Steve Perry onstage at the 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclays Center on April 7, 2017 in New York City. Perry recently opened up in an interview about his departure from Journey and the experience that led him back to making music. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame/Getty Images)

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Steve Perry Opens up about Leaving Journey and Returning to Music

Perry talks about the romance and loss that brought him back to songwriting.

Steve Perry has been a mystery to the world since his last stint with Journey two decades ago. He’s led a mostly reclusive middle age until now, as the ‘80s rockstar is about to release a new solo album, Traces. In one of the most revealing interviews of his career, Steve Perry opened up to Rolling Stone about his departure from Journey in 1990s and the grief that brought him back to songwriting.

In the ‘90s, Perry found out he needed hip-replacement surgery before a planned Journey tour. Perry took time and decided when to get the surgery, during which his Journey bandmates got restless, telling Perry they were going to audition other singers for the dates he might miss. “I said to them, ‘Do what you need to do, but don’t call it Journey,’” Perry told Rolling Stone. With that, Perry’s relationship with Journey ended.

The re-popularization of “Don’t Stop Believin’” in the 2000s led Perry down a surprising road toward love and loss. He became friends with Patty Jenkins after the director asked Perry to use the Journey hit in 2003’s Monster, and while sitting in Jenkins’ office watching her edit footage one day in 2011, Perry had a revelatory moment. In the cancer documentary Jenkins was editing, Perry spotted a face that struck him, of Kellie Nash, a psychologist from Los Angeles. “Her smile killed me. I felt like I knew her somehow, and I never met her before,” Perry said.

Knowing Nash’s advanced condition, Perry still chose to be connected to Nash through Jenkins. Perry and Nash met and eventually fell in love, staying together until her death in December of 2012. During her final days, Nash asked Perry not to retreat back into isolation after her passing, and to return to music. That request from his loved one brought Perry back to recording music for the first time in decades.

Read the full story at Rolling Stone