Ross Valory's roots run deep.
He was in Journey for 14 years, played with Steve Miller and now has rejoined Journey founder Greg Rolie in The Storm.
He's lived in the East Bay throughout that long run, and in fact grew up in Lafayette (Acalanes class of '67). He got his start with Frumious Bandersnatch, a band that formed at DVC and played all the hot spots that made the Bay Area in the late '60s a mu sical wonderland.
"It feels great to be back in the focus," says Valory. "We're going out on the Bryan Adams tour."
That's a pretty good first gig for a band, but The Storm has a hit single "I've Got a Lot to Learn about Love" and a lineup of rock 'n' roll veterans like Valory. The group also sounds a lot like Journey, a band of immense popularity during its heyday in the '80s, and that sound fits in perfectly with Adams' musical style.
"Kevin Chalfant, The Storm's lead singer and Greg Rolie have gotten the idea to put passion and romance back into rock,'' says Valory of The Storm's songs. "A lot of the music today has gotten really hard and really tough."
The Storm's success shows that there's a market for that passion and romance -- and it also shows that Valory knows what it takes on bass.
"Less is more," he says, "especially for that kind of instrument. I have all kinds of technique -- but I don't use half of it."
Valory also has that sense of time that's imperative for any bass player.
"You can practice with a metronome and it becomes instinctive," he says of staying in rhythm. On the other hand, though, "you can't be rigid, some players have perfect time but they're like robots".
"For rock 'n' roll, the most critical thing is ballads," he says. "When it comes to the chorus, the time has to stay right there."
Valory has modified his playing to suit the big arenas he has spent his career in. "You're dealing with acoustics," he says.
"A lot of things can get lost. The kind of music in an arena is generally wide open -- if you fill it up, it gets mushy".
"The acoustics affect the way it's written and arranged," he said.
Valory's intimate knowledge of his instrument and its capabilities is part of the reason he's won two Bammies on his own (1978 and 1983) as well as participating in the horde of Journey awards in the '80s. He'd like nothing better than to top that off wit h a '90s Bammie for The Storm, which is nominated for outstanding song "I've Got a Lot to Learn about Love" and outstanding debut album. (Rolie has also been nominated for outstanding keyboardist.)
Of course, The Storm is just beginning to hit its stride, and if the Bryan Adams' tour goes as well as everyone expects it to, Valory may be nominated for and winning Bammies as often in the '90s as he was in the late '70s and '80s.
"It means a lot," says Valory of his various Bammies --especially since they honor a local boy who made good.
Transmitted: 93-04-19 10:58:34 EDT
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