Saturday, September 10, 2011

And Another Thing...

For some odd reason, the wind had chosen to direct itself to blow directly over our home in Bensonhurst Brooklyn. Bensonhurst, notorious for its Mobsters, Saturday Night Fever and the greatest Pizza on the planet. Not The Bronx, Not Queens, Not Staten Island. Not to the left or to the right. Directly above my head as I searched the heavens for a answer. The cars parked on the narrow one way street which we lived at the time were covered in ash. On occasion you would come across an entire 8x11 piece of paper from the offices that had blown clear across the east river as if to send a message or a reminder

After reuniting with my wife Lydia and son Adam, Aunt Rosie and cousin Andy and after exchanging a whirlwind of emotions and information between each other it was off to the Hospital. Mom had fallen and broken hear arm. Maimonides Hospital was between our humble apartment and ground zero. As I entered her room to to console her with hugs and kisses only an Italian son could provide, I turned to the window that faced precisely towards what remained of the World Trade Center. No need for the daily TV rental since that's all that seemed to on all of the networks 24/7 if not for months. Just throw open the curtains and...

Miracle... my cousin Jeanine and the company with whom she worked were on the very next floor from where one of the planes collided, moved across the Hudson River to Jersey City just a week prior. Are there such things as Guardian Angels? There must be. Ask Jeanine:) She'll tell ya!

Hero... one of my dear and close friends "John the Bus Driver", emerged from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel just as the first tower collapsed. After presuming it either nuclear holocaust or Armageddon, rather than abandon the bus as he was instructed, he proceeded to pick up stranded and helpless men and women wandering the streets aimlessly. They awarded him a citation. I would have given him the key to the city. Heck, how 'bout the keys to the Mayors Ferrari. My man!

Hero... my good buddy Allen, he and his fellow co-workers who are responsible for one of the greatest underground subway systems in the world, immediately left their mid-town location to aid in the rescue and recovery of their fellow workers and New Yorkers. A daunting task that lasted not hours, not days, not weeks nor months but for some years if not eternity. It's not a topic Allen is fond of verbalizing about. I hear that bro.

It is the last two gentleman, that to this day, as do many first responders, encounter upper respiratory difficulty to put it lightly. This is an ongoing tragedy that insurance companies and government budgets seem to have a short term memory about. Don't leave these good, descent people and their families hanging out to dry. Don't let them be the last victims of this horrendous act.

Let's look after those who selflessly come to another human beings aid. That's the least we can do. Ten years have past. Much has changed and as the old saying goes, much has not.

Just one more memory I'd like to share with you before I try to put this dark day to rest. Not shortly afterwards, you couldn't travel a day without passing or encountering in one form
or another one of our fallen heros funerals. We were all mourning them as if they were our own. And they were. Our neighbors, our neighbors children. Their grandsons and daughters. FDNY, NYPD, Port Authority, MTA, United and American Airlines Flight Crews. On and on and on. You would sit in traffic behind a Fire truck decked out in Purple and Black signifying a loss of one of their Engine and or Hook and Ladder Company. You would sit in you car and just weep like a baby. And this went on for months.

But in this case, rather than just one, it may have possibly been the majority of their Company. As it was pertaining to the Fire Houses closest to Downtown Manhattan and not excluding Downtown Brooklyn. These were heros, yes I do not use this term lightly, that due to congestion on the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, ran rather than rode across the bridge to meet their fate. That due to congestion in the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel ran through the tunnel not rode, RAN though the tunnel into danger and not away from it.

Bless them. Bless their families and may we all be at peace and never encounter another day like that ever again.

Thanks for putting up with my ranting, raving and venting. I think I'm about done. If I should decide to post again on this topic, I promise to lighten up:) After all. shouldn't I be writing about Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll?

To be continued, maybe...

Steve Augeri

"Beyond the Clouds" From the Journey Album "Generations"
(Inspired by the events of 9/11)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Life As I Knew It Would Never Be The Same

The phone rang and it was well before noon. That was the golden rule for me while touring, when it came to my family calling me in the morning.Please wait until midday. I answered it with a "mild" attitude as I heard my wife Lydias voice onthe other end of the receiver. She, in a panic, instructed me to turn on the TV and put on CNN. My attitude quickly changed from "Honey, you KNOW never to call me before... to, OMG.

As I recall it was a hotel room like any other, Lansing Michigan I think. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. Stale cigarette smoke, picture frames with lousy art screwed into the wall, cheap shampoos and hand soap. An old plate of food aging on the desk. The TV inset into the armoire. But all that disappeared, that moment it was as if I entered the twilight zone.

