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Steve Perry (Journey) How the hell does he sing like that?

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The one guy I know who can sing journey songs does so with no training; every time he sings, speaks, laughs, even sneezes, he's way up there in his head voice. The lack of training is obvious when he sings, cuz he's kind of a slob, but as far as the range and ease of production go, the dude just has it. If it's any consolation (it certainly is to me), he hates his voice just like the rest of us - he loves howlin' wolf, and hates the fact that his voice is incapable of "exploding", as he puts it.

I've got a friend like this too. Sounds just like Brad Delp from Boston. Limitless range. No break.

He must die!

;)

I ask him "how do you do that?" Of course, he doesn't know. No training, just this great instrument. Doesn't get tired much either. Pretty darn cool and it's inspired me to learn to sing differently. I sing decent, but I want that limitlessness. I have a super high headvoice, but it's kind of separate from my normal voice. Some guys can make it all sound the same (Perry) like one voice and not sound like Edith Bunker on the top end, but full. I want that. Been chasing it forever.

Getting pack to Perry, his early Journey stuff was just like 'glass'. No rasp or anything but range. A lot of people didn't like that period for him. Gave him the "you sing like a duck" tag. He seemed to bring it all together on the Escape ("open arms, don't stop believing, stone in love) album or maybe Departure (anyway you want it, where were you) before it. However, after Escape, he developed a rasp that only got more pronounced. I didn't dig it at all and it ended up taking this freakin' vocal god down. In interviews, he said it was a conscious decision. I don't believe it was. I think the road (and other illicit things) took their toll on him.

For me, one of the all time brilliant performances he did was "Where Were You" from Departure. Limitless range.

Check from about 2:30 on. No strain, no rasp, just range. Also, this was the first song of the show for a few of their tours. I dunno, just way cool to me. He'd walk out and just hit these unbelievable notes. Always a standout track. I can't tell if he's singing loud or not. Doesn't look or sound like it.

Another recording here, same tour, same tune

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_7Sx6Ewbjg really consistent too. Actually sang it better here. He does a weird thing near the end where it's almost like an upward crack, but I think he just went for a higher note.

However, 2 years later, in the later part of the 83 tour, he became inconsistent and the band began to play things way fast. That was supposedly to help Steve out. By 86, he was cracking all over the place.

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There are many people who have managed to sound similar to him. I think one of the most identifiable things about Perry's style is his vowel choice, not just his sound color.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHZRq7PCpJ0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdc7DkXoWxE&feature=related

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Yeah Wildcat- That first one is Jeremey Hunsicker. He ALMOST got the Perry replacement gig and they went with Arnel. Jeremey even LOOKS like Perry. He actually ended up being a co-writer of their last single, though Arnel ended up singing it.

The middle one is Hugo. Yeah, that guy is hard to watch, but sings great.

The last one didn't sound much like Perry to me.

But you might be right. Out of all of em, Jeremey is super close, but there's something odd about his tone sometimes. But yeah, there's are but a few guys that can "do the sound". Wish I could!

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Jesus...that Jeremey guy killed it(at least on Don't Stop.)

yeah, he's a good guy too, I've talked to him several times. Neal Schon apparently said "No, this guy is tooo close. It'd be too weird". That might be true, but there were other reasons that Jeremey didn't get the gig, not that had much to do with him, but more to do with the Journey camp.

There's a video out there of Jeremey doing "We Are the World" that I saw about 5 years ago that was just hilarious.

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I think even Arnel Pineda has a voice that delves down, unlike Perry's. So while he may have similar pronunciations in some words as Perry, Pineda's tone has much more of a chesty and edgy presence. I like his voice very much, but in a different way that Perry's. One problem I do have with Perry though is that sometimes he is very hard to understand, lyrically. One of my friends saw that Mother, Father video and at the part where Perry is just wailing, my friend thought it was funny.

EDIT: Agh Videohere (or bob, i guess) where did your post go? anyways i was referring to the video that was in it.

I do think it is possible to train head voice to go lower and keep strong, though. Maybe not to Steve Perry's extent, but in that direction. The third guy I posted above signing Any Way You Want It doesn't really sound like PErry, but he sounds like himself singing in a mannerism that Perry sang in. That's what I want. The "hold on hold on" parts he sings there have a similar twangy, slightly raised larynx sound that is in the original recording of the song.

