THE JOURNEY ZONE
April 2001: The Arrival Interviews
April 4, 2001: Yahoo! Online Chat with Journey
May 27, 2001: Journey Uncle Joe Benson Interview
June 26, 2001: Gregg Rolie Harmody.Com Interview
August 2001: The Famous Herbie Herbert Interview with Matt Carty
August 2001: Gregg Rolie Band Rockline Interview
September 2001: Kevin Chalfant's Official Response to the Herbie Herbert Interview
April 4, 2001: Yahoo! Online Chat with Journey
y_chat_diva: Hello and welcome, thanks for joining us, we've got a great chat coming up with Journey!
y_chat_diva: Please welcome Neal, Deen, Steve and Jon to Yahoo! Thanks for showing up guys!
journey_live: No problem. That's what we're here for.
livin2do: Arrival was available via Napster months before its scheduled US release. In hindsight, are you glad you were able to get feedback on the record from the fans and react to it?
journey_live: Neal - Oh yes. We really fed off the reaction of the fans. It was cool to get what they thought of the record. They all said they loved the record but would have loved to have a couple more rockers.
journey_live: So we went back, cut a couple more, and made sure that it didn't get to Napster.
iajrny: my question is just that I want to say thanks to the band for comming back!! the new CD is Great, But is what I want to know is how did jon do at the golf tourney??? and will iowa be a future stop on the tour???
journey_live: Jon - We were 8 under par. We had a lot of fun seeing the Journey fans that came to the tournament. And Iowa ... jeez. Good question.
journey_live: Neal - I don't remember seeing it on the calendar so far, but we probably will get there.
journey_live: Jon - Let's see ... we're going to be in Noblesville, Indiana. And in Columbus, Ohio. And Clarkston, Missouri.
journey_live: Check our website. www.journeymusic.com
journey_live: See if any of those places are close by.
jamalvis: How do the members feel about the exchanging of "bootleg" concerts?
journey_live: Neal - You know what? there's a guy selling a bunch of bootleg vhs tapes right now. Openly selling them on the internet. He's selling our concerts from all over the place. I can't believe it.
journey_live: Jon - Not cool.
journey_live: Neal - We're going to bust his ass.
journey_live: Steve - First, I'd like to say hello to everybody. Secondly, it's very important to be careful how you spend your money b/c 9 out of 10 times, you're going to get burned. There's no standards of satisfaction. Give to a good cause as opposed to throwing it down the toilet.
journey_live: Jon - Save your money for our new DVD. It'll be coming soon.
drmaftrdrm2001: So will Steve be wearing Red Leather paints at all venues now? LOL
journey_live: Steve - The gang is presently shopping me. Taking me around for a new wardrobe. So probably not. It's still up in the air. We're trying to upgrade.
journey_live: Everyone else - LOL!
foxyjeunesse: Did you expect a Journeyfan from the Netherlands to call for you on WBAB
journey_live: Neal - I just want to say hello and I've been reading your posts and I'm glad you're such a great fan.
pictur3this: Were there more "outside writers" on this cd than your previous cds?
journey_live: Jon - There was probably more guest writers. Not "outside", but friends of ours. People we've written with in the past. We needed all the minds we could get on this one.
gwnunz: Deen..nancy (Toms friend) here. I find the drums in We Will Meet Again to have a Lion King influence. Did you men it that way?
journey_live: Dean - When we were in the studio recording that song - or trying it out - the rhythms on the demo just weren't working for us. It just didn't feel right. So I went into the studio just to try some stuff ... and I came up with that pretty quickly. They said it would work, and we blazed it!
journey_live: But, no ... no Lion King. I didn't think about that. :) It was more that if it didn't work it would get canned and I loved it too much, so we just made it work.
qman39_1: do you belive this cd is one of the top albums you have put out since infinity
journey_live: Neal - Yeah. I think it has a lot of flair, like an Infinity type flair to it musically. It's very musical. And it's very diversified like Escape. I think it's the closest record we put out that comes close to those records.
journey_live: It's closer to our earlier records.
augerifan: Steve: How did the recording sessions with Journey differ from Tall Stories or Tyketto?
journey_live: Steve - For starters, it was a level that had never experienced before. Everything was top shelf. Everyone was a pro. The energy was great and the catering was superb!
journey_live: Of course, we ate NY's finest deli sandwiches from the Carnegie. When in NY, try it out. 57th and Broadway, I think. Bring your family, you can feed them all with one sandwich. Sneak in a loaf of bread in your bag.
dsja_2000: How did you'all enjoy doing the VH1 Behind the music?
journey_live: Jon - It was like therapy. It was cleansing on one hand and on the other, it kinda wore you out. It felt good but it was in the past. So you got tired of talking about it. We enjoyed it but wish we could have focused on what we've been doing in the past 3 years ... but we're happy with it and they were very good to us.
journey_live: Neal - You know, I really enjoyed doing it too and it WAS therapy, but I'm hoping that they're going to come with a part 2 since the ratings did so well. Hopefully a lot of the stuff that got left on the chopping floor will be brought to life because, believe me, there is a lot of life there.
billcruz2000: the last 4 Journey albums have all been different and succesful in there own rught. What can we expect musically from this album?
journey_live: Neal - I think that anybody that's liked us in the past ... any fan of all .... is going to love this record. I think there's something for everyone. We really, on this record, especially since we cut the other 2 songs, we've covered all bases on this record.
journey_live: We definitely show how versatile the band is.
samhillband: how do you guys feel about Journey tribute acts??
journey_live: Jon - We're flattered.
piranhagirl2001: NEAL JOSEPH!! - What is up with the PiranhaLounge website? Any plans for that to get updated SOON?
journey_live: Neal - I've been meaning to get to that, but we've been so busy and I've been completing 2 solo records. I haven't stopped working. But I'm planning on getting to that. I have a few ideas I've been kicking around. The good news is I've been working out what I want to do . . . I am going to work on it. I've been concentrating mainly on Journey.
nota_normal_white_dude: Ok guys...... Hi and all that. My question is..... WHY no bigger than xxl shirts?? I mean I have to pay to make them. Thats NOT fair.
journey_live: Jon - We'll try to get some xxxl's next year. Good point.
brnyrddog_30: I saw you guys at a Rock Superbowl back in the early 80's and most recently while you were touring with Foreigner. Do you plan on touring in the near future and will Tampa be a stop. Neil, you are truly the most amazing guitar player I have ever seen.
journey_live: Neal - Thank you.
journey_live: Jon - We're going to ......... let me see ......
journey_live: Everyone should go to our website to check out dates for tour dates.
journey_live: A lot of dates aren't locked in yet, so check it out there.
syrennastjames: Will we be seeing a video for All The Way?
journey_live: Who knows.
anchorboy3: Thanks. First timer. Guys, Arrival rocks! What's it like recording now, compared to 20 years ago, as far as what the music means to the fans?
journey_live: Jon - The technology in the studio makes it a much more enjoyable and rewarding experience than 20 years ago. Certainly, the sound is better. And we're very excited this time to bring our new sound finally to Sony Music.
journey_live: This new line-up .... We're very proud of it, as a band.
journey_live: Thanks again.
journey_live: Jon - It's a 2 hour show, over 2 hours, of Journey live at the Mandalay Bay. 5.1 sound.
journey_live: So it will be a 5.1 mix if you have the theatre sound stuff.
duster66046: Hey guys. How is it traveling together?
journey_live: Steve - Actually, the best time is sort-of traveling together. Although the excitement of the show and fans iss great for the ego ... jumping on the bus and sipping a beer and watching a movie is something I'm looking forward to this summer, hanging out with my pals.
journey_live: It's like a brother hood. We're comrades.
journey_live: Deen - Same thing. I've been traveling for almost 12 years now. It's just fun. Maybe we'll film some stuff. Maybe we wont'. It's just fun. We can just come back and be bros and ... we just get along wonderfully. That's the key to every band, man. It's just chemistry. You have the chemistry and love your members.
nota_normal_white_dude: Neil do you still make Schon guitars?
journey_live: Neal - No, I don't, actually. I've got a great prototype in the warehouse right now, but have yet to land a deal with someone. I'm going back to my first love this year which is a Les Paul and a Stratocaster, and it's really hard to beat those guitars. I don't care what you come up with.
ducksong2000: Jon, will you be releasing a new solo album soon?
journey_live: Jon - Oh, boy. If I could find a label, yeah. Right now, I haven't found a suitable one, so it will be a while. I'm working on the music, though.
question: [For the two newer members, were you Journey fans before you joined the band?]
journey_live: Deen - Yeah. I was an extreme Journey fan. I was in heavy metal bands at the time and it was taboo to mention that you liked Journey b/c of the testosterone, but the first songs I ever learned were Journey songs. That's how I was able to do what I do.
journey_live: I stole Steve's singing blind. He knows it. But, yeah, man! It's wonderful to be playing this music.
