JOURNEY is one of the most popular American rock bands of all time, creating some of the best-known songs in modern music. They have continued to tour and record into the 21st century, and have never stopped creating vital music. Since the group’s formation in 1973, the band has earned 19 Top 40 singles and 25 Gold and Platinum albums. The band’s Greatest Hits album is certified 15 times Platinum, bringing Journey into the elite club of Diamond-certified album holders. Journey is re-energized for 2011 as they prepare to unleash their latest album of brand new material, Eclipse, featuring the line-up of Neal Schon (guitars, backing vocals), Jonathan Cain (keyboards, backing vocals), Ross Valory (bass, backing vocals), Deen Castronovo (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and Arnel Pineda (lead vocals).
The release of Eclipse marks the latest chapter in a rock ‘n’ roll saga that started more than 35 years ago in the San Francisco Bay Area. Guitarist Neal Schon left home at 15 years old to join Santana. In early 1973, Walter “Herbie” Herbert-a guitar tech and later manager for Santana and Journey-floated the idea about forming a new band around Schon, whom he called “the quintessential guitar expressionist of the time.” Joining with two members of the popular local act Frumious Bandersnatch-former Steve Miller Band bassist Ross Valory and guitarist George Tickner-as well as drummer Prairie Prince, the all-instrumental act began performing as the Golden Gate Rhythm Section.
The quartet earned a local following, one that was strong enough for San Francisco FM station KSAN to hold a contest to see if a better name could be given to the GGRS. The contest yielded the moniker Journey. Santana keyboardist Gregg Rolie joined the band in the summer of 1973, and this first edition of Journey developed a largely instrumental progressive rock sound. When Prince left to pursue a career with The Tubes in early 1974, Journey recruited British drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who had performed with Jeff Beck, Frank Zappa and John Mayall. Later that year, Tickner left the band to attend medical school, leaving all guitar duties in the hands of Schon.
Columbia Records signed the group in November 1974, and each of the band’s first three albums-Journey (1975), Look Into the Future (1976) and Next (1977)-charted higher than the previous release. The band embarked on a grueling touring schedule, staying on the road nine months per year performing music that Schon has referred to as “a rock ‘n’ roll version of the Mahavishnu Orchestra.” But sales were not as strong as the label had hoped, and the band was asked to hire a full-time lead singer.
The first vocalist brought in was Robert Fleischman, who joined the band for a summer tour in 1977 and contributed songs including “Wheel In the Sky” and “Winds of March.” But Fleischman left the band and was soon replaced by a young Steve Perry, who was brought into the band on the recommendation of Herbert. After hearing Perry’s demo with his previous band, Alien Project, Journey made Perry their new lead singer.
Journey’s fourth album Infinity was their first with Perry, and was produced by Roy Thomas Baker (Rolling Stones, Queen, The Cars). It immediately went Platinum after its April 1978 release, remaining on the charts for more than two years, and has sold more than 3 million copies to date.
After Dunbar joined Jefferson Starship in 1978, Journey brought their former drum roadie Steve Smith into the fold, adding his expert jazz-fusion chops to their signature sound for 1979’s Evolution, which would become their second million-selling album. In October of that year, Journey scored their first Top 30 single with “Lovin, Touchin’, Squeezin’.” Keeping up a prolific output in the studio and on the road, the band waited less than a year to release Departure, which became their first Top 10 album and boasted the lead single “Any Way You Want It,” which reached # 8 on the Billboard album chart. A subsequent live double album, Captured, became their fourth consecutive Platinum disc.
During this time, Rolie departed and was replaced by Jonathan Cain of The Babys. His songwriting talents joined those of Schon and Perry resulting in Journey scoring the biggest hits of their career. 1981’s Escape was the band’s first #1 album and spent more than a year in the Top 40, eventually becoming certified eight times Platinum. That album produced three Top 10 hits that have become the best-known songs in Journey’s repertoire: “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Who’s Crying Now” and “Open Arms.” The latter track, which marked the first songwriting collaboration between Cain and Perry, quickly became the band’s signature song and would years later be covered by many artists.
