Ex-JOURNEY Singer STEVE AUGERI Comments On Latest Band Drama, Says He Wouldn't Rejoin Group If Asked

February 11, 2023

In a new interview with "The Chuck Shute Podcast", Steve Augeri, who was the lead singer of JOURNEY from 1998 to 2006, was asked about the recent headline-making issues between guitarist Neal Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain, with Neal suggesting at one point that founding JOURNEY keyboardist/singer Gregg Rolie would be making an appearance on the band's current tour. Augeri said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Look, if you asked me about them or if you asked me about my next-door neighbor and if their marriage was kind of rocky, it's the same thing. It's not my business; it's none of my business. However, it's a relationship that's going on for 50 years, and that's extraordinary, just to achieve that milestone. And if you don't have cracks in your foundation, I don't know — you must also walk on water. Nobody walks on water. They've been together this long. There's a good chance that they could… I'm sure they could patch things up, except things have been a little rocky lately, more so than ever."

He continued: "That's all I can say. It's theirs to work out, their issue to work out. And I hope they do — for the sake of the band, and equally for the sake of the fans, because you can't help but think that it affects them as well."

Augeri was also touched upon the fact that current JOURNEY singer Arnel Pineda recently posted a series of cryptic tweets that suggested he is unhappy with how things are going with the group. Asked if he thinks JOURNEY would ask him to return to the band and whether he would accept the invitation, Steve said: "Well, I would probably say no and no. And I'll tell you why. If they asked me to go, for starters… Look, I've had my day in the sun, I've had my run, and I think it was wonderful. Arnel has done that, and probably twice as long as I've been there, and he's done it magnificently.

"I think they need to patch it up with the current team; I just think that's the way it is," Augeri continued. "Because if I were to go with whatever faction… Because, unfortunately, right now it appears to be like there's two camps… I love those guys — if I could call it 'love' — and respect them equally for different reasons, because they gave me the biggest shot anybody could… the biggest opportunity anyone could ever have. And I would hate to turn my back on one or the other, so it'd probably be just better… And I'm content doing what I'm doing. Those guys still go out five days a week, and I can't physically do that. The joy would… After the first show, I'd be like a deer in the headlights: 'Is my voice gonna work after the third show on the third day?' And that's not where I'd like to be."

Earlier this month, Augeri spoke to QFM96's "Torg & Elliott" radio show about the task of replacing Steve Perry in one of the world's most beloved rock acts. He said: "It was incredibly daunting. However, the one saving grace was I had a great vocal coach at the time, Mark Baxter from New England. And Mark just said, 'Listen, you're only gonna succeed if you could just sing like yourself and be yourself. That's the only way anybody will ever accept you — if you're genuine.' That little tidbit of information, as well as we kind of eased ourselves into 1,500-seat theaters throughout the country, and for the eight years we built it up to 15,000-[capacity arenas] to 70,000 festivals. So it took a lot of time. The fans were gracious, and they were truly… Without them, it could have never happened. And it wasn't a hundred percent across the board, because, frankly, if you came to me and said, 'Hey, are you gonna replace Robert Plant in LED ZEPPELIN?' I mean, take your greatest favorite bands and try to replace their lead vocalists. It's just impossible. Kudos to whoever was able to do that. First I think of Mr. Sammy Hagar, of course. He did it [with VAN HALEN] and he ripped the leather off the ball, didn't he? That was a grand slam that he did it."

Circling back to his time with JOURNEY, Steve said: "I had a beautiful run with them. I love those guys. I love their music. And it was a great stepping stone to get to today where I finally release a solo album called 'Seven Ways 'Til Sunday'."

Regarding whether it was easy picking up the pieces after his exit from JOURNEY, Augeri said: "It wasn't easy, but, of course, it was very easy because I had just walked away from JOURNEY. Now, granted, I left because I had vocal problems. So for the first year I had to heal my voice. And thank God that happened. And from there, it opened more doors than it closed, let's put it that way. How fortunate can it be that I can always say, 'Well, I used to sing for one of the greatest premier American rock and roll bands there ever will be — ever was or ever will be.' So, I'm thankful for that."

Augeri was born in Brooklyn on January 30, 1959. Steve was the lead vocalist in TALL STORIES, who released a single self-titled album in 1991. He went on to sing with TYKETTO for their 1995 album, "Shine". Augeri retired from music in the mid-1990s after TALL STORIES ran out of momentum. He was working at a Gap store when JOURNEY guitarist Neal Schon came into contact with a demo tape of Augeri's. JOURNEY was, at the time, looking for new lead singer after the loss of Perry who had left the band following their brief mid-1990s reunion due to touring conflicts and health issues.

JOURNEY hired Augeri in 1998. Augeri's debut with the band was on the single "Remember Me" from the "Armageddon" movie soundtrack. He then appeared on the album "Arrival", the "Red 13" EP, and the "Generations" album. Augeri suffered voice problems during JOURNEY's 2006 tour, resulting in his departure from the band.

"Seven Ways 'Til Sunday" was released on January 27.

Augeri will support the album on a summer tour, "Pardi Gras", alongside Bret Michaels, NIGHT RANGER, JEFFERSON STARSHIP and Mark McGrath.

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