journey_live: Steve - I was introduced to Journey's music while working in a record store in Brooklyn in my younger years. The day Escape was released is when I became a fan. I was transformed and it left a huge impression on me. It influenced my writing and singing style, whether I knew it or not. It came in handy.
journey_live: That was the selling point. That particular record.
fuzzlekins: I thought there was a major Jack Blades influence on this album (which makes sense now that I have the liner notes) but are there any other specific influences? We've been bouncing around all kinds of influence ideas on the Back Talk forum.
journey_live: Neal - I had to say the main influences are the guys in the band. Everyone else who wrote on the record helped finish out our ideas, but this is the heart of it. From us. If we need lyrical help, we go outside. If we get stumped, but he music really comes from us. And the beginning of songs come from us, but sometimes we need help to finish it.
ardescojrny: What are each of you most proud of on this release?
journey_live: Jon - That we had a pleasant experience making the CD. As a band, it was done with good energy and reps a diversified musical taste of a Journey fan. A Journey fan is a very sophisticated musical listener.
journey_live: Neal - We have from A to Z. "Loved by You" and "World Gone Wild". Two different songs on the spectrum. I see that element on this record.
lestod2000: World Gone Wild and Nothing Comes Close really Changed this Us release, howwhy did you choose those 2 songs?e 2
journey_live: Neal - WGW, we had played live in concert. Fans started writing in saying that they really wanted that song on the record when they felt we needed more rock & roll. If you listen to it, I think ppl can comprehend it a lot easier. There's a lot of info that goes by.
journey_live: I think fans really liked it. People in the audience said they were completely stunned. They were just stunned and talking about it afterwards. I think now the record is out, by the time we hit the road, it's going to be a different story.
cjmb_eee: Do you think, for your NEXT CD, you would post some songs on your website and get feedback that way?
journey_live: Neal - I think it would be better to do that than to have someone put it out before us!
journey_live: Others - LOL!
journey_live: Neal - We'll put out our demos!
journey_live: Jon - Save us some heartache.
tigerfan13014: I just want to say that I am a 15 year old Journey fan (thanks Dad!!), and I would just like to say, thank you guyz for keeping going. We love you.
journey_live: All - That's awesome.
tiggrkg: What do you feel about having younger fans show up at concerts? :-D
journey_live: Neal - I absolutely love it.
journey_live: But I've felt that we've had a strong base of young fans coming our way b/c we look at our Cd sales and we keep selling more and more. Our same older fans can't be buying the same CD over and over, so they have to be younger newer fans.
journey_live: I'm seeing an age spread in the audience from 12 and even younger to late 40s and 50s.
lestod2000: What songs besides Higher Place and All the Way will you be playing on tour?
journey_live: Neal - It's a new record, so I think we want to have a chance to test drive all of them. Maybe not all in the same show, but we'll be swapping them out and moving them around and checking them out.
mary8452001: My question is how did you guys decide which songs to put on Arrival , by vote, or what was the process?
journey_live: Jon - The record company had some songs that they definitely wanted. The band got together and we chose the rest. That was basically how it worked.
journey_live: The fans got the last say ...... :)
anakinskywlkr_65: will neal and johnathan and Dean maybe get up with John Waite on tour and do some Bad English Stuff ?
journey_live: Deen - Yes. I hope so. I love John. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't be anywhere in my career. They found me. It would be wonderful to go back and play those songs that I basically cut my teeth.
journey_live: Neal - I think it's pretty inevitable that we'll get together with him and play. We've got some great rock material that we made. There's some great songs on there that rock live. Deen and Jon and I and Ricky and John Wade know that. It's slammin' stuff!
journey_live: Besides, it would be fun to come out and play at the end of John's set and play before Frampton! I'd love to play with him, too.!!!! For free. I'd do it for a burrito.
Paxtoyou: I like the way you all have stayed to your roots...I encourage you to do so...Is there ever a tendency to veer from your roots from the record industry etc.??
journey_live: Neal - You know, we've never ever tried to be anyone but who we are. This is what has made Journey fans come around. There's us being who we are. That's what we should just be. That's what makes us sound like Journey. There's so many young artists out there being the flavor of the week and then 20 other people who jump in on that.
journey_live: I know now by the last couple years of touring that we have so many great fans, and we have a built in audience. So we're just going to give them what we know they want. That's just us to play like we do.
Diane__411: I bought Arrival yesterday and I love it. I notice some references about mortality. Is it because you guys are older now and look at life more seriously?
journey_live: Jon - Certainly, we had some things happen in the last couple of years that made us think about it. Neal lost his dad. It was an influence. My father's passed on. I've got kids now. You're gone and you come back and as you get older, you tend to reflect on that. That's a spiritual thing.
ragdoll_cynthia: Oh! MY!! Been a fan since '80 - always wanted to meet the band. Back in my 7th grade yearbook ('83) I was willed a Journey poster since I would never meet the band. So far the poster has been it. Will you be available to your fans to meet you? and if so in what ways? I am hoping for a "hello" especially from Jonathan Cain. By the way THANK YOU for bringing Journey back.
journey_live: Jon - We are going some meet & greets in some cities. I would suggest for you to...join the fan club. That might be a good way.
journey_live: The fan club. We have a special access for those members who sign up for the fan club. We're going to have "roadie for the day". You'll have privileges. Contests for different cities. Some money is going to charity. Also, there will be special road tickets in every venue that the fan club will have first dibs on. it's a little golden circle for our very special fans.
journey_live: That might be a good thing for you. :)
stingfayh: What song do you most enjoy performing live and is there a song on the new album that might take it's place?
journey_live: Neal - We have so many great songs that's a tough question. To pick one out, I can't do that. The fans react to all of them so greatly. I can tell you for me that it's going to be great to play some new material with the old stuff.
journey_live: The people really make it fun to play b/c they react so much, but we need some new blood and juice going on and it'll be healthy to have this new material there to play.
frampton38: I have spent many a cold night outside waiting to get Journey tickets , thank you for preferred seating for us fans this year. DO you know when we will hear on when we can purchase them?
journey_live: Steve - Again, check out our website. www.journeymusic.com As well as the dates, they'll be announcing the dates that tickets will be available. So keep abreast of that. That's probably your best bet.
bgnme2001: Our first date (19 years ago) was the Escape Tour (Florida). Married happily and "faithfully" ever since. Looking forward to seeing you in NJ. Want to know what your most embarrassing experience on stage was?
journey_live: Dean - It's more regretful .... we were playing in Reno. I slipped in the shower and twisted my wrist beyond repair and couldn't play. I was so bummed and felt like I let my fans and brothers down. I was more ashamed than embarrassed. Now I have a nice big bathmat to take on the road with me.
CountryDegenerate: NEAL - Your writing skills are undeniably superb. What were some of your influences on this record? Especially "Lifetime of Dreams." This song is a musical masterpiece. Is this going to be a single?
journey_live: Neal - LoD I wrote about my woman, you know, with the help of Jon and Kim. She's been a big inspiration to me. The song just came out of me. I'm really proud of it and she loves it to death. That's the main thing.
journey_live: As for my brother-in-law ... okay, Clint ... I'll be talking to you later!!!!!!
ardescojrny: Saw your New Years Eve show, when my father was quite ill and a month before he passed away. Thank you for We Will Meet Again.. this beautiful song comforts me each day.
journey_live: That's awesome.
augerifan: How does it make you feel when they fans in the front know all the words?
journey_live: Jon - We did our job.
journey_live: Neal - It's amazing, I love it. Especially when you go to a new land for the first time. We just played in Central America for the first time. We didn't know what to expect and our fans were singing so loud.
journey_live: It was Central America and Mexico City. M.C. was so loud. It was just awesome.
imajrnyfan: There's a rumor going around that you guys will be on David Letterman is there any truth
journey_live: Neal - Possibly, eventually when we head through New York.
journey_live: Jon - Nothing's been booked yet, though.
journey_live: Neal - It's still up in the air. I think they're trying to figure out if we're cool enough.
thomaspalisi: Neal, without getting into the "dirt," how much more freedom did you feel writing, recording and mixing the new CD?
journey_live: Neal - I like to remember the good things and not the bad. It was a true pleasure to work with this new band in the studio b/c it was painless.
journey_live: When it's painless and you're not fighting with someone, it just makes for a better record. A better time, a better record. And definitely, better memories.
vocallizzy: Have you been approached to be a part of the Today Show Summer Concert series? With your weekend shows in the NY area, it would be perfect!
journey_live: Jon - We are really trying to get on that. We hope it comes down. There's a lot of people who want the slot. Hopefully we'll be able to get it b/c they only do it on Fridays and there's only so many Fridays.
mandyr36265: Regis was talking about you guys on the "Live" show the other day. Would you consider going on that show or a show like it?
journey_live: Deen - Regis rocks!
