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As the Television Critics Association press tour starts to wind down with PBS, the typically stoic reporters gathered at the Beverly Hilton broke into an almost fevered applause on Tuesday afternoon for Journey.
Lead singer Arnel Pineda and guitarist Neal Schon drew out the rare show of emotion when they closed their panel for documentary Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey with an acoustic rendition of “Stay Awhile.”
The duo, joined for a Q&A by band mates Ross Valory and Jonathan Cain and filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz, spoke at great length about their new movie and Arnel’s 2007 addition to the band. The 45-year-old Philippines native put an end to a touring hiatus prompted by the departure of founding member Steve Perry, but before they found their new lead singer, Cain credited The Sopranos for motivating the band. David Chase‘s landmark TV drama famously used the band’s “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” in the cryptic closing scene of the HBO series’ finale.
“David had called us, and we knew a year in advance that [the song] was going to close the show,” said Cain, also crediting Glee with increased exposure. “That period of time before was a dark one for Neal, the guys and I. … We didn’t have a singer, and these coincidences just started to appear.”
“Journey’s popularity had been based on a generational fan base, passed down from parents to kids” added Valory. “What we discovered with the Glee phenomenon and The Sopranos is that we’re finding young school kids singing these songs, and they weren’t raised with them.”
Both were quick to give real credit to Pineda, though. “I think Arnell has also revitalized interest in the band,” noted Schon. “I’ve watched this guy [go] from a Manila club singer to a rock star.”
As for Pineda, the singer’s unlikely addition to the band remains a source of humor for the rockers. He was discovered when Schon found his performances of rock covers on YouTube, and he recalled his skepticism when the guitarist first e-mailed him.
“I thought they were just trying to scam me,” he said.
Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey sees its TV premiere on Sept. 30.
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