Journey: Are They Going Their Separate Ways?
Let The Mind Games Begin
Off on Another Rollicking Tour, The Classy Journey-men Are Handling Those "Is This Your Last LP?" Q's With Style And Flair
Why is it that whenever a rock band becomes accepted by everyone in the country, and not just a few friends 'n fans in their hometown, that questions and rumors of their imminent downfall and/or demise crop up?! That's what those talented singer-songwriter-musicians in rock's hottest band, Journey, are facing at a time when they should be at their happiest and trouble free! And to their credit Steve Perry, Neal Schon, Jonathon Cain, Ross Valory and Steve Smith have remained cheerful and polite throughout proving, once again, that they truly deserve their great reputation!
The How And Why Of It
At Journey's initial press conference, a laughing Steve Perry was overheard responding to just such a rumor-starting question ("Will Frontiers be Journey's last album?) with "They never tell me anything!" During the actual conference, when the question came up in earnest, a frustrated Steve laughed again and said "Probably second to the last!" Everyone knew that Steve was joking and that the question was impossible to answer and served no real purpose other than to stir things up. Steve and the others in the group had heard it before, and decided to use humor to deal with it. Why would they want to break up anyway? It's a fact that Journey is one of today's most successful rock bands! Their last LP, Escape, was still on the charts when Frontiers came out (after nearly two years and some five and a half million albums sold), and had even evolved into the first rock 'n roll video game ever! This after ten years of records albums and tours that gave new meaning to the words "sold out!" Everyone wanted to see and hear Journey because they're super musicians! They're super businessmen too, another reason why they enjoy working together. In 1973, when Journey manager Herbie Herbert first helped bring the band together, the focus of the group wasn't on the melodic rock as much as it was on progressive rock. By '77, when Steve Perry joined up for the Infinity album, the band was ready to focus on songs and not just long complicated musical sentences. When high album sales and cheering concert-goers let Journey know they were on the right track, the band evolved into a well-oiled, nearly self-sufficient business in order to maintain complete control over the music and product their name was stamped on. No longer did band members have to suffer the indignities of struggling musicians. They could make their music, present it at its best, earn a living wage and even save for retirement too! Today, Journey writes, sings, and records their music with producers of their own choosing; they rehearse in a warehouse/rehearsal studio they own; they do their own art, photo and design work; and they own their own lighting company as well as the trucks that help get them and other performers out on the road. It's a situation many other rock acts would like to duplicate.
Did Frontiers Fire The Flame?
Are the Journey guys at a new frontier though? Are they living on "The Edge Of The Blade"? Are they about to go their "Separate Ways" because they need new challenges? Journey certainly needs to have hope for the future and explore new possibilities, but the truth is, they haven't even finished exploring their own backyard yet!! Branching off into related rock businesses has opened whole new worlds for them. Doing more soundtracks, entire movies, the possibilities are still endless! And doing solo work, Steve Perry with Kenny Loggins, Steve Smith's jazz album, and Neal's two LPs with Jan Hammer, has kept them fresh musically and creatively too. But "Separate Ways"? No, the Journey chemistry is just right for now, and none of the guys is willing to play with it.
Does that mean Journey will never break up? That Steve Perry will never do a solo LP? That everything will stay the same? One thing the Journey guys have learned is to never say never. The only plans they have now is to work together to give you the best Frontiers tour they've got to give. They didn't put down nearly three-quarters of an hour's worth of original music for nothing! They wanted to write and play the songs and most of all they wanted you to hear them!
Journey is Steve Perry's first big band; Neal's grown up inside of the Journey family; Ross loves nothing more than taking his bass out on stage with Journey; Steve Smith had his first real crack at rock 'n roll drumming with Journey; and Jonathan Cain had his first big success with the band. They truly are a musical family that's grown together, and because they're not any better at looking into the future than anyone else, they're just taking life, and music, one frontier at a time!