Journey - Band history

Formation, 1973-1976

The original members of Journey came together in San Francisco in 1973 under the auspices of former Santana manager Herbie Herbert. Originally called the Golden Gate Rhythm Section and intended to serve as a backup group for established Bay Area artists, the band included recent Santana alumni Neal Schon on lead guitar and Gregg Rolie on keyboards and lead vocals. Drummer Prairie Prince of The Tubes, bassist Ross Valory of Frumious Bandersnatch, and rhythm guitarist George Tickner rounded out the group. The band quickly abandoned the original "backup group" concept and developed a distinctive jazz-fusion style. After an unsuccessful radio contest to name the group, a roadie suggested "Journey." The band's first public appearance came at the Winterland Ballroom on New Year’s Eve, 1973. Prairie Prince rejoined The Tubes shortly thereafter, and the band hired British drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who had recently worked with John Lennon and Frank Zappa. On February 5, 1974, the new line-up made their debut at the Great American Music Hall and secured a recording contract with Columbia Records.

Journey released their eponymous first album in 1975, and rhythm guitarist Tickner left the band before they cut their second album, Look into the Future (1976). Neither album sold much more than 100,000 copies, so Schon, Valory, and Dunbar took singing lessons in an attempt to add vocal harmonies to Rolie's lead. The following year's Next contained shorter tracks with more vocals and featured Schon as lead singer on several of the songs.

Old Journey Line-up

New musical direction, 1977-1980

Journey's album sales did not improve and Columbia Records requested that they change their musical style and add a frontman, with whom keyboardist Gregg Rolie could share lead vocal duties. The band hired Robert Fleischman and transitioned to a more popular style, akin to that of Foreigner and Boston. Journey went on tour with Fleischman in 1977 and together the new incarnation of the band wrote the hit "Wheel in the Sky." But fans were lukewarm to the change, and personality differences resulted in Fleischman's being fired within the year.

In the fall of 1977, Journey hired Steve Perry as their new lead singer. Perry added a clean, tenor sound and the band became a true pop act. Their fourth album, Infinity (1978) reached No. 21 on the album charts and gave the band their first RIAA-certified platinum single, "Lights".

Drummer Aynsley Dunbar did not get along with singer Steve Perry and did not approve of the new musical direction. He was fired in 1978 and replaced by Berklee-trained jazz drummer Steve Smith. Perry, Schon, Rolie, Smith, and bass player Ross Valory recorded 1979's Evolution, which gave the band their first Billboard Hot 100 Top 20 single, "Lovin,' Touchin,' Squeezin;'" and 1980's Departure, which reached No. 8 on the album charts and included the top-25 "Any Way You Want It".

Journey's newfound success brought the band an almost entirely new fan base. During the 1980 Departure world tour, the band recorded a live album, Captured, and recorded the soundtrack to the film Dream After Dream while in Japan.

Exhausted from extensive touring, keyboardist Gregg Rolie now left a successful band for the second time in his career. Rolie recommended pianist Jonathan Cain of The Babys as his replacement. With Cain's replacement of Rolie's Hammond B-3 organ with his own synthesizers, the band was poised to redefine rock music for a new decade in which they would achieve their greatest musical success.

Height of popularity, 1981-1983

Journey released their eighth and biggest-selling studio album, Escape, in 1981. The album, which would ultimately sell nine times platinum, went to number one on the album charts that year, and included three top-ten hits: "Who's Crying Now," "Don't Stop Believing," and "Open Arms".

Capitalizing on their success, the band recorded radio commercials for Budweiser and sold rights to their likenesses and music for use in two video games: the Journey arcade game by Bally/Midway and Journey Escape by Data Age for the Atari 2600.

This success was met with piqued criticism. The 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide gave each of the band's albums only one star, with Dave Marsh writing that "Journey was a dead end for San Francisco area rock." Marsh later would anoint Escape as one of the worst number-one albums of all time.

Journey's next album, 1983's Frontiers, continued their commercial success, reaching No. 2 on the album charts. Four hit singles included "Separate Ways," which reached #8, and "Faithfully," which reached #12. During the subsequent tour, the band contracted with NFL Films to record a video documentary of their life on the road, Frontiers and Beyond.

