So how did Steve Perry wind up making his first onstage appearance in two decades with Eels?
Mark Oliver Everett, the group's founder and leader, tells us that a longtime friendship with Perry is part of "the secret inner life of the Eels;" they met several years ago through mutual friends, and Perry is a regular part of the group's Sunday night croquet matches and has also taken to hanging around while Eels are rehearsing for their tours.
Everett says the band members often tried to "bait" the singer by playing Journey songs, but as Eels began rehearsing for the group's latest tour, Everett says Perry "walked in carrying his own microphone. I thought, 'Something's up here. Something's changing.' He said, 'Maybe I'll fly out somewhere and we'll do this.' We all said, 'Yeah, yeah, we'll all believe it when we see it.' "We agreed we weren't gonna get our hopes up."
Everett isn't sure why Perry chose St. Paul -- where he sang Journey's "Open Arms" and "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin' " as well as Eels' own "I'm a Motherf***er" -- and the band leader says even then he didn't allow himself to believe it was going to happen "until (Perry) walked on stage and started singing...And it was such a beautiful moment to see my friend out there, in his element, doing what he's made to be doing. He had a great time, and you have to respect that he did it for all the right reasons. He could've mounted a huge, zillion-dollar comeback tour, which maybe he'll do at some point and have every right to do. But he came because he wanted to have fun and he wanted to sing those songs again, 'cause He's so good at it."
Will it happen again?
"I don't try to press Steve on anything," Everett says. "Our relationship is Steve does what Steve does. I would love to do more and I hope he will, but that's all up to him. This may be enough for him, and if this is the only time it ever happens, I'm just glad it happened. And in the meantime, I'm going to not stop believing."