Video of the Week: JOURNEY Replacement Singers – Who Did It Better?

Whatever Happened To… Steve Perry’s Journey After Journey

(via Culture Sonar) by Will Wills

Did you know that Journey had a singer before Steve Perry?  The band had been around since 1973, with plans to be a backing group for solo acts. Then they switched to being a jazz fusion band with Gregg Rolie on vocals.  That particular incarnation of Journey released a few albums through 1977 that only charted as high as #85 on the Billboard Top 200.

In 1977, the band hired Robert Fleischman to take over lead vocals and transitioned to a musical style more rock than jazz. They opened for acts such as Judas Priest, and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. And while they found slightly more success, it wasn’t until Steve Perry was snuck onto the stage during a soundcheck that it was immediately decided that he would be their new lead singer…

Read more: Steve Perry’s Journey…After “Journey” – CultureSonar

Pineda: Perry’s Righteous Place is with Journey

Premiere Of DreamWorks Pictures' "Need For Speed" - Arrivals

(via Classic Rock magazine)

Journey singer Arnel Pineda says he would love to see original vocalist Steve Perry return to the band.

Pineda made the comments after Perry’s surprise return to the stage, appearing with alt rock band Eels at a show in Saint Paul, Minnesota at the weekend.

Journey has been fronted by Pineda since 2007, but he admits he wouldn’t stand in the way of any possible Perry return. Perry left the band in 1997 after injuring his hip…

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Ex-Journey Singer Steve Perry Sings Publicly for First Time in Decades

(via Rolling Stone)

Reclusive former Journey frontman Steve Perry returned to the stage for the first time in 19 years, joining alt-rockers Eels for a handful of songs during their second encore at a St. Paul, Minnesota gig Sunday night. As Eels frontman Mark Everett said by way of introduction, Perry walked away from the rock star life “because it didn’t feel right,” adding, “And for some reason only known to him, he feels like tonight in St. Paul, Minnesota, it feels right.”

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New Rock Doc Tells Amazing Fairy Tale Story Of Journey’s Frontman

(Reprinted from Yahoo Music)

by Wendy Geller

“How do you take someone from a Third World country and throw them into the circus?” That’s the question posed by Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey, the charming new documentary detailing Arnel Pineda’s too-amazing-to-be-real musical fairy tale — the tale of a virtually unknown singer stepping into the role of frontman for one of rock’s most legendary bands, Journey.

Sound a bit insane? Well, as the song goes, don’t stop believin’. Pineda’s story is 100 percent true. The vocalist, who grew up in a struggling Filipino household and spent several years on the streets of Manila, managed to gain local acclaim after joining a neighborhood band, but never gained much attention outside the Philippines.

That all changed in 2007, when Pineda — who had a series of videos on YouTube covering favorite American rock songs, including Journey’s classic “Faithfully” — received an eye-opening email.

“Interested in singing for the real band Journey?” it read, and it was signed “Neal Schon” — Journey’s founding member and guitarist.

“I thought it was a scam,” admitted Pineda, who was 40 at the time. “Where I come from, it would be crazy to just believe an email like that … but my friend, the one who uploaded my live video performances on YouTube, he was pretty persistent. He was [certain] that the email was for real.”

So, although skeptical, Pineda replied to the email with his contact information. “That was it,” he noted. “He called up, and to my surprise, it was Neal.”

It was, indeed. Schon had been enduring a frustrating period since 1998 attempting to find a lead singer to replace original frontman Steve Perry. By 2007, he’d lost two replacements and found himself resorting to YouTube for ideas on where to find the next.


When he heard Pineda’s voice, he was stunned. “I thought, this is too good to be true,” he told USA Today.

Pineda had his doubts about joining the group. Aside from insecurity about walking unknown into an iconic rock band, he had concerns about how fans might compare him to Perry. “I’m so short and so Asian!” he laughed.

However, he found boundless encouragement from his new bandmates. “They taught me how to be brave. How to be confident,” he explained.

