QUEEN Guitarist Weighs In On JOURNEY Singer Changes

QUEEN guitarist Brian May has posted the following message on his web site:

"I was actually moved to write a new page tonight [early hours of June 14], by thinking about our great pal, Jeff Scott Soto. Many of you have been writing to me about the shock of seeing him suddenly erased from the JOURNEY website, as if he had never existed. It's a strange place that I view this from. JOURNEY are, in a way, in a very similar position to ourselves. They have a legacy of hits which people will always want to hear played live. And their singer all through their golden age can no longer perform with them (Steve Perry, a truly luminous singer, in my opinion — a voice in a million). So the JOURNEY guys (I wrote about them just a couple of months ago when they visited — Neal Schon is a fabulous player and an esteemed friend of mine) have a similarly difficult and maddeningly set of options to juggle.

"Option 1: They (or we) throw in the towel and say, 'It can never be as good, so let's put on our carpet slippers and live off the past.' In other words, it's over, and all the talent and experience now goes for nothing. (Some 'fans' actually ask for this, unable to let the artists move on.)

"Option 2: They go out on tour with a 'replacement' for the legendary singer - someone who looks and sounds like Steve Perry; in this case they find themselves in a stale situation, where they are stuck in the past. I was always against this in our case - I could not stand being a fossil, going out there and effectively saying, "We can't improve on what is past — we have nothing more to say".

"Option 3: They forget the name 'JOURNEY' and start from scratch with a new line-up and a new 'image'. I know the JOURNEY guys have been some way down that road. It's brave, but it's very unrewarding, because you tend to end up disappointing all the people who grew to love the old band, and effectively you are turning your back on everything you spent half your life building. Most times you end up playing the old hits anyway ... because why would you not want to play your own music?!

"Options 4: They find a singer with something NEW to offer, a new foil, someone who has a musical world of his own, and is worth arguing with! Even someone who can steal some of the limelight. This is what I have LOVED, working with our wonderful colleague, Paul Rodgers — yes, we can play the old stuff, and yes we can be, in a sense, a continuation of QUEEN, but everything is new — the sky is the limit — because, like in the old days, we are working with a brilliant creator, we are sharing a new creative process, feeding off each other's ideas - experimenting, growing. This is what excites me, at the age of ...oh, forget it!!! ha ha ....

"When I saw JOURNEY this year, live in London, I felt excited, because I felt they had taken Option 4 by the horns. Knowing Jeff, I knew that he had jumped in without a parachute — he turned around the whole direction of his life, not only into being a worthy part of a great band, but pushing ahead, experimenting, looking for ways to be new, within the framework. I was truly astounded by his range, power, and interpretations, and his contact with the audience. The band looked energised - even dangerous. How cool.

"Well, now we get a shock. I know in my heart Jeff would never have walked out on this — he is way too loyal. It saddens me that he seems to [have] been shed like a used pair of boots. Those boots sure covered some good ground. You know, for all the reasons above, it's understandable that JOURNEY might decide to make a U-turn. I just hope that they will be man enough to say so if this is the case, rather than hiding behind some kind of pretence that it was a mutual decision. That's an integrity thing, and a karma thing. You have to own yer own poo. And I hope they will see fit to recognise Jeff's lasting contribution to the family, and realise that he deserves to be treated with respect. And ... I desperately hope they don't go down that other road: JOURNEY is worth a whole lot more than Option 2."


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