Starting today, there will be a new feature posted every couple months or so. This will be called the Journey Retrospectives and they will post only on Thursdays. I will show all original vinyl album artwork and write a retrospective about the album and each of the songs.
Today I am starting with a full Journey Career-Spanning Retrospective. This is a full 9 page history...
Gregg Rolie................. Vocals, Keyboards, Organ
Neal Schon.................. Lead Guitar
George Tickner........... Rhythm Guitar
Ross Valory................. Bass Guitar
Prairie Prince.............. Drums
Aynsley Dunbar.......... Drums
Robert Fleischman.... Lead Vocals
Steve Perry................... Lead Vocals
Steve Smith................. Drums
Jonathan Cain............ Keyboards, Piano, Guitar
Bob Glaub................... Bass Guitar
Larrie Londin.............. Drums
Randy Jackson............ Bass Guitar
Mike Baird.................. Drums
Steve Augeri................ Lead Vocals
Deen Castronovo....... Drums
Jeff Scott Soto............. Lead Vocals
Arnel Pineda............... Lead Vocals
Omar Hakim................ Drums
Herbie Herbert........... Manager 1973-1993
Irving Azoff.................. Manager 1993-Present
Journey, my favorite band since High School, but I didn’t really know them until 1980’s Departure.
They are a band that started in 1973 by a group of friends who wanted to jam. They became way too famous and started to implode just 10 years later. Success didn’t come easy but did get thrown away once it was gained.
How did what started as a mostly instrumental progressive rock band become America’s #1 pop group in the 1980’s and then disappear altogether? “Oh, Sherrie.“
But let’s first look back at the Journey through the years…
“Whose band is this”? That’s probably the most important question there is. By looking at the number of members of the band, it isn’t a simple question. It’s been many people’s band over the years, but we’ve always been told they run it like a democracy. Today one would assume it has always been Neal Schon’s band.
Walter James (Herbie) Herbert started the band with Gregg Rolie and Neal Schon from “Santana”. Herbie was a roadie for Santana and wanted to start his own band. In 1973 Herbie, Gregg, and Neal, along with Ross Valory and George Tickner from “Frumious Bandersnatch” formed “The Golden Gate Rhythm Section” with Prairie Prince as drummer. Prairie Prince, left soon after and was replaced by Aynsley Dunbar. Roadie John Villaneuva suggested the name “Journey” and that’s the name they went with.
On February 5, 1974 Herbie Herbert, Gregg Rolie, Neal Schon, Ross Valory, George Tickner and Aynsley Dunbar had secured a recording contract with Columbia Records. Over a year later, on April 1, 1975, the self-titled album, “Journey” was released.
Before the band was able to record their second album, 1976’s “Look Into The Future”, George Tickner left the band to attend Stanford Medical School on a full scholarship, leaving Neal to execute all Guitar playing for the band. They toned down the progressiveness of the first album in favor of a more focused approached but the album still retains some of the experimental jams of the first album.
“Next” was the title of the 3rd album with Gregg Rolie, Neal Schon, Ross Valory and Aynsley Dunbar once again. The pressure from Columbia about expanding the vocals was showing as Neal sings lead vocals on two of the songs on the album. After the release of the album, Robert Fleischman was brought in as lead vocalist to share lead vocal duties with Gregg on the live tour. Things were about to change for the band.
At this point after releasing three albums and Columbia Records losing faith in Gregg’s voice makes Herbie Herbert the person whose band it is at this point. Herbie named the albums with positive forward thinking titles, but he needed to expand on that plan to sell more records. While coming up with a plan for the future of the band, a tape from Columbia Records from a band called “Alien Project” was sent to Herbie.
Herbie had a meeting with Gregg and Neal and told them that Steve Perry was going to be the next lead singer of the band. They disagreed but finally had to give in, showing that Herbie is the one in charge of the band, it is indeed Herbie Herbert’s band.
Steve Perry joined the band and made his first public debut on October 28, 1977 in San Francisco to a mixed reception. Herbie hired artists Anton Kelley and Stanley Mouse to design the cover for the next album titled “Infinity”. A whole new era for Journey is about to begin. Steve Perry takes over lead vocals but the duets with Gregg are what shine. The blending of those two voices are expanding the already great sound of Journey to a new audience. “Infinity” reached number 21 on the album charts. The album was certified platinum and had two hit singles, “Lights”, and “Wheel In The Sky”.
In late 1978 Aynsley Dunbar is let go from the group and jazz drummer Steve Smith joins the band.
