‘We had to do something else’: How Journey moved on after Steve Perry’s departure

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For Journey, the absence of its lead singer from the road — no matter the radio magic that had come before — was setting the band up for certain disaster.

By the turn of the 2000s, Jonathan Cain says, times had changed. When he joined as keyboardist and songwriter two decades before, bands could live off mega-platinum Journey releases like Escape and Frontiers. Today, in the post-label era, the coffers are filled via live performances. Nobody buys albums these days.

And Steve Perry, the voice for all of those hits, could no longer physically endure the rigors of Journey’s aggressive road schedule.

“We’re not selling CDs anymore,” Cain tells Pat Monahan. “We knew we had to do something else. He has some health issues, and he’s come forward on the internet and actually said what it was, so we don’t need to go into that. He has a real chronic condition that prevents him from being effective on the road. It’ll come and go.”

After time spent with both Steve Augeri and, briefly, Jeff Scott Soto, Cain says Journey has finally found its groove again with Filipino dynamo Arnel Pineda — to the point where the keyboardist now says his own musical fates are bound up with the lead singer’s.

“I told him: ‘When you go, I do,” Cain says. “This is it. When you want to hang up, I’m going to hang it up — because I don’t want to do this again. That’s how much I love him. I think he’s brought us so much life, and positive energy.”

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