— -- He didn't perform with them, but former Journey lead singer Steve Perry did join his ex-bandmates Friday night in Brooklyn, New York as they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Speaking exclusively to ABC Radio Friday night after the event at the Barclay's Center, Perry said the support of Journey fans over the years had meant everything to him.
The honor had been a long time coming for the "Don't Stop Believin'" hitmakers, and it's one Journey fans had wanted for years. Steve Perry gives those fans credit for helping to make Journey what it became, noting, "They ARE the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."
"I have been gone...I kind of went my 'Separate Way,'" he said, referencing the band's 1983 hit and his departure from the lineup. "And I had all kinds of reasons that were important to me to do so. [And] though I've been gone...the fans have always been in my heart."
"We're here because of them," he added. "They are the ones that put us here in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...It's all about them. It's always been about them. And to be able to write music with these incredible musicians and record music with these guys, and have [the fans] embrace it for all these years...It's more than I think I can express in words."
As for joining the Hall of Fame, Perry summed up the honor in one word: "Amazement."
"I'm just amazed," he told ABC Radio. "To be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the people I grew up with -- Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, the people I love listening to -- it's beyond a dream come true. It's kind of surrealistic."
Fans will be thrilled to learn that Perry plans to release a new solo album later this year. While it was inspired by a personal tragedy, Perry said making it has been "cathartic."
"I met someone and I feel in love with this person," he told ABC Radio. "And I lost this person to breast cancer four years ago."
He continued, "In the midst of that, I had written some songs, and before I met her I had sketched some. And so about a year ago, I started recording."
"Basically the record is an emotional expression, and a reason to make one," he explained. "It's been a real cathartic experience going back to that emotional place that I thought I would never go back to. And we really have been doing our very best to capture what I think are some timeless songs."
And speaking of timeless songs, does Perry still listen to his Journey hits when they come on the radio?
"Is it embarrassing to say, 'Yes, occasionally?'" he said, laughing. "I do. You know, sometimes I really do crank it up because the tracks are timeless to me."