This was another example of a no-win situation, where certain personalities made it impossible to please everybody. It's really not very different from what Reuben encountered in THIS THREAD
, only the income brackets and chops levels were different.
That VH1 show on Journey is very illuminating - you watch as Steve Perry completely takes over the band, and then later has the gall to say he "never really felt like a real member of the band." Unfortunately, THAT is the kind of utterly insane crap you can expect to encounter in bands, from the bars to the arena circuit - it never changes.
Meanwhile, Steve Smith played AMAZINGLY for the songs, and helped redefine the drum sounds of that era. His drum parts were innovative, solid, and tasteful. He became THE guy to call for power ballads - Bryan Adams was the first to use him on a session for one of his early hits (Heaven
, I think), because Steve was the king of that style of drumming. And yet that wasn't good enough for Journey. Go figure.
You should also try to track down the Mike Baird interview in MD - he's the first guy Journey hired to replace Steve. Their audition process was absolutely maddening, and he goes into gory detail about what idiots they were being.
Sometimes some great music comes out of some major personality clashes - that's why you hear of bandmembers traveling on separate buses. Look at Sting and Copeland, The Who, etc. Pretty weird. Watch some of those "making of XXX album" videos, like the one where Aerosmith's Steven Tyler is driving poor Joey Kramer (one of my fave rock drummers) absolutely nuts - it's amazing that such great music comes from people who get along so poorly.
I still love Journey's music, but based on everything I've heard about them, they're the last people I'd invite to my house for dinner.
And whenever I start to get into woe-is-me mode, thinking I'm the only guy getting treated unfairly by the music biz, I look at what happened to Steve, whom I consider probably one of the five or so greatest drummers on the planet. If HE can get fired, I know nobody is immune to the music business's propensity for screwing artists without even kissing them first.