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Don't Stop Believin'
February 22, 2008 8:33 PM   Subscribe

Who knew when Arnel Pineda, lead singer of a Journey cover band called "The Zoo," posted videos of his band on YouTube that he'd grab the attention of Journey itself and be invited to be its new lead singer? (via)

"I was frustrated about not having a singer," explains guitarist Neal Schon, "so I went on YouTube for a couple of days and just sat on it for hours. I was starting to think I was never going to find anybody. But then I found THE ZOO and I watched a bunch of different video clips that they had posted. After watching the videos over and over again, I had to walk away from the computer and let what I heard sink in because it sounded too good to be true. I thought, 'he can't be that good.' But he is that good, he's the real deal and so tremendously talented. Arnel doesn't sound synthetic and he's not emulating anyone. I tried to get a hold of him through YouTube and I finally heard from him that night, but it took some convincing to get him to believe that it really was me and not an imposter."
posted by flatluigi (70 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Recruit the entire band, much more interesting.
posted by stbalbach at 8:41 PM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here's him performing Don't Stop Believing
posted by mrzarquon at 8:42 PM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Arnel doesn't sound synthetic and he's not emulating anyone

Except, ya know, Steve Perry.
posted by Roman Graves at 8:42 PM on February 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


Does the keyboard guy miss a note on the intro to "Don't Stop Believing"?
posted by smackfu at 8:47 PM on February 22, 2008


smackfu, I think so. The Youtube audio links for the Zoo are really washed out, I feel like I'm listening to a pair of worn-out car speakers.
posted by onalark at 8:49 PM on February 22, 2008


But this is an awesome story, it's inspiring on a few different levels, but just imagine how amazing it would be to get recruited to sing for the band that you, you know, cover, for a living...
posted by onalark at 8:50 PM on February 22, 2008


He's got an awesome voice. Too bad the music business isn't actually looking for talent these days.
posted by doctor_negative at 8:54 PM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


onalark writes "But this is an awesome story, it's inspiring on a few different levels, but just imagine how amazing it would be to get recruited to sing for the band that you, you know, cover, for a living..."

That's what happened to Judas Priest, at least for a while ... until Rob Halford came back and he got the boot.

I used to love Judas Priest when I was about 12.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:56 PM on February 22, 2008


Here's him singing Faithfully to what looks like an empty restaurant.
posted by flatluigi at 8:59 PM on February 22, 2008


That's a much more efficient search technique for replacing a singer than a reality show.
posted by jefftrexler at 9:03 PM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Arnel Pineda (WP)
posted by stbalbach at 9:04 PM on February 22, 2008


Nicko McBrain, drummer for Iron Maiden, also plays in an Iron Maiden cover band, which is nine kinds of awesome.

I still love Judas Priest
posted by jtron at 9:10 PM on February 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Journey, with Arnel on vocals, just played ViƱa del Mar, Chile: part 1, part 2, part 3 (poor video, poor audio but it gives you a feel of how he's doing.)

Also Neal Schon's WSJ quote on how the Internet is changing music A&R is obvious but important:
"I think the days are over of major record companies flying around A&R guys to major cities to listen and find new talent," he says. "Wouldn't you think it's a plus to find what you want for your band, as opposed to 'someone else's opinion' of who would sound and be right for you?"
posted by gen at 9:17 PM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm expecting too much, but the "Zoo" band seems to be "bunch of 17 year olds in a garage" quality-wise, while their now-ex-vocalist is all kinds of awesome.
posted by mrbill at 9:17 PM on February 22, 2008


Does the keyboard guy miss a note on the intro to "Don't Stop Believing"?

He sounds pretty shaky throughout. But that lead singer is very good at what he's doing. What a strange thing it must be, to both love Steve Perry and sing just like him. It's sort of the opposite of that line that Chuck Klosterman had about the guy playing Slash in a Guns & Roses cover band:

"Unfortunately, Young can't learn how to look like a mulatto former heroin addict, and he holds the only position in America for which that is a job requirement. "
posted by Bookhouse at 9:18 PM on February 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


Wow. He sounds just like him. Jesus that's creepy.
posted by dobbs at 9:21 PM on February 22, 2008


Why are they called "The Zoo?" Is that a Journey reference I don't get? Why not "Streetlight people" or "We're Crying Now" or something?
posted by sourwookie at 9:23 PM on February 22, 2008


Here's a better clip of yesterday's concert.
posted by mrbill at 9:27 PM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Does this mean there will be a new video game?
posted by Quonab at 9:41 PM on February 22, 2008


Nicko McBrain, drummer for Iron Maiden, also plays in an Iron Maiden cover band, which is nine kinds of awesome

Or nine kinds of sad, depending on how you look at it.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:03 PM on February 22, 2008


God. Damn. He's got pipes.
posted by eurasian at 10:05 PM on February 22, 2008


Why are they called "The Zoo?" Is that a Journey reference I don't get?

