Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Put Up or Shut Up: An Open Letter to Steve Perry

Just like the rest of us, my very cool reader, Ohthatdeb, loves her some Steve Perry. She loves it all: the PIOs, the glorious man-hair, the sensuality and general awesomeness, the bad-assery, his voice--for the most part, Steve can do no wrong. Except in one area. It's gotten to the point where she's pretty much said, "Enough of this bullshit. I can stay silent no longer," and decided to address Steve via an open letter.

Below is the letter for your reading pleasure (Hey, I'm a poet and didn't know it! I can make a rhyme any time! I--okay, okay, I'll shut up). I'm sure you'll agree, no?

(Note: Ohthatdeb has since made a few edits to the letter, so if you want to read the final FINAL version, please visit her website, Sub-urbane, here. She also has tons of other cool write-ups, so check it out, sit a spell, and leave her a comment or two. Or ten. Just show her some love, k?)


Hey, Steve Perry!

Yeah, I'm talking to YOU, buster.

Listen, I've been doing some checking and you seem like a decent sort:




Steve Perry, Notorious Goofball

and from my personal "I'm married, not dead" perspective, nummy like massa sovada:

SP_happy_crinklesCrinkles! Those are the eyes of a man who knows how to laugh!

(I’ll assume that you are also a magnificent human mess, just like everyone elsebut we'll stick with warm, goofy and nummy for now.)

So this is gonna hurt but baby, we need to talk.

OK, fine: I need to talk. You need to listen. Stay with me here...

For a very long time you recorded and toured and ran yourself ragged...

SP_CS_OMG SP_CS_Ultimate Steve Perry Picture #31 Steve Perry Picture #03

And that made a lot of people really happy. But it wasn't making YOU happy (which I guess is sort of important) and you were fried:


So you retired.

And then... you came back! Sweet!

SP_Damn_Baby_You_Fine And might I add: Damn!

Aaaaand... then some other crap happened soooooo... you retired again.

But ok, that whole thing sucked, I can understand why you'd throw up your hands. And maybe at some point you'll want to record something elseyou, I'm saying. Screw those other guys.

I'm being very nonchalant about this, you notice. We’re cool.

Here's what's NOT cool. Every once in a while, someone says something about you writing new music. New music in 2008! New music in 2009! Oh, now wait... new music in 2010! And who keeps saying these things? Hmmm... let's see... well, among others, YOU do! For YEARS you've been saying this: I'm writing again, I've got some sketches, I go into the studio every once in a while, I've been thinking about it, I can't decide, I think I'll think about thinking about it...

Stephen. My friend. I have to assume that you DO know what your voice means, to so many people. The reaction is not “Oh. That’s nice.” It's emotional. It's visceral. It's sexual.

It's medical! Studies prove that only the very strongest opioids trigger the same endorphine release as listening to Still They Ride live at Budokan, 1983. (Which was, incidentally, named the "Best Vocal Performance of Anything Ever" at a recent UN General Assembly plenary session on Music for Peace and Development.)

But, see... the maddening thing is that you DO sing... anyone with reasonable skill at internet research knows THAT... you're just not sharing, dammit! There you are, storing up for yourself this treasure upon the earth, and every once in a while saying that you're thinking about singing for us again. And then, you know, NOT singing for us. I gotta call bullsh*t on that.

As a matter of fact, I gotta call something else. If I had an attribute that made men melt and swoon (or whatever you guys do... what, howl and hit each other?) Anyway, if I kept saying "Mmmmm, yeah, I've been thinking about sharing this attribute... maybe..." and then when it came right down to it, kept NOT sharing it? Guess what they would call me. Go on, guess. You already know the answer, but I'll say it in good old Anglo Saxon. They would call me a c*ck tease.

Now, I don't know what the male equivalent would be but, with all due respect sir, you are one. Why do I say this? Because you know all about it. I find it hard to believe that you've never Googled yourself, or perused the comments on the squillion YouTube videos of you... you know, the ones covered in virtual lipstick kisses (and/or drool)? Steve, these women... they’re serious. They are in love. And you're toying with their affections.