That was MY city. My family who lived within mere miles of the devastation. They were MY friends who lived within mere blocks of this horror. This was the very ground I used to walk to work and the very building I would marvel at any and every chance I could get. You couldn't help it. They were that "grand" to use an Irish expression.

Later that night we ( Journey and Night Ranger) convinced ourselves it was the right thing to do to. To "Go On With The Show". To try to restore some normalcy to our lives that were now the furthest from that.We felt this because of our audience and audiences through out the tour. To play for the fans, the people. Our People. They deserved it. It ws our final show of the tour, or was it? This is a little fuzzy. But... deep down it was killing me. I was miles away from the ones I loved and they were , in the midst of it all. The center of the worlds attention. NYC, the ultimate target and I was miles away with my hands tied.

No flights obviously, buses trains... forgeddaboutit.

The following morning before the tour buses and band and I said our goodbyes before they made their long eerie trek cross country. I was able, by some small miracle, to secure a car and driver to get me home to Brooklyn. He was a sweet, kind African American gentleman who stood all of 4'10''. Probably late 60's, an ex-convict who owned and drove his own 1975 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. Sweet as can be. I'll call him Mr. Clarence for the time being.

Cut to the chase, several hours and $600 later, we're entering Staten Island New York via one of it's many bridges, this one being the Goethals, and all I can see is a plume of smoke coming from the direction of downtown Manhattan. Now it's starting to set in. The light small talk that Mr. Clarence and I were exchanging has now come to a screeching halt. As I type this it's all sadly flooding back to me. Ugh!

Although I knew my immediate family was fine, it was the fear of the unknown. The fear of getting the bad news of an extended family member of friend distant or close. The casual acquaintances were no longer casual. We were all New Yorkers. We were all Americans.

Closer still, crossing the Verrazano Narrows Bridge that connects Staten Island to Brooklyn and now you I have a unobstructed view of ground zero. The towers had disappeared replaced by clouds of dust, smoke and a world of sorrow.It was not the nightmare I prayed it had been. This is all too real. Thank God it won't be long now. Fifteen, twenty minutes tops before I wrap my arms around my wife and son.

This of course was the longest fifteen minutes I can ever recall. The last moments between the bridge and our little two bedroom apartment in Bensonhurst found me witnessing the transformation of a nation. Down every avenue and every street. In front of every home, on each and every "Stoop", storefront and balcony there flew the proud yet recently bruised colors of my country. Not a one was without the flag waving proudly and uniting us in the September breeze. I knew then, from that day forward, life as I knew it would never be the same.

To be continued...

Steve Augeri

P.S. We all have memories of where we were that morning. Please feel free to share them with me. You may feel a little less weight on your heart and shoulders if only for a moment.

BEYOND THE CLOUDS (Inspired by the events of 9/11 and those we've loved and lost)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A 911 memory

Hi everybody,

It's been a while. Lots to say, let's start playing catch up!:)

The year prior to joining Journey, I was working as a "Maintenance Manager" for The GAP here in Manhattan. As some of you may know, one of their many stores was below The World Trade Center, between both towers 1 and 2. I would do monthly visits and during my lunch breaks, would marvel at it's magnificence, it's shear size and beauty.

More than that, it was a city within a city. It was always a treat to rise from the subway station with my tools in one hand, coffee in the other and my neck craned up to witness this awesome site.

This was one of MY connections to the horrible tragedy that would soon occur three years later.

More to come..

I hope you've all been well!

Steve Augeri

P.S. Here's a little tribute to and for that monumental day the earth stood still.

POTOMAC RECORDS ( is proud to honor the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 by bringing you Reign of Kings' SPIRIT OF AMERICA, featuring Lead Vocals by Steve Augeri (Journey). The single will be Available on iTunes Tuesday 8/30, as well as all other digital media outlets (iTunes,, Naptster, eMusic...). Commissioned by the Saltwater Soldiers organization, proceeds go to wounded veterans.

Songwriter, Shawn Key (Reign of Kings): "9-11 will forever be remembered as the day that changed America. Tragic loss of life; Loss of innocence. But 9-11 will also be remembered for the courage that first responders showed. America came to together perhaps never like before. Ten years later, Reign of Kings is proud to honor the fallen and their families with Spirit of America. Sung by Steve Augeri (Journey) and chosen by Saltwater Soldiers ( as its television theme song, Reign of Kings hopes to touch the hearts of all who listen and remind them that the Spirit of America lives on...forever."