Ex-Journey singer Steve Perry has filed a lawsuit against his former associate Phil Brown to prevent the release of music they recorded together in 1991. According to legal documents obtained by The Blast, Perry claims that the songs were mere demos they recorded on an 8-track tape recorder in Brown’s garage and were never meant for to be heard by the public.
“He did not perform them as he would if the recordings were intended for public release,” the complaint says. “[Brown is] threatening to release certain old vocal performances of Perry as part of Brown’s band’s release, even though Perry owns all intellectual property rights in said vocal performances, Brown abandoned any claim to those performances in 2002, and Perry has repeatedly demanded that Brown not release those works.”
“This pre-emptive measure was necessary in order to maintain and protect Steve Perry’s rights and intellectual property as an artist,” Perry’s rep tells Rolling Stone. “Steve is vigilant in protecting his rights.” Brown did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Perry was living an extremely private life when he recorded the demos with Brown in 1991, though he did briefly re-emerge on November 3rd of that year to perform three songs with Journey at a Bill Graham tribute concert in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. To date, it is the last time he has played with the group in public. He left the band in 1987, citing burnout after 10 years on the road. “It seemed like the only thing I could do to stop some of the badness in my heart and the lack of passion for singing,” he told Rolling Stone earlier this year. “I just had to stop. I was feeling like a forced version of myself, getting into some bad habits and not connecting to my heart. I was completely deep-fried.”
He returned to the public sphere in 1994 with the release of his solo album For the Love of Strange Medicine, which credits Brown as a production assistant and the bassist on the track “Tuesday Heartache.” He also worked on the string arrangement for “I Am.”
Despite Brown’s role in For The Love of Strange Medicine, Perry says that he has no right to release music they worked on three years earlier. “By intentionally using Perry’s image and misleadingly implying that Perry has authorized or approved Brown’s conduct, and that Perry is a member of Brown’s band just as Perry’s solo Traces album is in wide release and garnering significant publicity,” reads the complaint, “Brown is seeking to confuse and mislead Perry’s fans and the consuming public into believing that Brown is associated with Perry when he is not, to induce them to purchase Brown’s music rather than Perry’s.”
According to The Blast, Perry is seeking out an injunction against Brown from releasing the music along with unspecified damages.