When I was 9, again at Peterson’s Music in Hanford, CA, I saw these green metal flake bongos. This time I begged my mother to please come down. Because there was something I wanted to show her. She was not impressed with the green bongos, but I was enamored by them. I thought they were beautiful. Eventually, she bought them for me. I learned how to play those bongos first on a song called “Tom Dooley” by The Kingston Trio. Shortly thereafter, came a full set of drums, which took a bit more convincing and navigation. I still have those green bongos in storage.
The Drum Kit
This is my old original Gretsch drum kit which now lives in my studio, which I used to play when I was the drummer-singer in my HS R&B band, The Sullies. We used to play up and down the state of California on weekends. We had a 61 Ford Econoline van with our name on the side of it. We had a way of packing our gear the back perfectly so we could lay a mattress on the top of it. Two members would lay on the top of it, and two would ride in the front, and we would roll. We ended up playing a lot of R&B clubs because that was the kind of music we loved. R&B was the dance music of that time, and if you liked dancing, we were there laying down some mighty grooves of love.
When I was 16 at Leemore HS, I took an arts and crafts class, and I came up with the idea of making purple grapes out of resin. We poured the resin in these little round bulbs, and stuck a piece of wire in there. When they hardened, we broke the bulbs, and what we had was a purple resin grape with a long wire on it. I took a grape stump from a grape vineyard, drilled a whole in it, and put a lamp rod down through it with a bolt on the top and on the bottom. Then I wired the rod, and starting at the bottom, put the grapes in a fashion, adding leaves and lights inside at the same time. It’s about 3 feet tall, and I attached chains from it to hang it from the ceiling, which was the hanging lamp concept at the time. I gave it to my grandfather on my mom’s side for Christmas. He thought I bought it, but I had made it for him. When the school had Open House, it was the hit of the arts and crafts class, which made me very proud. I still have it hanging, and it’s destined to be hanging in my studio very soon.
I went to Catholic school to the end of my fourth grade year. In the third grade, there was a Sister that just about killed me. If it wasn’t the metal-edge rulers across my knuckles, she would stand me on a stool in the middle of the class with my pant legs rolled up, and with the same ruler, she’d beat my calves for misbehaving, which I’m sure I did do, being as disruptive as I can be, but I’m also sure she enjoyed it more than I did.
I truly have no religious preference or affiliation of any kind. I try to keep an open mind. There are so many different theologies in this world that I try to eat the meat and leave the bones. I recently discovered Ganesh because my understanding is that in the Hindu religion, Ganesh is the remover of obstacles. I also simply like the character of the elephant head on a human body. I find it very interesting.
Story about the guitar
Story about the girl
Story about the fantasy building
The Golden Gate Bridge
The most beautiful thing I ever saw after moving to San Francisco to join Journey was the Golden Gate Bridge. I used to live in the Bay Area, and commuting on the bridge was one of my favorite things to do. It’s still one of the Seven Wonders of the World to me, and never ceases to be glorious, and massively sexy. If you look closely, you will see two people smooching under a cloud burst "In the Rain.” Believe it or not, I had never smooched on the this bridge till I met Kellie. We walked out there, and held each other like it was our last time and with the city behind us, we kissed. Unfortunately, we never returned to that spot again.
Story about the music notes
Boy In The Window
The little house that little red-coated Steve Perry is staring at is the home in which I was raised, from 0-13. I often thought I should have bought that home to preserve it, but some things were just meant to be let go. On the step of the front of that house, a 7-year-old boy heard that mom and dad wouldn’t be living together anymore. I didn’t understand what he menat at all. I kept asking why, and he seemed to not have an answer, or didn’t want to tell a 7-year-old. It happened nevertheless, and my life was never the same. He was the only one who would sing to me when he tucked me in, take me around town in his little willy jeep, take me swimming, and just watch over me. When he was gone, my life was not as protected as I would have liked it to have been.
The rusty barn with cows around it is the real barn where my grandfather Quaresma milked cows in Hanford, CA. The barn was on a piece of property that belonged to Mr. Rice, and he worked on the ranch for the right to live in a house with my grandmother and raise my mother. It only held 10 cows, and he milked them all by hand for years, and ended up owning the property himself. If it wasn’t for my grandfather coming to the East Coast from The Azores Islands in the early 1920’s, and then eventually settling on that ranch in Hanford CA....... I wouldn’t be here today.
