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Steve Smith Says Steve Perry ‘Passed Torch’ to Arnel Pineda at Journey’s Hall of Fame Induction

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Journey drummer Steve Smith said former singer Steve Perry was “passing the torch” to the band’s current vocalist Arnel Pineda with his appearance, but refusal to sing, at the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last month. And he added that there’s “not much of a story” behind Perry’s decision.

It was the first time in 12 years that Perry had joined his former colleagues for an event, having attended another awards ceremony with them in 2005. Since then he seemed to have become something of a recluse, although he made a handful of surprise appearances more recently, and he’s also mentioned a solo album, planned for release this year.

Asked about the level of interaction with Perry during the induction night, Smith told Las Vegas Weekly“Whatever you saw onstage was it! I think some of the guys saw him backstage for a little bit, but I just saw him onstage. It was great to see him. He was very gracious. I thought he gave a beautiful speech, thanking the band, the management and the fans. And also he acknowledged Arnel, which was really a beautiful moment. It really makes it clear that he’s passing the torch to Arnel. He’s the lead singer in Journey and he’s doing an amazing job. He’s a tremendous singer and a really compelling frontman.”

On the subject of speculation that Perry had considered singing at the induction, Smith said: “There’s really not much of a story there. We asked him if he wanted to sing, and he declined – he said no, but that he would be there.”

The drummer accepted it had been “a bit nerve-racking” to make a speech, but that he felt relaxed once he sat behind his kit. But he added that he hadn’t been obsessing over entry into the Hall of Fame, despite Journey having become eligible in 2000.

“The takeaway is that it’s been very important to fans,” he said. “The most important thing is the fans. It’s their dedication to us that has kept the band alive and relevant after all these years.”

Journey have just commenced a three-week residency at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas – and Smith thinks it might be an opportunity to work on a new record. “We’ve been discussing that. We might do some writing while we’re in Vegas, because we’ll be there for an extended stay. That could happen.”

When he rejoined the band in 2015, the drummer predicted that he’d remain on board for only two years. “Things are going along pretty well, so it could work out that I extend my stay,” he said. “We haven’t discussed it in any concrete way, but things are going really well. It may work out that I stick around for another year.”

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