Journey’s End: a must-read interview
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the band Journey made its mark in the late 70s and early 80s with rousing rock anthems and weepy pop ballads, and though the band may have been hated by critics, audiences grew with each successive release. Not only did multiple personnel changes not hurt Journey, it seemed as if the changes were destined to be, as each new member added an element that bolstered and heightened the band’s success. For a while, they could do no wrong.
And then in 1986 something happened: gone was the rhythm section of Steve Smith and Ross Valory, gone were the one-word album titles and interesting artwork, and gone was – to my ears – the band’s edge. Rumor had it that lead singer Steve Perry had taken control of the band, except specifics were hard to come by. Try searching “Journey fire Steve Smith and Ross Valory” on Google, and most of what you’ll find are brief sentences summarizing the event and little of substance even from former band members. VH1’s “Journey Behind the Music” adds nothing critical to the story, and watching the “rockumentary,” one gets the feeling that Perry controlled its content, as he’s featured far more prominently than other band members.
But a few months ago my friend Aaron forwarded a 2001 interview of long-time Journey manager Herbie Herbert by long-time Journey fan Matthew Carty. A more intriguing, entertaining read you’ll be hard-pressed to find, unless it’s a 2008 interview of Herbie Herbert by Andrew McNeice. Herbert is an interviewer’s goldmine: outspoken, knowledgeable, funny, and an old-school, hard-nosed character whose musical instincts and marketing savvy were spot-on.
Next time you have half an hour, read the 2001 Carty interview, and you may walk away with an entirely different understanding of the band, of the music industry and – possibly – human nature. I’ve read it twice, and I’ll read it again. It’s that good.