journey_live: Neal - I'd love to tell him my idea about my new Millionaire show. It's called "How I Used To Be A Millionaire" starring old rock stars. Whoever tells the dirtiest dirt (after being married a number of times) gets the million bucks!
cbanks8101: How does it feel when your away for a long time and have such a strong following with this album in such a short time?
journey_live: Jon - Like we have a loyal following. It makes us feel good and excited to carry on. Gives us a lot of ........ we just love the fact that people are behind us.
pictur3this: When you come to a town to tour, will you be doing radio interviews, tv, etc?
journey_live: Neal - Most likely. Something Jon and myself and Ross have always done from Day One. I'm glad that we did b/c now we have a lot of friends in radio and it could have been a lot dif. had we snubbed people.
journey_live: It's easy to not want to do that b/c you're traveling and it just gets hectic and you just want to get on and offstage and to sleep on the bus. But you bring yourself back around. I'm just glad we went the distance with these people. It's working for us now, very well.
perrydreamer: For Steve: i think your vocals are superb on this CD...Higher Place is wonderful! Who were your musical influences adn where did you grow up?
journey_live: Steve - I grew up and still reside in Brooklyn, NY, but have a wide spectrum of influences from Frank Sinatra and Sam Cook (my dad was instrumental) all the way thru Motown. The Beatles were very inspirational as a child.
journey_live: But I was bitten by the British invasion bug, and by the heavy blues hard rock like Humble Pie and Led Zeppelin and Cream.
journey_live: So stuff coming out of England with a blues flavor to it.
question: "Faithfully" was our wedding song -- what were each of your wedding songs -- starting with newlywed Deen!
journey_live: Deen - Oh My God! Jon and Neal had written a song for Julie and me. A stunning song. They played it for me at rehearsal and I teared up. I thought ... you bastards! They can just do that. They can take you anywhere they want to take you! They will make you cry!
journey_live: It's so heartfelt and real.
journey_live: So that was beautiful.
journey_live: Jon - Mine was Can't Help Falling In Love by Elvis.
journey_live: Neal - Mine's With Your Love, Lifetime of Dreams, and Let's Stay Together.
journey_live: I want to cover all bases.
journey_live: Steve - Mine was ... Word On The Wing. To this day, I don't understand it.
journey_live: We're still together, so it must have had some impact on our marriage.
journey_live: Deen - I have to say that Jon's wife Liz helped write that song, and that helped a ton I'm sure b/c of the woman's perspective. I could go on and on about that tune. It's that woman's thing, man!
y_chat_diva: Thanks guys for chatting today and have a rockin' summer with Arrival
journey_live: Thank you!
journey_live: Good-bye, everyone!
y_chat_diva: thanks everyone! Bye!
fineart242000: Great CD by the way
Stephan_Longo: First off, I just want to thank you guts for all the years of great music! I'm a long-time fan and have been to 11 Journey concerts...always an awesome event!
ilvfreedom: Hey Deen, congratulations on your marriage!
charmybear: Hi guys, I am a 23 year old guitar player and fan, I have been a huge fan since I was 5yrs young, anyway, thanks and look for 20 fans screaming in the front of the Meadows in CT!!
rpetruccelli: Guys, you sound as good as ever on Arrival. The two tracks added to it are AWESOME. Steve, you sound like you've been with the band all along.
journeyrules2000: Journey has made a big impact in my life, and I want to thank you for that
mandyr36265: I would just like to say you did a great job with the new album. It is the BOMB! You don't get to hear good rocknroll much anymore.
jurnie1999: Guys I heard you on Wlup in Chicago and Am going to listen again tomorrow on Wlit You all are great.
very_innocent_74: I saw Journey when I was 8 years old. I was suposed to see the Raised On Radio tour & got punished & was unable to go. Then nobody heard from you in so many years. I have never forgotten losing out on that show. I just want to say thank you for coming back to us fans. I have been a Journey fan nearly all my life... I love you guys!
lmams98: I heard you guys are playing at the Tweeter Center July 6th. I can't wait for the show. Keep coming back to Boston, we love you hear in the Bay State
Layla_40: Thank you all so much for what..., 25 years of killer music? It's been great having you guys around all these years.
piranhagirl2001: can't help myself.. just a comment, here-- NEAL, YOU ROCK MY WORLD!!!
kindlund: Steve, I am blown away on how powerful and soulful you are on the cd.
kindlund: Good bye
lestod2000: thank YOU! :)
captainjjcas: Neal I want to thank you for Lifetime of Dreams it fits my wife and I
financewoman2001: Bye guys! Thanx again! We Love You!
storme006: SEE YA
wcole1701: Thank you for the music.
lmams98: Keep up the great work guys !
rick0905: Rock Detroit guys!!!!!
roger_clemente: Y'all come back now, y'hear?
delaneybrodie: Steve, thanks for taking the challenge and the risk of joining Journey. It's great to have them back!!!
korg882001: Thanks from an Australian Journey Fan. I enjoyed the interview.
jurnie1999: Thank you guys for being there when I needed someone. you made the worst managable
y_chat_diva: thanks again everyone, see you round on Yahoo! And check out www.journeymusic.com for more on the band :) Ciao!
Uncle Joe Benson--Off the Record (originally aired 05/27/01)
They formed in 1973 in San Francisco as a mostly instrumental jazz-rock band called the Golden Gate Rhythm Section. Former Santana Road Manager, Herbie Herbert, assembled the line-up which included former Santana guitarist Neal Schon, ex-Santana keyboardist Gregg Rolie, and guitarist George Tickner, bass player Ross Valory, and drummer Prarie Prince who was quickly replaced by Aynsley Dunbar. They changed their name to Journey a few months later thanks to a name-the-band contest sponsored by a local San Francisco radio station and they released their self-titled debut album in 1975.
This is your Uncle Joe Benson and Journey has come a long way since the release of their first album. They've sold over 60 million records. They played thousands of live shows and suffered through a handful of line-up changes. They brought arena rock to the commercial mainstream and pioneered the use of video screens at concerts and Journey's is the story we'll hear today from founding members Neal Schon and Ross Valory as well as keyboardist Jonathan Cain and recent additions drummer Deen Castronovo and singer Steve Augeri. It's Journey, Off the Record.
Song---"Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'"
Uncle Joe: Neal, what made you . . . did Gregg talk you into leaving Santana . . . or were you already . . . ?
Neal: No, actually things were not going well at all. Carlos was wanting to do this really tripped-out music and we just wanted to play what we were playing . . that we were known for, you know, and we didn't like the direction that it was going at that time. And, you know, there was just a big falling out with everybody in that band. Everybody had drug problems and . . . it was just like that.
Uncle Joe: Yeah.
Neal: One guy fell out. Carabella was gone. David Brown was gone. Michael Shrieve was gone. And then Gregg and I just like threw in the towel and we took off. And you know after that I got together with Greg Errico actually and Larry Graham from Sly and the Family Stone and we were going to put a band together for about a year. We were writing music and it actually sounded a lot like Mother's Finest turned out to be when we first came out only with a baritone voice as a lead vocal. It was pretty slammy . . . (laughter and talking over each other).
Ross: He said ok you have to come and see me play with Larry--I said ok.
Neal: It was a lot of fun, needless to say. Larry kinda got scared of the project in the end he thought it was a little bit out and he wanted to do something straight ahead, you know, funk R&B.
Song---"Who's Cryin' Now"
Uncle Joe: Ross, when is the first time you ran across Neal?
Ross: We're talking almost the same time period. Herbie Herbert is the gentleman who introduced us. Herbie was the founding partner/manager of the band and in many ways the creator. Herbie says "Come on--we gotta go see this guitar player, man." He says, you know, "Santana wants him and blah, blah, blah." So we went over and saw him. And I actually, I didn't meet him. I just watched him play that night. He was pretty amazing. At the time I met him I think was at Pacific Studios in San Mateo. He was in the front office and there was carpeting on the floor like there is here. And he had this little teeny, like, Pro or Champ amplifier face down in the carpet (laughter) so the people in the other room were disturbed by it. 'Cause he's sitting there playing all these solos and licks and he's got this thing faced into the carpet. So, we were introduced through Herbie who put us together with some other people who became the Golden Gate Rhythm Section which became Journey. That was Gregg Rolie and George Tickner and Prarie Prince. Of course that wasn't the eventual line-up of the band. Prarie already had a career and we found Aynsley Dunbar to replace Prairie.
Song---"Wheel In The Sky"
Uncle Joe: How difficult was it to talk Gregg into getting a singer?
Neal: It was a difficult change. It's like obviously we were doing something completely left field and this new change would be completely right field. So it took some getting used to, but once we fell into the groove we definately knew it was happening. There was definately chemistry there as well--it was just completely different. We had never really played that type of music before.
