I have these personal essays bottled up in me. Some day, I want to get to them after I write my third novel, a collection of short stories, and a new solo show. I think about that time of coming of age. I want to write about the music that I listened to. I just read from the Thai Crackhead known as Prince Gomolvilas that the band Journey, whose Escape album was part of my development, recently announced their new lead singer...and he's Filipino. They found him on You Tube of all places.
From the Journey Website:
(Oh, the Noel referred to in the press release is not me.)December 5, 2007 -- After much speculation…the wait is finally over. JOURNEY--Neal Schon (guitar), Jonathan Cain (keyboards), Ross Valory (bass), Deen Castronovo (drums)--is proud to introduce fans all over the world to their new lead singer, Arnel Pineda (“pin-eh-da”). He replaces Jeff Scott Soto, who parted ways with the band earlier this year after stepping in for Steve Augeri, who had to leave the band in 2006 for medical reasons.
Arnel hails from Quezon City in the Philippines and has been singing Journey songs--in addition to original material--with his band, The Zoo, for the past couple of years in clubs all over his homeland. Joining the legendary band is a dream come true for him. “It’s so exciting to sing with one of the best bands in the world. It’ll be a lot of hard work on my part and I’m actually looking forward to the scrutiny I’ll get from the hardcore JOURNEY fans. I know they’ll expect me to sound exactly like ‘the voice’ (Steve Perry), but that will never happen. I know there's only one Steve Perry in this world.”
When it was time for JOURNEY to look for a new lead singer, the internet came to their rescue. Guitarist Neal Schon wanted someone new to the music business, so he turned to YouTube. After finding Arnel singing “Faithfully,” he knew he had found the perfect frontman.
“I was frustrated about not having a singer,” explains guitarist Neal Schon, “so I went on YouTube for a couple of days and just sat on it for hours. I was starting to think I was never going to find anybody. But then I found The Zoo and I watched a bunch of different video clips that they had posted. After watching the videos over and over again, I had to walk away from the computer and let what I heard sink in because it sounded too good to be true. I thought, ‘he can’t be that good.’ But he is that good, he’s the real deal and so tremendously talented. Arnel doesn’t sound synthetic and he’s not emulating anyone. I tried to get a hold of him through YouTube and I finally heard from him that night, but it took some convincing to get him to believe that it really was me and not an imposter.”
Arnel Pineda picks up the story: “My friend Noel picked up the message on YouTube and told me it was from Neal. I thought it was a hoax so I ignored it. Noel said, ‘what if it really was Neal and he wanted to offer you the chance of a lifetime?’ So I e-mailed Neal back and the rest is history.”
“Arnel brings a soulful and passionate voice to JOURNEY,” continues keyboardist Jonathan Cain. “His personality is very well-suited to our music. He’s a sincere, authentic person with a great smile and a big heart. I think fans are really going to love him. With Arnel’s soaring tenor, Journey returns to our heritage sound.”
Schon agrees, “We feel reborn. I think there’s a lot of chemistry between the five of us. At first we were going to go into the studio and just write 4 songs, but now it’s escalated to a lot of great new and diverse material. The stuff sounds tremendous. Everyone’s so stoked about it. We feel very fortunate to have found Arnel.”
JOURNEY is currently working on a new album with legendary producer Kevin Shirley, which they hope to release by spring/summer 2008. Details will be announced early next year.
More in this Rolling Stone article.