Pineda remembers his first big show with Journey — a Chilean date in front of nearly 20,000 fans, which nearly caused him to pass out from stage fright. “After peeking out from behind the curtain, I went back to the band and said, ‘Can I just go home? I don’t think I can do this!'” he says.

“But Neal said, ‘Too late, brother.'”

From there, it’s been nothing but an upward trajectory for the singer — who’s received boundless support from fellow Filipinos and the Asian community at large. When he was contacted with the idea for a documentary about his amazing tale, he took a minute to consider how he would translate on the big screen — “me and my ugly face, and my short stature.”

But then he realized it was a unique opportunity to spread a positive message. “I represent the kids in the Philippines,” he explained. “Kids around the world, especially in Third World countries, we have dreams. I’m living my dreams.”

“We’re selling hope. Dreams, they do come true. Miracles can overcome misery and hardship.”

We say: Hold on to that feelin’.

Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey is now playing in limited release.

A History Of Short-Lived Band Reunions


(Reprinted from Rolling Stone)

Not all band reunions last – Here’s a look at some that seemed to be over before  they began

By Andy Greene

Earlier this month, Neil Young confirmed widespread suspicion that last year’s Buffalo Springfield reunion was over after a mere seven-show tour. “I have to be able to  move forward,” he said.  “I can’t be relegated. I did enough of it for right then.” But they aren’t the first band to reform with great fanfare, only to collapse again pretty quickly. Here’s a look at some others.

Led Zeppelin

Break-Up: 1980. The group dissolved immediately after the death of drummer Jon Bonham.

Reunion: The surviving members reformed for the rare special  occasion in the 1980s and 1990s, but in December of 2007 they did their first  full concert since the break-up at London’s 02 Arena.

Duration: One night. Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones were  extremely interested in a reunion, but Robert Plant had absolutely no interest.  In 2008 the group rehearsed with Steven Tyler and Myler Kennedy and even began  putting venues on hold for a tour, but ultimately came to their  senses.

Journey with Steve Perry

Break-Up: The group dissolved after their tour in support of  1986’s Raised On Radio. Frontman Steve Perry was exhausted and wanted  to take a long break.

Reunion: They played a couple of songs in 1991 at a Bill  Graham memorial show, but Perry shocked the band in 1996 when he agreed to  reform the group. They recorded the new album Trial By Fire and a  reunion tour was in the works. Their single “When You Love A Woman” even became  a big hit.

Duration: One album. Perry injured his hip while hiking  in Hawaii and required hip replacement surgery. He refused to set a date for the  procedure, delaying any shows. This caused tremendous tension within the band,  and in 1998 they hit the road with a replacement singer. Perry hasn’t sung a  note in public with Journey in over twenty years.

The Fugees

Break-Up: The Fugees spent five years struggling to  break big, only to implode almost immediately after becoming superstars. Looking  back, it was pretty inevitable. Wyclef Jean was dating Lauryn Hill, but he was  also seriously involved with another woman while they were together. At the same  time, Hill felt that she wasn’t getting enough credit for her contributions to  the band. Pras felt the same way. They split in 1997, about a year after The  Score hit shelves.

Reunion: Much to the surprise of pretty much everybody,  the group reformed in September 2004 to play Dave Chapelle’s Block Party in  Brooklyn. The following year they launched a European tour, and even released  the new single “Take It Easy.”

Duration: A little over a year, with large gaps of  inactivity within that. Everyone hated the new single, and Lauryn caused  tremendous tension by pulling an Axl on the tour and repeatedly coming out late.  To the surprise of nobody, they pulled the plug in early 2006.


Van Halen (With Sammy Hagar)

Break-Up: Believe it or not, tension surrounding the  soundtrack to Twister caused Sammy Hagar to leave Van Halen in 1995.  The group had just finished a long world tour, and a worn out Hagar was  unwilling to fly right back to the studio and continue work on a song for the  disaster movie. When all was said and done, Hagar left the band.

