During a recent appearance on Trunk Nation, classic Journey vocalist Steve Perry opened up on why he left the band back in 1998, saying (via Blabbermouth):
“The reason I left is – I was just truly burned out. My love for music was getting really, really questionable within my heart, and I kind of had to stop.
“There was no easy way to stop, leaving the mothership that I had so loved and worked so hard with the guys to build. It was tough. I didn’t tell nobody – I just kept working, and then all of a sudden, it just kind of hit the wall, and I said, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’
“The band looked at me like, ‘What?’. I’m sure there was no way to drop such a bomb on the fans easily, but I just had to stop and just get out for a while. So I did, and once I stopped, I realized I had to be okay on my own, in my own terms, without the love and the adoration and applause”
“I kind of wanted the wheels to touch down, to be honest. I had to decompress… where you can be okay being yourself and that’s enough. Being in such an amazing ride like we were on is like circling the earth in some satellite, then all of a sudden, it’s just time to come through and land. There was no easy way to come through the earth’s atmosphere without burning a little bit.
“I went back to my hometown in Hanford, CA, and I just hung out in that town with old friends, drove up and down Main Street, saw my old house where I was raised, just tried to reconnect.
“I had a Harley-Davidson I used to keep in a storage unit, and I used to go out on these country roads – back in those days, you didn’t need a helmet – and I would just drive that Harley on these one-lane old country roads, and just let the wind blow and try to get some wind in my face and think about things.
“I had to let go with a conviction that if music was to come back to my heart again, that would be fine. If it didn’t, I had already lived the dream of dreams, honestly. We had accomplished so much as a group together. I had to let it go completely to see what would happen. I was like a wrung-out sponge – there’s no juice left in me.
“When I was a kid, I loved music more than anything else. It saved my life. When I can play those old 45s and get into those songs and listen to those rhythms and those voices and that songwriting, it was a place I could go to when my family was breaking up at the time, my mother and father.
“I’m an only child. I lived in the fantasy of those 45s, so I brought that with me when I joined the band and brought that love for that, and when it started to leave me, I got scared. I’m not complaining – I want to make that clear – but you don’t have to look too far to see people not survive in the music business.
“I’ll speak for myself – there was some extra-stimulative behaviors going on back in the day. I could have kept going with those exterior assistance behaviors, but it wouldn’t have filled the hole that I knew was going, so I had to just literally stop.
“There’s no easy way to do it; I just had to do it. I went to baseball [games]; every summer, I’d go to the fair; I would go on vacations; I’d go to movies; I’d do the things everybody else does. I needed to just get back to a [normal] life and let that be enough.”