The Rock Band Journey
Formation and Early days (1973-1976)
Journey is one of America’s biggest rock bands, from San Francisco, California formed in the last days of 1973. This band was founded by former members of a band called Santana (Warren & Romanowski, 2001, p.511). The bands’ music, in the span of 30 years, is described as “artful, intense, melodic rock played with passion and superb musicianship” (“Journey: Biography, no date).
The man responsible for pulling all the musical members for Journey was former Santana manager, Herbie Herbert. The band was originally intended to be a backup group and was first named Golden Gate Rhythm Section. Original members were former Santana Neal Schon (lead guitar) and Gregg Rolie (keyboards and lead vocals). Prairie Prince from a band called The Tubes was hired as a drummer, while Ross Valory and George Tickner, both from Frumious Bandersnatch, were recruited as the bassist and rhythm guitarist respectively. Dreaming for a potential success as a rock band, the group decided to abandon the idea of becoming only a backup group but instead explore music of their own known as progressive jazz rock. The bands name was then changed to Journey. The band made their first debut at the Winterland Ballroom on December 31, 1973.
However, Prairie Prince decided to go back to his former group The Tubes so that a new drummer, Aynsley Dunbar replaced him. This group with a new drummer made their first public appearance on February 5, 1974 at the Great American Music Hall, impressing Columbia Records with a contract. In the same year, the bands’ first album was released but unfortunately George Tickner left them before the release of their second album, Look into the Future in 1976. To add to their misfortune, both of these albums did not sell well and in 1977, the bands third album Next was released, with Schon taking the lead vocal in some songs (Voight, 2008; “Journey Frequently”, 1998; “Journey: Biography”, no date)
Because of their low album sales, Columbia Records pressured them to change their musical style and add another vocalist alongside Gregg Rolie. Briefly, Robert Fleischman was selected for the slot before he was eventually replaced by Steve Perry. Steve Perry, with his pure and distinctive voice, was considered an appropriate replacement. In 1978, their fourth album, Infinity reached No. 21 on the album charts, earning them their first platinum , with hit singles “Lights” and “Wheel In the Sky”( Voight, 2008; “Journey: Biography, no date).
Another member replacement took place in 1978 when drummer Aynsley Dunbar was fired due to disapproval with the new highly pop style and his difficulty working with Steve Perry. A jazz drummer named Steve Smith replaced him, and together with the other members they released their Evolution album in 1979. Evolution secured Journey their first Billboard Top 20 hit single, “Lovin,’Touchin,’ Squeezing”. The 1980 album titled Departure, on the other hand, reached No. 8 on the album charts with top-25 hit ” Any Way You Want It” and became Journeys third consecutive multiplatinum album ( Warren & Romanowski,2001,p.512; Voight, 2998). Because of these successes, the group embarked in their 1980 Departure world tour wherein they recorded both a live album titled Captured that surprised many critics with its “cranked up guitars and raucous and hard rock” ( “Journey: Biography ,no date).
Afterwards, Gregg Rolie decided to take a break and leave the band and was replaced by pianist Jonathan Cain from the group The Baby’s upon his recommendation. Cain brought with him his own synthesizers which revolutionizes the band from a highly instrumental progressive rock band into popular hard-pop bands (Warren & Romanowski, 2001, p.511).
Height of Popularity (1981-1983) and Break up (1984-1994)
With the release of their eight album ,Escape, that sold 7million copies (their best-selling ever) , in 1981, the band enjoyed their highest musical success ,with nine platinum and topping the album charts as number one for over a year with hit singles “Who’s Crying Now”, “Don’t Stop Believin’’and with ballad song like “Open Arms” . With their unprecedented success they made a commercial for Budweiser and inspire a video game, Journey-Escape (Warren & Romanowski, 2001, p.512).With their ninth album, in 1983 , titled Frontier’s, the bands success continued as it stayed #2 in Billboard charts for nine weeks with hit singles “Separate Ways” and “Faithfully” (Warren & Romanowski, 2001, p.512; “Journey: Biography,[no date]).
Between 1982 and 1986 a sign of band breakup was looming with some group members like Steve Perry (who eventually left the band in 1987) and Neal Schon doing solo stints, while Ross Valory and Steve Smith were fired for musical and professional differences after releasing the album Raised on Radio in 1986. The vacant slots were then filled in by now American Idol judge Randy Jackson alongside player Larrie Londin. Meanwhile, each member formed their own separate groups; Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain and other artists formed a band called Bad English while Ross Valory, Steve Smith and Gregg Rolie formed The Storm (Warren & Romanowski, 2001, p.235, 512; “Journey: [no date]; Voight, 2008).
Reunion (1995-1997) `
The group (Perry, Schon, Cain, Valory and Smith) reunited in 1996 and released a reunion record Trial by Fire with the hit single “When You Love a Woman,” which earned them for a nomination in the 1997 Grammy. Another breakup again occurred in 1998 however when Perry suffered hip injury and with Steve Smith leaving the band (Voight, 2008).
The band from 1998 to the present
In 1998, Steve Smith was replaced by Deen Castronovo, while Perry was replaced by Steve Augeri. They then recorded a movie soundtrack for “Armageddon” called Remember Me that was a certified hit. In 2001 they released their album Arrival that gave them a hit on adult contemporary radio and went on World Tour; in 2005 the band was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2006, Steve Augeri left the band due to throat infection problems, was for a time replaced by Jeff Scott Soto but was then replaced in 2007 up to the present by a Filipino singer, Arnel Pineda, from the cover band The Zoo ( “Journey: Biography, no date; Voight, 2008). Interestingly, Arnel was hired as the band lead vocalist after he was seen by Neal Schon performing Journey’s songs in Youtube. With Pineda on board, the band then released an album Revelation which had become the bands most successful album after Trial by Fire for it sold 104,000 units in the first week. At the moment, JOURNEY, is busy on their new album which they hope to release this year (“Journey Homepage, 2008).
“Journey: Biography”. (No date). Retrieved October 14, 2008 from http://www.wma.com/journey/bio/JOURNEY.pdf
Journey Frequently Asked Questions. (1998). Retrieved October 14, 2008 from http://www.journey-tribute.com/journey/resources/faq/faq-s2.html
Journey Homepage. 2008. Retrieved October 14, 2008 from http://www.journeymusic.com/home.html
Warren, H.G. and P. Romanowski ,(eds). (2001). The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll (Revised and updated for the 21st Century), 3rd edition. New York: Rolling Stone Press.
Voight, Ginger. (2008). Band Reviews: Journey. Helium, Incorporated Online. Retrieved October 14, 2008 from http://www.helium.com/items/994949-band-reviews-journey.