things had been worked out with Steve Perry. …He wasn’t going to leave the band. He was going to do a solo album and then return in time for the next Journey album.
I thanked him for the interest and told him I was happy things worked out for them. Which I was, sorta…
Steve’s solo album “Street Talk” was huge and I have to say a little piece of me hoped Steve would decide solo was better and not go back to Journey and I would get a call again. No! That would be mean, I didn’t want to be that way.
Besides, there were many other hopes to be dashed in my future!
A few years ago I finally got a chance to meet and speak with “other prominent member of Journey” at a show. His talent aside, which is beyond amazing, he was a great guy and a pleasure to hang with. He said, “Man, we really would have worked well together!”