Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey is a documentary about the ’80s rock band and their pursuit to find a replacement singer to keep the band intact. I shows us the process that Lead Guitarist Neal Schon, Keyboardist Jonathan Cain, Bassist Ross Valory, and Drummer Deen Castronova that lead to the hiring of Filipino Arnel Pineda to replace legendary singer Steve Perry and try to mimic that amazing tenor sound that few can imitate. Journey formed in 1973 and Arnel Pineda would be it’s 4th lead vocalist.
YouTube makes the world a small place
Neal Schon was the reason that Journey found a “cover” band singer half way around the world. Neal spent hundreds of hours and pretty much exhausted every avenue and overturned every rock finding Arnel Pineda. Neal was at the point of giving up and so was the band and it wouldn’t be hard to blame them as they were on the impossible mission, trying to replace legend vocalist Steve Perry. Neal one night was on the internet and stumbled upon a Journey tribute band in the Philippines called “The Zoo.” Neal listened and immediately knew he found the “next Steve Perry.” Flying to the other of the world to a third world country was a leap of faith and so many things could go wrong but Journey took that journey.
Coming to America
In 2007, Arnel comes to San Francisco to try out with Journey. Knowing little English and having one week to impress the band that he has the voice and the showmanship to lead one of the most popular bands is about the worst bet any gambler would make. The tryout doesn’t start out with much hope as Arnel’s voice is flat probably due to a combination of nerves, the travel and anticipation. By the end of the week’s tryouts, Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain know they found their next lead singer after Arnel duplicates what Neal saw that night on the YouTube videos.
Chile, S.A. is his opening night
Performing in front of a small audience in the Philippines, hitting the right notes in a controlled environment like a studio is a lot different than playing in front of 20,000 people. People who know the band’s music by heart and can detect the slightest change in pitch or tone. The smartest move Journey made was introducing Arnel Pineda to his new fans in Chile, South America. At least Journey would have some time to quell the naysayers and give Arnel a decent chance at succeeding when they play before a loyal, devoted base of Steve Perry fans. Arnel “kills it” in Chile and brings an energy to an otherwise aged band as the members of the band sigh in relief.
We are allowed to now follow the evolution of Journey and watch the fans come to accept Arnel and seem to forget that Steve Perry was ever a part of the band. Arnel brings energy with his running around the stage and seems to make the old rockers on the stage look younger. It’s easy through this dynamic to see that each member has their own strength they bring to the band and Arnel’s is vigor and youth. Jonathan Cain watches the physical well being of the members. Nealis the creative mind. Ross Valory brings the soul and drummer Deen Castronova brings direction. Arnel is the symbolic “son” of each guy on stage and they are the surrogate father’s with Arnel being born from a part of each of them.
Not only does the band transform and re-invent itself again. Arnel is saved from the ghetto of he Philippines and is rescued from a life full of sadness and disappointment. Fast-forward 7 years and today, we meet Arnel and his lovely wife and family. They bought a home in the Philippines and there has been talk of Steve Perry rejoining Journey. Arnel seems okay with steeping aside as he has achieved his Cinderella story and nobody ever stopped Believing. Seems the journey isn’t over for Journey, only beginning again.
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