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so i think we can conclude there's some kind of innnate physiology (we can't see it, maybe bone structure, neck design, cranium design, who the hell knows, that these guys have in common.

but do you notice how the voice really seems to never delve down into chest as we know it. not like mercury or even richard marx...

that hugo valente looks like him and sounds like him. he just got a contract.

here's what i call a rock vocal masterpiece..talk about vowel modification!!!!

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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlFVc7qDUog[/youtube]

Did you do it just like that?

Also, I very much like Deen Castronovo's (their current drummer) voice. It's somewhat naturally high and gritty, and he's a smoker too.

The highest note he hits here is C#5 and it's all very well connected

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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlFVc7qDUog[/youtube]

Did you do it just like that?

Also, I very much like Deen Castronovo's (their current drummer) voice. It's somewhat naturally high and gritty, and he's a smoker too.

The highest note he hits here is C#5 and it's all very well connected

yes, wildcat maybe there's a delay before it shows up?

thanks

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I saw Journey a year and a half ago, and Deen knocked it out of the proverbial park when he did the vocals for "Mother Father" and "Still They Ride".

He's very talented and just an all around cool guy.

i could hear deen saying to steve perry, "steve before you leave journey, could you teach me how to sing like you do?"

lol!!!!

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I've said it before and I'm going to keep on saying it, even if no one listens to me. Even though Jaime Vendera says the same thing. Even though every big and famous or astounding singer any of us ever like says it, many people will simply not listen. So, I am going to say it again. Maybe have it etched on my tombstone to drive the point home. And Steve Perry is a good case in point, a great place to start. No one, even Pineda, will ever sound exactly like Steve Perry. Ever, amen, and amen. Period, paragraph, and new book. Because of genetics, which affects musculature and neurology and physical structure, such as the bony cavities of the head. Pineda sounds a lot like him and it is, no doubt, due to the combination of all things, including a similar structure and neurology, as well as similar singing techniques. But even I can tell the difference. There are times when it sounds like Pineda actually has a slightly louder, stronger sound. I know that's going to hurt some feelings of some who wish to sound like a particular singer they like. Sorry about that. But it's a stone cold fact.

In fact, what makes a singer like Perry unique is his unique structure. That way, he sounds like Steve Perry, instead of Frankie Valli or Donny Osmond, or Perry Como, or Rod Stewart.

That being said, I like some of Perry's later work. I have noticed singer after singer started out singing everything high, something akin to a beginning guitarist who first learns how to speed pick or two-hand tap. Everything they do has to surpass the speed of light or be as high as the stratosphere.

Along about the time they learn some dynamics and sing a few verses in a range lower than dog whistles, people accuse them of selling out or losing it. Most of those people haven't reached the age of 40, yet, either, which usually brings some maturity. I've heard similar complaints about Geoff Tate. They prefer Queen of the Ryche era and feel that everything went to crap with "Empire." Caca de Toros. It's called developing and providing even more breadth to a song than ever before.

So, for Perry to be considered not as good once he sang some choruses in a range where the audience could sing them is, to me, a bit stifling. He quit because he was worn out and not just in his voice. All over, period. Journey toured for 15 years non-stop. Coming off the road just long enough to record another album.

Seriously, take the song you have been working for the last two weeks and just do it in one night, along with 90 minutes more of similar and different stuff, take your pic. And do it at the range and power. 4 and 5 nights a week, for 9 to 10 months out of a year. For 15 years. Rain or shine, sick or well, fast food or whatever is available, while fighting jetlag and your dressing room is either on wheels or is a stall in the men's bathroom. In addition, on stage, you have to put up with rolling clouds of pot smoke and cigarette smoke, plus whatever pyrotechnics you have going.

And every one and their aunt needs your autograph and wants to talk half the night before and after the show. For 15 years. And everything you do, from buying milk to taking a crap is fodder for the news media. And, in interviews, rather than talking about your musicality, the interviewer wants to know about your hair (bon Jovi had this problem.) Or that all that you have done is amazing because you are jewish (this has happened to David Lee Roth.) For decades.

Singing was meant to be fun.

I didn't mean to ramble, I just don't think it's fair to judge Perry harshly because he lowered and changed his tone for a musical interest. How many here specifically work on various distortion to sound like a favored singer? And why? Because you want to and it's a stylistic choice. And some things take their toll, no matter how properly they are done.

