Picks and Pans Review: The Journey Solo

updated 07/25/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/25/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

>POSSESSING THE MOST DISTINCTIVE and adored pipes in hard rock wasn't enough for Steve Perry. Neither were. 35 million records sold. "I had job burnout after 10 years in Journey," says Perry, 41, who retired as the band's lead singer after their 1986 Raised on Radio tour. "I had to let my feet hit the ground, and I had to find a passion for singing again." When that turned into an eight-year disappearing act, rumors of Perry's battling throat cancer circulated. "My mother had a terminal illness which took her life," he says. "After I left the band, people who had seen me in radiology started talking. But I was with my mom trying to get her well."

While Perry's health is fine, the damaged relationship with his former bandmates, whom he no longer sees, might be irrevocable. "I couldn't make them understand," he says regretfully. "Bui I needed to get off the merry-go-round. I didn't sing a note for two years."

What helped reignite his passion for music? "I was bored without it in my life," says Perry, who began writing For the Love of Strange Medicine's songs five years before he started re-cording. That and continuing fan demand. "People would stop me in the street and ask, 'Are you Steve Perry? What happened to you?' " says the unmarried singer, who lives in a "secret location" out West. "That helped me to want to come back and make music again."

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