By the early 1980s, Journey had become bonafide superstars, known as much for their music and MTV videos as their visually spectacular concerts that revolutionized the use of big screens and computerized lighting systems. In 1983, Frontiers reached #2 on the Billboard album chart, held back from the top spot only by Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Between 1983 and 1986 the band landed seven Top 20 hits, including “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart),” “Girl Can’t Help It” and “Only the Young,” their song for the film Vision Quest.
Journey disbanded in 1989, as certain members pursued other projects, though the group reunited briefly in 1993 (minus Perry) for a Bay Area concert honoring former manager Herbert, which raised funds for the Oakland-based Thunder Road teenage drug and alcohol treatment facility. Three years later, Journey reunited again for 1996’s Trial By Fire, which found Perry, Schon, and Cain, collaborating on a dozen songs written in just two weeks. Debuting at #3, the album boasted the hit single “When You Love a Woman,” which garnered the band their first Grammy nomination. Perry developed health problems that led to the cancellation of the group’s scheduled tour, and he eventually left Journey permanently.
Schon, Valory and Cain decided the band would forge ahead, recruiting new members Steve Augeri on vocals and former Bad English member Deen Castronovo on drums. Their first recording together was “Remember Me” for the Armageddon movie soundtrack, followed by 2001’s full-length Arrival-Journey’s 11th studio album. A 30th Anniversary tour followed the release of Generations in 2005, featuring three-hour-plus shows that included material from throughout the band’s career. Later the same year, the group also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 2006, Augeri’s eight years with the band came to an end. Journey was still looking for their signature sound when, late one night, Schon came across a YouTube clip featuring then-unknown Arnel Pineda performing with a cover band called the Zoo at the Hard Rock Cafe in the Philippines. Pineda’s tone, power and ability to sing a wide variety of material, including a couple of Journey classics, impressed Schon. After watching all the available videos he could find with Pineda, Neal made an excited midnight phone call to share the news with his bandmate Cain. Soon thereafter, Schon personally contacted Pineda, who initially thought it was a prank and didn’t believe that he was talking to a founding member of one of the biggest bands in rock history. But six weeks later, after spontaneously singing a Journey song for Philippines immigrations officers to prove the reason for his trip, Pineda arrived in San Francisco to meet with Journey. Within a few songs, he had secured the job.
Journey introduced Pineda to the world as their official new singer with the release of their 14th studio album, Revelation, which marked the band’s biggest first-week sales in more than a decade, debuting at #5 on the Billboard 200 in June 2008 and taking the top spot on the Independent Albums chart. Revelation earned the band their 11th Platinum album certification to date, leading The New York Times to declare that “the band…feels alive.” Journey toured the world for two years in support of Revelation, with more than a million fans attending the shows.
One of the most emotional highlights of that tour took place on March 14, 2009, when Journey performed in front of nearly 30,000 people in Pineda’s hometown of Manila, Philippines. While the singer was welcomed as a hero by the Filipino people, the rest of the band members were equally affected as they connected with the roots of their new lead singer. Pineda took the guys to his old neighborhood and school, and even the park where he slept as a 13-year-old homeless child, after his mother passed away. His incredible story of loss, survival and eventual success helped forge a bond with his bandmates that remains as strong as ever.
The group’s success with Pineda has led to another album of brand new material, with Eclipse set for release on May 24 in the U.S. and Canada (exclusively at Walmart); May 27 in Europe on Frontiers Records; and May 27 in the Philippines on Universal Records. Produced by Kevin Shirley and Co-produced by Schon and Cain, the new album features Pineda’s songwriting contributions for the first time, solidifying the strong chemistry that the singer was just beginning to formulate on Revelation. Working as a team, Schon created many of the chords and rhythms for the songs, while Cain contributed some melodies titles and lyrics for most of the album-except for “She’s a Mystery,” which was finished by Pineda, Schon and Cain together. Arnel wrote most of “To Whom It May Concern” and it was finished by Schon and Cain In another departure from the band’s usual working process, the recording of Eclipse was quite spontaneous. “We didn’t rehearse the material before we recorded, as we had done in past album projects,” said Cain. “We were going for impromptu, live performances. Sometimes, first impressions are the best. Producer Kevin Shirley was instrumental in getting our new ideas quickly into form.”