I have worked in freezing weather for decades, past the point of losing feeling in my fingers and toes. And now, when it gets cold, they lose feeling and heat automatically, a side effect of a hard career. Well, I think it's going to happen to some singers, too, in whatever they do.

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I've said it before and I'm going to keep on saying it, even if no one listens to me. Even though Jaime Vendera says the same thing. Even though every big and famous or astounding singer any of us ever like says it, many people will simply not listen. So, I am going to say it again. Maybe have it etched on my tombstone to drive the point home. And Steve Perry is a good case in point, a great place to start. No one, even Pineda, will ever sound exactly like Steve Perry. Ever, amen, and amen. Period, paragraph, and new book. Because of genetics, which affects musculature and neurology and physical structure, such as the bony cavities of the head. Pineda sounds a lot like him and it is, no doubt, due to the combination of all things, including a similar structure and neurology, as well as similar singing techniques. But even I can tell the difference. There are times when it sounds like Pineda actually has a slightly louder, stronger sound. I know that's going to hurt some feelings of some who wish to sound like a particular singer they like. Sorry about that. But it's a stone cold fact.

In fact, what makes a singer like Perry unique is his unique structure. That way, he sounds like Steve Perry, instead of Frankie Valli or Donny Osmond, or Perry Como, or Rod Stewart.

That being said, I like some of Perry's later work. I have noticed singer after singer started out singing everything high, something akin to a beginning guitarist who first learns how to speed pick or two-hand tap. Everything they do has to surpass the speed of light or be as high as the stratosphere.

Along about the time they learn some dynamics and sing a few verses in a range lower than dog whistles, people accuse them of selling out or losing it. Most of those people haven't reached the age of 40, yet, either, which usually brings some maturity. I've heard similar complaints about Geoff Tate. They prefer Queen of the Ryche era and feel that everything went to crap with "Empire." Caca de Toros. It's called developing and providing even more breadth to a song than ever before.

So, for Perry to be considered not as good once he sang some choruses in a range where the audience could sing them is, to me, a bit stifling. He quit because he was worn out and not just in his voice. All over, period. Journey toured for 15 years non-stop. Coming off the road just long enough to record another album.

Seriously, take the song you have been working for the last two weeks and just do it in one night, along with 90 minutes more of similar and different stuff, take your pic. And do it at the range and power. 4 and 5 nights a week, for 9 to 10 months out of a year. For 15 years. Rain or shine, sick or well, fast food or whatever is available, while fighting jetlag and your dressing room is either on wheels or is a stall in the men's bathroom. In addition, on stage, you have to put up with rolling clouds of pot smoke and cigarette smoke, plus whatever pyrotechnics you have going.

And every one and their aunt needs your autograph and wants to talk half the night before and after the show. For 15 years. And everything you do, from buying milk to taking a crap is fodder for the news media. And, in interviews, rather than talking about your musicality, the interviewer wants to know about your hair (bon Jovi had this problem.) Or that all that you have done is amazing because you are jewish (this has happened to David Lee Roth.) For decades.

Singing was meant to be fun.

I didn't mean to ramble, I just don't think it's fair to judge Perry harshly because he lowered and changed his tone for a musical interest. How many here specifically work on various distortion to sound like a favored singer? And why? Because you want to and it's a stylistic choice. And some things take their toll, no matter how properly they are done.

I have worked in freezing weather for decades, past the point of losing feeling in my fingers and toes. And now, when it gets cold, they lose feeling and heat automatically, a side effect of a hard career. Well, I think it's going to happen to some singers, too, in whatever they do.

I'm not quite sure who you're talking to but I very much appreciate Perry's voice no matter what time period or state it was in. He's been through demanding and rigorous and maybe seemingly to him endless performances. It wouldn't be a good thing for him to have hurt himself to end up with a huskier voice, but I prefer listening to his solo stuff rather than most of the Journey stuff. The way he sang in the 90s, to me, seemed to have much more emotional weight to it, regardless of what tone quality or pitch he was singing, and songs like "Missing You," "What Was," or "You Better Wait" hit me deeply each and every time I listen to them.

I agree that people have their own unique sound because of their physiology, but I would like to "go about singing" similarly to Steve Perry in the way that emotion flows out without struggle (I guess and easy, light but full top range would be good too) and still sound like myself. There are a handful of singers, just like guitarists and bassists for my instrumentation, that I look up to. I don't want to copy any particular one, but pull out bits of each that I like and identify with to achieve the way I want to express myself musically.

