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Meet Journey’s Lead Singer, Arnel Pineda

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You can debate all day, is Journey really Journey without Steve Perry? There actually is a correct answer to that question, and it is yes. If Journey says they are Journey even without Steve Perry then they are Journey. Actually if you go to a Journey show today and close your eyes you would think Steve Perry was on stage. Open them up, and you will see a skinny Filipino dude dancing around the stage singing Journey classics. His name is Arnel Pineda. They will be in Cheyenne tomorrow night, and here is the guy who will be singing to you… 

Singer-songwriter Arnel Pineda was born on September 5, 1967, in Sampaloc, Manila, in the Philippines. Throughout his childhood, Pineda endured grave misfortune. When he was just 13 years old, his mother, who was 35 at the time, passed away after a long battle with heart disease. Her medical costs left the family in serious debt, and Pineda’s father could no longer provide for Pineda and his three younger brothers, Russmon, Roderick and Joselito.

While relatives were able to take in his brothers, Pineda was left on his own. He spent the next few years homeless, often sleeping outside in public parks and scraping for any food or water that he could afford. When possible, he would stay at a friend’s house, who offered him a cot outside. Eventually, Pineda was forced to quit school and take up odd jobs collecting scrap metal and bottles at the pier and selling newspapers to support his family.

Pineda’s love of music started at a young age. He began singing at just five years old, and had entered many singing contests as a child. At age 15 Pineda joined his first band, Ijos, which lasted off and on with different names until the early 90′s. After a series of unfortunate health problems in the early ’90s, including the brief loss of his voice, Pineda re-emerged in 1999 with a new solo album with Warner Brothers.  The self-titled album had several hits in Asia. After brief stints with a few different bands, Pineda found success again in 2006 with The Zoo, a band that he formed with Monet Cajipe, a guitarist/songwriter who had been in all his bands during over the previous 20 years. The Zoo performed at several popular clubs in the area and, in 2007, released an album by MCA Universal titled Zoology. Soon the band began covering songs by groups such as Journey, Survivor, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles and more, with more than 200 performances uploaded to YouTube.

On June 28, 2007, Neal Schon of Journey contacted Noel Gomez, a longtime fan and friend of Pineda who uploaded many of these videos, to ask for Pineda’s contact information. Schon sent an e-mail to Pineda inviting him to audition for Journey. Pineda initially dismissed the e-mail as a hoax, but after being persuaded by Gomez, he finally replied to Schon’s e-mail. Ten minutes later, Pineda received a phone call from Schon. On August 12, Pineda, along with his manager Bert de Leon, flew to Marin County, just north of San Francisco, for a two-day audition. The star-struck Pineda was welcomed warmly but he described the audition as “nerve-wracking, tense”. On December 5, 2007, Pineda was announced as the lead singer of Journey. CNN Headline News ran the story as part of their “News to Me” segment.

On June 3, 2008, the newly organized Journey released their first album, Revelation, which came in at No. 5 on the U.S. charts. The album was their highest charting album since Trial by Fire (with Steve Perry), and reached platinum status by October 2008.

Soon after the album’s release, the band continued touring around the world with Pineda. The documentary, Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey,was released earlier this year, and chronicle’s the band’s “Revelation Tour,” and Pineda’s first years with the band.

2013 Cheyenne Frontier Days

  • Journey (with special guests Styx)
  • Thursday, July 26th at 8:00 pm.
  • Ticket prices: $38 and $58.
  • Order tickets buy phone at 800-227-6336.
  • Purchase tickets online by clicking HERE.

Butch's Way Back Wednesday Features Styx

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