Ever since Journey reformed in 1998 without singer Steve Perry, the band has had to deal with the popularity Perry helped create, as his supple, note-stretching voice became one of the biggest signature elements in hits like “Don’t Stop Believin’,’ “Open Arms,” “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” and “Anyway You Want It.”
Perry’s shadow perhaps looms larger than ever now over Journey thanks to the renewed popularity the group has enjoyed over the past few years, thanks in a large part to having several of its hit songs used on hit television shows, commercials and in movies.
The leader of the pack has been “Don’t Stop Believing,” which introduced Journey to a whole new young audience when it was used in the final episode of “The Sopranos” and later performed on “Glee.” As Journey returns to playing arenas like the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H. on Saturday, a new generation are waiting to hear the music without knowing about all of Journey’s incarnations.
According to drummer Deen Castronovo, some concert-goers don’t even know that Perry left Journey and the band is on its third singer since then in Arnel Pineda. And there are a significant number of fans who want Perry back and haven’t fully accepted Journey in its current form.
“You still have haters out there, sure you do,” Castronovo said, noting that he understands their feelings. “I mean, to me, I’ve said it in a million interviews. Steve Perry is a god to me. I mean, he was one of the first singers I ever tried to sing to when I was 11 or 12 years old. I mean, to me he’s one of the greatest singers of my generation, and the fans feel the same way, some of them. Yeah, they can be kind of nasty. They can be rough, and you see the reviews. We have a lot of racial things sometimes (aimed at Pineda, who is from the Philippines), and that’s kind of tough. We have a lot of ‘Journey without Steve Perry is a karaoke band.’ OK, if that’s what you feel, but you know what, we still go out there and we deliver.”