Reunion: An ill-fated LP and tour with Gary Cherone  convinced the Van Halen brothers that they needed their old singer back. Both  sides had talked a lot of shit over the years, but they put that aside to record  some new songs for a compilation and launch a tour in 2004.

Duration: A little under a year. The tour coincided  with the peak of Eddie Van Halen’s alcoholism. Hagar and Eddie had  horrific clashes on tour (detailed in Sammy Hagar’s amazing autobiography) and  neither party has spoken with each otter since the final show in November of  2004. That’s also the last time Eddie spoke with original bassist Michael  Anthony.

Electric Light Orchestra

Break-Up: In the summer of 1986, the group (now reduced to a  trio) toured in support of their new disc Balance of Power, and then  called it a day. Members of the group carried on in ELO Part II, but the group’s  leader Jeff Lynne was done. (Even later, The Orchestra rose from the ashes of  ELO Part II, but they were an offshoot of an offshoot and barely worth  mentioning.)

Reunion: Lynne always saw himself as the Trent Reznor of  ELO, and when he reformed the group in 2000 for the new album Zoom he  didn’t invite any of the original guys back – though keyboardist Richard Tandy  did wind up playing on one song. For some reason, Lynne was under the impression  the group could still fill arenas and a massive tour was announced.

Duration: One album and one TV concert. This was like  one of those 1950s rockets that crashed a few moments after takeoff. The group  did a single show for PBS, but the tour sold horribly and the entire thing was  called off before it even started. Lynne’s done a pretty good job of staying out  of the spotlight ever since, though he remains a busy producer.

The Supremes

Break-Up: Diana Ross left The Supremes in 1970, but  they carried on with new singer Jean Terrell and continued to score hits  and tour for a few years. By 1977 things had slowed down considerably and they  called it quits.

Reunion: Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong briefly put  aside their differences with Diana Ross at the 1983 Motown 25th Anniversary  Concert. (Founding member Florence Ballard died in 1976.) They performed  “Someday We’ll Be Together.” Three years later, Wilson released her memoir and  it was sharply critical of Ross, driving the two even further apart. In 1999  Ross reached out to Wilson and Birdsong about a reunion tour for the following  year, exactly 30 years after they had last played a full show together.

Duration: This one went really, really poorly.  According to multiple reports, Ross was offered around $15 million, Wilson was  offered $2 million and Birdsong $1 million. They asked for more, but were  ultimately replaced by two latter-day Supremes who had no history with Ross.  This resulted in a flood of negative press, and ticket buyers seemed to have  little interest in this “reunion.” The tour forged ahead, but was canceled after  less than a month.


Break-Up: Cream crammed a lot of music into their two-year  career. According to legend, Eric Clapton decided to break up in the band in  1968 when he first heard the Band’s debut LP Music From Big Pink, and  when he read a scathing review of the group’s music in Rolling Stone by  Jon Landau. In November of 1968 they played a farewell show at Madison Square  Garden.

Reunion: The group played in 1993 at their induction into  the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but that didn’t lead to any other activity until  2005. At the time Jack Bruce was recovering from liver cancer, and Ginger Baker  was struggling with arthritis.  To Clapton, it seemed like it was  now or never. They played four shows at the Royal Albert Hall in May of 2005,  followed by three shows at Madison Square Garden that October.

Duration: Five months. The reunion fizzled out during  the three-night stand in New York. “In many ways, I wish we had left it at the  Royal Albert Hall,” Clapton wrote in his memoir. “But the offer was too good to  refuse … My heart had gone out of it, and also a certain amount of animosity  had crept back in.” They haven’t played together since.


Break-Up: In 1997 Genesis made the ill-fated decision to  carry on without Phil Collins. Former Stiltskin singer Ray Wilson was brought  into the band, and they released the new LP Calling All Stations. The  disc sold extremely poorly, as did their tour. Ticket sales were so bad in  America that the entire tour was called off. The tour ended in May of 1998 in  Germany, and the group quietly ended afterwards.

