‘What’s the point of making a new CD?’: Journey is at a crossroads after Eclipse stiffs

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Journey’s most recent release, 2011’s heavy-rocking Eclipse, debuted at No. 13 in the U.S. — but keyboardist Jonathan Cain says sales quickly fell off afterward.

That has Journey, he says, rethinking their entire approach to recording.

Like most bands from the classic-rock era, new albums are not the draw they once were. Many, like Styx, are simply releasing singles — often repackaged with older hits.

[SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: Ex-drummer Steve Smith talks about teaming up with Journey’s Neal Schon again for a new album, reigniting a platinum-era partnership.]

Cain, in an interview with The Pulse Of Radio, says Journey might turn to releasing EPs, rather than full-lengths. So far, the band has issued 14 studio efforts, including four since the turn of the century — 2001’s Arrival, 2005’s Generations, 2008’s Revelation, and then Eclipse.

Ultimately, Cain said, the group has such a wealth of older material that perhaps working up little-heard songs for future tours might be the best option of all.

Especially, if new stuff is going to be met with such ambivalence.

“The last album we made was a departure; we did a heavy rock ‘n’ roll record,” Cain added. “It barely sold 100,000. After all that time and money, what are we doing here?”

Eclipse, Journey’s second album with Filipino frontman Arnel Pineda, actually debuted as a Top 40 hit in five different countries — including Sweden (No. 14), Japan (No. 18), Switzerland (No. 24) and the UK (No. 33) — before stalling out.

“We have a great catalog here, right now, to play,” Cain said. “We’ve got a lot of songs that we’re not even playing. So we’re like, ‘What’s the point of making a new CD right now?'”

Pineda, who Schon found on YouTube, replaced Jeff Scott Soto (2006–07) and Steve Augeri (1998–2006), after the band’s signature frontman Steve Perry departed. Journey’s original lead singer was Gregg Rolie. A documentary on Pineda’s meteoric rise, called Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey, is set for release tomorrow. A UK tour with Whitesnake follows for Journey in May.

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