Journey’s Jonathan Cain Claims Girlfriend Undermined Steve Perry

Journey’s Jonathan Cain Claims Girlfriend Undermined Steve Perry

Journey’s Jonathan Cain Claims Girlfriend Undermined Steve Perry

Jonathan Cain has opened up about the impact Steve Perry’s girlfriend had on the legendary Journey frontman, suggesting she played a significant role in Perry’s decision to step away from the band. Cain, reflecting on Perry’s unexpected departure, shared his disbelief at the singer’s choice to retire. “I was stunned when Steve said he was done,” Cain revealed in a recent interview. “He just seemed burnt out and ready to leave it all behind. I never thought I’d hear that from him.”

Perry’s exit came after multiple reunions with Journey, the most notable being for the 1996 album “Trial by Fire.” Cain had hoped that their earlier reunion for 1986’s “Raised on Radio” would be the one to last, especially since Perry appeared revitalized during that tour. “He had a blast on the ‘Raised on Radio’ tour in ’87,” Cain recalled. “It was the first time he didn’t have Sherrie Swafford, his long-time girlfriend, telling him he was no good. She was quite a handful, but he was finally free.”

Before this period, Perry often traveled with Swafford, but her presence seemed to create tension. Perry abruptly ended the “Raised on Radio” tour and never performed live to support “Trial by Fire,” citing health issues. He also declined to join Journey for their 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, by which time the band had moved on with other frontmen, including Arnel Pineda, who has since become their longest-serving lead singer.

Sherrie Swafford, who inspired Perry’s 1984 solo hit “Oh Sherrie,” was known for her tumultuous relationship with the singer. The song, which reached No. 3 on the charts, hinted at their behind-the-scenes struggles. On one occasion, Swafford’s jealousy became public during the filming of Journey’s “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” video. “She was upset about a model in the video,” Cain remembered. “She asked Steve, ‘You’re going to have a slut in your video?'”

Despite the drama, the band proceeded with the video, featuring a student from a nearby university. Perry even considered writing a song to appease Swafford. “And so he did,” Cain laughed, recalling the creation of “Oh Sherrie.” Perry insisted on casting Swafford in the music video, against the advice of his producer. “We warned him,” producer Paul Flattery said. “We told him it would be awkward if they broke up, but he didn’t listen.”

The tension on set was palpable, as evidenced by Perry’s changing tone during the filming of “Oh Sherrie.” “By the sixth take, he went from saying ‘I kinda love you’ to ‘I kinda like you,'” Flattery recounted with a chuckle. After their breakup, Swafford retreated from the public eye, later becoming an esthetician and yoga instructor. In a rare statement in 2013, she reflected on her past, saying she valued her privacy and friendships, including her relationship with Perry.

Perry, too, has spoken fondly of their time together, despite the challenges. “Sherrie and I were deeply in love,” he told the Tampa Bay Times in 2011. “It was tough because the band was at its peak. Being the girlfriend of a rock star isn’t as glamorous as it seems. It’s hard to maintain a relationship in that environment.”

The dynamics between Perry and Swafford undoubtedly influenced his career and decisions. Cain’s revelations shed light on the personal struggles that contributed to Perry’s departure from Journey, offering fans a glimpse into the complexities behind the scenes of one of rock’s most iconic bands.

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