Their momentum continued with 1979’s release of “Evolution”. Steve Perry writes or co-writes every song on the album, it’s obvious his influence on the band is starting to take over. Gregg only sings co-lead vocals on one song, “Just The Same Way”. The album reaches number 20 on the album charts while the single “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’” is the bands first top 20 hit, written by Steve Perry.
To capitalize on the new success the band was having, the first “Greatest Hits” compilation double album titled “In The Beginning” is released in November 1979, just in time for Christmas. This album compiles the best songs from the first three albums, Steve Perry does not appear on any of these songs. Again Anton Mouse and Stanley Kelley created the artwork for the album cover which is based on the “Evolution” album cover.
The next Studio album, “Departure” becomes the bands highest charting album to date, peaking at number 8. Released on March 23, 1980, the album has an edgier sound than “Evolution” did. The album spawned three singles, “Any Way You Want It”, “Walks Like A Lady”, and “Good Morning Girl/Stay Awhile”. Both Gregg Rolie and Neal Schon sing co-lead vocals on one song each. Nineteen songs were recorded for the album, but the album was released with only 12 of them. Anton Kelley designed the Album Cover artwork, which features a scarab for the first time. Stanley Mouse created the lettering and logo. The related “Departure tour” was the longest and biggest selling tour Journey’s ever attempted ending in Japan.
After the tour, while the band was in Japan, they recorded an album to serve as the soundtrack for a film titled “Yume, Yume No Ato,” or “Dream, After Dream” in English. The album was very hard to find as it was an import only at the time and wasn’t noticed by the general public. This was the last Studio album to feature founding member Gregg Rolie. “Dream, After Dream” was released on December 10, 1980 in Japan. “Little Girl”, the ballad from the album was released as a single in Japan.
Journey’s first live album, “Captured”, serves as the “Greatest Hits” of the second three albums released by Journey featuring Steve Perry as lead vocalist. “Captured”, a double live album was released in February 1981 and fast became the fourth “Journey” album to be certified platinum. Due to the many years on the road with “Santana”, “Journey” and probably the growing popularity of Steve Perry, Gregg Rolie retired from the band and was replaced by Jonathan Cain, the keyboard player from the band “The Baby’s”. Stanley Mouse designed the album cover art while the entire package design was by Jim Welch who now takes over all art design for next few years.
It has been said that Herbie Herbert came up with all of Journey’s album titles before Steve Perry was hired. Infinity, Evolution, Departure, Captured, Escape, Frontiers, and Freedom. With Gregg Rolie retired, the answer to “whose band is it?” is getting fuzzy, the public would say it’s Steve Perry’s band.
Journey’s biggest selling album, “Escape” is released on July 31, 1981. Jonathan Cain and Steve Perry write every song with Neal collaborating on all but two. Stanley Mouse designs the album cover artwork while Jim Welch again designs the whole package.
During the week of September 12 thru 18, 1981 the “Escape” album was number one in America. Four singles were released from the album between 1981 and 1982.
1982 marked the year that “Journey” became bigger than anyone could ever imagine. They embarked on another tour that year filling huge stadiums and arenas.
Herbie Herbert branched out another company from Journey’s Nightmare Productions. Nocturne was created to take care of Journey’s Stage and Lighting needs. Journey was the first band to use giant video projection. The first ever Rock and Roll video game was released by Atari and was called “Journey Escape”. It featured all five members of the band and an electronic version of the song “Don’t Stop Believing”.
Also in 1982 Journey contributed to another movie soundtrack. They wrote and performed two songs titled “1990’s Theme’ and “Only Solutions” for the soundtrack for the Walt Disney Productions movie, “Tron”. Neal Schon released his second solo album with musician Jan Hammer as the duo “Schon & Hammer”. Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain helped write a couple songs on Neal’s album while the rest of Journey lend a hand including Steve Perry’s backing vocals on the song “Self Defense”.
Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album kept 1983’s “Frontiers” out of the number one spot. Frontiers was released on February 22, 1983 and peaked at number 2. Jim Welch did the entire package design again without a scarab. This album is the first to let show that Journey didn’t have to try very hard anymore. It’s got some great some songs but two shiners on the album were pulled at the last minute and replaced with out-takes. “Ask The Lonely” and “Only The Young” were replaced with “Troubled Child” and “Back Talk”. Who knows what heights this album could have achieved if it wasn’t cut short.
During the “Frontiers Tour”, Steve Perry no longer travelled with the rest of the band. He was a star and travelled alone or with his girlfriend, Sherry Swafford, which started to tear a thread in the band. The road was starting to get to Steve and he wanted a break. The break came after the tour when the band took a vacation. The problem was, they didn’t actually take a break, everyone was doing their own solo project. This is death to any band. Neal was part of a band called “HSAS”. Steve Smith was off with his “Vital Information” jazz band. Jonathan was producing his wife’s band Tane Cain and “Tryanglz”. Ross Valory was doing his thing, as he was always involved in other projects.