Even the guys want you back—this is from a recent article on Cherrybomb:

"Is it just Cherrybomb’s obsession with one of the greatest bands of the 80’s, or does Steve Perry not understand his importance in the world of rock and roll? I’m completely f*cking baffled by Perry’s ability to resist his own greatness."

Every time you drop a hint we get all worked up. And I'll be honest -- it almost seems like you're having fun. Example: one of the Q&As on Fan Asylum asked whether you were ever going to release Always (w/ Nuno Bettencourt). And you said "I've thought about it.... Always is a beautiful song."

Honey, why you gotta treat me so bad?

And here you are at the U2 show:

Unfair! Look at you, all trim and relaxed, that long graceful neck, sexy motorcycle boots, even THE NECKLACE. And do I see some classy silver threads in THE HAIR? And the worst part is that little half smile -- you look like the cat that ate the master tapes.

You're trying to kill me. You're trying to kill me right where I stand.

Look, if you DO want to sing and keep your sanity, here's my recommendation: Establish your independence.

Record an R&B covers thing -- whatever you like (as long as you do Jackie Wilson's "I'm the Man" because that's totally hot.) It’s a sure bet for sales, and given your retiring nature, just the fact that you’ve released something is big news. Now here's the beauty part: you release it yourself, on this thing called the Internet. All downloads, very little overhead, you keep the cash. You don't tour, or maybe just a few scattered shows. No, it's not a big worldwide splash, and yes, some a**holes decide to pan it because your voice is different from the way it was 30 years ago. But your faithful fans love it, and you gather about you a cozy little cult following.

Once you've established this setup, you can record and release whatever you want. You can perform when and where you feel like it. You proceed with your current boundaries: If I'm wearing a cool mafioso suit, you may take my picture. If I'm wearing scruddy sweats, get lost. If I happen to be with someone whose precise relationship to myself you know I am not eager to discuss... c’mon, don't be a jerk. (Please. Thank you.) Everyone respects these boundaries, mostly because of your niche-y awesomeness, but also because they know that if they don't, 50 women wearing "Mrs. Steve Perry" t-shirts will sweep in and make with the pummeling.

Once you see that this works, you call me up: "Deb, you were rightthis rocks." I do not say I told you so. However I do happen to mention that I make kickass sweetbread (true) and the hands-down best cup of coffee you will ever have (I'm not bragging, these are just facts). You get a wild idea: "Hey, lemme fly you out here, we'll hang around in scruddy sweats, watch baseball, and eat sweetbread until we bust a gut." Awesome! You quickly realize what a truly gifted writer I am and hire me to ghostwrite your autobiography. This is a massive success, we both become rich as Croesus, and everyone lives happily ever after.

See? No big whoop.

So here we are at The Bottom Line.

We miss you, Stevie.

We will leave you alone if that's what you want.

But if that IS what you want then STOP MESSING WITH US!

If you aren't going to sing ever again, just tell us, so our broken hearts can start to mend. (Sniffle, sniffle...)

If you DO want to sing, then SING, DAMMIT!

But baby, please... don't tease.

Love and kisses,



  1. I had been told to check this out as I might find it amusing, and you know what? - I did.
    As much as I can't relate to a lot of the ahem, 'content' lol, I do appreciate a well written piece if it's clearly something the writer is passionate about, AND done with humour (so the 'fan' doesn't become a 'fanatic').
    What you have to remember is that as regards his vocal legacy, the tours, the attrition, and the timespan given up to the Cause, SP doesn't owe anyone as much as One. More. Note.
    If/ when he releases any new material it's a bonus, not a requirement or an expectancy.

    Ross Muir
    Author of the eBooks 'A Personal Journey' and 'One in a Million - A Vocal Analysis of The Voice'.

  2. Well, damn! Ross Muir!

    (But who told you to check it out? Do I have secret admirers? I could really use some secret admirers!)

    I've read "One in a Million" of course, and agree with just about everything... except that we'll have to go to Thunderdome over countertenor vs tenor altino.

