Gregg Rolie and Ross Valory Interview
Rock 'n' roll fans beware — here's
a storm on the horizon. Former Journey members Gregg Rolie, Ross Valory, and
Steve Smith have banded together with Kevin Chalfant and Josh Ramos to form
The Storm. Recording for Interscope Records, the group has just released their
debut CD/cassette for the label.
We spoke with Storm members Gregg Rolie and Ross Valory,
Q. Haven't you had enough of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle by now?
Ross - No, I haven't actually, because since Journey, I've done very
little traveling, very little rock 'n' rollishness. I did a stint with
Michael Bolton and Jonathan King, which was a two month kind of a thing,
and that was fun. It was enjoyable. I did a two month stint this last
summer with Todd Rundgren. I'm on the latest Todd Rundgren record, which
I'm very proud of by the way. Not only do I think it's some of his best
stuff, he ended up really featuring my instrument in the mix. I just don't
know "what to think.
Q. He likes you.
A. I guess he did. He never said it. But, hey, it's in the pudding pal.
Other than that, since my removal from Journey in 1985, I haven't been
doing that much of the big time rock 'n' roll. It's something you can't
give up. I've tried to think of other things I might want to do, but even
if I did do them, I'd still want to be doing this. A lot of my interests
have to do with who I'm doing it with. And, I couldn't think of a better
bunch of guys, to be out there with, than the people I'm working with
Q. What can you do in this band, that you couldn't do in Journey?
A. Well, let's say the axes have been buried concerning Journey, so I
don't want to dig certain things up. There is a lot more freedom of expression
in this group, let's say in humor, in having the fun side, the lighter
side to life. It's not serious business. It's hey, this is what we do,
this is what we do best. We like what we're doing. The record company
likes what we're doing. The radio people like what we're doing. Hey, why
not just continue to do what we like to do? We're not targeting our music.
We didn't choose certain songs from a selection because it's demographically
correct. None of that, the difference between what we can and are doing
now as to the past, is a delicate question, without me pointing fingers
at certain people, which I'd rather not do now.
Q. Besides doing interviews, how are you promoting this CD/cassette of
A. The band is in the midst of a nationwide radio tour. The instruments
are in our closets at home. And we're simply going to visit, having been,
and are visiting radio stations, meeting program directors, taking 'em to
lunch. All of these people have pretty much accepted and ready to add the
music, without having met the band and here comes the band giving 'em even
Q. Gregg, you say, "There was nothing more to write about (with Journey) — a
bus, a hotel, the lonely road?" If The Storm becomes successful, you're
back in the same situation again. So, how are things gonna be different?
A. Times have kind of changed I don’t plan on spending; Journey traveled
7-9 months out of the year traveling, and we're not going to do that. It's
just physically impossible. There're families involved. There's no way that's
gonna happen. We're not gonna travel like that. That's all there was. That
is, literally all we did, is travel and record. Way back when. I just figured
there has got to be more to life than this. I gotta take a breather from
this. I'm glad I did. I couldn't be happier.
Q. I imagine a guy in your position must've met all the rock legends of
the late 60's, early 70's, - Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison.
Gregg - Yeah, not Morrison.
Q. What can you tell us about those people?
Gregg - Janis was a real nice person, but just kind of lost. She seemed
to be searching for that perfect everything, like everybody, but took
it really seriously. In the end, I think it hurt her. Nothing could match
up, to what she was looking for, whatever it was.
Q. Is there any significance to the name "The
Gregg - No. It's one of many on a list. I can't even remember who really
came up with it. It was the most difficult and grueling experience,
to try and get a name. (Laughs.) It took us longer to do that than to
record all the songs and write 'em. It took us 6-7 months to come up with
a name that would have that longevity factor to it. You could come up
with something that was different, that nobody had, but the reason why
is because nobody wanted it. (Laughs.) Actually, we had crossed The Storm
off the list, and Kevin's son, because it had finally started raining
in California, and there was a storm, said, "what about The Storm?" Kevin
calls me up and said I got the perfect name, I said Kevin we crossed that
off two months ago. (Laughs.) But, I like it now.
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