Back to "Wheel In The Sky"
Uncle Joe: It was Journey's manager, Herbie Herbert, who found vocalist Steve Perry, and recruited him into the Journey fold in 1977. Perry made his first performance with the band during the encore of their final appearance of a three-night stand at San Francisco's Old Waldorf that October. By early the next year, Steve Perry and Journey had entered a recording studio to work on what became the Infinity album. I'm Joe Benson and coming up on Off the Record, guitarist Neal Schon and bass player Ross Valory remember the Infinity sessions and what it was like to work with famed Queen producer, Roy Thomas Baker.
Ross: Hi! I'm Uncle Ross from Journey [laughter from the other guys] Off the Record with Uncle Joe.
Uncle Joe: You went in to record an album with a new vocalist who you've known for a month or two or something like that who you're co-writing music with, but you're also going in the studio with Roy Thomas Baker. [laughter from the guys.] Who had made his mark with Queen.
Ross: [imitating Baker in a high voice & everyone laughing] "Lovely! Dreadful!"
Neal: [imitating Baker] "Dreadful!"
Ross: [imitating Baker] "If you would proceed properly we wouldn't be here all day."
Uncle Joe: So how was that experience? [laughter]
Neal: It was an experience. He was definately a looney-tune. But, you know what? In all honesty--I loved it. I had a really good time making that record. And I thought Roy Thomas Baker was just, you know, a kick in the ass.
Ross: He had some really good recording techniques and he had an engineer, Geoff Workman, that worked with him all the time. Geoff did all the work, you know. Roy had developed these techniques and these multi-track layering of voices and guitars and he just kicked back, you know, somewhere in the building with a pair of speakers and a microphone. And Geoff would be in there doing all the work and once in a while you'd hear the click of his little talk-back switch and he'd go [imitating Baker in a high voice, rolling the r's] "Rubbish!" [laughter] "Wonderful!" [everyone laughing]
Neal: He'd be sitting up there with a . . .
Ross: And he'd go [imitating Baker in a high voice]: "Only if we had a proper singer could we get some things done here today." I mean he was hilarious. I mean all he wanted to do was talk on his cell phone with Freddy Mercury.
Neal: You know a big misconception too about Infinity that I really felt like Behind the Music didn't get right at all is they made us out to look like we were, like, a hit-wonder band. Like we had hit after hit after hit after hit. Really, in Infinity we never had a hit. You know, we were lucky if the record . . any one of those songs or "Lights" even, I don't think broke into the top 50.
Back to "Lights"
Uncle Joe: Hundred seventy-eight dates later you go into the studio and record Evolution, most of that material you had written on the road?
Neal: I think some of it was written on the road and some of it . . . we had absolutely no breaks is what I remember.
Neal: We played date after date after date, and then, right when we got back, we went directly into rehearsal and started writing for the next record. Then when we got the material together in about two weeks, then we went in the studio and cut another record. Then we went out on tour [laughs] again and played the same amount of dates. So it was just endless, you know.
Song---"Just The Same Way"
Uncle Joe: It was the Departure album after that that was the first one you did with Geoff Workman who you were familiar with from the previous two albums, and Kevin Elson came on board. Was it different in the studio at that time?
Neal: It was different, but I mean, the band wasn't that different. We went . . on Departure actually the band went in a much harder direction, I thought, than the first two records we did with Steve. And I personally liked it. And I liked it . . you know the multi-track thing was really cool to check out for me as a guitar player because, you know, this Brian May and Queen affiliation with Roy Thomas Baker and that whole sound, and it's an interesting sound, but it was the Departure record, from what I can remember, that was very much more raw and just, you know, straight ahead rock.
Uncle Joe: Were you aware when you went out on that tour, that resulted in a live album, that Gregg was in the mood to leave? Or did that come at the end of the tour?
Ross: Gregg hadn't really taken a break since 1967. I met him when he was in the Santana Blues Band which became Santana and he'd been with that band since probably 1966. And he'd worked right through it and never taken a break, never really unpacked his suitcase. And it was getting really tiring for him.
Song---"Any Way You Want It"
Uncle Joe: Journey guitarist Neal Schon and singer Steve Perry co-wrote "Any Way You Want It" for the 1980 Departure album which they recorded at the Automat studios in San Francisco, the very studios where they first recorded six years earlier. This is your Uncle Joe Benson and when Off The Record Returns, an impromptu jam session nets the band a new keyboardist. Jonathan Cain tells his story next.
Jonathan: Hey everybody! This is Jonathan Cain from Journey and you're gonna to get the real scoop Off the Record with your Uncle Joe Benson.
Uncle Joe: Jonathan, when's the first time you interacted with these guys?
Jonathan: I saw them at the Starlight Bowl before Steve Perry. That was the first time. And they opened for Todd Rundgren. Then, you know, being in the Babys with John Waite we kinda did this show in San Diego and we hooked up with Journey for 3 Ĺ months. And that's the first time. And I remember standing there at the soundcheck watching them and then just little by little, you know, we started hanging out in clubs after the concerts and showing up and playing. It was funny 'cause Steve Perry would play the drums and John Waite would sing and, you know, we'd be playin' at some Holiday Inn or something, it was really weird. But we did this alot. We just kinda, you know, hung out. And then Neal and I got together this jazz band one time. We got in on one of their jams and I started fusing out with him and he's like, "oh, no, he fuses too, you know." [laughter from everyone] Neal's like "I don't believe you know those chords. You know, you're in the Babys, you're not supposed to know all those chords." [laughter] And, uh, you know so we had this little, sorta jam thing that went on for a while. And that's how it all started, you know. And, of course, I was in a limousine one night, uh, coming back from one of their concerts--I used to stand and watch the band because I was so amazed at the faithful fans and how they just had a magnetic aura. The fans just loved this band, you know. I was so amazed by it because I had come from the other side of the tracks where things weren't good and they were, they had it all right and we were just running by the seat of our pants. And John Waite had said one time in the lunchroom to Steve Smith, you know, "I'm gonna go solo." And it was the first I'd ever heard of it, you know. I think Neal heard or somebody heard that John was quitting the Babys because we were so in debt. And so I was coming home in a limousine and they teasingly asked me, you know, you be our next keyboard player--like joking with me, you know. I said, yeah, yeah, yeah, you know. And next thing, I'm back home and I get a phone call from Herbie, the manager, and he says we want you to come up and be part of this. I had no idea Gregg was, you know, going to retire. So it was kinda really surprising and, you know, then I had to call John Waite, of course. "You'll never guess who called." (laughter) So he just said "go ahead and take the gig--it sounds like the best thing for you." But, you know, the other guys weren't too crazy about me leaving.
Song---"Stone In Love"
Uncle Joe: The record you recorded, Escape, is one of the great ones. Everything on it works. "Don't Stop Believin'" that actually came from one of your riffs at rehearsal?
Jonathan: Actually I had the chorus and Neal had some bits and it was a collaboration. Everybody had bits and I brought in the chorus and then the bassline came. Neal had an idea for a bassline and we all just kinda threw it in. It was just like a big gumbo. And it just happened--bang! like that all in an afternoon. We thought--hey, this is pretty cool, you know. [laughter] And that's the way we used to write stuff. Neal would have a bit or I took Neal's bits home for a couple weeks. He had cassettes. He had like ten cassettes. 'Cause he just had these bits and he wasn't sure, you know. And we put them together and we'd show them to Steve and Steve would go: "Yeah, that's cool."
Neal: Yeah in those days I was not into making demos. I'd actually never made a demo in my whole life.
Uncle Joe: Really?
Neal: So I mean, well I didn't have to peddle my songs 'cause I was in this workable situation. So I wasn't having to sell my songs to get somewhere. Then so I never thought about it and I used to just pull out some chintzy-ass little cassette machine and, you know, lay down a couple riffs and turn it off.(laughter)
Jonathan: But it was fun. It was just fun.
Neal: And, you know, I'd go through them later.
Song---"Don't Stop Believin"
Uncle Joe: To say touring machine makes it sound completely wrong, but you put on tremendous shows and everything, I mean, you were clicking.
Uncle Joe: And you did another 742 dates, I think on that tour.
Jonathan: And I think we changed the face of live shows with the video. A lot of people forget, you know, that we were one of the first bands--Herbie's dream was Nocturne and that was the big screens in the venues. And so we helped pioneer that in the early days.
Neal: Actually we did pioneer it. Nobody had done it before us.
Jonathan: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. We actually had fun doing that too. That was a real trip to see that stuff go down. I mean people hadn't seen that before and that was kinda neat to bring that to an arena. And the big, like the Rose Bowl situation where you can actually . . . So now it's like state of the art.
