Don't Stop Believin' Verse/chorus

streeterstreeter Pro Posts: 679
Struggling between wanting Ken's/Lou Gramm's weight but Steve Perry's Pure weightlessness.

Anyway, this is the tune I'm Working on. Sorry for extraneous chair noise between phrases. I kind of get pushed into doing it live and getting away with it... but I thought I would really sit down and Analyse the tune as there is a lot to learn from it. Probably one of the Tougher pieces in male rock repertoire, It's in Eb because that's the key we perform it in.

Have to Split the difference between Bon Jovi (Standard), Motley Crew (Drop D standard) and Guns and Roses, Poison (both Eb).


  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,353
    edited February 2016
    This is sounding pretty good, partner. I have a few things that you probably know about and are already working on...

    Are you planning to take this on up to E, rather than Eb?

    This is easier said than done, but there are several of the money notes that you are sliding up to. That means that they start out a little flat and go up to where they belong. Because they are the money notes, most critical listeners will go "nope"... didn't make it. They won't care that you made it if it's not there at the onset of the note. Like I said, easy for me to say, I'm not the one being critiqued. So when you hit a Bb4, those are the notes Ken says to come up from behind and up above and "drop down" on the notes. This is going to take so much support, it isn't even funny.

    I listened to Steve Perry singing this to see what he's doing. I was stunned when I realized that he was singing "Y" instead of "J"

    "Yust a small town girl" Almost a "schyust" but there's no clear "J" there.

    He's pretty artful at minimizing the consonants, and he is stringing together a lot of open throat, as well. I'm still hearing a lot more consonants in your demo than what is in the original. Backing those off will help you to maintain more of the Open Throat.

    Here's a snippet I caught from Steve:

    Yuhstuh Smahl tahn gehl

    lehvehn ehn eh L-eh/Ohn-Le/eh Weh-ehld (eh/Oh is a fast snap that you mostly only hear the OH, but it onsets with an eh)

    On your version, B-AHL-eh-VAHd is (forgive me) too "AH"

    I think the first AH of boulevard should probably be the oo mod of an AH so it won't sound like "BAH" so much. It's high enough, and you know your mods well enough that it should still be AH but the oo (hook) mod of AH to become more like B(oo) Leh-Vahd. That money note is high enough for it to need the mod, and I hate to say this, but your AH is too AH. Most of the time I tell people that their AH isn't "AH" enough, so it's killing me to say that you're too AH, but here goes... You're too AH for that note, and it needs to close down a little, but stay bright (if that's not an tough one to spit out, I don't know what IS). As you well know, "oo" is one of the hardest mods to do, and you have to be very careful with it. Ken often advises avoiding it when in doubt, but that is the exact vowel that Perry seems to be singing there; it's high enough to justify it, and a real-life AH modified to oo (hook) just happens to fit like a glove. Not Ooh as in who or even ou as in boulevard, but oo as in hook, as in the second vowel modification of the AH vowel.

    It's sounding good, bro. You're knocking on the door of a killer song, and you're going to nail it if you keep working out the kinks. If you want to nail it in E, then you'll probably have to work out on it in F and then F# so that E becomes the lazy man's key. Like that's going to be a walk in the park.
    : ^)

    You've got the guts to do this, and to do it right in front of everybody. You're one of my heroes, dude! I salute you! YOU ROCK!

    Don't get mad at me for picking at your owies. You're doing well at this, and it's a work in progress!

    To those about to enter the arena! We salute you!

    Are we not entertained?
    : ^)

  • streeterstreeter Pro Posts: 679
    I'll definitely work it out in E, F, F#, just no opportunity to perform it live in the original key.

    I agree the slide is a crutch and I got it off it off Michael Starr's (Steel Panther) live version. It just gives me the confidence to hit it nightly.

    Thanks for all your comments @highmtn. I'll take it all on board and apply them. All about the 'Journey'.... Hahha ohh dear...
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,353
  • huberthubert Pro Posts: 125
    edited February 2016
    I hear the tension in the throat, a sort of a little "squeezed" sound. Try to hit the notes a little lighter and lift the sound more in the mask. It will allow you to sing these tough highest notes easier if you have the strength in the support to do that :wink: And don't force as much "throat/mouth" resonance in the sound up that high because it will tire you very quickly (and the sound will be more squeezed than free/open). Put the sound much more in the mask than you'd normally do - see if it helps!
  • streeterstreeter Pro Posts: 679
    edited February 2016
    Will do @hubert, thanks man.
    This is what it's all about. Helping each other and listening through other people ears.
    As I noted, this is not a finished product (is anything a finished product?) just a snapshot of how I sing it live 20 months into the vocal wilderness.

    Over the month I'm going to slow this one right down, make sure the vowel mods are correct, consonents are minimised and concentrate on support, where to breath and the subsequent relaxation response. Hopefully this will really help out with other nasty tunes in this particular vocal spot...

    Is it possible to create a Paul Rodgers/Lou Gramm/Steve Perry Hybrid... Haha.

    Out of interest, what happened to Steve Perry's voice? I have read a few articles regarding the matter and here's my theory.

    'Back in Black' by Ac/Dc came out and all of a sudden everyone's album had that Edge to the sound. Lou Gramm went higher and added grit for Foriegner's '4' Journey's Escape album didn't go higher but Steve did put way more edge onto his sound. Then it just built and built '5150', 'Slippery when Wet' '1987' got higher and grittier. While these dudes had some of what Ken talks about IE Steve Perry's awesome approach to open throat, I think support and glottal compression got left behind and it was desperately needed when he got heavier into the sound.
  • markbmarkb Pro Posts: 76
    Has Ken ever covered or demonstrated this song Don't Stop Believin'?
  • KaiEllisKaiEllis Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 215
    I don't think he's done Don't Stop Believing, but he has done Separate Ways

  • KaiEllisKaiEllis Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 215
    @blondiewales Agree, he still sounded pretty dang good on the solo albums and Trial by Fire. He was definitely starting to show some wear and tear by then, tho.

    For example, the Grammy nominated single for the album, "When You Love a Woman", peaks at a G4#, and you can hear him just about topping out on the note at the final chorus.

    Have you heard audio from his recent performances? Nowhere near the range he had on display way back when. And yet. And YET. His tone is still incomparable. The guy could sing the phone book.

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