March 28, 2009
There are three distinct eras in Journey’s career: first, the stadium filling, Steve Perry heyday; second, the 90s, in which the band was largely considered a bad, distant memory that would hopefully fade over time; third, their current redemption trek, in which the band is regarded as ragged heroes by fans old enough to remember their stadium shows, and as a strange kind of hit machine by young fans. Journey, and their biggest song, “Don’t Stop Believing,” have been deemed cool again: cool enough to be selected as the last music ever played on The Sopranos; cool enough that their 2008 album Revelation went platinum (seriously, can The Strokes even claim that their entire catalog has sold a million copies?); cool enough to have had an Atari 2600 game (Journey Escape) designed around their likenesses; cool enough to be played on endless repeat in seemingly every bar I’ve set foot in over the past five or so years. It’s like that weird alternate universe in Superman comics in which Superman is a dim-witted bad guy, spinach is poison, and Journey are cool and hip.
More on Journey | “Don’t Stop Believing”
January 26, 2009
IN THE TUBE
No, this section is not Hate to Admit it But…, but let’s talk about Journey, and their universally, not-so-guiltily enjoyed power ballad “Don’t Stop Believing.” It’s not quite “Billy Jean” or “Stairway to Heaven,” but it’s getting close. There’s not a sports bars or Karaoke parlor in the world that doesn’t have this song in its arsenal.
Now let’s talk about YouTube, Neal Schon, Arnel Pineda and the power of the World Wide Web. Since the band’s original vocalist, Steve Perry, Journey has cycled through a good number of frontmen trying to find the groove. Giving up on trying to reinvent the wheel (a wise move for a novelty act), the lead singer role was filled by a man who sounds identical to Steve Perry: Arnel Pineda.
Journey lead guitarist and founding member Neal Schon had come across videos of Pineda performing classic rock songs with his band (there’s even a YouTube video about these YouTube videos), including “Don’t Stop Believing.” If he had stopped believing he’d find another Steve Perry, he changed his mind when he heard Pineda.
It’s clear that Pineda has some serious pipes, and that Perry was a major influence on his singing style and technique, but as good a vocalist and eerie a replica as he is, the original man has him beat…
by Dan D’Ippolito