Yeah, it seems like they should be a Scorpions cover band.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:16 PM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


> Nicko McBrain, drummer for Iron Maiden, also plays in an Iron Maiden cover band, which is nine kinds of awesome

Or nine kinds of sad, depending on how you look at it.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:03 AM on February 23 [+] [!]


Dare I say it... ;)
posted by jtron at 10:21 PM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


How many more times do we have to hear the same old tired story of a unknown Phillippino cover artist being plucked from obscurity to front the band whose songs he's been all these years? I can count seven just off the top of my head, not even including that guy who's replacing Liam in Oasis who just speaks Tagalog. Yawn.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:32 PM on February 22, 2008 [4 favorites]


fernalcaraz seems to have the Chile concert on YouTube (in parts, some audio decent, some poor)
posted by gen at 10:39 PM on February 22, 2008


This is a great story. Arnel can really sing.
posted by folgers crystals at 10:50 PM on February 22, 2008


After watching the videos over and over again, I had to walk away from the computer and let what I heard sink in because it sounded too good to be true.

I love that line. It's great when something awesome like that happens in life.
posted by survivorman at 10:52 PM on February 22, 2008


How many more times do we have to hear the same old tired story of a unknown Phillippino cover artist being plucked from obscurity to front the band whose songs he's been all these years?

Jealous? And it's spelled Filipino.

Personally I'm waiting for the awesome Pinoy who can channel David Lee Roth.
posted by bwg at 11:06 PM on February 22, 2008


Steve who?

seriously, in that clip from the first concert, he sounds so good and looks so natural it's hard to believe he's not the first guy to sing the songs. American Idol can go to hell.
posted by davejay at 11:12 PM on February 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Jealous?

Dear Sir or Madam: we regret to inform you that the sarcasm filter you ordered from us is defective, and should be returned immediately for a refund.
posted by davejay at 11:13 PM on February 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


Life imitates art.
posted by Crotalus at 11:16 PM on February 22, 2008


Nice story. According to Wikipedia, he lost his mother at age 12, and was homeless for some time as well, but has been dedicated and focused on his music career ever since - nice to see it payed off.

Although the news stories made it sound like the Journey guitarists picked him up out of nowhere or that he was relatively unknown. But in the Phillipines, he had already released on BMG, Warner, and MCA- so he had already received some success in Asia; I'm sure this new gig must still be a dream come true for him though.
posted by p3t3 at 11:17 PM on February 22, 2008


It's such a fine line between clever and stupid.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:30 PM on February 22, 2008


Wow, that's an excellent article about a GNR cover band you linked to. Thanks, Bookhouse.
posted by mumkin at 11:31 PM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is such a cool story. Except for the Journey part.
posted by LarryC at 11:33 PM on February 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


That's what happened to Judas Priest,

Yep, and another band but I cant recall who. The guy was from the Chicagoland area.
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:40 PM on February 22, 2008


Bah... If you ask me they shouldda gone with these guys. (YouTubery. Starts about thirty seconds in, coz I couldn't find a version edited down so that it actually starts with Don't Stop Believin'...)
posted by kxr at 12:26 AM on February 23, 2008


Is there a pill that will get that fucking Journey song outta my head?
posted by artdrectr at 12:27 AM on February 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


I can't help but think that once a band has changed enough members and transitioned to a stage where nobody goes to hear them play anything but their old hits that they are in effect a cover band that just happens to have the rights to the name.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:07 AM on February 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


heh, before listening to their cover I hadn't noticed that Dennis DeYoung had the correct (mis)pronounciation of "Mistah Roboto".

But can Steve Perry do Jim Morrison . . . or John Bon Jovi . . . Kurt Cobain . . . Deep Purple . . . Geddy Lee :)
posted by panamax at 1:48 AM on February 23, 2008


^ never mind about the roboto thing ? (. .
posted by panamax at 2:07 AM on February 23, 2008


Arnel Pineda has a fantastic voice and it's a crying shame such talent finds its apotheosis in an undead version of a world-renowned 80s rock band.