Uncle Joe: Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain wrote "Separate Ways Worlds Apart" in a single afternoon. Inspired by the divorces of both guitarist Neal Schon and bass player Ross Valory, Perry and Cain introduced the tune to their bandmates at soundcheck and Journey performed it live that very night. The song hit number eight in American singles charts upon the release of their album Frontiers in 1983. I'm Joe Benson and Journey only did one more album together, 1986's Raised On Radio before they called it quits after that last tour. Fortunately for fans, Steve Perry, Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, Ross Valory, and Steve Smith reunited again in 1996. They released the Trial By Fire album, but before they began a world tour, Journey once again found themselves in need of a singer. Coming up in Off the Record, Steve Perry and original drummer Steve Smith are replaced by Steve Augeri and former Bad English drummer, Deen Castronovo. It's the arrival of a new Journey line-up next.
Steve: Hi! This is Steve Augeri and you're listening to Journey Off the Record with Uncle Joe Benson.
Uncle Joe: Tell us the story of the phone call.
Steve: I was working a day job, 9-5 at the Gap back in New York City and I'd left music. You know I hadn't sang anything for two years and the voice was hardly there. But I got a phone call from a friend who said that there was a situation that had opened up. He was a friend of Neal's. He said would you be interested in sending me a tape and I can get it to Neal Schon. And I thought, Oh, my goodness, you must be kidding, you know, that's way out of my league, dude. So I said, sure yeah, yeah--sounds great. I'll send it right out to you. And a week passes by and he calls me again that weekend. And he asks, So where's the tape? And I said oh, man, to be honest with you, not only had I forgotten, but also it's just out of the question. It's just--thank you very much. Long story short he said, look, I'm going to put it together for you. What songs do you want me to put on it? I says-- I don't even know. It's too farfetched. You take care of it. Well, he did. He put together three songs off a Tall Stories record that I had done in '92. And he gave it to Neal. Maybe three or four, I don't know how many days later, I got a phone call from Neal. I wasn't quite sure it was him. I thought it was someone just pulling a gag on me. So I didn't tell him yes or no one way or the other. I didn't want to seem like a fool on the phone saying yeah, yeah, Neal, sure, sure, yeah. Because I thought it was somebody pulling a prank. On the other hand I didn't want to totally blow it. [laughter in the background] So I sorta hung up the phone with Neal and I called this buddy of mine. He said Steve, you might want to sit down. This is going to shock you.
Uncle Joe: Deen, you came into this mix, you've worked with these guys before, but actually being part of Journey, where did you come into this?
Deen: I came in February 16th, [laughter] 1998, man. [from the background--at 4:38 pm] I'll never forget that day. I got a call from Neal. And it was a really low part in my life. I'd just been through a divorce. I'd lost my job with another band at that point. And I was just kinda like in limbo. And he calls up--Hey, man are you ok? ĎCause he was worried about me, I think. But he was like, we're gonna do this band and Smith doesn't want to do it and we want you to do it.
Song---"Send Her My Love"
Uncle Joe: "All The Things."
Ross: Ahhh. That's one of my favorites.
Jonathan: That was a collaboration with Neal and I. And I think we found this really spacey loop and we were goofin' around. And, I think we were puffin', actually, the two of us. [laughter]
Neal (I think): Can you say that?
Jonathan: Yeah, we can say that--because he always says, you never puff and write with me, so puff with me. [laughter and the guys talking over each other]
Deen: Puff away, brother--puff Ďtil you drop! [lots of laughter & something about P Diddy]
Jonathan: So, the one day, the one day, you know, I confess. I puffed with him. He goes--he goes like this--See, Cano, it's not so bad. [laughter] and then I remember saying--just don't ask me to record this baby today. So anyway, we came up with it. It was pretty trippy and we liked what we were doing. And I came back the next afternoon & we did some more work. He and I were just singing stuff together. He'd sing a line--I'd sing and I'd pass the mike to him and I'd say--no, wait, give me the mike back, [laughter] and I'd say something back. Then a friend of mine, Andre Pessis, came in one afternoon and I wanted to write a real psychedelic lyric. I wanted to do something like Jack Bruce or something. Really trippy and it really came out good. And it's something I'm very proud of.
Song---"All The Things"
Uncle Joe: Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon co-wrote "All The Things" for the new Journey album, Arrival. Journey, featuring new vocalist Steve Augeri, drummer Deen Castronovo, original members Ross Valory, Neal Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain kick off their summer tour June 2nd in Las Vegas, Nevada. Their official website, journeymusic.com has a full list of dates. Journey Off the Record is a presentation of Westwood One.
June 26, 2001: Gregg Rolie Harmody.Com Interview
Original Loaction: http://www.harmody.com/full_interview.asp?interviewid=19
Iím sure by now most people have heard of Santana, or maybe that little outfit known as
Journey?Some may even have heard of The Storm.Whatís the common thread between these three
hit machineís?Gregg Rolie.Gregg was a co-founder and principle songwriter for Santana, Journey, and
The Storm.He also formed Abraxas Pool, a band consisting of former Santana members, very much
in the Santana vein.Except for Santanaís monster Supernatural, Gregg was partially responsible for
almost all the hits theyíve ever done.Read on to see what Gregg has to say about Carlos, Neal
(Schon), Kevin Chalfant vs Steve Augeri, Woodstock, and his own Roots(more on that).
This interview was originally to be a full on Q&A style interview, with me transcribing every last word
from Gregg faithfully.As my luck would have it, my taping system went belly up (or face down,
depending on how you look at it!).Gregg called as I was trying to tweak things, and things just
wouldnít tweak.Damn the luck!We spoke, and joked around a bit, as I tried everything I could do, to
no avail.I decided that Iíd just go ahead and go 100% off the cuff with him, and take notes, and do the
best I could.What follows is the best I could do ≠ I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed doing the
Gregg Rolie has a lot to be proud of and could easily be a conceited jerk.After speaking with him for
well over an hour, I can honestly and sincerely say that is not the case.He is a very patient, and well
spoken, individual.For a man that was at least partially responsible for not one, but two, of the biggest
artists in music history, heís genuinely down to earth.Greggís first real exposure to the big time had
to have been Woodstock.His memories of Woodstock are actually quite lucid considering the time
and place it was.Letís go back to the beginning first though.
I first approached Gregg regarding his influences, wanting to know how a kid from an area not known
for a Latino explosion, could possibly become a leader in that genre.
I grew up listening to the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Dave Brubeck, Jimmy
Smith, and a multitude of others.My parents listened to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Sergio
Mendez, and those likes.I guess I got my influences, and my first and true musical love ≠ the latin
style, from those artists.The whole percussive/latin style.The stuff I went on and recorded with
Santana, Abraxas Pool, and now with my new cd, Roots.Roots is where I am now ≠ I wanted to go
back to where I started, and record music in that style, something new and fresh, but something
immediately recognizable.I really hope with Roots that Iíve done that.
Roots has certainly done that, some amazing sounding music.The only way to describe it, and with
Greggís permission, is Santana-esque.Santana basically defined the genre, so anything less would
not give credit where itís due.Gregg, how did Santana start?
Back in 66, maybe it was 67, Tom Frazier, a guitar player, found Carlos, and thought he had an
amazing talent.He called me up one day and had me come down to meet him and we kind of just
Ďstarted it thereí ≠ ourselves, a drummer, a bass guitarist, and a conga player.I was always big into the
music, so having some talented musicians was very important ≠ and we had that.
Okay, tell me anything you can remember about Woodstock ≠ no matter how fuzzy!
Woodstock ≠ it was just supposed to be a festival gig for us, a chance to play NY, where we hadnít
gotten much exposure.Bill Graham set it up for us, and what happened from there was just amazing.I
didnít know the difference between 20,000 people, and 500,000 people when it cames to the
shows.After the first five, ten thousand, you canít see them anyways.It never registered at that time,
just how big this was.We were flown in by helicopter, over all these people, but we had a show to
perform, and I donít think we were really paying attention to the crowd at the time.We were scheduled
to go on later I the day, and were bumped up, there were a lot of mixups in scheduling, etc.We had a
35 minute set, and to be honest, we had no record out ≠ people in NY didnít know us at all. It took
most of our set to get it all to come together.I think Soul Sacrifice is where it all fell in place for us.It
was a really great experience.That night, after our set, we watched Sly & The Family Stone
perform.Now, instead of flying us out like they had flown us in, they drove us out in a few cars.Thatís
when it really hit home ≠ My God! This is just enormous!There were cars abandoned, parked on
highways, it was wild.I wouldíve probably gotten stage fright if Iíd known it was gonna be this big.
Wow Gregg, hell of a wild story ≠ thanks for sharing it!Now, I was asked by a friend of mine to ask you
this question ≠ mind you, itís kind of loaded, but Iíd love to get your perspective:Neil Schon or Carlos
Santana ≠ whoís the better guitarist?
