The future of Journey was in doubt when the band’s iconic vocalist Steve Perry quit the band in 1998. However, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famers continued to enjoy success after replacing Perry with Steve Augeri.
The former Tyketto and Tall Stories singer joined the group months after Perry departed in 1998. The hits continued with songs like the anthemic “All the Way” and “Higher Place.”
“We didn’t just play the established songs when I joined Journey,” Augeri said by phone from his Staten Island home. “We had some songs that charted. Part of the excitement was creating with (Journey guitarist) Neal Schon and (Journey keyboardist) Jonathan Cain. We made new music and it was an amazing creative process. That part was cool and so was playing their classic material.
“I had a great time singing the songs that Steve Perry made famous. I was the beneficiary of Mr. Perry’s heavy lifting. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, I get to sing these wonderful songs.’”
Augeri, 60, who will headline Coralville’s free 4thFest concert Wednesday (6/3) at S.T. Morrison Park, will belt out familiar Journey favorites.
“The fans who come out to my shows expect me to sing the Journey material,” he said. “I have to sing the Journey dirty dozen. Those are the songs that Journey recorded that the fans are absolutely crazy about.”
“Don’t Stop Believin,’” “Any Way You Want It” and “Lights” are some of the Journey smashes Augeri delivers.
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“I love singing those songs,” he said. “The songs are so well written, and so they stand the test of time.”
Augeri left Journey because of chronic vocal issues.
“I was overworked,” he said. “My voice was just so taxed. I came down with pneumonia and I sang on top of that. That drove my voice into the dirt. I didn’t want to stop but I had no choice. I needed some time to recover. There was no other option. Journey had no choice but to continue without me.”
The year after Augeri’s departure, “Don’t Stop Believin” charted again since it was prominently featured in “The Sopranos” finale.
“They had to take advantage of that,” Augeri said. “They had to find a new singer.”
When Augeri strengthened his voice, he became a solo recording artist.
“Everything has worked out for me,” Augeri said. “I’m doing my thing and Journey is going strong with (vocalist) Arnel (Pineda).”
Augeri is working on some new songs.
“It’s a collection of singles,” he said. “That’s the way I’m going, since full-blown albums are too expensive to make without a label, and fans seem to just be into singles these days.”
Expect Augeri to toss in a few originals during the Coralville concert.
“You’ll hear some new stuff,” Augeri said. “But you’ll also hear some of the songs I grew up with like Led Zeppelin and Rod Stewart. I grew up on British rock ’n’ roll. I still love those songs. I’m just as passionate about those classics as I was when I was young.”
Augeri is adept at working the crowd. Expect him to stir up the audience on the eve of the Fourth of July.
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“I understand how significant this holiday is,” he said. “I’m going to have fun with those who are celebrating with me. Even though the show is the day before the Fourth of July, expect our band to bring the fireworks early. It all starts with my voice.”
WHAT: Steve Augeri, former Journey lead singer
WHERE: S.T. Morrison Park, 1513 Seventh St., Coralville
WHEN: Wednesday (7/3); The Sidewinders, 6:30 p.m., Augeri, 8 p.m.
ARTIST’S WEBSITE: Steveaugeri.com
SATURDAY (6/29): Coralville Recreation Center, 1506 Eighth St.: 8 a.m. 4thFest 5K; 8:45 a.m. Firecracker Kids’ Mini-Marathon (26.2 yards);
WEDNESDAY (7/3): Aquatic Center parking lot, 1513 Seventh St.: 2 p.m. carnival opens; S.T. Morrison Park: 2 to 9 p.m. food and vendors; 6:30 p.m. free concert
JULY 4: Northwest Junior High, 1507 Eighth St.: 7 to 10 a.m. Kiwanis pancake breakfast, $6 advance, $7 door; Aquatic Center parking lot: 9 a.m. carnival opens; Ninth Street and 22nd Avenue: 10 a.m. parade; S.T. Morrison Park: noon to 9 p.m. food and vendors; also entertainment, contests, kids’ activities; 7 p.m. The Comedy Magic of Rick Eugene; 8:30 p.m. Iowa Community Band; fireworks at dark