Journey was amazing and Pineda does a reasonable interpretation, but Steve Perry he ain't. It would have been much better for everyone if Pineda could make it on his own in a new band talented enough for his voice.
posted by mistersquid at 3:49 AM on February 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


My reaction to this is just visceral, insane joy.
posted by Stewriffic at 4:15 AM on February 23, 2008


Be sure to follow the link at the bottom of the WSJ article gen linked to a great story about Jeremey Hunsicker, a different Journey tribute-band singer from Roanoke, VA with a wife and new baby on the way, who was offered the slot before Pineda, only to have it yanked away a few hours later and dangled over the course of last summer:

On the West Coast for a week, Hunsicker rehearsed with the band. He had dinner with band members and manager Irving Azoff. He recorded with Cain, the keyboardist, working on song ideas. By Monday, he was back at work, at Saia Motor Freight in Roanoke. The next day, Cain called him. Hunsicker was to fly back west in a couple of weeks to begin rehearsing and recording new songs. At Hunsicker's request, he would have between September and the end of the year to get his family in order. He would get a retainer from the band, which did not plan on touring until spring.

He received a voice mail from management, saying, "Welcome to Journey."

Three hours later, Journey's management called, telling him that Schon had decided things were moving too fast. Everyone needed to take a breather. Hunsicker didn't want to be put on ice. He had a family to support. He called Cain and Schon, telling them that he felt "jerked around," and they continued talking throughout the summer.

Meanwhile, Schon was doing a little YouTube exploration of his own. He found another singer, Arnel Pineda, from the Philippines.

"Arnel was flown in in August," Hunsicker said. "And I never heard from Journey again."

posted by mediareport at 5:15 AM on February 23, 2008


Here's the link.
posted by mediareport at 5:15 AM on February 23, 2008


Except, ya know, Steve Perry.

Listening to the cover version of "Don't Stop Believing" now--not really hearing it. They've got a similar range, sure, of course. But he sounds like he's got as much of his own thing going on as possible, being the lead singer of a cover band.

Regardless, I think they should have hired Petra Haden and her six friends! Just imagine...

note to self: create petra haden fpp asap.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 5:46 AM on February 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


> Nicko McBrain, drummer for Iron Maiden, also plays in an Iron Maiden cover band, which is nine kinds of awesome.

Maiden are just awesome like that - I love the fact that Bruce is a credited airline pilot, and is flying the band around on their current tour. Even discounting Eddie, they've always struck me as a band never took themselves too seriously, and when you're having fun, the audience is having fun too...
posted by benzo8 at 5:54 AM on February 23, 2008


Petra Haden and her six friends!

Finally, a reason for the abomination that is Journey ever to have existed for even a nanosecond.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:01 AM on February 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Petra Haden and her six friends!

I had to find the Journey version to wash that out of my head, and I really never thought I'd be typing that in my life.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:17 AM on February 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I saw this on TV a few months ago and thought to FPP it, but my next thought was, "Oh, someone else will." I should not have had to wait this long for someone else to pick up my slack.

Domo Arigato, Mr. flatluigi.

(sidetrack to wierdness: the above YT link to The Zoo's Mr. Roboto cover has the word "FIDEL" in all caps. I think the Cuban government is trying to communicate something.)
posted by not_on_display at 8:41 AM on February 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of the Simpsons gag, the billboard in Las Vegas:

Knights in White Satin,
with opening act: The Moody Blues
posted by 445supermag at 9:05 AM on February 23, 2008


There's a Journey tribute band (Evolution) that comes around my way pretty often. Their singer (who goes only by the name Hugo) both sounds and looks just like Steve Perry. Better than this guy, as far as I can tell. Maybe he was just too close for Schon et al.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:10 AM on February 23, 2008


Yeah, you could look at it as inspiring, or as a cynic who thinks Journey sucks: they probably recruited from Journey cover bands via YouTube because that was the only option available to them. Hopefully they can avoid setting some ramshackle club and its audience of 100 on fire with their pyro. I mean, Journey petered out because they were no longer popular in like 1987. They were basically a sustained several-hit-wonder that infected the airwaves for a brief time in the early 80s and have since gone to classic schlock heaven.

Fun fact: Journey used to be a progressive jazz/rock band with Prairie Prince of The Tubes as their drummer. They became the soundtrack to clumsy Boone's Farm-influenced parking lot groping when Steve Perry joined.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:00 AM on February 23, 2008


Also, Nicko McBrain playing in a Maiden cover band isn't sad. Maiden is still a huge draw and regularly sells out arenas (not so much in the US, unless they're part of a larger tour), so it's not like he's fallen on hard times. Nicko is just a weird guy who wants to constantly play the drums.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:07 AM on February 23, 2008


Who knew?

