‘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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  • the kid

    No offense to Arnel but you gotta give the people what they want. We want Steve Perry. Pick up the phone Niel. The lyrics are horrible on Eclipse. I couldn’t listen to one whole song. Stop rolling out Perry karoke singers. Get the real deal.

  • Mark Saleski

    Perry’s not available. i heard he’s working on a solo record. it’s gonna be awesome. heck, he’s been working on it for eleventy-seven years so it had better be!

  • Deborah

    Steve is never coming back so what’s the point of touring anymore as a fake Journey anyways. These musicians like Neal and Jonathan are so talented and can do something else besides Journey. Journey was over when Steve Perry left so they should just give it up. If Arnel is as talented as everyone thinks he is then he can find his own way. And yes Steve Perry is working on his album and I hear it will be released in October and it’s called Timeless. He is the real deal and what people want. Journey is over according to most fans and the guys aren’t getting any younger. It’s just ridiculous to do something that is clearly not working anymore.

  • Frank Martin

    I really dig those albums with Steve Perry but with Perry’s direction Raised On Radio lacked any fire with nine ballads and two rockers. Journey became forever known as a ballad band with that album. They were good ballads but not what Journey really needed. Journey needed to step up and kick ass. Even Perry’s solo output has been mostly ballads and mellow stuff. Then along comes Trial By Fire and again it lacked the fire. So what is the point of Steve back in the band if they are just gonna be a ballads band. I don’t need Steve back in the band just to see him on tour because I’ve already had that. I think they lost the magic after Frontiers. I saw the recent tour with Arnel but I couldn’t face hearing Faithfully and Open Arms again. What they really need is a combination of Steve Perry mixed with Infinity, Escape and Frontiers. No substitutes.

  • MusicFan1789

    Glad the band moved on. Arrival was a great albeit bittersweet return to form. Augeri gave it his all, but couldn’t last the distance on the road. Band founder, Herbie Herbert, wanted Perry replaced in the 80s by either Kevin Chalfant, Mickey Thomas or Michael Bolton. If the band had listened, they’d still be a viable and popular act instead of a moldy oldies machine.