The Storm’s Kevin Chalfant tips hat towards his frequent Journey collaborators
By Andy Argyrakis
From the pages of the official publicity biography
The name Kevin Chalfant has been synonymous with melodic rock royalty for the past two decades and counting. From his early beginnings with Billboard charting sensations 707 to the 80s powerhouse group The Vu, the versatile vocalist has weaved a remarkably artistic web that eventually paved the way for superstardom with The Storm (including members of Journey and Santana), which became the first act in history signed to Interscope Records, known for the smash singles “I’ve Got a Lot To Learn About Love” and “Show Me the Way.”
And from then until now, he’s written songs for Cher and Starship, collaborated with co-founding Styx singer/songwriter Dennis DeYoung (on his 2007 release One Hundred Years From Now), Night Ranger and Kim Carnes, toured with everyone from Bryan Adams to Peter Frampton, plus picked up a highly coveted BMI Songwriting Award and the 2007 “Award of Honor” at the Chicago Music Awards (alongside the likes of Kanye West, Fall Out Boy and the Lovehammers). Then of course there’s the upstart of Clique Records (his home for several solo releases), forming the international sensations Two Fires, singing on the road for the Alan Parsons Live Project, plus adding lead vocals to recent releases by Shadows Fade (a collaboration with Dokken’s Alex De Rosso) and classic rock mainstays Shooting Star.
Add in his ongoing participation in World Stage (the concert and recording artist collective spearheaded by Grammy Award winning Survivor/Ides of March figurehead Jim Peterik that also features members of .38 Special, Night Ranger, R.E.O. Speedwagon, Lynyrd Skynard, Triumph and Winger), plus endless headlining tours under the banner Kevin Chalfant & the Storm, and this enduring entertainer’s star continues to burn bright. Yet even amidst all those celebrated projects, the famed collaborations and the all-star concerts, Chalfant’s fan base has continuously requested one particular project time and time again.
“Everywhere I go, people will tell me how much they enjoy The Storm’s music, but through that band’s legacy, they always want me to tackle Journey tunes just like we used to do on the road,” he says, citing The Storm’s line-up of Journey’s co-founding singer/keyboardist Gregg Rolie (also a Santana founder), co-founding bassist Ross Valory, veteran drummer Steve Smith, plus former Le Mans member Josh Ramos. “And during those initial tours behind the first two Storm CDs, we mixed up our hits with Journey and Santana tunes for literally hundreds of thousands of people. As the years have gone on, I’ve been incorporating them into my own tours, so between that and the fans’ never ending enthusiasm, the time to cut a record as a tribute to them finally made sense.”
And yes fans of The Storm and Journey, you did indeed read that correctly. Chalfant’s brand new Fly 2 Freedom (Clique) revisits the Journey catalogue with a fresh coat of paint, addressing a mixture of the classics he sang right alongside the band’s rhythm section for so many years to the most moving radio selections and a handful of rarities just to keep faithful on their toes.
“Since the fans were the ones who wanted this, they’ve been the ones I’ve been asking in terms of what they wanted to hear,” explains Chalfant. “The track list comes from a cross section of ages and we hit on so many different angles. I go back to the 70s for the songs that Gregg wrote and sang on that we resurrected in The Storm. I also recall the 80s when Journey had even more radio success, which was also a time I was running around playing clubs with Ross in The Vu. And I dust off some deeper cuts that will really resonate with die-hards who’ve followed the band from the beginning.”
Anyone who’s seen Chalfant on the road as of late will recognize the familiar faces of his touring band, while those who look even closer at the album’s credits will also notice behind the board work of mixers Beau Hill (The Storm, Winger) and George Tutko (Journey, Rod Stewart, John Mellencamp), along with acclaimed musician/engineer Alby Odum. And for those inquisitive minds who want to know, this project comes under the full blessing of Journey’s longtime manager Herbie Herbert and has been followed up with a slew of positive feedback from the current Journey line-up.
“We share so much of the same fan base and this project is my chance to dedicate this to everyone who encouraged me to do this, especially Herbie, while paying tribute to all of the members of Journey, many of whom I’ve had the honor to collaborate with. That family of musicians has truly become the cross generational soundtrack to our lives.”
Fly 2 Freedom is indeed the latest of an incredibly diverse body of work that shows Chalfant continuously charting his own course of exciting twists, turns and triumphs. And faithful can rest easy in the fact that he’ll not only be taking this material to the stage, but also incorporating a career spanning set list steeped `heavily in The Storm’s catalogue. While the future may be wide open from there, Chalfant’s wings are ready to fly higher than they ever have before with musical freedom as his sole focus.
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