Journey's Cain hasn't stopped believing

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Journey's Cain hasn't stopped believing

Postby tater1977 » Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:57 pm

Journey's Cain hasn't stopped believing ... -believing

Written by Chris Varias

When Jonathan Cain was a struggling musician living in Los Angeles, his dad gave him some words of encouragement.

“Don’t stop believing,” his dad told him.

Cain wrote down the phrase and put it to use several years later after joining Journey, when he and band mates Steve Perry and Neal Schon were putting together what would become what Cain rightfully calls the band’s “legacy song,” “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

That song and Journey’s current vocalist Arnel Pineda were topics of discussion during a phone interview with Cain from his home in Nashville. The band plays Riverbend Music Center tonight.

Question: Journey is called an ’80s arena-rock band, but when you go to a Journey show it appears that the band’s popularity has crossed into a new generation. Do you attribute that to “Don’t Stop Believin’?”

Answer: I just think it’s timeless music. You can’t really pigeonhole it in an era. We were careful when we wrote these lyrics not to sing about too many pedestrian things. There’s a youth to it and an innocence that we used to get rapped for. “Journey’s lightweight rock” and all this stuff. It turns out, the innocent boy-next-door thing that Journey was about is very appealing to lots of generations.

Q: Is that what you were aiming for back then, innocence?

A: I did. I got the character. Every band has a character. The Eagles can sometimes be cynical and sarcastic and write certain types of songs. Lyrically what Steve had brought to the table and with his pop sensibility was this character. The character was this apple-pie, boy-next-door American kid that never really got the girl in the end. Even in “Lovin’, Touchin’” she was out screwing around with somebody else. So there was always an innocence. We never wrote the cock-rock song. Girls, girls, girls wasn’t a Journey thing. Maybe that’s why it translates, I don’t know. Certainly “Glee” helped, “The Sopranos” helped, “Rock of Ages” helped.

Steve, Neal and I always talked about the legacy kinds of bands, and would Journey end up being a legacy band, and would we have a song with a legacy. And the answer to both questions turned out to be yes. (“Don’t Stop Believin’” is) still a popular song and the kids still dig Journey. (Critics) can bash us. I don’t care. They do it all the time. They can dismiss us as fodder. We’re still rocking. We’ve sold over 100 million albums now, and Rolling Stone (magazine) can go scratch, as far as I’m concerned. Where are they now? Where are they, and where are we? They were a big critic of ours back in the ‘80s. No, we’re not R.E.M. We’re Journey, and people like it.

Q: Why has “Don’t Stop Believin’” become such a cultural phenomenon?

A: When I look back on it, I believe it gives people sort of a movie where they can find permission to dream. There must be a lot of lonely girls and city boys and just dreamers in general wanting to hear that there is a better place, there is better stuff out there. Life’s a bitch, and then you get lucky. Who else but Arnel Pineda should be singing that song? He’s the poster child for “Don’t Stop Believin’” coming from poverty and homelessness and all the stuff he’s gone through. It’s destiny that he ends up carrying the torch for us. When he stands on stage and sings that, it’s like, he’s been there.

It’s odd enough that it ended up in “Rock of Ages,” because a lot of the song is about Sunset Boulevard in the ‘70s. That was where I drew the “strangers waiting up and down the boulevard in the shadows searching in the night.” On a Friday night in 1972 on Sunset Boulevard, that was the scene. It was a circus. My brother and I landed in Hollywood from Chicago, going, “What the heck is this? What are all these people doing and where did they come from?” It hit us that they were all there to get their dream, whatever it was.

Q: When the band hired Arnel, were you confident it would work, or did you have doubts?

A: I guess I was the Doubting Thomas. I thought he was amazing when I saw him on Youtube, and I was just kind of like, “How are we gonna do this?” With homeland security being so tight and him growing up in another world, how’s that gonna work? I had a lot of questions for management. We took him into the studio, and that’s what really sold me, when we recorded him. His voice was very, very strong. And I said to Neal, “If you wanna make a new album, this is your guy.” Just to be sure I sent him to our voice coach, this guy in Hollywood, before he went back to Manila, and this guy called me and said, “Probably one of the finest tenors that ever stepped foot in my house.” I thought, “you know what, he’s a diamond in the rough. We’re gonna have to be patient.” And you know what, it’s like watching a rock star. The guy really evolved as an entertainer.

Q: You probably have been asked this all the time, but I’ve never seen the answer: Is there any chance that Steve Perry would rejoin the band?

A: It’s really hard for me to talk for him. There’s been an open invitation for him to sit in. Many times we’ve said, “Come down.” But he’s chosen to sort of stay retired and stay out of the limelight. You never say never. We don’t have any ill will between us, and he’s been nothing but cooperative when it comes to these licenses and requests that we get. He’s been very, very cooperative. Even Arnel is open to sharing the stage. Gosh, if he came out for two or three numbers we’d be thrilled.
Perry's good natured bonhomie & the world’s most charmin smile,knocked fans off their feet. Sportin a black tux,gigs came alive as he swished around the stage thrillin audiences w/ charisma that instantly burnt the oxygen right out of the
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