Steve Perry Looks Back on Touring With Journey and Eddi Van Halen

On October 6th, the recording engineer of Steve Perry texted the performer “Oh man, Eddie Van Halen. I can’t believe it.” The former frontman of the band Journey had no idea what this text was about because he doesn’t watch the news anymore. He picked the phone and called his recording engineer and asked him what’s going on and when he found out that Eddie had lost the long battle with cancer, Perry’s mind immediately went back to 1978 when Van Halen was with Journey for eight weekends during the Infinity tour.

Steve PerrySteve Perry’s Legendary Tour

He called Rolling Stone to tell stories from this legendary tour and revealed that he got a call from Eddie after David Lee Roth decided to leave the band in ‘85 that could have changed the history of rock in a great way. Van Halen was the opener on Journey’s tour in 1978, just after he made Infinity. This was the one with the “Wheels in the Sky” and “Lights.”

Back then, rock music was about rivalry and competition. It’s like the Los Angeles Dodgers playing the San Francisco Giants. Those two teams bring the best out of each other and continue to push themselves when they play each other. Back in the days, the headliner was always going to be challenged by the opener. The band that opened the event wanted to be the winner of the evening. They wanted to come home victorious against the headliner, no matter who this was. It was like professional sports.

Eddie Van HalenSteve Perry About Van Halen

Eddie was amazing. Steve Perry was so respectful, but at the same time, envious of what he had, what he was contributing to the music industry, and what they had together. Eddie was a big driving force in the band, and the whole band was a force to be reckoned with.

Somewhere along the lines, as soon as mobile phones and laptops came around and everybody could play with enhanced tracks and a click trick from their extra background vocals and albums, extra guitar parts, floating things, extra ambient, everything changed. The drummer gets the click track with his headphones, the arrangement is locked because he is playing with the computer, and everyone plays with the drummer. Nothing moves like back in the past. Today, everything has been neutralized to a playing field called beats per minute and a grid.