A new journey has begun for Journey. The musical adventure which was launched 25 years ago, achieved eight multi-platinum albums and carried a place in history as one of rock’s most popular bands, is back on the road for the first time in a dozen years, with a new album on the way. A group that has evolved and grown through changes of personnel, Journey is once again exploring it s soulful rock with a new line-up and a new attitude.
"There’s a different energy to this band," says Neal Schon, the guitarist around whom the band was originally formed in 1973. "We’re more daring. The new blood has kicked the music in the butt. We’re stretching a bit and we’re going to take the audience on a different journey." The first tangible result was "Remember Me." Featured on the Armageddon Soundtrack.
Jonathan Cain, who’s been the band’s major co-writer since 1980, says it was the desire to play live which truly prompted the formation of this new Journey. "If it wasn’t fun, we wouldn’t be doing this. We wanted to make Journey music again; we wanted to rock again. We could have just recorded in the studio but we make music to play in concert that’s where it comes to life. It’s important to dance with the fans."
The journey back began with one ironic step. With singer Steve Perry unable to tour, the band turned to a singer whose career appeared cut short because many thought his band sounded too much like Journey. "It’s weird," says Steve Augeri. "Initially, it was a detriment and I used to deny it. Now it’s resurrected my career. But we were born on different days from different parents, led different lives, grew up listening to different artists, and you can hear it in my voice even if the timbre’s the same. I scream in my own way and relate in my own way."
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, playing numerous instruments and singing in basement bands, Augeri became a session vocalist and background singer on concert stages – sort of. For one unnamed artist who was performing on stage, he actually sang from behind the curtains, amps and in the stairwells. Arena headliner Ted Nugent would go backstage and try to crack him up while he was singing. But he’d also pat him on the back, encouraging him, saying "Some day you’ll be out there."
It seemed that day would never arrive. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, Augeri was the lead singer for Tall Stories, a band many considered a grittier, East Coast version of Journey – including Schon. "I remember driving around with a friend and hearing them on the radio. I said, ‘Sounds like a rocked-out Journey. If we’re ever able to start our ship again, this guy could pull it off."
But grunge killed Tall Stories and, after a stint with Tyketto, Augeri hung up his microphone to settle down with a "real" job as a maintenance manager putting Gap stores together when they fell apart. So when a buddy who had moved to Marin County, and became Schon’s guitar tech, called to tip him off that Journey was looking for a singer, Augeri was uncertain. "Forget the fame and fortune," he says. "I always dreamed of being able to make music. When it didn’t happen, it was painful. Besides, I hadn’t sung for two years." He told his friend he’d send a tape but never did. Eventually, his friend put together a tape himself and sent it to Journey.
One day Schon called Augeri and asked him to come to the west to audition. "I thought it was a joke. When I hung up, I called the guy I thought was pulling my leg and said ‘What’s the story? Someone claiming to be Neal Schon just called. Turned out it really was Neal. I’m glad I didn’t hang up on him."
In a Northern California studio in early 1998, he sang "Faithfully" for Schon and Cain. Recalls Cain, "He was a little rusty but boy did he sound good. Neal and I got goosebumps. It was so easy, you had to wonder if this was not meant to be." Adds Schon, "I was jumping up and down. I couldn’t believe it. He nailed the song with conviction."
Also joining Journey was drummer Deen Castronovo, who Schon first plucked out of an impromptu rehearsal from jam session in the late 80’s. He then played with Schon in Bad English, Hardline, Paul Roger’s band. Castronovo was also with Ozzy Osborne for Ozzmosis (1995), and had done studio work for Social Distortion, Steve Vai, and others. Says the Salem Oregon native: " I grew up playing Journey songs. I was 11 when I was learning drum parts off Infinity. And now I’m playing those songs with Journey. It’s so cool to play Steve Smith’s chops, but I still incorporate my own style, and I’m eager to work on new stuff. The chemistry’s different so the sound will be different too."
Meanwhile, Ross Valory, one of Journey’s other original members returned to the fold. After exiting in 1984, the bassist founded the Vu, which grew into the Storm and released two albums. He then toured and recorded for Todd Rundgren’s 1991 Second Wind album, and had continued to work on an instrumental project with guitarist George Tichner, another original Journey member. "This evolution is more like at the beginning," he notes. "It’s free-spirited in attitude but intense in musicianship. Everyone gets along and we’re ready to go to work. I think we’re happier because we’re finally performing again.
Live was where Journey began and where its reputation was made. Its debut concert, on New Years Eve 1973 at hometown San Francisco’s Winterland, introduced its first incarnation: Schon (who had joined Santana at the tender age of 15 after turning down Eric Clapton), Valory (who played with Steve Miller), keyboardist / singer Gregg Rolie (one of the founding members of Santana), Tichner and drummer Prairie Prince. Soon after, Price left to join The Tubes and Ansley Dunbar(David Bowie, John Mayall, Frank Zappa) took his seat. Featuring fiery progressive rock instrumental epics, which showcased the band’s superb musicianship, Journey, and its 1975 self-titled album, received critical acclaim and the group went immediately back on the road. Disliking the latter, Tichner exited.
But while Journey was a "cult" favorite, and moving towards more concise songs with more vocals on two subsequent albums, Look Into The Future (1976) and Next (1977), the band needed a powerhouse lead singer and lyricist. At first the answer was Robert Fleischman, who toured with Journey in 1977 as it opened for Emerson, Lake and Plamer.