At the top of their game, bigger than any other band at the time, they all decide to do solo projects and put “Journey” on hold. All that could have worked out had the “Journey” kept going like it always had. What happened was that it gave Steve Perry an opportunity to do a solo album. “Street Talk” was released in April 1984 and was a huge success, earning a platinum certification and gave the face of “Journey” a name, Steve Perry. The album, especially the song, “Oh, Sherrie” sounded like a Journey album and confused people into thinking “Journey” was breaking up. Steve was even invited to sing along with the “USA for Africa” recording of “We Are The World”.
Steve Perry was at the top and if he wanted he could continue to make solo albums. Steve Perry’s mother was very sick and such a huge part of his life that he asked her what he should do next and her answer was a “Journey” album.
There were a lot of behind the scenes struggles throughout 1985 with Journey. It had been two years since Journey released an album but luckily they had the songs “Ask The Lonely” on the “Two Of A Kind” soundtrack in late 1983 and “Ask The Lonely” on the “Vision Quest” soundtrack in 1985 to keep the “Journey” name alive in the public.
Had the band been Neal Schon’s band, he could have stopped what was to happen next. It wasn’t Neal’s band, it was Herbie Herbert’s band, but Steve Perry was butting heads with him over control and won out. Too much success led to Steve taking complete control over everything. “Journey” was now Steve Perry’s band and there was no stopping him. Steve claims to have needed a particular sound and he would stop at nothing to get it. That completely contradicts what he does next when he fires Ross Valory and Steve Smith in favor of a drum machine.
Finally on May 27, 1986 “Raised On Radio” was released and was a cross between a Journey album and a Steve Perry solo album. “Journey” was now a three-man band. Herbie Herbert’s idea for “Freedom” never came, although an out-take from the album is called “Liberty”. “Raised On Radio” did go platinum, but nowhere near the success of “Escape” or “Frontiers”. Prairie Prince and Michael Cotton designed the album art. The album cover art was modeled after the studios and antennas for KNGS in Hanford, California, which was owned by Steve Perry’s parents, Ray and Mary Perry.
When it came time to tour in 1986, a couple of studio musicians, Randy Jackson and Mike Baird, who also worked on the album, were hired to tour with them. The tour itself wasn’t as successful as the “Escape” or “Frontiers” tours. Then on February 1, 1987 in Anchorage, Alaska, Steve Perry decided it was time to stop and the rest of the tour was cancelled. This would be the last we would hear from Journey until 1991 when the three members of “Journey” rejoined to play a couple songs at the “Bill Graham Tribute” called “Laughter, Love and Music” in San Francisco on November 3, 1991 at the Civic Auditorium.
November 15, 1988 marks the day we knew the Journey was over. “Greatest Hits” was released and if that wasn’t enough, a three Disc box set full of hits and unreleased songs titled “Time3” was released on December 1st, 1992. “Greatest Hits” has been the biggest selling “Journey” album ever since spending 330 weeks on the Billboard top 200 album chart. “Time3” is an excellent box set with songs in more or less chronological order. There are so many unreleased songs missing, but a great package with a great booklet. “Greatest Hits” peaked at number ten, while “Time3” only made it to number 90 on the charts.
Both Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain got involved with a band named “Bad English” from 1987 to 1991, then Neal Schon got involved with a band called “Hardline” in 1991-1992. The other members of “Journey”, Ross Valory, Steve Smith, and Gregg Rolie, formed a band called “The Storm” from 1990 through 1996.
In 1993 Steve Perry wanted out of his contract with manager Herbie Herbert and fired him. Steve’s next move was another solo album titled “For The Love Of Strange Medicine” which was released on July 19, 1994. This time Steve toured in support of the album that lasted into 1995. The album was not a huge success and it became the last solo album Steve Perry ever did.
October 22, 1996 marks the return of “Journey” and a Grammy nomination! The album, “Trial By Fire” was a change in maturity for the band with many of the songs reflecting a more overt spirituality in lyrical content. Steve Smith and Ross Valory came back for the reunion. Steve Perry made sure that Herbie Herbert was not involved and a new manager named Irving Azoff who also manages many other bands so his attention isn’t all there, was brought in, leaving the band in Neal Schon’s hands.
