From Andrew at Melodicrock:
NEW SINGER AND NEW MATERIAL FOR JOURNEY IN 2008:
2007 has been a long year for curious Journey fans and followers, patiently waiting to hear what the next move from the band would be following the decision to part with vocalist Jeff Scott Soto. And the demand for information from readers has been constant, so without further delay – it is finally time for a Journey update.
The band has a new singer. An official announcement and press release will come in due course, but I can confirm today that the brand new vocalist for Journey is Arnel Pineda. Arnel is the frontman for Philippines rock band Zoo, who earlier in 2007 released their debut album Zoology. Arnel is no stranger to performing, having been in various Asian bands since the 80s and has previously released a solo album back in 1999. But it is Zoo that has captured people’s attention – the band are extremely popular on the club circuit in the Philippines, and to a worldwide audience via a number of clips posted to YouTube. The band is known not only for their originals but for their performances of an array melodic rock covers. The band’s most popular covers have been that of Journey’s classics and it is these YouTube performances that caught the eye and ear of guitarist Neal Schon.
Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain and Journey management were so impressed they flew Arnel to San Francisco for an official audition. Now the band are eyeing off future moves, with a big 2008 on the horizon. A major US tour with possibly 2 other bands in tow has been planned and what’s even more interesting is news that the band has already been recording in San Francisco under the watchful eye of producer Kevin Shirley (responsible for the Trial By Fire and Arrival records with the band). Kevin Shirley has recently commented on his Web Diary that he was working with some “old friends from the Bay Area”. Then this comment a week or two later:
“Gosh, is it still 1980? Finished a wonderful, successful, stupidly creative stint in the Bay Area and then drove back home last night, feeling chuffed as only those rare, monster sessions leave you. Sometimes you just know when there’s history in the making…”
I contacted Kevin for a comment, but it was another contact that touched base first. I have been given the ok to print those comments from Kevin here:
“Neal and Jon called me and asked me in November to check out a couple of new songs, for an upcoming and possible project with Journey. I went to San Francisco to assess the new Journey and check out the material. I am so swamped, have a new baby and I did not want to be involved if it wasn’t focused and great. I thought I’d be there for 2 days. First, I was stunned at Arnel, who is a monster vocalist. He is the real deal. Just phenomenal. Its true Neal found him on YouTube. Next I heard the songs. I am always in awe of Jonathan Cain as songwriter/producer and together with Neal Schon, who adds the rock element, they are one of the great songwriting partnerships. Its true they don’t always see eye to eye musically, but the combination is magic. We spent a while talking and seeing where they were at. I have been brutally honest with them, and was not interested in being any part of them being a nostalgia/tribute band, which could happen if their focus got lost. Some of the songs were lacking direction which I, as an outspoken and brutal outsider, immediately pointed out and set about repairing. So I cut a couple of tracks and with all the shit out of the way, you have to hear them ignore their egos and me, and just play as Journey. All together in the studio. What a privilege to see all 5 of them playing together. They are fantastic. I am always cogniscent of the space Perry and Smith occupy in the sound and legacy, and won’t let that be underplayed, and Deen and Arnel are brilliant musicians, and with a little focus the entire band has found their place again. This is stronger than Trial By Fire and sounds like Journey, but state-of-the-art. People always talk up upcoming material, but just wait. Its unbelievable. There’s a full album of new material coming, but much more, too. Don’t believe all you read – there is no one else but the band in the studio to hear the music (although we do have a Make-A-Wish kid coming in soon). And that’s the dirt from Las Vegas, where I am mixing seven new original songs. I head back to San Francisco after a quick visit to London, to see the Led Zep reunion, to finish off where we began. I can’t wait, and you are going to love it!”
There has been talk of the band working on other recordings in the studio, but I’ll leave that for another update. What I can tell you is that an album of all new studio material is being worked on and is due for release in the American summer of 2008.
Journey’s first two shows of 2008 will be in South America – February 21th at Festival of Viña del Mar, at Quinta Vergara Arena and February 23 at Estadio San Carlos de Apoquindo in Santiago.
Andrew is usually on the money when it comes to things like this and he is very close to the journey camp. This has been in the works for a long time so I expect to see an official press release soon. Stay tuned!