Showbiz Weekly 12/24/00
Veterans Get By With A Little Help From Their Fans
By Richard Abowitz
"We had taken such a long rest from music and the fan base was still there. We have built-in, hardcore Journey fans. If the fans are there it makes you want to play the music," says guitarist Neal Schon of the decision to reunite the arena-rock legends. "It was fun again."
Schon, who gained fame when he joined Santana in 1971 as a 15-year-old guitar wizard, has always had a partnership with his fans. When he formed Journey in
1973, a San Francisco radio station held a contest that allowed the winner to name the group.
Though Journey started out in a more experimental vein, the group, spurred by the addition of vocalist Steve Perry in 1977, found a recipe for pop that resulted in radio magic. Over the next four years, Journey recorded hits like
"Anyway You Want It," "Don't Stop Believing," "Open Arms," "Who's Crying Now" and "Wheel in the Sky." By 1987, however, the band ran out of steam.
Now, however, Journey is back. On the road for a tour, the group also has a
new studio album, Arrival, set to be released. "It was easy coming up with
material," says Schon. They also have a new singer, Steve Augeri, who once had problems in a previous band for sounding too much like Steve Perry.
As for the music on Arrival, fittingly, Schon tried to find the classic Jourey sound that fans liked best. "We did a lot of polls on our website. I'm basically going by what the fans are saying. I asked them questions and read their answers in terms of what they liked: people who like Escape or those who thought we should get back to the Infinity sound. I took it all in mind and dove back in time a bit and wrote some new stuff with the same feeling. I wanted to get back to the roots of it all."
This show at Mandalay Bay is a special occasion for the revamped Journey.
"The show that we are doing in Vegas is going to be filmed and recorded for a live DVD." Schon says.
In addition to the new songs, Journey also plays all the songs fans want to hear. Once again, the web and fans played a part. "We did a poll on our site and asked the fans what they wanted to hear in Vegas," Schon says.
REO Speedwagon, whose hits include "Keep On Loving You" and "Can't Fight
This Feeling," are also appearing.
Journey & REO Speedwagon
Where * Mandalay Bay
When * Dec.30
Information * 632-7580
SHOWBIZ WEEKLY 12/24/00 p90 - 91