The album reached number three and was awarded platinum status, and the song “When You Love A Woman” was nominated for a Grammy Award, so Steve Perry didn’t see a need to tour. Originally a tour was scheduled for Summer and Fall of 1997, but Steve Perry injured his hip on hike in Hawaii. It was something that needed surgery and Steve prolonged it so long that the rest of the band let him go. Steve Smith didn’t see any point in continuing “Journey” with Steve Perry so he decided to leave the band.
Due to poor sales on “Trial By Fire”, Columbia Records released Journey’s “Greatest Hits Live”. This is just a collection of Journey’s Greatest Hits from live recordings, but the audience tracks has been lowered taking the “Live” out.
Now in 1998, we are left with a “Journey” without its singer. Neal Schon, who would be better at selling Italian Ladies Shoes than managing a band, starts looking for a replacement. Neal thought that because there was a “Journey” before Steve Perry that there could be a “Journey” after Steve Perry. The problem was that it really was Steve Perry’s band and the only way to move on is to just move on. Neal didn’t move on and found a sound-alike in the name of Steve Augeri found by Neal Schon’s wife at the time.
The soundtrack for the movie “Armageddon” is released and there’s a song titled “Remember Me” by Journey. The new line-up, Neal Schon, Ross Valory, Jonathan Cain, Deen Castronovo and Steve Augeri as Lead Singer. They embarked on the “Vacation’s Over” tour in 1998 and the “Under The Radar” tour in 1999. Neither of these tours really promoted the album “Trial By Fire”. After two years of touring, the band went into the Studio to record their first album with singer Steve Augeri.
“Arrival” was the name of the next album. Neal did get something right by going back to the one-word titles. The album was released in Japan in December 2000, but Columbia Records wanted changes to the album so the release was pushed to April 3, 2001 for the U.S. Two harder rock songs were added and one softer song was dropped because Columbia was looking for something more with an edge. The album cover was changed a bit to resemble the earlier album covers. The album peaked at #56, barely selling at all. Columbia Records quickly dropped “Journey” and for the first time since 1973 didn’t have a record label.
November 26, 2002 “Journey” released an EP titled “Red 13”. It was an experiment produced by Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain with money they’ve obviously made from all the “Journey” compilation albums that have been released to date. “Red 13” was first offered through the Journey website, but when it was released to the public, they changed the album cover artwork to one resembling older Journey album covers. The EP only had four songs and didn’t chart at all.
For the “Journey’s” 30th Anniversary they decided to do more damage to the legacy of “Journey” than thought possible. During the “Generations” tour of 2005, the band decided to give away the new album “Generations” for free to anyone who attended the concerts. The album was then officially released in a proper CD jewel case on August 29, 2005. The album peaked at only 170 proving that no one needed to buy the thing if given away for free. Every member of the band had a turn at singing lead vocals. Why would a band that is trying to match its iconic voice let every member take the lead vocals on at least one song? The answer is given away during the next tour.
The “Journey Tour 2006” began on June 2, 2006 and ran until September 23, 2006. It was during this tour that Steve Augeri lost his voice and was diagnosed with throat cancer. Other members of the band, especially Deen were able to help get through the shows but the second half of the 2006 Tour and the entire 2007 Tour the lead vocals were given to Jeff Scott Soto. The 2007 Tour ended on May 12, 2007 and it seemed as if Journey had a new singer, the problem was he didn’t sound like “Journey” and some fans were complaining about that. So what does a band with an iconic voice do when they lose that iconic voice twice? They search the Internet.
One night Neal Schon’s wife at the time was searching the Internet and somehow came across a guy by the name of Arnel Pineda. Not only did he sound like Steve Perry, but he ran and jumped around the Stage giving an exciting performance like Steve Perry used to do. Arnel was singing with a band called “The Zoo”, but the problem was he lived in the Philippines. Neal immediately got a hold of Arnel and probably violated every international customs law to get Arnel to San Francisco for an audition. To prove to customs officials in Manila that Arnel Pineda really was going to America to try out for the lead singer in “Journey” he had to sing “Wheel In The Sky” right there in their office.
Neal couldn’t resist the publicity “Journey” would get with hiring a man from the Philippines, including new fans in the Asian Countries, so Arnel was announced as the next lead vocalist for “Journey”. Arnel first appeared live in concert with the band on February 21, 2008 in Vina del Mar, Chile at the Vina del Mar International Song Festival held at the Quinta Vergara Amphitheater. The band toured Europe and then returned to The United States for a few concerts in Las Vegas before the next album was released.