Break-up, 1984-1994

Lead singer Steve Perry and guitarist Neal Schon both pursued solo projects between 1982 and 1985, and when they returned to Journey to record their 1986 album Raised on Radio, bass player Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith were fired from the band for musical and professional differences. Studio musicians handled the two vacant slots, including future American Idol judge Randy Jackson and established session player Larrie Londin. The album sold two million copies. A truncated tour followed, which featured Jackson on bass and Mike Baird on drums. Steve Perry left Journey in 1987.

Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain teamed up with Cain's ex-Babys bandmates John Waite and Ricky Phillips, forming Bad English with drummer Deen Castronovo in 1988. Steve Smith started a jazz band, Vital Information, and teamed up with Ross Valory and Gregg Rolie to create The Storm with singer Kevin Chalfant and guitarist Josh Ramos.

Reunion, 1995-1997

Between 1987 and 1995, Journey released three compilations. In 1993, Kevin Chalfant (of The Storm) performed with members of Journey on a few shows, and Schon, Cain, Valory, Smith and Rolie briefly considered reuniting the band with Chalfant as lead singer. In 1995 Steve Perry agreed to rejoin the band on the condition that they seek new management. Herbie Herbert was fired and The Eagles Manager Irving Azoff retained.

In 1995, Perry, Schon, Cain, Valory, and Smith reunited to record Trial by Fire. Released in 1996, the album included the hit single "When You Love a Woman," which was nominated for a Grammy Award.

Plans for a subsequent tour ended when Perry injured his hip hiking in Hawaii, and could not perform without hip replacement surgery — which he refused to undergo. In 1998, Schon and Cain decided to seek a new lead singer, at which point drummer Steve Smith left the band as well.

Lead singer replaced, 1998-2006

In 1998, Journey hired drummer Deen Castronovo, Schon's and Cain's Bad English bandmate, and drummer for Hardline, to replace Steve Smith. The lead vocalist position was filled by Steve Augeri, former Tyketto and Tall Stories vocalist. The resemblance of Augeri to Perry caused a major rift among the longtime fans, but most fans reluctantly accepted the change.


Current Journey Line-up

In 1998, Journey with Steve Augeri and Deen Castronovo recorded a track for the soundtrack to the movie Armageddon called "Remember Me." The band released their next studio album, Arrival, in Japan in late 2000 and in the United States in 2001. "All the Way" became a minor adult contemporary hit from the album. In 2003, the band released a four-track CD titled "Red 13," with an album cover design chosen through a fan contest. In 2005 the band was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame, embarked on their 30th anniversary tour, and released their twelfth full-length studio album, Generations, in which each band member performed lead vocals on at least one song.

Lead singer replaced again, 2006-2007

Journey with new 2007 line up

In July 2006, Steve Augeri began experiencing problems with his voice caused by a throat infection. The band replaced him with Jeff Scott Soto from Talisman, who was confirmed as the official lead singer in December 2006. On June 12, 2007, Journey announced that Soto was no longer the lead singer, and said that they were looking to move in a new direction.

In December 2007, the band hired Filipino singer Arnel Pineda of the cover band The Zoo after Neal Schon saw him on YouTube singing covers of Journey songs. Journey debuted their new lead singer in February 2008 at the Viña del Mar International Song Festival in Chile, and the band announced that they would be producing a new album with Pineda by the summer.

In June 2008 Journey completed a highly successful tour of Europe and the UK. Arnel proved to be a big hit with the fans on this side of the pond. The new album 'Revelation' is selling well and has exceeded the promoter's expectations.

2010 - The band are back in the studio recording another album. There are no plans for a tour this year as they concentrate all their efforts into this CD.

Yet another successful stadium tour in Europe in 2011 supported by Styx and Foreigner, Journey with their new Album 'Eclipse' went down a storm and the band are now (summer 2012) due to complete the last leg of their USA tour. Tour dates are on the front page of the website.

Rumours have it that there is to be another tour of the Far East in 2013 which this time could also include Australia. Another European tour is also on the books.

Last updated August 2012

Photo of the new line up Journey 2008

Band history taken from

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