The Tape Recorder
When I was 8 years old, I begged my grandfather to come down to Peterson’s Music Store because there was something I wanted to show him. It was so hard to get him to go down there because being a farmer and very busy, there were so many things that were more important, but eventually I got him to come in. I showed him the Grundig portable, battery operated tape recorder that I needed to have. At the time, it was about $389 because it was quite a professional little recording machine. After hustling, begging, being annoying, silent scorn, pouting, he eventually gave in and bought it for me. That was the first recorder I ever sang on. I still have that tape recorder.
Hanford Leemore 198 Sign
This is the exit from the I-5 that you take to go to my hometowns because you see, I was raised in Hanford to the age of 13, and then we moved to Lemoore where I went to high school. I always considered both my hometowns because there are so, so many memories in every corner of those towns for me.
This is the microphone I recorded all my vocals on for “Traces." I have 3 of them. They are very old and hard to find. They have a special sound, along with my API 312 mic pre-amp, 525 compressor limiter and 550A EQ, they have been a friend of mine for quite some time.
Wine was once a close friend of mine for a very long time until it turned on me. Unfortunately, I was the last to know it had turned on me. Everyone else knew before I did. That seems to be the way it goes, if you’re lucky, but still painful, nevertheless. I’m better now.
This is the Hanford Theater that I went to as a child - it's still there. My father performed in that theater and sang “Pennies from Heaven” in a talent competition across the country that took place very similar to the American Idol of its time. It was sponsored by Frank Sinatra, and my dad was one of the finalists. My mother’s father told him that you can’t marry my daughter and be a singer at the same time. He didn’t know what to do, but those were the times when family would dictate what you did or didn’t do, period, especially the Portuguese hierarchy that my grandfather ruled. My father made the decision to let go of his music career, marry my Mom and become a farmer under her father's thumb. My poor dad was never the same. I was told by his sister Betty, his aspirations were to sing, but he loved my mother so much, and as a result of that, they had me. I’m so grateful that both of them were able to see me be successful in the music business even though they had separated many years before. I’m staring at the theatre marquee in my red tails coat that I used to wear.
The little house that the red-coated Steve Perry is also staring at is the home in which he was raised, from 0-13.
I often thought I should have bought that home to preserve it, but some things were just meant to be let go of. On the step of the front of that house, a 7-year-old boy heard from dad that mom and dad wouldn’t be living together anymore. I didn’t understand what that meant at all. I kept asking why, and Dad seemed to not have an answer, or didn’t want to tell a 7-year-old. It happened nevertheless, and my life was never the same. He was the only one who would sing to me when I was tucked in, take me around town in his little willy jeep, take me swimming at the river, and closely watched over me. When he was gone, my life was very different.
The dog in the lower-right corner is Marlo. When I met Kellie, she had Marlo for 5 years already. Marlo and I completely bonded immediately, and it was one of Kellie’s claims that she had never seen the dog stare at anybody the way she stared at me. She used to say the dog really loved me. Marlo was so smart, and was just so soulful, and when we were all together, Kellie, Marlo and I, were a team.
4 Guys & 3 Girls
These images are representative of the Girl and Guy groups of my youth. Most of the R&B groups were in that configuration. I loved their vocals and their song writing, not to mention the backing tracks they had with so much feel and lovely chord changes. This is simply a thank you to them all for the influence they had on my musical childhood.
Stadium Across the Bay
This is AT&T Park. The San Francisco Giants played a huge part in my absence from the music business. The games were a place I could go and get lost in the game of baseball. I'd show up just as the gates opened and not leave till the game was done. It was a cathedral for me, and I was very fortunate to meet some of the greatest players of that era.
Above the stadium on the mountain top is Sintra Castle. This is a place in Portugal just outside of Lisbon. It's a very old beautiful castle that I visited when I was 7, and again when I was in my mid-30's.
When I was 7, I had to be dragged under the main castle arch entrance for there's an Under Sea Neptune Monster guarding the entrance above your head. It scared the crap out of this 7 year old.
I returned when in my mid-thirties during a European tour, stared at the monster for a nice amount of time, and then gave him a big slice of my adult vocabulary.