Finally “Freedom” has arrived. Wal*Mart distributed Journey’s next album, “Revelation”. “Journey” is back with a great album with some great songs. It’s the first “Journey” album to achieve Platinum status since “Raised On Radio” in 1986. The second disc in the package was a re-recording of 11 of “Journey’s” greatest Steve Perry era songs. This disc is a better coaster than music CD. We have the excellent sounding originals with Steve Perry’s voice so it doesn’t make any sense to listen to lesser recordings with a different voice. The third disc in the package is a DVD of the performance in Chile on February 21, 2008 that makes a nice addition to the CD. Neal hit a home run with this release and the band was running with it!
The Revelation Tour started on February 23, 2008 and didn’t end until October 2009. The band was in top form and finally having that new beginning they’ve always needed. The problem was that the only songs radio was playing were the ones from the Steve Perry era. You didn’t hear any of the new Journey songs even though they were good. The “Live In Manila” DVD was released on October 2, 2009 recorder March 14, 2009 at The Mall Of Asia. This was a much more exciting performance than the DVD that came with the “Revelation” CD.
Then, “Journey” agreed to do a “concert” during NBC’s “The Today Show” on July 29th, 2009. This did more damage as Arnel’s voice was completely shot. It was seen by millions of people all over the World and they couldn’t keep it in key. Arnel had a hard time remembering the lyrics. The host of the show didn’t even get Neal’s name right or care that he got it wrong. This was a disaster.
“Journey” was back but they knew they were pushing Arnel’s voice too hard so they took most of 2010 off to relax and let Arnel’s voice strengthen. Since none of the new songs were on the radio, it didn’t take long for the novelty of a singer from the Philippines to start to wear off, people still yearned for their Steve Perry.
The anticipation for a new album was growing and finally in 2011 “Journey” releases that new album. In an interview in 2011, Neal Schon describes the album as “Journey on steroids”. I don’t know why he thinks we want that. “Eclipse” is released on May 24th, 2011 to a waiting audience who gobbled it up at first helping it reach it’s peak at number 13 in the charts. There was a huge campaign for the release of the album. It was even released on vinyl. It soon started falling fast because of it’s departure from what people know as Journey. It was a hard rock, guitar oriented experiment that didn’t go as planned.
Throughout the past couple years, Ramona S. Diaz was shooting and collecting footage of Arnel and Journey for a documentary she was making called “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey. The film was released on March 8, 2012. It’s a good docu-musical that is essentially a modern day rags to riches story. I wish they had gotten into the struggles that Arnel must have been feeling after the years of touring as the lead singer of “Journey”. I’m sure the stress was intense and that would have been more interesting to me.
During the next two years after the release of “Eclipse”, Journey kept touring. The shows had completely become a “Greatest Hits” show as they weren’t really playing anything off the later albums. The live shows were even advertised on the radio using the recordings with Steve Perry as vocalist.
On December 15, 2013 there was special pay per view live showing of “Neal & Michaele Forever”. This was Neal Schon and Michaele Salahi’s wedding with special guest drummer Steve Smith. It was a 3 hour event that I was unable to watch. I have never seen a video or DVD of this. It would make a great home video release. Neal Schon billed this as “The Celebrity Wedding Event of the Decade”. Really? Apparently Neal thinks very highly of himself and as the leader of the band.
Journey 2014: Don’t Stop Believin’ was an event on Public Television. This special included excerpts of the documentary "Don't Stop Believin": Everyman's Journey", concert footage from "Live in Manila", and more. Yes, even six years later Neal was still pushing the whole “Journey’s new lead singer was found on the internet and came from the Phillipines” thing. Give it up Neal, and give us some new music!
On May 25, 2014 Journey fans had their prayers answered when for the first time in 20 years Steve Perry sang once again. Steve Perry took the stage with a band called “Eels” and showed the World that he still has it. Steve went on Stage again with “Eels” on May 31st and June 12th. The internet lit up and YouTube had tons of postings for these events. It also shows that even after all these years who is the leader of “Journey”.
There have been many speculations and reports of Steve Perry getting back with Journey. Even Arnel has been welcoming that for many years as he’s been showing that he’s getting tired of it all. It isn’t all that simple. Steve Perry is still with Columbia Records who have a bad relationship with Neal and Jonathan. There are many legal and personal battles which have to be dealt with before anything can happen.
Steve Smith has re-joined Journey and will first play together in April 2016 when the Journey San Francisco Fest 2016 begins. Also Gregg Rolie will play with the band for three dates in April 2016. A dream come true indeed!
I can guarantee a multiplatinum album and sold out tour if ever Steve Perry ever returns as Lead Singer. Who knows what the future holds, but one thing is for sure and that is it’s time for a change of some kind in the band. The Stage is set and the World awaits to continue the Journey…