Legendary Journey vocalist Steve Perry described Eddie Van Halen’s talents as “life changing” in a recent interview with Rolling Stone.
Perry got to see Eddie up close and in person just as his star was about to rise as Van Halen opened for Journey back in 1978. It was Perry’s first tour as frontman with Journey. He told Rolling Stone‘s Andy Greene that he watched Van Halen perform from the side of the stage every night.
“Looking back at that 1978 tour with Van Halen, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, we were really blessed to be around that kind of musicality because it changed my life,” said the former Journey frontman. “It changed what I wanted out of myself. It changed what I wanted out of my songwriting. It changed what I appreciated. People should really know that not only did Van Halen truly make Journey a better band, they made a lot of bands a better band.”
Steve Perry Almost Became David Lee Roth’s Replacement?
Perry also revealed that he almost collaborated with Eddie in 1985; just after David Lee Roth was out of Van Halen and just before Sammy Hagar joined.
“I don’t think anyone knows this, but when David Lee Roth left Van Halen [in 1985] I was living in the Bay Area and not sure what I was or wasn’t going to do anymore,” said Perry. “I don’t remember how it went down, but either I called Eddie or Eddie called me. Back in those days, we were both having what you could call ‘late-night behaviors’ on the phone. All I know is we both ended up on the phone that night having some fun talking trash.
Eddie said that I should come down sometime and we should jam, have a play. Man, at some level within me I felt so honored because I was in awe of Eddie’s natural talent. He was just born with it. I wanted so badly to do that. We talked about how cool that could be musically. This was before Sammy [Hagar].
The next day and in the weeks to come I thought, ‘I don’t know that I should do that. If it goes creatively to what I know it can go to …’ Whatever I could bring to that, I know it would be something I’d really love doing. My only problem I had with it was the thought, ‘I don’t know that I could be the guy to go out and represent the David Lee Roth years with my voice. I don’t know if I want to be that guy.’ And shortly therefor, they got Sammy and he was the perfect version of that guy.
I don’t know what Eddie’s intentions were when he called me. He was just saying, ‘Let’s get together and play.’ It wasn’t a promise. It was just, ‘Why not? Let’s see what this sounds like.'”
You can read more of Perry’s comments on Eddie and his time touring with Van Halen to Rolling Stone HERE.