Two minutes before Journey kicked off their world tour in February, with new singer Arnel Pineda, the whole thing nearly fell apart. "I told them I wanted to back out," says the 41-year-old Filipino vocalist, whom the band discovered on YouTube. "[Journey guitarist] Neal Schon told me, Ā“ItĀ“s too late now.Ā“ He pushed me a little and said, Ā“Go. Go sing for us.Ā“" Pineda overcame his butterflies and took the stage in front of 20,000 fans in Chile, singing an hour of hits in a soaring voice incredibly similar to former Journey frontman Steve Perry. Since then, Pineda has played more than 63 concerts with Journey, including a current three-month trip through American amphitheaters, which has been averaging 13,000 people a night. The tour is the sixth-highest-grossing of the summer, and the bandĀ“s performances are as high-energy as they were during JourneyĀ“s heyday.
Unfortunately, Pineda isnĀ“t finding the tour nearly as fulfilling as his bandmates are. He misses his girlfriend and son, and the grueling pace is grinding him down. "ItĀ“s very, very sad," he says. "There are days I just break down and cry. This is a job IĀ“m doing for my family. ThatĀ“s all the consolation IĀ“m getting." Traveling around America isnĀ“t what he expected. "ItĀ“s all buses, stage, microphone," he says. "I never really get to go around and walk. They wake me up for soundcheck, then I wait until the show at nine. ItĀ“s a fantastic job, but at the same time itĀ“s a curse. . . . I told Neal that the only thing that will make me quit this is if I get sick. I guess thatĀ“s the same reason Steve Perry bailed out."
Just last summer, Pineda was fronting the Zoo, a band specializing in Eighties rock covers. YouTube clips of Pineda singing "DonĀ“t Stop BelievinĀ“ " and "Faithfully" came to the attention of Schon, who had recently parted ways with JourneyĀ“s fourth lead singer, Jeff Scott Soto. "I told him, Ā“You have to show your face so I can believe you,Ā“ " Pineda recalls of his first conversation with Schon. "I challenged him to talk to me on a Webcam."
Within weeks, Pineda took his first trip to the U.S. and auditioned for the band in San Francisco. A few days later, he was hired. "Mr. Neal Schon picked me up and told me, Ā“You got the job,Ā“ " Pineda says. "For a guy like me, itĀ“s surreal ā like some sort of miracle." Quickly, the band cut two discs worth of material: one of new songs and another of rerecorded hits. "It was spooky, sitting behind the desk watching Arnel record these songs," says keyboardist Jonathan Cain. "It was like going back in a time machine." Since coming out in June, the album has sold 441,000 copies; itĀ“s the bandĀ“s biggest hit since Perry left the group.
This all comes at a time when JourneyĀ“s work has re-entered the pop-culture landscape in surprising ways: Their 1981 smash "DonĀ“t Stop BelievinĀ“ " has made memorable appearances on The Sopranos and Laguna Beach, and Kanye West performed it nightly on his 2008 tour. "When you work at something long enough, things just sort of turn around," Schon says. "IĀ“m ear-to-ear smile every night." But is he worried about his frontman? "HeĀ“s missing his family, missing his homeland, you know?" says Schon. "But heĀ“s having a lot of fun, too."
Melodic Net Comments
i`llexpress this like this, neal schon seems to be a bit to demanding, he ` thinks he has alot of control over other peoples lifes, granted journey is mostly neal`s band and the other guys shouldnt neal in a lurch neals the best at what he does, but journey and santana are two different bands you know what happened then,don`t put yourself in that place neal your the best nobody really compares you to any body like u compare steve perry to anybody else because no-one else can take either of your places
I don't know where all these people get the idea that Perry can't sing anymore. I know at Bill Graham's Memorial in Golden Gate Park, Herbie Herbert said Perry wasn't any good anymore, but when I watched them record Trial By Fire at Skywalker Ranch, Perry sounded fantastic. Who's heard him sing since that album?
ThatĀ“s more like it, beer coming over by airmail. LetĀ“s listen to Arrival now and remember Augeri because no one is talking Augeri these days.
ok you win I lose now send me some beer and lets cheer.
sorry about the typing, with feeling......not feel feeling
Matt, calm down - itĀ“s not about hitting the highest notes pal. ItĀ“s about singing feel feeling. Arnel is doing great. There are several singers doing the same thing. Benoit David imitating Jon Anderson in Yes, Tommy DeCarlo doing the late Brad Delp, Kelly Hansen is a perfect Lou Gramm - and we will see even more of these "cover-copy singers".
Perhaps I should do Paul Stanley?
Kaj, send me a link of anyone past 60s who can sing in FULL tenor and not a note step below ie, SIL, WITS. If you can provide me one then Ill change my opinion on the great SP.
Interesting Matt that you have heard Perry sing lately because I havenĀ“t found anyone yet that has, are you a close friend?
S Perry voice is fcked up big time now, hes what? on his 60s? he cant sing those catalog anymore.
Journey cant catch a break .... GET STEVE PERRY BACK AND CONQUER THE WORLD..Everyoen is still waiting... haha.