Reunion: In November of 2005 Phil Collins came to Glasgow on  his First Final Farewell tour. Backstage he met up with his former bandmates  Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford to discuss a  reunion tour. The plan was to perform their 1975 rock opera The Lamb Lies  Down On Broadway straight through. Gabriel only wanted to do a tiny number  of dates, and when he felt pressure to commit to a longer tour he bowed out of  the whole thing. With him out of the picture, the 1980s line-up of Collins,  Banks and Rutherford decided to tour instead. In 2007 they did 47 dates across  Europe and North America.

Duration: Four months. The tour ended at the Hollywood Bowl  in October of 2007. On the tour Collins dislocated some vertebrae  in his  neck. It caused nerve damage in his hands, making it nearly impossible for him  to play drums. Collins is now completely retired from music, and any sort of  Genesis reunion seems incredibly unlikely.

Please, Stop Believin’

Journey’s ridiculous anthem is back, as a singalong for both World Series teams. Why does this awful song endure?

(This article by Stephen Deusner was printed in Salon Friday, Oct. 26)

The Giants and the Tigers should play for something real this World Series. Instead of compete for a big trophy and bigger bragging rights, the two teams should play for Journey: The winner gets to keep “Don’t Stop Believin’” as a stadium singalong, and the loser has to find some other song for its playlist.

Of course, San Francisco would have much more to lose in that wager, since singer Steve Perry is an avowed Giants fan who performed during the Giants run to the 2010 World Series title and even appeared in the team’s victory parade. (Perry’s “Lights” is also an AT&T Park favorite.)

For Detroit, however, it’s just one of many rousing numbers in its stadium playlist, albeit one with a shout-out to the Tigers’ hometown: “Just a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit.” Of couse, there is actually no such place as South Detroit, unless you count Lake Erie or Windsor, Ontario. In that regard, Detroit’s adoption of “Don’t Stop Believin’” seems awfully self-deprecating, as though the team is desperate for any song that mentions the city. (Why not rock to the MC5, the Stooges or pretty much anything from that small, obscure local label called Motown?)

So let the World Series loser stop believin’. In which case, we’d all win if both teams lost? That Journey hit has become ubiquitous, an inescapable part of watching TV, attending sporting events, going to the grocery store, or just listening to the radio (although, really, who does that anymore?).

How did this possibly happen? Rock critic Lester Bangs once observed that we don’t agree on anything anymore the way that we did on Elvis. But he was wrong: There was once a time when we all believed Journey sucked. So how did they go from corporate-rock pariahs and prom theme embarrassments to everyone’s not-so-secret guilty pleasure? After all, our seventh-inning stadium singalongs tend to be reserved for icons. It’s where we sing Kate Smith and Neil Diamond.

The story starts, of course, in San Francisco, back when the Giants were still playing in Candlestick Park. Neal Schon was a teenage guitar prodigy who dropped out of high school to join Santana, playing on one album, “Santana III,” in 1971. He left the band soon after, but the experience would prove helpful, if only for introducing him to keyboard player Gregg Rolie. Together, they formed a new band with bassist Ross Valory and rhythm guitarist George Tickner; they chose their name through a contest on local radio station KSAN-FM. Like Santana, they were primarily an instrumental act, which meant long jams and middling sales. In late 1977, they hired a drummer named Steve Perry to front the band.

That decision proved more than advantageous, as Journey quickly grew into a pop behemoth, notching multi-platinum and more or less owning radio with hits like “Anyway You Want It,” “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart),” “Open Arms” and “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’.” Such was their popularity that they even had their own video games, both in actual arcades and on the Atari 2600, where you had to guide the band backstage past shady agents and paparazzi to their limousine, while an eight-bit version of “Don’t Stop Believin’” played in the background.

