Still They Ride

A newly minted star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame offers an occasion to look back on the career of Journey. That's right, Journey.

But the local fans, the ones who just might have seen some of those pre-Perry shows, won't have to wait until summer to see the post-Perry Journey. Even before Journeyfest 2005, the guys are set to play a benefit for the National Center for Youth Law at the Paramount Theater in Oakland on Feb. 27. They go on at 7, and if Schon uncorks some of his old guitar solos, they should finish late, right around the time the lights. Go down. In the ci-tay.


Few things start on time in Hollywood, but this one will. At 11:30 exactly, as a city bus slows to squeeze past this carnival of feathered hair, Johnny Grant, the honorary mayor of Hollywood, will stand above the band's still-covered star and command the attention of hundreds of people. He will read a biography of the band, the multitudes roaring with every album and song title mentioned. And when, at last, he shouts, "Ladies and gentlemen, Journey!" the first person to emerge from the shadows will be the last person anyone expected.

The crowd will shriek and surge forward into the metal ramparts, and Jill, who left two dying cats in San Clemente for this, will seize up, her entire body suddenly rigid, her hands clasped in front of her chin as makeup streaks toward the corners of her mouth. Steve Perry will wave and point and blow kisses, and the other nine current and former band members in attendance will do the same, one eye on the assembled masses and one eye, always, on the black-clad ghost with the auburn-streaked mullet.

Steve Augeri sings with Journey. When the band 
called Augeri in 1998, he was working at the Gap.
Jeffrey Mayer
Steve Augeri sings with Journey. When the band called Augeri in 1998, he was working at the Gap.
Today's Journey: Ross Valory, Steve Augeri, Neal 
Schon, Deen Castronovo, and  Jonathan Cain.
Mark Weiss
Today's Journey: Ross Valory, Steve Augeri, Neal Schon, Deen Castronovo, and Jonathan Cain.

When invited, Perry will stand at the podium and speak well of the roadies, of the band, of the fans, even of Herbie Herbert ("We had our ins and outs," he'll say, "but who doesn't, right?"). He'll hug his former bandmates, then skirt along the barricades, signing albums and arms and posters and T-shirts, including the Budweiser bottle on the shirt Eric from Memphis is wearing. ("He signed the best thang ever!" Eric will later gush.)

Then he will snake his way back through the assembled press and VIPs, a bodyguard in sunglasses acting as a blocking back, until he reaches the gate through which he'd come in the first place. Before he disappears, he will be asked when, exactly, he decided to come. He will smile and answer simply, "Long story." Asked for a short version of the long story, he'll smile again, and not answer at all.

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