I bet Tim "Ripper" Owens knew.
posted by Relay at 10:21 AM on February 23, 2008


Journey used to be a progressive jazz/rock band with Prairie Prince of The Tubes as their drummer.

Prairie Prince was gone by the time Journey started recording. It's Aynsley Dunbar on the first four albums, the first three of which are the Perry-free progressive stuff. I check out this video every now and then just for the sheer thrill of Schon's hair and outfit.
posted by sageleaf at 10:45 AM on February 23, 2008


Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Journey sort of a spin off from Santana?

I always had that impression for some reason.
posted by Relay at 12:25 PM on February 23, 2008


This is, by far, my favorite version of a Journey song:
Jerry Granelli and Jamie Saft - Don't Stop
posted by box at 12:30 PM on February 23, 2008


^Neal Schon joined Santana's band when he was 15, and is about that age in this video of Black Magic Woman.
posted by not_on_display at 1:05 PM on February 23, 2008


"I mean, Journey petered out because they were no longer popular in like 1987."

Aroo? Journey's 1986 album Raised on Radio went to #4 and featured a top ten hit and other charting singles. They petered out because of the time-honored "creative differences," not lack of popularity. And when Trial By Fire came out in 1996, it debuted at #3 -- I remember because I won a bet with a friend that it would debut in the top five. He refused to believe such a thing would be possible. It was.

And if Steve Perry were ever to come back to Journey for another album,I'd drop another bet that album would be a top fiver, easy (probably #1, in fact, since Journey fans are of an age that they would actually buy the CD rather than snake it from Pirate Bay).

Just because you didn't like them doesn't mean everyone else didn't. The band's popular.
posted by jscalzi at 1:15 PM on February 23, 2008


uncleozzy, i have to disagree with you. i found a video of evolution and its basically beatlemania. it makes perfect sense to stay away from singers trying to mimic steve perry because you'll just end up looking like a cover band of yourself.
posted by cazoo at 1:32 PM on February 23, 2008


^Neal Schon joined Santana's band when he was 15, and is about that age in this video of Black Magic Woman.

Yes, not_on_display ... and wasn't their keyboard player also in Santana; you can see him in the Woodstock footage.

I liked Santana a lot when I was in high school, our school jazz band played a lot of their stuff.

I had a guitar player freind in college who was totally into Neal Schon, and I wanted to like Journey, but by this time, bands like The Clash started popping up and ...
posted by Relay at 2:06 PM on February 23, 2008


How convenient that he already knows the songs. Talk about efficient recruiting.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:56 PM on February 23, 2008


yep Greg Rollie was also in Santana
posted by sineater at 4:57 PM on February 23, 2008


I've seen that band at the Dublin Pub, uncleozzy. I was surprised that they threw in the Steve Perry solo material.
posted by dr_dank at 5:45 PM on February 23, 2008


Their singer (who goes only by the name Hugo) both sounds and looks just like Steve Perry. Better than this guy, as far as I can tell. Maybe he was just too close for Schon et al.

You know how old balding western white guys meet up with young Asian women over the net looking for marriage - the guys figure they can control them and they will he pliant and the women see as a chance to move up in the world.
posted by stbalbach at 7:53 PM on February 23, 2008


Yep, and another band but I cant recall who. The guy was from the Chicagoland area.

Do you mean J.D. Fortune, winner of Rock Star: INXS (who's Canadian)? The runner-up was Marty Casey of the Chicago band Lovehammers. (Rejected as a contestant was Chris Daughtry, now a Grammy also-ran ...)
posted by dhartung at 9:52 PM on February 23, 2008


This is awesome! Too bad the YouTube videos have such poor audio
posted by jpdoane at 10:08 PM on February 23, 2008


Very cool fpp. Arnel's awesome and all that, but the Zoo ain't too shabby themselves. Very well-done cover of YYZ here.
posted by davelog at 6:04 AM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]



yep Greg Rollie was also in Santana

And was the lead singer of Santana ("Black Magic Woman") and of Journey on the pre-Perry albums. Even after Perry came on board he was co-lead singer, notably on "Feeling That Way".

That was also the last Journey song I gave a rats about. Mrs. H calls BS, saying that it's just because that's when Journey stopped being a band only boys liked and started being a band girls liked. Fair comment, I guess, but I still prefer Rollie's voice.

Journey had potential but were rather un-focused as a quasi-prog band -- never quite took advantage of their considerable chops. I found them far less palatable after Perry, but there's no denying that they'd lasered in on something after he joined. Grasp, meet reach.
posted by Herodios at 2:17 PM on February 25, 2008


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