Perhaps most important to Journey’s success was MTV, then a fledgling network hungry for videos of any quality by any band. Journey realized the possibilities of the medium before a lot of other bands, and some of their early clips have a certain DIY charm. For “Separate Ways,” the band flew to New Orleans, where they played invisible instruments on the docks: air guitar, air keyboards, air drums, even air microphone. It was a bit corny, but also pretty inventive, early music-video special effects at their cheapest and their finest. As the network grew, so did the band. Journey even participated in one of the network’s very first contests, “One Night Stand With Journey,” where a viewer was flown anywhere in the world to go backstage with the band.

“Don’t Stop Believin’” was only one in a series of hit singles, but it wasn’t even their most successful: The song peaked at No. 9 in 1981, but “Who’s Crying Now” and “Open Arms” both charted higher and longer. Despite their success, Journey were constantly derided by critics who viewed them as bland, dopey, opportunistic and worse. Reviewing their 1981 album “Escape” in Rolling Stone, Deborah Frost wrote, “Journey could be any bunch of fluff-brained sessioneers with a singer who sounds like a eunuch under assault  from thrashings of a West Coast-style identi-riffer (Schon, Craig Starship or Steve Toto).” In the Los Angeles Times, Robert Hilburn listed “Don’t Stop Believin’” as one in the year’s “Cavalcade of Cringe-Causing Hits”: “These guys do touch on rock’s inspirational turf, but the lyrics are so hapless and Steve Perry’s vocal is so overblown that the record is a mockery of rock as a meaningful form of artistic expression.”

By the mid 1980s, Journey had stalled, unseated by a wave of younger, synth-based bands like the Eurythmics and Duran Duran, who crowded MTV’s rotation with bigger-budget videos. Perry embarked on a short-lived solo career, and his ’84 debut “Street Talk” produced two big hits: “Oh Sherrie” and “Foolish Heart.” But Journey’s 1986 album “Raised on Radio” was a relative flop, and a new vanguard of hair metal acts, including Bon Jovi and Poison, shunted Journey to the sidelines in the latter half of the decade. The group disbanded and reunited several times over the next 25 years, but never again achieved their former level of success — at least not with any new material. They seemed safely forgotten, or at least relegated to the state fair circuit forever.

But something funny — or, depending on your taste for the song, something incredibly discouraging — happened in the late 2000s. “Don’t Stop Believin’” found new life and a new audience, experiencing a resurgence of popularity and a new status as something like a rock ‘n’ roll classic, thanks primarily to two popular television shows. “The Sopranos” used it to soundtrack its confounding series finale, where Tony Soprano and his family are sitting at a diner eating French fries just seconds before the final blackout. Series creator David Chase, who directed the finale, seemingly chose the song for its intense banality, putting it on par with fresh-from-the-freezer fries, laminated menus and suburban dining. Chase was almost teasing his audience, playfully raising the question of what in the long-running series was worth believing in.

In other words, “The Sopranos” was aware of the song’s dubious place in pop culture. “Glee,” on the other hand, could see it only as a motivational anthem, shorthand for character development. In that series’ 2009 premiere, the members of the high school glee club perform a suspiciously polished a cappella version of the tune as a means of persuading Will Schuester (played by ex-boy band singer Matthew Morrison) to stay on as their teacher. It’s a pretty insipid version of the song, the kids’ squeaky-clean harmonies contrasting weirdly with Journey’s attempt at urban grit, but the “Glee” cover was a hit, propelling “Don’t Stop Believin’” back onto the charts. The song hit No. 6 in 2009, making it the rare single (alongside Queen’s epic “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Sheriff’s “When I’m With You”) to find not only new life but greater success long after its initial run.

Since then, “Don’t Stop Believin’” has shown up on numerous soundtracks (“Yogi the Bear” and “Moneyball,” for example) and as a staple on televised talent shows. It remains on radio playlists and blasts — well, secretes — from grocery store speakers. It was even a centerpiece on the sloppily revisionist musical-cum-flop movie “Rock of Ages.” The song simply won’t die. In 2012, 31 years after its initial release, “Don’t Stop Believin’” is deeply entrenched in current rock culture, such as it is, provoking a Pavlovian response in nostalgists old enough to associate it with the ‘80s and a raised glass from those who see it as an artifact from another era, on par with “YMCA” or “Celebration” as cheeseball anthems that everybody knows the words to and everybody can sing along with.