Hah ≠ you really want to get me in trouble eh? No, seriously.Carlos is a pure guitar player, plays
acoustic or electric, and you know when youíre listening to him play simply because of the way he
strikes the strings ≠ itís a very unique sound.He plays with an unbelievable passion, and create more
tension out of a guitar than anyone Iíve ever heard.Neil, he plays electric for the most part ≠ sustains,
all that technical stuff ≠ I think technically he may be more knowledgeable than Carlos.He also plays
with an extreme amount of passion.I think Neal is a very melodic guitar player, he can play just about
So to answer your question ≠ I like them both, for different things.They are both great guitar players .
Great answer Gregg.Let go back to the sessions work you did with David Crosby, 1971 I believe?
Yeah, that was the first time Iíd ever played on someone elseís material. David treated me great.I
remember playing material that was really foreign to me.Nice stuff, very interesting styles.Jerry Garcia
actually came up to me in the studio, and told me that the piece I had just played on was a very fine
piece of work.I think that was the highlight of those sessions ≠ having Jerry Garcia appreciate the work
Iíd just done.
Okay, so sometime in the early 70ís, you formed your second group ≠ Journey.Journey actually
started out more as a fusion/rock band.I donít think it started out as the AOR legends they eventually
Youíre right, we were a rock fusion band.The vocals were usually subdued. We wanted people to hear
the music we were creating.It was some great stuff..You see, when I write a song, I tend to write the
music first, not the lyrics..I think a song has to feel like something before you can put words to it..
At some point, you decided to go more mainstream- what was that?
Journey made the conscious effort to go another direction, more straight ahead rock.We went out and
got ourselves a singer. Although Iíd been singing, I was glad for the change, it allowed me to
concentrate on playing, and consequently it was a lot looser and almost freeing for me.
Okay, so move forward a little bit, and now Journey is all over the place.Why did you leave such a
phenomenally successful band?
It was actually an easy choice at that time.I was getting sick of the traveling and all that.I wanted to
start a family, and just get away.As I said on VH1 Behind The Music ≠ they couldnít have paid me a
million dollars to stay at that point.To be honest, when I left, they brought in Jon Cain, and he
co-wrote most of the big hits.I donítí think they wouldíve have been as big without him to be honest.
Steve Perry ≠ he came off like a putz on the Behind The Music special.Not that he is a bad guy, but
he seemed to have an almost whiney quality to him during his segments. Is or was he as big a putz
as he came off as?
Well, Iím not going to directly comment on Steve, but I will tell you that he had full editing rights to the
(ed: So.. in my opinion, he is a putz ≠ if that was the best face he could put on!)
Herbie Herbert ≠ a very honorable man, knows the real story on everything that went on with Journey,
my departure, and Steve Perry.A great guy.What he says ≠ you can believe.Also, quickly, the guy
that did all the artwork for the Journey stuff, also did the artwork for Roots ≠ very talented artist.Heís
one of the people from my Journey days that Iím still working with. Neal, as you saw, worked on this
record with me.I still talk to some of them.
Okay, lets talk about Roots!First, though itís not a rocking album, it is a very good sounding album.I
was really amazed at the Santana-esque quality of it all.
Yeah, Roots ≠ I called it that because I wanted to go to what I called my roots, which just so happen
to be the Santana sound.I think the album is very very strong, itís fresh, and yet familiar.A big fear of
mine, doing this album, was that in trying to go back to 25-30 years ago, where I started, that I would
end up going too far, and just cloning things Iíd already done.Iím glad to say that I didnít do that.I think
I created music that fits that style, but is up to date, and fresh, for the current listener to appreciate.
You didnít have a deal of any kind for this, so what was that like, how did you get the names on it you
I funded this myself ≠ what you hear is exactly what I want you to hear.No outside forces pushing or
pulling the sound.Iím very proud of what Iíve done here, and I hope the people like it.Along with
Alphonso Johnson (bass), Mike Carabello (congas), and Adrian Areas (timbales), Ron Wikso (drums)
was actually a major contributor to getting this project finished.He brought in some people he knew,
people like , Dava Amato (ed:REO Speedwagon), Tom Morino on trumpet, Brett Tuggle on
backgrounds (ed:Rick Springfield 80's Touring band),etc.We made a great record together.Itís funny,
but my original vision wasto do a more acoustic album.I wanted the the whole album to sound more
like the track Domingo, more acoustic sounding, but as we went forward, I found I wanted to do more
with it.And we did.I didnít want the album to bore you, I wanted it to flow well ≠ I think we did
Speaking of Domingo ≠ that is some of the best guitar work Iíve ever heard there.Great song.
Hah, everyone says that to me.I appreciate the compliment.Funny thing is ≠ itís not a guitar.Thatís me
on the keyboards.Very acoustic guitar sounding, but no guitar on it.I played it for Carlos (Santana)
three years ago, and he wanted it for himself ≠ he too thought it was a guitar track. I think itís the
prettiest song Iíve ever written.It came from all of the knowledge, and experience over the years, that
Iíve attained..Iíd say itís the best song Iíve ever written actually.
Give It To Me ≠ that song couldíve been straight from Carloís Supernatural album.It has that flavor.That
sound.It would probably be a great radio hit (if radio would give it a shot).
Well, you have to remember, that I did co-write and arrange much of the stuff we did in Santana, so a
lot of that is just there for me.It does sound similar to some of his current stuff, I agree.And yes, I
think it would be a good radio song also.
Will there be a tour?
I certainly hope so.Itís going to be predicated on sales of course.Weíd try to do California first of
course, but it depends on response to the album.Itíd be nice to fill 2000 seat theaters.I envision a 6,
maybe 9, piece band.A big show for everyone.I would be using the same guys that recorded the
album with me, so theyíd be familiar with the music, and have a passion for it, that would come
across on stage.
Journey ≠ now with Steve Augeri on lead vocals ≠ would you ever rejoin the band if Jon Cain were to
leave? any comments?
Iíve only heard one song ≠ Steve sings it very well.Itís just not what Iím really into these days, but I
think he does a good job on the new song I did hear.I wouldnít rejoin Journey because Iíve moved on
to the stuff Iím doing now.
The Storm ≠ with Kevin Chalfant.A very Journey-esque (can I say that?) band in their own right.Why
did you form the Storm?
A lot of elements of the Storm, and Journey, are quite similar.I do think we were more of a straight
forward rock band.Actually, it started out that Kevin and I were just going to do some writing together,
and The Storm just evolved out of that.Show Me the Way was the first song we wrote, and took it to
Interscope records ≠ they loved it, and we had an album deal.After the first album, the rock scene
changed, and Interscope changed what kind of label they wanted to be ≠ and our second album just
didnít come out.Until later.
What do you think happened and what will happen in music?
History repeats itself. When I got into music there was only AM radio - FM saved everyone - it was
called Multimedia then!Radio takes the human element out of it now.It used to be you heard "have
you heard this band".. now it's "have you seen this band" Itís all about image - less about the music.I
just hope someday theyíll rediscover the music over the image.Thatís what happened in the early
90ís.Nirvana exploded because it was Ďrealí.It wasnít all about image, but about emotions, and
energy.I think weíre starting to see some of that, but the pop world is definitely about image. But
history does repeat itself, so weíll see.
Okay ≠ Kevin and Josh formed Two Fires from the ashes of the Storm? Does that mean the Storm is
over? Are there any lost trax out there?
The Storm, for now, is dead in the water.I mean, something could happen (unlike with Journey), but
itís doubtful.Iím into what Iím doing now.There are a couple of unfinished songs out there, but I donít
know if anything will happen with those.Iím still friends with Kevin and the guys, but Iím just not doing
that stuff anymore.
Okay,give us some quick info on Roots, and Iíll let you go
Okay, itís on June 26th in the US, on 33rd Street Records ≠ which is actually a division of Tower
Records, and July 16th in the rest of the world on the Sanctuary Music Group.They are still putting
the machinery together.Iíve been doing the interview and promo thing for the last few, and will continue
to.I hope it does real well.The first single if we get airplay, is Give It To Me ≠ but I want people to hear
Domingo also.We did a 1000 copy limited edition press run of the album, and sold it through the site,
and the response was great.What lead to that was getting over 60,000 hits on one of the songs.We
were on the top of a couple of the major MP3 sites out there.I thought, what the heck ≠ lets make a
disc and sell it in advance.Weíve only got a couple copies left now.
Say whatever youíd like at this point to your fans, to the readers, etc
Well, the cd will be in stores all across the country ≠ go get it.The only other thing ≠ on my epitaph,
and how I want to be remembered, is as this ≠ Gregg Rolie ≠ Nice Guy, Cool Job.
Gregg Rolie Band Rockline Interview
August 22, 2001
Bob Coburn: Hey, welcome back to Rockline. I'm Bob Coburn. Our number: Toll free 1-800-xxx-rock--that's 7625. Gregg Rolie has one of rock's most indelible trademark sounds both on keyboards and vocally, with time spent in the Storm, Santana, and Journey. His awesome vocal on "Black Magic Woman" still stands as one of the greatest in rock'n'roll. And Gregg just released a new solo album, titled Roots, and Rockline would like to welcome Gregg Rolie. How are ya'?
