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Why were Steve Smith & Ross Valory booted from Journey?

Jamalot

Senior Member
Messages
8,208
Ross had such a signature style ... was it even "his" style? Or was Steve Perry writing his parts?
And Journey's music didnt change styles when these guys both got bounced in '86...and despite the VH1 "behind the music", we never gotca straight answer.
 

Jamalot

Senior Member
Messages
8,208
Yes, it Perry, but why? They seemed to be fine pre-'86 and RoR was more of the same.
Did Perry want to change percentages or sumthin? Journey was so lucrative at that point you'd have to seriously shaft non-publishing band members to leave so little money on the table that they walk away.
 

R2112

Member
Messages
1,646
Dunno if it will explicitly answer your question, but if you want to read the best interview EVER DONE with a former manager on the dysfunction within a huge band, read this interview with Herbie Herbert (Journey's former manager during their heyday):

https://web.archive.org/web/20070127121512/http://members.cox.net/mrcarty/

He REALLY doesn't like Perry or Jonathan Cain.
 
Last edited:

Jamalot

Senior Member
Messages
8,208
That article is good - explains why the BtM had no answers. The article speaks to a 'next installment' in which HH discusses the firings, would love to find that!
 

R2112

Member
Messages
1,646
That article is good - explains why the BtM had no answers. The article speaks to a 'next installment' in which HH discusses the firings, would love to find that!
Jamalot.....I fixed the link above to take you to the overall header page. You should be able to get to all four parts now. Enjoy....there's some great stuff in there.
 

aknow

Senior Member
Messages
750
Ross had such a signature style ... was it even "his" style? Or was Steve Perry writing his parts?
And Journey's music didnt change styles when these guys both got bounced in '86...and despite the VH1 "behind the music", we never gotca straight answer.
Have always liked melodramatic pop ballads. That was a horrible decision, ended the band
 

Gas-man

Unrepentant Massaganist
Messages
18,611
From another interview with Herbie Herbert (not the one linked above):

You'll have to remember on Raised on Radio is when he (Steve Perry) had me remove Ross Valory and Steve Smith from the band. Of course that was completely ridiculous and I forced him to pay them as if they were there on the tour and everything.

Really?
Absolutely, that's what I think you do for your people. There's very little chance that Ross Valory or Steve Smith would remember it let alone reciprocate but that is the honest to God truth. I made sure they were taken care of. I thought it was patently ridiculous and thought that Steve Smith was one of the best drummers on the planet.

And still is.
And he has been recognized as such I believe for longer than anybody in history as the best drummer in the country for something like twenty years running.

What do you think Steve Perry's problem with Ross and Steve was? I mean they were hardly the decision makers of the band.
No, because he wanted to divide and conquer. There was a real relationship I thought with Steve as regards my relationship, my father/son relationship with Neal Schon. It was a pretty serious thing as I would say to people half serious, half in jest half as the truth of the world, I would say 'This is my Neal Schon, he didn't turn out that good.' (laughs) And I'm not talking about him as a guitar player at that point, obviously not, I'm his biggest fan.
These guys, when they screw the pooch not only can they not learn commitment, anything that comes along that they like better they get uncommitted real fast. And when they make a booboo, and booboos happen and the thing is when I make a mistake I have no expectation or notion of unringing the bell or puttin' the bite back in the apple. It doesn't occur to me. To them it's the gospel, of course that's possible, which I find hilarious. I find that humorous. That part of the business I surely don't miss. Management is a rough go, I tell ya.
 

ripple

To keep fresh, keep capped & cold.
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,281
I admire Herbie's candor, and his money-making skills, but a part of me thinks that a management style more akin to Don Arden's would've kept Steve Perry's Prima Donna crap more in check.

When you're talking about the amount of money involved, I can't imagine Arden allowing Perry to blow it up without some "repercussions".

Does this look like a guy who dicks around?
 

whackystrings

Member
Messages
3,890
If you look at the following video starting at just past the 39min mark, basically, it came down to the adoption of drum machines and strict 'robotic' time and feel that the rhythm section were asked to lock into. I guess drum machines were so integral to the songwriting and demo process at the time that the use of those drum machines became the foundation for the music. The sessions didn't seem to go well - perhaps Smith and Valory were playing with a "human feel" and this wasn't cutting it.
By that time, Perry pretty much had veto power over the entire band because he was the driving force behind their success and he convinced Cain and Schon to go along with the decision to replace Smith and Valory with studio musicians. in this video, Perry admits that with 20/20 hindsight he would never have done it.
I think we need to remember that the types of pressure that he/they would have been facing are not the typical types of pressures us "normal" folks have. I think it is pretty easy to call out people as being callous and calculating but I think the power of the business side of things in the music machine could easily cause irrational decisions to be made. Dunno. Need to walk a mile in their shoes, I suppose...

 

Jamalot

Senior Member
Messages
8,208
Gas I found that 2nd piece, thx for pointing out the Q that was on point. Still, not much of an explanation tho. "divide and conquer? All they he did was axe the non-writers.
I do wonder if Valory's signature sound was truly his own, or if Perry was giving him the EVH/MA treatment... Dont know who to credit
 

big mike

Cathode biased
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
13,187
Posts deleted, warnings handed out.
Feel free to dislike something or someone, just do it in a civil manner. Musician bashing isn't tolerated, and some of the language used was well beyond acceptable.

