, Newburyport, MA


November 1, 2012

Hoping for 'Open Arms'

Journey takes the stage at Verizon Wireless Arena


For those that feel Journey is not Journey without Perry, Castronovo had some other things to say about Pineda, 44, that should clear up any questions about the current singer’s place in the band.

“Let’s put it this way, if Arnel decides to leave this band, the band is done,” Castronovo said. “We’re not going to go find another singer. It’s just silly to do that.

“He goes out there and he gives it his all, he really does,” the drummer said. “And we respect him and love him like a brother, and I think he knows that. He feels that with us…The chemistry is right. And with other singers, the chemistry wasn’t as good. When he came in and auditioned, dude, we knew. Not only is he singing great, but what a sweetheart.”

Journey has indeed had its issues with singers since its first run of popularity with Perry.

After gaining major success in the late 1970s and early 1980s with a string of hit albums — “Evolution,” “Departure,” “Escape” (the band’s biggest success), “Frontiers” and “Raised On Radio,” the band broke up for nearly a decade before reuniting briefly in the mid-1990s, only to see Perry leave the band for good after one album, the 1996 release “Trial By Fire.”

The group’s remaining core members, Neal Schon (guitars), Jonathan Cain (keyboards) and Ross Valory (bass), then brought in Castronovo on drums and singer Steve Augeri to complete the new Journey.

Augeri bowed out in 2006, and was briefly replaced by Jeff Scott Soto before Schon discovered Pineda on a You Tube video and brought him on board as Journey’s current singer. Journey without Perry, though, didn’t return to arena-filling popularity right away.

“I remember saying Jonathan saying ‘You know what, we have to re-educate the people. This is not going to be easy,” Castronovo said. “We were playing to 1,500 people a night, and they were all arms-crossed, going there’s no way that this band is going to sound good without Steve Perry. And it took us a good five years of constant touring and constant work and constant re-education for people to realize, you know what, no matter who’s in that band, it’s the songs that are timeless. It’s the songs that people connect with. It doesn’t matter who’s playing them or singing them.”

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