Rolie: I'm very good, thanks.
Bob Coburn: It's been too long! It's good to see ya!
Rolie: Yeah, it's been about ten years, right?
Bob Coburn: It has been about ten years, but boy, I heard some of the soundcheck, and--you guys are going to play "Black Magic Woman" live for us?
Rolie: Yeah, we are.
Bob Coburn: Yeah, you gotta do that. Gotta do that for the Rockline listeners. You've done so many things over the years, this album--Roots--to me, is really Gregg Rolie, this is what Gregg Rolie stands for, the music that I would think that you love the most. Am I off base or is that correct?
Rolie: No, it's pretty accurate. The way it started out was I was trying to design it more than just let it play and let the music come out and I was doing acoustic work that is on there and then I went to the Hall of Fame and did the induction ceremony and played with Santana and I realized that I really should kick in the rest of what I do here, and started writing more up-tempo, and louder, and then it just started developing. And it got called Roots after the fact, and I let the music do the talking instead of me trying to direct where it was gonna' go. And I just let it go loose. And that's how Santana was built in the first place. We just tried anything and everything, 'cause we really didn't know what we were doing.
Bob Coburn: Not only are the songs good, and up, it's real spiritual--and very much body music at the same time, but sonically it's just an outstanding album, and you were saying just a moment ago you recorded it at individual homes? Is that right?
Rolie: Yeah, home studios.
Bob Coburn: You'd never know. It's sounds like--
Rolie: Well, that's the idea! (laughs)
Bob Coburn: Multi-million-dollar big bucks studios.
Rolie: You know the equipment that is out there nowadays, you don't need that huge room. The only thing you might need it for would be drums, in my opinion. And everything comes in a box. And it all sounds great.
Bob Coburn: Everything comes in a box! I love that!
Rolie: You know it's up to the user! It's up to the guy using it. It's like a computer. I mean you can make computer music or you can use it to the best of your advantage to get the best sound and still leave it alone, leave it real.
Bob Coburn: Now for those who don't know, you not only were in Journey and Santana, you were co-founder of both bands, weren't you?
Bob Coburn: Man, you were right there from the beginning.
Bob Coburn: From the seminal days with Santana, and you did, what--three and a half, four albums with Santana, and was it seven with Journey?
Rolie: Yeah, I think it is seven.
Bob Coburn: Well I'm testing your memory here!
Rolie: Well, it's a short test!
Bob Coburn: And then, being inducted to the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame, I've always been curious--do they give you a trophy, or a certificate good for Wal-Mart or something? Do you get anything?
Rolie: Well you get a trophy, yeah, you do. And playing in front of the crowd that's there--I was kinda blown away playing for all the heads of state of the industry. I mean that's really what goes on there.
Bob Coburn: That's a pretty heady crowd yeah?
Bob Coburn: And I guess the house band for years has been Paul Shafer's orchestra from David Letterman, that's kind of the backbone. When they're needed, they're there.
Rolie: Yeah, I was using his B-3 as a matter of fact. Thanks Paul.
Bob Coburn: Well, thanks Paul--there you go. Ready for some calls? 'Cause we got 'em for ya.
Bob Coburn: We're gonna take a call from Boston from Bruce. Bruce, you're on with Gregg Rolie.
Caller Bruce: Hey Gregg! In 1997, Columbia/Legacy released a terrific live album entitled Santana: Live at the Fillmore, 1968. My question is, are there any more unreleased live Santana recordings in the vaults? For instance, we've still only seen and heard one track from Woodstock '69 after all these years.
Rolie: You know, I bet there is, but they probably lost 'em. (laughs) I mean really, Sony--the vaults are so big, if they went back there and really searched it out I'm sure there's a lot of other things. At this point, those are the only ones we've found that were really worthy of doing anything with.
Bob Coburn: Those days back then, with Bill Graham and the Fillmore, you could go see five completely different types of acts in one night.
Rolie: I thought that was brilliant back then.
Bob Coburn: I did too.
Rolie: It's very much like when FM radio hit, and AM wasn't the only thing there, there was only--you know, the top ten was it. And you got Doris Day singing stuff. So you didn't even know blues existed, you didn't know half the jazz. And so FM came out. And they put all kinds of music on this one station. You could just hear this wide variety that you didn't know existed. And Bill Graham took it a step further and put it onto shows. You would see Miles Davis and Santana. I mean, who would've thought of that?
Bob Coburn: But what a great night! Those are nights you don't forget!
Rolie: Oh yeah! And what an education!
Bob Coburn: We have Dan in the Tulsa area. Dan, welcome to Rockline. Here's Gregg Rolie for ya.'
Caller Dan: Hey!
Caller Dan: How's it goin' there Gregg?
Rolie: Very good.
Caller Dan: It's been great to hear from ya' again. Way back when, I heard you and Neal Schon talking on the radio once upon a time about embarking on a project you were doing at that time having to do with the original members of the Santana band, except for Carlos. You were gonna' call it Abraxas. I was under the impression you were gonna' record as such, but I've never been able to find or hear anything from it. Did you guys go ahead and do that, or--
Rolie: Yeah, we did as a matter of fact. It was called Abraxas Pool and Alphonso Johnson played bass on it, and he's sitting across from me right now. Say "hey," Al.
Johnson: Hey, what's up?
Rolie: Anyway, yeah, we did do that. It lasted for about a year and a half, and Neal went on to do Journey, and that was kind've the end of it. We played--we did record it--it was out on Miramar Records, which was a small independent label out of Seattle, and it didn't get very far because it just didn't. And we couldn't go tour to support it because the band was done within a year and a half. So that's what happened. But it is out there. I think it would be hard to find, though.
Bob Coburn: Well Dan will seek it out, I guarantee you--that's the way the Rockline listeners are. They'll find everything. They'll go on E-Bay. They'll search, they'll seek, they'll find. And then they'll send you a copy in the mail. That's the way it works.
Rolie: Could be! (laughs)
Bob Coburn: Now we've talked about Roots a little bit, the brand-new CD from Gregg Rolie. We're gonna' play the first song from the album, "Give It to Me." Tell us a little bit about this one.
Rolie: An interesting point about this is that when I first wrote this, Ron and I--the drummer, Ron Wikso--we listened to it and we thought it was okay. We'll finish the song. And we didn't know what it would come out like, really. And we thought it would be good, but we didn't really know. And as it grew, it was another one of those things--I just let things go, and it got better and better and then we slapped some horns on it and it really came alive.
Bob Coburn: Boy, it sure did.
Rolie: And that was at Ron's insistence--I have to always bring that up because Ron pounds it--he kept going "I've got this horn player, he lives right around the corner and he's really really good," and I go "yeah, yeah, when we get to it." And it turned out to be the thing that put it over the top for me.
Bob Coburn: We'll let you play live in a few minutes. Right now from Roots it's Gregg Rolie "Give It to Me" on Rockline.
Bob Coburn: "Give It to Me" is the name of the song, and we did. Gregg Rolie from the album Roots. We have calls for Gregg. Right now it's Adam from Culver City, California. Welcome to Rockline, Adam.
Caller Adam: Hey, Gregg, how ya' doin?'
Rolie: I'm good, Adam.
Caller Adam: I was wondering, how did you go about forming The Storm, with Ross Valory, and Steve Smith and the guys from 707? And what was your creative inspiration with Steve Perry on "Just the Same Way" off of Evolution?
Rolie: Well, let's see. Let's start with the creative inspiration. Actually I wrote that song and brought it in and he sang the part on top of it. It just became like a duet. We were trying to interject two vocalists at the same time back then, and that's pretty much how that happened. It was pretty much written already; he did the "B" section to the song and that's how that came about. And as far as The Storm, The Storm started out to be a songwriting collaboration between Kevin Chalfant and myself. We had no design on being a band whatsoever. And Herbie Herbert got a tape out and played it for the guys at Interscope who were just starting their record company up, and they loved it, and called me up, and they wanted to sign me up, and I said "I got a better idea for you." And I told them about the band. And having Ross and Smith and myself, and Josh Ramos and Kevin Chalfant, and go out and do it that way. And they bought into it and we ended up with a top ten hit out of it. So that's how it came about.
Bob Coburn: "I've got a Lot to Learn about Love" was huge.
Rolie: Yeah, it did well.
Bob Coburn: Charted really well on Billboard. Thanks for the call there, Adam. We're gonna' turn to Fred in San Francisco--the Bay area checking in right now. Hi, Fred.
Caller Fred: Hi there.
Caller Fred: Yeah!
Rolie: Fred who?
Caller Fred: Oh, Fred, from Pleasanton.
Rolie: Fred Mulgrew!
Caller Fred: Yeah, that's me!
