In a candid conversation with Rolling Stone, Arnel Pineda, the lead vocalist of Journey, delved into the tantalizing notion of reuniting with the band’s iconic former singer, Steve Perry.
Pineda, exhibiting unwavering enthusiasm, expressed his firm support for the idea, even if it meant relinquishing his current role.
Journey is presently immersed in the creation of a fresh album, a venture featuring Arnel’s vocal prowess. The group’s musical offerings are readily accessible on Amazon for those curious to explore.
Reflecting on the unforgettable moment of meeting Steve Perry at the Rock Hall ceremony, Pineda recollected, “I had waited 35 years for that, and it felt like a dream come true. Meeting him was a surreal experience considering his elusive nature and preference for avoiding the limelight.”
He continued, “Initially, he shied away from interviews, preferring to maintain a low profile until the release of his new record, ‘Traces.’ Surprisingly, he emerged from the shadows, engaging with radio stations and granting interviews.”
Pineda’s astonishment at Perry’s willingness to meet him was palpable. “It was a profoundly special moment in my life,” he emphasized. “Steve Perry is one of my singing heroes. I have vivid memories of listening to his voice on my Walkman during the ’80s, a time when Journey’s melodies kept me company on countless bus rides.”
Pineda’s admiration extended to Perry’s recent solo release. “His new record was truly exceptional. I’ve playfully suggested to Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon, ‘Why not invite Steve Perry for a tour?’ The mere thought of it is exhilarating.”
Having missed the chance to witness the band during the ’80s due to geographical limitations, Pineda shared, “In my youth, I was a young kid in Manila, a world apart from the opportunity to see their performances in the States. Nonetheless, they held a special place in my heart as one of my favorite bands.”
Pineda’s interactions with Perry have been frequent in recent years. He admitted, “We’ve had several conversations, including one just a few weeks ago. From our discussions, I am increasingly convinced that he has confidence in passing the Journey legacy to me.”
Pineda acknowledged the weight of this trust, remarking, “While I’m deeply honored, it does place additional pressure on me. Nevertheless, I hold onto the hope that one day, he might join the band for a few songs. Such an event would undoubtedly be a pinnacle in my life.”
Comparing the potential reunion to monumental acts like Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd regrouping, Pineda mused, “The magnitude of such an occurrence would rival the impact of Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd reuniting. It’s akin to closing a circle, returning to the stage where it all began.”
Expressing a longing for Perry’s return, Pineda remarked, “Still, I can’t help but wish for Steve Perry’s presence. His absence is keenly felt. While Adam Lambert is undoubtedly talented, I find myself revisiting the old Queen performances with Freddie Mercury. There’s a unique connection with the originals.”
Addressing the possibility of losing his role to Perry, Pineda’s devotion was clear. “Losing my position would be a sacrifice I’m willing to make. My adoration for Steve Perry and Journey is immeasurable. In 2005, I even left a job in Hong Kong due to vocal issues, joking with friends about my regret of not having sung alongside Perry. Little did I know, life would unfold in unexpected ways.”
Pineda’s ultimate aspiration remained constant: “I yearn for that one show with him. It would redefine my existence. Over three decades have passed, and Journey continues to transform my life in unimaginable ways.”
Reflecting on the departure of Ross Valory and Steve Smith from the band, Pineda admitted the sentimentality. “Of course, I miss them. The connections we forged were authentic and unbreakable. The day Steve Smith returned, his tentative observation soon evolved into a comfortable camaraderie. A four-year journey with him was profoundly special, just as my 11-year association with Ross was extraordinary. These friendships are eternal.”
Addressing the tensions that have marked Journey’s history, Pineda’s stance was clear: “I opt to stay neutral and uninvolved. When disagreements arise among the band members, I remain focused on my role as a singer, dedicated to delivering the legacy on stage. The shared musical experience seems to bridge our differences.”
Addressing a past controversy surrounding his White House visit and meeting with President Trump, Pineda defended his choice. “My visit wasn’t about politics or personalities; it was about the historical significance of the White House. As a Filipino, I was entranced by the venue’s history. While I understand the concerns, I harbor no regrets. Neal’s understanding is paramount, as I’m just a Manila kid who yearned to touch a piece of history.”