FWIW...Journey being an integral part of my childhood and San Francisco lore in general...Perry was ruling the band with an iron fist at the point Smith and vallory were let go. it had damn near become the Steve Perry Band...Neal would go in cut solos and parts in a few min, then leave.
 

R2112

Member
Messages
1,646
Here's what Herbie Herbert said in the interview I linked to. Similar to the other interview pasted in.....

Herbie: So, here's the moral to that story. No good deed goes unpunished. And that became the theme. It really did. So, here I am, getting ready to do the same thing, and all of a sudden they call me over to Sausalito for a band meeting on the waterfront. I'm sitting there with Neal Schon, Jon Cain, and Steve Perry. They inform me, 'We're struggling, and Steve doesn't feel right about these recordings.' And I go, 'All the tracks are finished!' 'Yeah, he doesn't like them. He wants to replace Smith and Valory.'
Replace Smith and Valory? Over my dead body! What the **** - this is a group, this is a band! This isn't Steve Perry and his side band. He had corrupted Jon Cain, but the two of them (had) damaged Neal Schon so bad that in his darkest moments I fear that Neal Schon is suicidal over the primrose path he let (them) take him down. That turned out to be a brutal mistake. I said 'OK, but these guys are going to be paid as if though they were here. And we will all eat the cost of this stupidity, and the cost of these sidemen.' - which turned out to be Mike Baird and Randy Jackson.
Matt: Right.
Herbie: And it wasn't Journey. It was lame. We paraded forty of the greatest drummers in the world through their rehearsal hall, from Omar Hakim to Chad Wackerman. They embarrassed me, but they truly embarrassed themselves. They had no diplomacy or aplomb in the way they handled any of these musicians. They disrespected virtually all of them, and then took the worst drummer of the bunch. Never even said a 'Hi' or a 'Bye' or thanked or - they never would make any of those calls. And this was at the point where I was getting pretty sick of doing this my whole life for these guys. My pooper-scooper runneth over. And boy, it was really running over then
 

R2112

Member
Messages
1,646
Gas I found that 2nd piece, thx for pointing out the Q that was on point. Still, not much of an explanation tho. "divide and conquer? All they he did was axe the non-writers.
I do wonder if Valory's signature sound was truly his own, or if Perry was giving him the EVH/MA treatment... Dont know who to credit
Hard to say, but you might be able to fill in the blanks yourself. Steve Smith is really a jazz drummer, and Valory came from a jazz/fusion sort of background. Obviously, the kind of stuff they were writing either before Journey (Smith) or in earlier versions of Journey (Valory) were not the sound Perry wanted for "Raised on Radio." (And here, I'm assuming that the final version of RoR is somewhere along the lines of Perry's vision for that record).

My guess is that they got rid of the jazz/fusion element in the band and simply brought in guys with a lighter, more pop feel.
 

aleclee

TGP Tech Wrangler
Staff member
Messages
13,247
If you look at the following video starting at just past the 39min mark, basically, it came down to the adoption of drum machines and strict 'robotic' time and feel that the rhythm section were asked to lock into. I guess drum machines were so integral to the songwriting and demo process at the time that the use of those drum machines became the foundation for the music. The sessions didn't seem to go well - perhaps Smith and Valory were playing with a "human feel" and this wasn't cutting it.
In the HH interview, he had some no-so-glowing comments about Valory's playing. I could see him having a rough go trying to lock in with a drum machine.
 

Al Varez

Senior Member
Messages
518
Steve Perry has stated, and I think he also said it in that 'Behind the Music' episode as well, that he(Neil too?) were going after a more R&B type drum & bass sound and Steve/Ross weren't pulling it off.

I would take anything said by Herbie Herbert with a huge grain of salt. He is obviously still extremely bitter over being let go by the band and takes every opportunity to trash Steve Perry. A lot of what he says in those interviews is so easily proven false ("Steve Perry refused to make eye contact with the audience"). :rolleyes: That doesn't seem to be the case in any live videos on Youtube. Notice that in all these years, Steve Perry has never said anything bad about Herbie.

Herbie and Neil worked Steve Perry like a mule, with a brutal, non-stop touring schedule for years. Everyone that tried to replace Steve Perry in Journey has had their vocal chords shredded trying to maintain that performing schedule. Arnel Pineda does not perform songs in the original keys, which was the whole point of hiring him originally. Arnel had to have the drummer sing certain songs he couldn't handle (Mother Father).
 

big mike

Cathode biased
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
13,187
Steve Smith can pull of anything. He's the best drummer that band ever had bar none. The bottom line was Perry wanted more control over everything, and even Neal was disillusioned by Raised on Radio. You can see it with how he just went straight 'sideman' for most of the following projects. Bad English, Hardline, and essentially touring one summer as the Paul Rodgers band with the hardline rhythm section.
 
Messages
1,663
I can't imagine Steve Smith having any issues whatsoever playing to a click or playing as tight or loose as required. Couldn't have been his playing, had to have been something else.
In fact, Smith was one of the studio guys back in the 80s and early 90s who would replace less experienced drummers ( i.e. the ones who couldn't play to a click track).
 




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