Since his departure from Journey in 1998, former vocalist Steve Perry has been absent both from the concert stage and the recording studio. But in a new interview, Perry reveals that he’s got quite a bit of material done, and is working to complete construction on a home studio with the aim to develop and finally record some new songs. He’s also made peace with the fact that his former group continues to perform without him.

A new album from Perry would be his first solo release in nearly 20 years – his last album, ‘For The Love Of Strange Medicine,’ was released in 1994. He reunited briefly with his old bandmates for a new Journey album, ‘Trial By Fire,’ in 1996 but parted ways with them again a short time later due to a hip injury that kept him from being able to tour.

Since then, he’s been mainly engaged in overseeing archival releases from the band, including the upcoming vinyl editions of ‘Greatest Hits’ and the new ‘Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (both will be released on Tuesday, Nov. 1). He gave an extremely rare interview to about the new vinyl releases and also dug deep into the band’s history.

He says that it was “emotionally hard” watching Journey carry on with a new lead singer on stage singing the legendary songs that he had been a part of creating, but he’s come to terms with it and now, “it’s really okay.”

“I did not want to see that happen. But, it was going to happen anyway. So, it looked like that’s where it was going. Life had showed up and there was a fork in the road between us. So, we went separate ways dare I say, not making a joke. And that’s okay. Now, I look back at it as the most painful time of my life. But you know what? They need to love their lives. They love performing out there all the time. The fans love the songs we wrote.”

New material from the legendary singer has been rumored in recent years, and Perry says that the pieces are finally falling into place for him to be able to record the material he’s been working on, but there’s still one barrier that might keep fans from hearing new songs.

“I’ve converted an area of my house into a studio big enough to track some drums if I need to, so that should be done I would say in the next month or so. So my plan is to get in there and start recording some of these with musicians and start trying to get some tracks actually built on some of these songs. But that being the case, the only thing that would stop you from hearing it would be me because I’m my own worst enemy. I have always been. I’ll play things for friends and they just think they’re really great. And they’ll tell me the truth if they’re not.”

(Editor’s note on the photo: We thought Perry was a San Francisco Giants fan??? But here he is celebrating with the White Sox? Is he just a baseball whore? Seriously, though, as cool as last night’s game six was, seeing Perry sing along to his own song at last year’s World Series was just a bit more awesome in rock terms.)

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