Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hold On to That Fe-EE-ee-e-Line…

If you didn’t know better and heard my cell phone ringtone on a day I happened to be wearing my vintage Escape Tour t-shirt, you might think I’m a die-hard Journey fan. Not exactly. Let me explain, as there are several factors at play.

Back in the day, I wouldn’t be caught dead listening to Journey. Oh no, I listened to only what Creem magazine told me to… Nick Lowe, Boomtown Rats, the Ramones, Ted-freakin’-Nugent (yes, really!) et al. Now I find I really appreciate a certain kind of earnesty (that’s not a word, is it? It’s the quality of honestly being earnest, or earnest X 2.) in music. And in everything, I guess. (I absolutely don't mean to imply that the aforementioned bands aren't earnest. I meant to imply that I was kinda lame.)

But from what I hear (literally), Steve Perry seems to be very much “Let me sing for you” rather than “Watch me sing.” Yes, even in spite of the spandex/tuxedo get-up.

He has a certain graciousness, elegance and wish to please that I also see in those Motown vocal groups (the Tempts! The Four Tops!) who do all those sweet choreographed moves. You may chuckle when you see them in unison (step-turn-step-clap!), but it’s like, Wow…they’re puttin’ on a show! They want the audience to have a good time!

So yeah, I like Steve Perry’s voice, and I don’t even consider Journey to be a guilty pleasure—the original band contained ex-Santana members (instant cred, music snobs, instant cred!) and Perry is a Tenore contraltino. Oh, and he’s got a Siamese cat. Nothing wrong with that.

What’s my guilty pleasure? I don’t think the Partridge Family counts, since the Wrecking Crew played on all those records (six degrees of Good Vibrations separation!). And the Carpenters don’t count either, since they have their own “respected” tribute album .

OK, let’s dig a little deeper, aim a little lower.


I think this may qualify.

Or this.

Or, er…this.

What’s YOUR guilty pleasure? You know you’ve got one!

P.S. I forgot to mention—I’m writing this post in honor of my upcoming trip to San Francisco, original home of Journey.


  1. You have the advantage of having grown up in an era with some truly awful music. Guilty pleasures are almost always the stuff you loved when you were too young to know better. You SHOULD feel guilty about the David Naughton song!

    Coming out of the 60s, I used to call Herman's Hermits and the Monkees my guilty pleasures, but their reputations have been resuscitated since then. Same with Abba (even Elvis C and Nick Lowe claim to have been Abba fans!). I owned several Gary Lewis and the Playboys records, but now I find that daddy Jerry Lewis hired pros like Leopn Russell, snuff Garrett, Al Kooper, and Jim Keltner to make sure Gary's albums were slick, tuneful pop gems. (Here's a taste:

    I used to call Michael Jackson's Off the Wall my guilty pleasure, until he died and everyone suddenly decided he deserved the Nobel Prize in music . . .

  2. Holly, thanks for taking the bait! I liked Everybody Loves a Clown a lot--was Gary Lewis considered swoon-worthy? Ah, true, it IS all about what you liked before you knew better... I do have hope for today's kids tho--I recall a time when a coworker (recently graduated from college) couldn't name all 4 Beatles...but (twice!) on the subway recently I saw young French tourists reading bios of David Naughton, err...Jim Morrison...