With an upfront singer and new songs, suddenly Journey had taken a turn in an entirely new musical direction, to mainstream rock. Later that same year, Perry replaced Fleischman, and Journey’s direction turned upward. Boosted by a nine month touring schedule which established Journey as a major attraction headlining arena concerts on bills with the likes of Van Halen and Montrose, and with FM radio favorites such as "Wheel In The Sky", and "Lights," Infinity (1978), produced by Roy Thomas Baker (then know for his work with Queen), became Journey’s first top 40 album (#21) and first gold-then-platinum record (currently triple platinum). The band continued to develop when Dunbar departed to join Jefferson Starship and Journey welcomed Steve Smith, the drummer from Montrose, with a penchant for jazz and fusion, who they heard each night on the final leg of the "Infinity" tour.
Journey didn’t miss a beat. Evolution (1979) matched the triumphs of Infinity – charting at #20 and certified triple platinum – plus added Journey’s first top 20 single, "Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’ " (#16). One of the top rock bands in the country, Journey was now headlining stadium shows without having yet scored a top 10 album or single, but not for long. After the release of In the Beginning (1979), a complication of material from its first three albums, and the very unconventional 1980 soundtrack to Dream After Dream, originally released only in Japan, Departure (1980) became the bands first top 10 (#8) and its next triple platinum album. As touring continued, the double live set Captured was also released that year, also went top 10 (#9) and is now double platinum. But Rolie had enough of the road. Prior to leaving, he found his replacement; Cain played in The Babys, the band opening for Journey on the "Departure" tour.
Cain’s songwriting skills, and their shared love of R&B, was a catalyst for Schon and Perry. The result, Escape (1981), rocketed to #1, remaining on the charts for nearly three years, is nine times platinum, and spawned three top 10 singles: "Open Arms" (#21), "Who’s Crying Now" (#4) and "Don’t stop Believing" (#9).
The follow-up, Frontiers (1983), went to #2, six times platinum, and spawned the #8 hit "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)." Success brought outside projects for each members of the group but also creative differences. Valory left in 1984 before previously recorded "Only The Young," from the 1985 Vision Quest soundtrack album, charted at #9. Smith too had essentially exited when Schon, Cain and Perry continued as Journey for the 1986’s double platinum, #4 – charting Raised On Radio which boasted another #9 hit, "Be Good To Yourself." Attesting to the band’s enormous popularity, its 1988 Greatest Hits album reached #8 and is nine times platinum.
Journey did not break up, but did go on hiatus. "The ‘80’s were a decade of abuse and excess," says Cain. "After a while, you have nothing to say, you’re just repeating yourself. Everybody needed to sit back and recharge." Though there was a 1992 boxed set, Time 3, it would be 12 years between new songs for the Journey of Perry, Schon, Cain, Smith and Valory. When they re-emerged, Trial By Fire (1996) hit #3, platinum and earned the band’s first Grammy nomination—"When You Love A Woman" for Best Pop Performance by a Duo of Group with Vocal. Unfortunately, any tour was impossible due to Perry’s continued health problems. But playing live is like food and water for Journey, it’s where its heart and soul is fed. (In 1998, live performances from 1981 and 1983 were collected on Greatest Hits Live.)
Now, finally, Journey has returned to the stage. In June Schon, Cain, Valory, Augeri and Castronovo toured Japan for 2 weeks, Journey’s first road stint since 1986. For Augeri, it was a particularly significant moment: "Before, I always thought I had to be someone different on-stage than who I was off-stage. I won’t insult the audience by not doing justice to a song from the past but I finally realized I can only be myself." Cain agrees: It’s important that he has his own sound and instincts, and at the same time it’s important to capture that spirit, that distinctive sound, of classic Journey or it might as well be something else. Steve makes us believe in the music again."
"If the audience opens its ears and hearts and minds, we’ll make our own mark," says Augeri of the new Journey. "We’re making music that makes a statement and makes sense for this time—today and for tomorrow.
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JOURNEY VIP EXPERIENCE ON OCT. 11, 2011 HOLLYWOOD BOWL | Reviewer: GEORGYNE | 9/2/11
Precious Paws, a non profit dog and cat rescue organization, is auctioning off a VIP Package with Journey at the Hollywood Bowl for Oct. 11, 2011. This package includes 2 VIP seats in the first ten rows and a photo op. The auction began on Sept. 1 and ends on Sept. 11, please check out the auction here:
Journey is a success | Reviewer: Connie | 9/17/10
First of all Angie, you need to learn how to spell. Second of all if you knew anything about Journey you would know that Steve Perry did have surgery, successful surgery in 1998. Maybe you should do some reading before you try to form opinions for yourself!
Journey Broken Apart!! | Reviewer: Angie | 1/5/10
Journey broke apart because the lead singer broke his hip from rock climbing then he fell and broke his hip then his group journey told hims to get hip sugery. Then the lead singer said this is not a band option, it's a personal option so he quit because he was forced but he didn't get hip sugery though. SORRY JOURNEY FANS I HAD TO TELL YOU IF YOUR SAID THEN IM SO SORRY BUT THIS IS HOW LIFE GOES, BRAKE A ARM YOU NEED SURGERY THEN YOU CANT PLAY SOMETHING YOU LOVE TO DO EVERYDAY. I HAVE BEEN THROUGH THAT SO YOUR GOING TO HAVE TO KNOW HOW IT FEELS. IM NOT LIEING THIS IS TRUE
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