Cain has described Eclipse as “a concept record with some spiritual themes to it…pretty tough, hard-hitting stuff. The concept of Eclipse is the tantric way of looking at life-man, God and the universe are one-a woven, endless circle of connected energy. Since the concept of the album was about belief and enlightenment, Arnel’s background as a Buddhist and a survivor of the street life made it a believable subject matter for him to sing about, and for the band to perform.”
The album begins with “City of Hope” which was written in Manila, Philippines and inspired by what the band saw while visiting Pineda’s homeland. “His story inspired much of the lyrical content and his soaring tenor was always in our minds as Neal and I went forward,” said Cain. Tunes such as “Anything is Possible” and “Resonate” are positive, raw and powerful musical statements that take Journey’s sound into a new rock arena. While much tougher and hard hitting than past Journey albums, fans will be familiar with classic elements such as a silky and inspired tenor vocal, Schon’s powerful guitar hooks and raging solos, and signature soaring background vocals. It is a culmination of American music-rock, blues, pop and soul.
After noticing that no recent bands had created a notable “concept album” in many years, Schon approached the writing and recording of Eclipse with a singular vision in mind. “I wanted to think out of the box and write new grooves that I felt the band hadn’t done before,” said the guitarist. “The new record is comparable to Escape and Frontiers in that the music is progressive and experimental, but more up to date and centered on a hard rock direction. As a band, we decided to write for people that want to sit down and listen to a whole quality album, not just to download a hit single. It’s one of our strongest statements ever, from beginning to end, and I love every song. It’s one of my favorite albums I’ve ever done.”
In an early review, Andrew McNeice of MelodicRock.com praised the album, stating: “Eclipse is dark and heavy, yet melodic. Adventurous, yet familiar. Moody, yet uplifting. Simply bloody amazing….Watch for the hardest rocking ‘Chain Of Love,’ the heavy, dark mood of ‘Edge Of A Moment,’ the uplifting feel good anthem ‘Anything Is Possible,’ the beyond-description ‘She’s A Mystery,’ and one of the most powerful ballads I have heard in years, with vocal power beyond description – ‘Tantra.’ And of course the classic Journey style anthem ‘City Of Hope.’ Eclipse has to be considered a masterpiece.”
Following the release of Eclipse, Journey will launch the “Eclipse Tour,” an extensive two-year trek. The tour will first take the band to South America, including Journey’s first-time performances in Argentina, Peru and Brazil, where fans have waited over thirty years to see them. Continuing to Europe in June, the band will make their Wembley Arena debut in London, followed by arena dates across the UK, including Birmingham’s LG Arena, Manchester Evening News Arena, Dublin’s The O2 and Belfast’s Odyssey Arena, among other highlights. Returning to the U.S. with special guests Foreigner and Night Ranger, Journey will kick off their American leg beginning July 21 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT. Continuing across North America, the band will hit St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center, Toronto’s Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, New Orleans Arena, First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park, IL, the world-famous Hollywood Bowl, and other top venues before wrapping up at Seattle’s Key Arena on October 21st. Fans can expect to hear new songs from Eclipse as well as classics such as “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Any Way You Want It,” “Faithfully,” “Lights,” “Separate Ways,” “Wheel In The Sky” and many more.
2011 also marks the 30th anniversary of Journey’s classic anthem “Don’t Stop Believin’.” The song is the top-selling digital catalog song in history, with sales of more than 4.4 million in the U.S., and was memorably used in the electrifying series finale of HBO’s The Sopranos in 2007. But the song reached another level of stratospheric success in 2009, when it was covered by the cast of FOX’s wildly successful series Glee and became the best-selling song from the show. Three decades after its original release, “Don’t Stop Believin'”has reached a new class of young fans to become a huge anthem for a whole new generation.
Multiple generations are welcoming this legendary band in 2011, as Journey continues to bring their signature sound of classic hits and new favorites across the country and around the world. The band is firing on all cylinders and making sure their fans will never stop believin’.
“The world is so ready for us,” states Schon. “Things are opening up everywhere we go. Journey is a world band now.”
Journey is available for corporate events, private shows, milestone celebrations (birthday, anniversary), fundraisers, festivals, and more.