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i could hear deen saying to steve perry, "steve before you leave journey, could you teach me how to sing like you do?"

lol!!!!

Funny story - Deen was doing a gig in Atlanta, Georgia, and a husband and wife pointed at Deen, making hand gestures suggesting he was lip-synching after he finished "Open Arms". Deen noticed it, and had his sister go find them.

Deen confronted them, then invited them backstage to name any 5 Journey songs, and he would sing them A Cappella. Deen did all five songs, and the couple apologized profusely. Deen took it all in stride, and only asked that they go to as many message boards on the internet as they could to confirm that he absolutely does not lip-synch to old Perry tracks.

As for any interaction between Deen and Steve, I'm pretty sure they've never worked together. Steve Smith left when he realized Steve Perry wasn't coming back to Journey, then Deen entered the picture. But Steve Perry is Deen's favorite singer.

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Good point, Wildcat. And that is my credo in what I do. Sound like yourself and bring the emotion you feel is in the song. And I think that is what Perry did.

That being said I'd like to train my voice to have the flexibility that Perry's did. Regardless of technique each person would sound like them self (unless they were purposefully imitating). There are other singers such as Brad Delp who sound like they can glide around with ease but still sound like themselves. That's where technique and style intersect, I guess.

My high voice sounds very narrow when I kick up the volume. I can hear the lowest two formants whistling but I feel like they are almost my only source of resonance. I guess I sound kind of like a Backstreet Boy or one of the guys in a "modern rock" band like Jimmy Eat World or the All-American Rejects which is fine for those styles. Only in the last half year have I become fascinated with older music from the 60s to 80s and gosh I love the classics more than anything else now even if I'm only 20 and wasn't alive then.

Anyways back to Perry, there's something he does in Faithfully that's really subtle but oh so awesome. In the verses on the phrases where the melody follows "Wheels go round and round" and "Wondering where I am" and so on the last and highest note in the phrase lightens but maintains presence. It's like he has complete control over even the shading of darkness in his voice.

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Dudes and dudettes - I'm pretty sure that all those famous rock and pop singers you're talking about (Steve Perry, Lou Gramm, Dio, John Farnham, Axl Rose, Robert Plant, Bruno Mars, etc.) use a VERY similar vocal technique. They're all doing the same basic things - info that you can find in other threads on this forum and in some of the good vocal programs out there. They just don't all use the same vocal effects and phrase the lines differently, not too mention that each person's sound is unique, as has been mentioned here before. But it's perfectly valid to try to learn that holy grail of a rock or pop tenor technique.

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Funny you should mention these things. 20 years ago, was still married to my first wife and I was auditioning for bands and the ones that were my age, were lookinf for someone who sounds like Coverdale or Plant. But, 20 years ago, it was grunge that was becoming a the next big thing. As well as the seeds of what you are calling modern rock, which was called Indie, back then, mainly because it was a little more folk oriented in instrumentation and arrangement.

I know the parts you are talking in the song "Faithfully." It's a vowel shading.

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Yes, I agree that nobody can copy STEVE PERRY voice completely.

But....I believe his vocal ability is good to be captured

and vocalist can apply some of STEVE's singing licks/ placement/ emotion

to build a better voice ourselves.

Deen is a smoker, and STEVE PERRY didn't smoke, he said that in the same interview

STEVE : ". Liquor is very bad, and smoking. I do not smoke - not pot very much anymore, or cigarettes. That is direct. The smoke is as hot as the flame and it goes right across your chords. What better drying agent than hot smoke and flame. "

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This is what helps me:

I noticed that both Steve Perry, Freddie Mercury and Adam Lambert has this approach on getting into their head voice:

It's ever so slightly breathy.

I started doing sirens in a very slow, controlled manner. Start in a light, Perry-esque chest and as you go up, let it get VERY slightly breathy, and when through the break, go into a pure, somewhat feminine head voice. This, at least for me, really helped blur the break, and keep some thickness of tone. After a week or so of practicing this, the breathyness went away as the coordination strenghtened. What it leaves you with is a lighter, more Perry type tone. Not as belty. More Perry and less Tate.

I dunno, maybe something to try.

Notes: Keep twang out of it. You want a pure, almost feminine head voice sound. After you strenghten that lighter coordination, then you can play around with twang and resonance and all that.

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