This sort of pop Lazarus rarely happens on this scale. As tastes change, of course, listeners reevaluate certain assumptions about the past and reconsider music that might once have been considered bad or, worse, uncool. Led Zeppelin were once considered hard-rock scourges, dumb playboys who assaulted the tastes and eardrums of stupid audiences; now they are revered by the same publications that once skewered them. In the 1970s and ‘80s, Hall & Oates were derided as slick faux-soul pioneers; now that stigma has been removed and “Rich Girl” has found new life as a hipster standard.

In the case of “Don’t Stop Believin’” it helps that the general listener isn’t old enough to remember when the song was first released. The song is older than almost all of the Tigers and the Giants, and it predates every single member of the William McKinley High School Glee Club (Morrison was barely 3 years old in 1981). Over the years, the song has shed its disreputable associations, yet retains its power as a pop cultural artifact with the weight of history behind it. A new generation ostensibly hears it for what it is: a shameless go-get-‘em-tiger anthem with a catchy chorus and a straightforward sentiment about not disbelieving. Modern-day listeners can ignore its pandering take on poverty and struggle (which is particularly ironic during the current recession), as well as such awkward phrasings as “streetlights people,” “living just to find emotion” and, of course, “South Detroit.”

They can do this because “Don’t Stop Believin’” was a blank to begin with. It wasn’t punk or new wave; it wasn’t muscle car rock or heavy metal; it wasn’t glam or lite pop or any other genre that can be popularly associated with a particular scene or era. It grew out of ‘70s and ’80s corporate rock, which tended to erase any regional traits or distinctive personalities to appeal to the broadest swath of listeners possible. Journey is more or less interchangeable with Survivor, Toto, REO Speedwagon, Mr. Mister and so many other anonymous bands of that era. In fact, those groups are so bland that they barely constitute an identifiable genre, which allows a song like “Don’t Stop Believin’” to live slightly out of time and out of style, unburdened by any identification with a larger movement good or bad, popular or obscure. The very traits that drew the most criticism have become crucial to Journey’s longevity: Their blankness allows for more than simple nostalgia. Subsequent generations can paint whatever they like on this blank canvas.

Furthermore, the lyrics to “Don’t Stop Believin’,” while ostensibly chronicling the romance of a small-town girl and a big-city boy, are so general they can apply to almost any situation and make it sound much more dramatic than it actually is: a baseball game, a plate of French fries, high school extracurricular activities. Sure, Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” more or less made the song obsolete in 1986, with its similar dropped g and its much more detailed take on the struggles of youth in love — not to mention its unique vocal rhythm (ooh-wah-ooh-ooh-wah).

But Bon Jovi’s characters have names (Tommy and Gina) and jobs (he used to work on the docks, she’s a waitress); they’re almost too real, and whatever success they find is based on hard work and sacrifices rather than on their simple refusal to stop believing. “Don’t Stop Believin’” is a perfect storm of bland and vague and cheesy and catchy and inoffensive, but most crucially it exhorts listeners to “hold onto that feeling,” which is important. “That feeling” is not the victory, but the hunger, the struggle. Journey extols the journey, not the destination. In other words, whoever wins the World Series is less important than the passion of the players and their fans.

In a sense, the renewed success of “Don’t Stop Believin’” is a self-fulfilling prophecy, as though the song never stopped believin’ in itself. On the other hand, in 2012 it has taken on a whole new set of associations: an unsatisfying end to a beloved series, a big scene in a divisive one, and Schon’s recent elopement with Real Housewife and White House crasher Michaele Salahi. We’re stuck with it forever. But perhaps we can stop pretending that’s worth celebrating.

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