Rolie: You are the man!
Caller Fred: Hi Ron! Hi Alphonso!
Johnson: Hey, Fred, what's up?
Rolie: Obviously we know Fred well.
Caller Fred: Outstanding! Hey, you guys were great last Sunday! My question: As the writer on the new CD, does the music come first, or the lyrics first?
Rolie: The music. The way it has always been for me, I mean--very seldom will I write a song off of a lyrical idea. I think the music speaks to you, and makes you feel something. And, you know, a song like "Domingo," if I was to write lyrics to it I certainly wouldn't go in there and write a song like that about war. You know, it's so soft and mellow, and it's about about a Sunday afternoon. So the music speaks first and gives you a feel for what the song ought to be, and then it should come. And that's the way I've always done it.
Bob Coburn: A reminder if you get on the air tonight we'll send you a copy of either John Waite's Figure in a Landscape from Gold Circle Records or Gregg Rolie's Roots from the folks at 33rd Street Records, which is the new Tower Records Label.
Bob Coburn: You're the first CD on there.
Rolie: It's one of the first--one of three of them. They treated me great.
Bob Coburn: Well the band's gonna' play live, we'll be back with Gregg and more of your calls in just a moment. It's toll free 1-800-xxx-rock and get ready to roll tape--it's gonna get good!
Bob Coburn: So good. Gregg Rolie and his band with "Black Magic Woman" and "Gypsy Queen" and a little bit of "Third Stone from the Sun" by Jimi Hendrix thrown in there, as well. That's just awesome. Boy that sounds good. Introduce the band for everybody.
Rolie: Okay on guitar we have Michael Hakes; On bass, Alphonso Johnson;
Rolie: And over in the booth--
Bob Coburn: In the isolation booth!
Rolie: In the isolation booth--and we have to leave him there [laughs]--that's Ron Wikso on drums.
Bob Coburn: Outstanding, you guys, oustanding. We'll take another call for Gregg here. We have David in Lincoln Nebraska. Hi, David, you're on Rockline with Gregg Rolie.
Caller David: Hi Gregg.
Rolie: How you doin?
Caller David: Pretty good. Hey, I'm a good southern rock boy, I was just wondering who is the greatest guitar player you've ever played with or ever known?
Bob Coburn: We've got a hand up in the room here...
Rolie: Yeah, Michael's over here going "well, that'd be me, wouldn't it?" [Laughter] That's a real tough one. There's so many, for various reasons. It's kind of like bands--"who's your favorite band?" Well I like different bands for different reasons, different music, different songs. I'd have to say Stevie Ray Vaughan is way up on the list for me. The rhythmic attitude of this guy and the heart he played with. It's like he wasn't breathing or something--I don't know. He was unbelievable. And of course Hendrix was so innovative--he was doing stuff with real strings and electricity that come in a box now. And so he made it up. That's tough. And of course I played with two of the best ones as well, between Carlos and Neal. I don't know. It would have to start off with Stevie Ray Vaughan for me I think.
Bob Coburn: Those are all great choices.
Rolie: Yeah, well, there's more, but we don't have an hour.
Bob Coburn: No, we don't, so I'm gonna' ask you to play "Love is Everything" off the brand-new CD. If you guys are ready.
Rolie: Yeah, okay.
Bob Coburn: That sounded great--that was a great version of "Black Magic Woman" and "Gypsy Queen." Gregg Rolie and his band on Rockline.
Bob Coburn: Yeah! "Love is Everything," Gregg Rolie and his band from the album Roots--brand-new. We'll be back on Rockline in just a moment--stay with us.
Bob Coburn: Welcome back to Rockline with Bob Coburn. We're with Gregg Rolie right now and we've got a few more seconds here. You know, reviews suck when you're getting bad ones, but you're getting geat reviews. You must love the reviewers right now.
Rolie: Yeah! I usually don't!
Bob Coburn: You're getting four or five stars everywhere you turn here!
Rolie: It's really true. I hope more and more people find out about this CD. I'm real proud of it and the guys who played on it are great. Can't wait to get out and play it live. I hope to get a ten-piece band by the time I'm done with this.
Bob Coburn: Well once you get out live and do a little bit of the tour come back and play with the ten-piece band--we've got room for ya' here! Being in the studio sounds pretty good, especially when you've got players in it, you know?
Rolie: We'd be more than happy to.
Bob Coburn: Well you guys were awesome tonight. Now Gregg, I notice that you wrote everything on here. Do you prefer to write alone? Do you like to do it that way?
Rolie: It just kind of happened. Not necessarily. A good piece is a good piece. And the Santana material--"Black Magic Woman" was written by Peter Greene.
Bob Coburn: And the other part by Gabor Zabeau.
Rolie: Yeah. It really doesn't matter. If you latch on to it and make it yours and make it feel, then it's a good one.
Bob Coburn: Let me thank a couple of people here. Thanks to our listeners, and our callers tonight. Thanks to our affiliate stations. Thanks to Cody, Dave, and John at KKRW in Houston, as well as to Laurie Lucerarian at Rogers and Cowan. Also to Jeff Van Dyne. Thanks also to Michael Jensen and Brian Alsop from Jensen communications and to Scott Boorey. And to you Gregg Rolie and your band. You guys were outstanding. Thanks for coming tonight.
Rolie: Thanks Bob.
Bob Coburn: I'm BC and I'll be seein' ya.'
Kevin Chalfant's Official Response to the Herbie Herbert Interview
Kevin Chalfant was lead singer for the Journey-hiatus band The Storm, which still records occasionally and has included Journey alumni/band members Gregg Rolie, Ross Valory, and Steve Smith.
Mr. Chalfant's comments represent his own opinion and are not necessarily shared by members of the JRNYDV staff. These comments were reprinted from Mr. Chalfant's Clique Records website.
September 9, 2001.
First of all, no matter what I say, someone will take offense or disagree with me...so, I am just stating the facts, as I know them to be true to me! This doesn't even warrant a debate please. Herbie Herbert is a class act, no matter how wild and/or aggressive he may appear to be in print form. Herbie is a "get it done" kind of person, much like a pro football coach. Not always the most popular man, but he is usually right when it comes to winning a game. He is a hard man to win an argument with, because he does his homework thoroughly and come prepared. I will not address the comments in the interview, some are true, some are exaggerated, some are his personal opinion, but regardless, he still is the main force behind the huge success of many very talented artists. I know this first hand.
Herbie is much like a gallery owner with many painters under him to create masterpieces. He would cut huge deals with distribution companies, take the money to the artists to buy them from day jobs and give them the time and freedom they much needed to create wonderful works to sell in his galleries and through distribution centers. People fell in love with his artist's work. They traveled world wide to recreate the magic of their work and Herbie provided the vehicle for them to do this with more money through very creative management techniques. As his artist's gained popularity and fame, they began to believe that they were untouchable or invincible.
Herbie believes in loyalty and hard work as a team. He is also very compassionate to his artists, but especially to the one's who truly appreciate his hard work and tireless efforts. Some of which included weekly free 49er tail gate parties and box seats. In Herbie's world?BIGGER IS BETTER! He would not settle for his artists just being big, they had to be H U G E! And they we're huge?all of them.
I can tell you that when Herbie called me up to invite me to his office for a record contract meeting with The Storm, I couldn't get in the car fast enough. If Herbie called me tonight for a 6 AM meeting in San Francisco?I would be on a red eye out of Chicago tonight, no questions asked, waiting for him to pull up to his office. I respect Mr. Herbert, highly. What he said about me is true in some ways. If I was put into a situation that I had no power in, that might turn me a problem child.
I have found that when things need to be fixed or situations need to be made better, I want to be part of the solution. I prefer to be given the opportunity to have a fair say or choice in the decision making.
Herbie is misunderstood. I believe that was crushed and became a bit angry, and with good reason. He gave most of his life to the command of the finest fleet in rock and roll and the fleet deserted him, just like Mutany on the Bounty. Everyone should see that movie. The only difference is, no one was ever trapped in the bowels of the ship, they were all running on the top deck in the sunshine playing shuffle board sipping cool drinks while dining on lobster.
Herbie was like a father to me as well. He would take me for walks along the bay and plant visions in my mind. He told me how much he thought of my talents and that I should be successful in everything I do. He isn't a dirty rat bastard like he has been made out to be, but more like a cornered rat fighting way out of the corner that he got pushed into. I know that feeling, I have been there and so have you at one time in your life or more.
Many love this man and many hate him. Many people that I respect, do love you Herbie. I love you too. Thank you for everything that you have done on my family's behalf. If you ever decide to go back on top of the music world, please make me your first call. I will try my hardest to be a problem free child ;^) But try to keep a platter of warm cheeseburgers near the stage entrance for me though! OK? Thanks!
Ensign Kevin Chalfant First Class reporting for duty Sir.
Last Updated 15 July, 2009 (DHG)