- Don Thrasher Contributing Writer
Journey, performing at the Nutter Center in Fairborn on Tuesday, April 4, was one of the most successful American rock bands of the late 20th century. The group still fills arenas based on the power of its deep discography, but members Neal Schon (guitar), Ross Valory (bass, backing vocals), Jonathan Cain (keyboards), Steve Smith (drums) and Arnel Pineda (lead vocals) watched as acts with smaller sales were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
That changes on April 7, when Journey receives the overdue honor alongside Yes, Electric Light Orchestra, Joan Baez, Tupac Shakur and Pearl Jam.
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“We had a joke that all of our opening acts were in the Hall of Fame and, finally, we get the nod,” Cain said in a recent telephone interview. “I’m honored and very grateful to have our music be remembered like that. It was worth the wait.
“The ceremony is the first time we’re going to get to see Steve Perry in a long time, so that’ll be fun,” Cain said. “As far as we know he’s just going to accept the award and then skedaddle. That’s all I know, unless something changes. Arnel is going to represent very well, like he always does.”
Cain is referring to former vocalist Steve Perry and Journey’s current singer, Arnel Pineda, who was famously discovered by the band through online performance videos.
“It’s amazing because Arnel has been consistently on the road for 10 years now,” Cain said. “I don’t think any singer in the band has stayed on the road as long as Arnel has. When we think back to the Steve Perry days, he wasn’t in the band for 10 years straight, faithfully being the road singer.
“Steve left and did his solo thing and years went on when we weren’t playing anywhere,” Cain continued. “We weren’t doing anything.”
Journey is currently on tour with special guests Asia.
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“This our first time touring with Asia and it’s been going great,” Cain said. “We look for new packages to put together and try to bring in good bands. We’ve been very lucky to tour with great acts like Heart, Peter Frampton, Def Leppard, Foreigner, Steve Miller and the Doobie Brothers. Two groups are better than one most of the time because you give people a real reason to come out. It’s always interesting and fun.
“We’re trying to conquer new territories and we’ll continue playing new places,” Cain added. “We’ve played some cities we haven’t played in a longtime and sold them out, which is really cool.”