    (Also, I'd love to get your thoughts on physical structure as regards the full top notes -- the nose, of course, for resonance. But I wonder too about that very long neck -- I suppose we will never know whether his vocal chords follow suit unless he leaves his neck to science!)

    Thank you for noticing that I am not a fanatic -- I do not here propose marriage (all set, thanks) nor have I attached any virtual lacy underthings. I am just a fan, as a singer myself, but mostly I am a writer. A serious writer, in fact, despite all hyperbolic spasms to the contrary; just having a little fun, so I appreciate your comments about the quality of the writing -- thank you very much.

    As to the "content" (hmmm...) I’m calling him out only on the tantalization! The man should do as he likes; I certainly never meant to suggest that he owes anyone anything.

    On the other hand, I am absolutely serious about the ghostwriting.

    And the sweetbread.

  3. Deb- I love your comments and agree. While it's true that he owes us nothing, it is in fact he himself that keeps on tossing out the little slivers of hopeful temptation about writing/singing/releasing again. As for me, I won't stop believing! And if he doesn't like being photographed he should act like a civilian, give it up, and not make press releases etc. I don't make press releases - I don't get on Getty Images in my sweat pants!!
    Good luck on the ghostwriting thing - I want to read it, that's for sure!! And, about that sweetbread - will you share the recipe?

  4. First of all, I'd like to say that it is _extremely_ weird to get comments on this... I'm happy for the very hilarious SVB that there are more than her estimated four readers of this blog! She is very talented and deserves the virtual spotlight.

    Feel free to send links, to the blog in general or to this post! Every new reader ups my chances for that whole ghostwriting thing (a goal for which I believe the technical term is "Yahrite!")

    As to pictures, I think he's pretty much screwed, don't you? I mean, say he did announce: "No more singing, people -- from now on I'm just Steve Q. Public." You think that would stop people? Frankly, I think he wears the scruddies as a defense against the photo-stalkers: at a certain point, why bother? Oh, yawn, YET another picture of Steve Perry in a blue hoodie and cut off khakis. My personal favorite so far was a shot of SP (are you ready?) checking in for a flight at one of those little kiosk thingies. Are you serious? And it was shot from the back, so it could have been anyone... except for the ubiquitous hoodie/khaki combo... and we're back at the beginning again.

    As to the sweetbread... absolutely NOT! What, I'm going to have everyone and her tap-dancing nephew making MY scrumpdidlyumptious Steve-worthy massa? Dream on, sister!

  5. "Everyone and her tap-dancing nephew."--LOL!

    I'm glad everybody is enjoying this entry and the site (hopefully) in general! To echo Deb, feel free to drop me a line, send in links, whatever--either under the comments section or via the nifty "Contact Me" widget on the right side-bar.

    I think this little spot on the web might be racheting up from four to--get ready--SIX readers!! Woo-hoo! I might have to bake a cake or something when it gets into the double-digits. Hoo-wee!

    Seriously, though, thanks to everybody who has stopped by and thanks to DEB for writing such a funny piece!!

  6. So I'm reading this over and... SVB, I'm not an angry person, am I? I don't know, something just came over me...

    Stevie, never fear: I'm 5' 2", 120 lb, truly a gentle soul, and I do love you madly. MWAH!

  7. You're not angry! You just got impassioned.

  8. I did -- and can you blame me? I don't think I can be blamed. I shall remain blameless.

  9. Steve Perry may have very well had at one time, the most ungodly, unnatural or for a better term, supernatural voice including all areas (singing wise, and including falsetto) of any human ever born on this earth. His knack for a gold-medal ATTITUDE (Circa, 1977-80) probably did him in as far as when to call it quits. The only regret im sure he has, is sitting still for the last 15 years while doing nothing music wise. He owes nothing to anyone, he was and is the greatest.

  10. I feel you Deb, but what can we do.... what is this strange fascination we have with Steve Perry. A man I've never met but I just can't stop thinking about. It only started about a month ago. Searching for someone something to save me in this life I guess. When money doesn't buy happiness but meeting Steve Perry for a cup of coffee just once in my life would.... well I guess it will never happen because apparently every women in the world wants him and he is untouchable....