Journey (1973-1987, 1991, 1995-present): a Hard Rock band from San Francisco, California, USA.
riginally called The Golden Gate Bridge, Journey was founded by Neal Schon (guitar/vocals), George Tickner (guitar/vocals) and Prairie Prince (keyboards) but just before their deal with 'Columbia' and their recording of their eponymous 1975 debut Ross Valory (ex-Steve Miller Band; bass/vocals) was recruited along with Gregg Rolie (ex-Santana; vocals/keyboards) and finally Aynsley Dunbar (ex-Frank Zappa/ex-John Mayall/ex-Jeff Beck; drums) would replace the Tubes bound Prince.
Look Into The Future (1976) and Next (1977) showcased a sort of jazzy art rock sound, but with the release of Infinity (1978) and the addition of Robert Fleischman for vocals (who was quickly replaced with Steve Perry) they became a sleek AOR act ready for American FM radio. The album featured smooth and sleek hooky riffs and gave Perry free reign over his vocals, showcasing the act as a much more Pop-friendly beast. The Roy Thomas Baker (of Queen) produced album made 21 in the US The feat would be repeated with 1979's Evolution, making it to 20 in the US and an even 100 in the UK Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin', spun off from the album gave them 16 US on its own. But Dunbar had plans of his own and left to join Starship so Steve Smith stepped in to replace him.
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Departure (1980) saw them enter the US top 10 for the first time (8 to be exact) helped greatly by the track gone single Any Way You Want It making 23 on its own as the very first track on the album; it's feature in the hit classic Hollywood golf comedy movie Caddyshack gave it massive exposure and real estate value. Their first live set Captured (1981) followed on it's heels and made a 9 on the same chart.
Escape (1981) was next up and featured Johnathan Cain (ex-Babys) replacing Rolie. The album would prove to be their greatest ever by making a solid 1 in the US (22 UK) The album yielded no less than three hit spin off singles including Who's Crying Now, Open Arms and Don't Stop Believin'. Despite getting a universal slapping by the music elitist critics, Journey's music straddled the line between pop and Metal and even managed to finally break the almost impossible British top 10 with the follow-up album Frontiers (1983), settling in at 6 UK and 2 US.
A month later Schon's project would release its second, Here To Stay, with Ian Hammer on keyboards while Perry launched a reasonably successful solo career with Street Talk the next year. But by 1986 the vacation was over and Journey were back with Cain, Perry and Schon recruiting Larrie Londin (drums) and Randy Jackson (ex-Zebra; bass) but they would stay together only long enough for the release of Based On Radio (1986), an album that made a respectable 4 US/22 UK.
Based On Radio marked the end of the original Journey, and the members set off on their own pop and hard pop fashioned projects. Cain (along with Valory) joined Michael Bolton, while Schon went off with John Waite in Bad English before forming his own Hardline to release Double Eclipse in 1992 with the membership of himself and Johnny Schon (vocals), Joey Gioelli (guitar), Todd Jensen (ex-David Lee Roth; bass) and Dean Castronovo (ex-Bad English; drums). Shortly later, Rolie's project was on-going as well featuring himself along with Ross Valory (bass), Steve Smith (drums), Kevin Chalfant (ex-707; vocals) and Josh Ramos (ex-Le Mans; guitar) to release their self-titled effort in 1991.
By the middle of the 1990s reunions were popping up like mushrooms after a rain and Journey were no exception, so Schon, Perry, Cain and Smith brought it back together for an encore in 1996 to release Trial By Fire an album that incredibly made 3 on the US charts probably due to nostalgic fans. The reunion might have worked if the membership lasted for after the album Dean Castronovo replaced Smith on drums, but that wasn't all. The final blow was the departure of Perry and his virtual sound alike Steve Augeri replacing him on the follow-up 2001 release of Arrival that saw their first album since their founding to not chart significantly. The album attempted to recapture their classic times of the early 1980s (Departure) but it seemed to have fallen on deaf ears. The last album's title sort of summed it all up, however, for they had finally arrived and the journey was over.
Like all of us, Journey had much to see and more travels to make. In 1998, after auditioning several high-profile candidates, including Geoff Tate (Queensryche) and John West, Journey finally replaced Perry with Steve Augeri (ex-Tyketto/ex-Tall Stories). New drummer Deen Castronovo, Schon's and Cain's Bad English bandmate and drummer for Hardline, to replace Steve Smith for Arrival (2000) and Generations (2005).
For nearly a year, Jeff Scott Soto (of Talisman filled in, with the band for several months referring to him as their official lead singer. However, in June 2007, Soto was no longer with them. This arrangement was poorly timed for that spring, HBO aired the finale of their series The Sopranos, concluding with Journey's hit Don't Stop Believin' playing during the scene from a diner jukebox. Without a lead singer, the band found itself unable to tour to capitalize on the heightened nostalgia for 1980s music at the time, theirs included. It wouldn't be late that year on a YouTube search that Arnel Pineda would fill the role.
In June 2015, Castronovo was arrested following a domestic altercation; that August he would be fired by Journey to be replaced by Omar Hakim on the band's 2015 tour.
In 2016, Steve Smith would again return as drummer, re-uniting all of the members of the Escape-Frontiers-Trial by Fire lineup except lead singer Steve Perry.
This line-up would not last, however, for on March 3, 2020, Schon and Cain fired Smith and Valory, the promptly sued them for an alleged "attempted corporate coup d'état," seeking damages in excess of $10 million. The lawsuit alleged Smith and Valory tried to "assume control of Nightmare Productions because they incorrectly believe that Nightmare Productions controls the Journey name and Mark" in an effort to "hold the Journey name hostage and set themselves up with a guaranteed income stream after they stop performing.". The 'Nightmare Productions' in question was formed back in 1985 by Schon, Cain and Perry formed it to give the trio exclusive rights to the Journey Mark. The foundations of the suit lie in 1998 when Perry relinquished his rights to the other two in exchange for a percentage of Journey's profits from all subsequent albums and tours. In an open letter dated the same day of the suit, Schon and Cain stated Smith and Valory, "are no longer members of Journey; and that Schon and Cain have lost confidence in both of them and are not willing to perform with them again."
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Publicity photo of American Rock Band Journey
Photo by: Travis Shinn
CC BY-SA 3.0
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