In an earlier post, we examine my clever neologism of simulrockrum, the idea of an imitation in the rock realm superseding its original, with Guitar Hero, competitive air guitar, and bassists who play along with records and put them up on YouTube offered as examples. Today we're going to talk about some more simulrockra, with a Journey with the rock band Journey.
Steve Perry, as many readers might know, is the former lead singer of the rock band Journey. The band was an ubiquitous presence on FM radio in the late 70s and 80s ("Faithfully," "Any Way You Want It," "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'). And you might recall their song "Don't Stop Believin'" was featured in final scene of The Sopranos finale.
The band broke up in 1984, reunited around 1986 after founding drummer Steve Smith and Ross Valory were thrown out, who were then replaced by two drummers and, on bass, future American Idol judge Randy "Yo Dog" Jackson on bass (that's Jackson and Perry, left).
The band broke up again in 1987, then reunited in 1995. Perry bailed shortly after a release of a new album because he needed a total hip replacement procedure that he was not willing to undergo, and so was unable to tour.
Several of the other band members, most notably founding member and lead guitarist Neil Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain, were not willing to go gently into that rock night. So they found a replacement singer, and that's where the Journey simulrockrum begins. Steve Augeri, a Steve Perry look- and sound-alike, was recruited to replace Perry. Augeri who toured and recorded them for years. Last year he, too, had take leave for his own health problems. Augeri was replaced on tour by Jeff Scott Soto, a journeyman lead vocalist. (Soto occasionally plays for Queen fan conventions. I saw Soto sing at a Breakthru North American Queen Fan Club Convention with a pickup band some years back, and he rocked.)
Soto was thrown out under mysterious circumstances last year, and now we have another Steve Perry soundalike: Arnel Pineda, whom Neil Schon saw on YouTube singing Journey songs.
Pineda isn't the first singer from a cover or tribute band to be snapped up to sing in the real deal band--the story of Tim Ripper Owens, who sang in Judas Priest tribute band British Steel and went on to replace the real lead singer Rob Halford, remains the touchstone simulrockrum tale. (The Mark Wahlberg film Rock Star is based on Owen's rise to fame; not incidentally, the original lead singer's voice of the fictional band depicted in that film, Steel Dragon, is none other than Jeff Scott Soto.)
The story of this young man who sang cover songs and is plucked out of obscurity in the Philippines to become Journey's new lead singer touched a media nerve. A few days ago, the new Journey debuted on U.S. TV on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Ellen had been following the Cinderella Pineda simulrockrum story from the start. Here's a clip:
Two other Journey simulrockra:
1. The now-defunct Perry Tales website, which offered up Journey fan fiction and poetry. That's Perry over there, photoshopped into a Arthurian knight get-up and mounted on a horse. This image, at least for this guest blogger, is as close to Immanuel Kant's notion of the sublime as one can get.
My favorite work on the site remains the comedic fan fiction farce, "Planes, Trains, Automobiles" [here's a pdf of that].
2. I have also started to view fan-made YouTube clips with "imagined reunions" of Journey, made by fans, with spliced-together versions of Journey classics which speculate a world where Augeri and Perry would sing duet-style. Here's a simulrockrum reunion of Journey's power ballad "Open Arms":