I was never a fan of Journey. I mean, I have nothing against them. I do remember riding in the backseat of my mother’s blue Pontiac one wintery night in 1983, when I was 8, hearing “Open Arms” on the radio and thinking it sounded so incredibly grown-up and awesome to be in love. And like just about every child of the ’80s, I’m sure I nervously slow-danced to “Faithfully” at one of my sixth-grade school dances. Still, I never owned any Journey albums or dreamed of being serenaded by Steve Perry while I wore a white dress with orange tights and he air-guitared a broom. (Yes, I know that “Oh Sherrie” was solo Perry, thanks.) So it was kind of odd to find myself on the Journey beat this week, interviewing both guitarist Neal Schon (who’s been Journey-ing faithfully — heh heh — since 1973) and ex-lead singer Steve Perry about The Sopranos finale. Which, in case you just landed on this planet, featured “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” in the last scene.
But even stranger, PopWatchers, is that I might just have reunited the masters of ’80s arena rock to the lineup that we all remember. The day after I spoke with ex-bandmates Schon and Perry (separately, of course, since they split kinda unamicably in 1998), what do I find in my e-mail inbox but a press release announcing that the current incarnation of Journey has let their latest Perry replacement go. His name is Jeff Scott Soto, and he himself was a substitute for the original Perry stand-in, Steve Augeri, who ended his journey (sorry! the puns just write themselves!) last year due to an illness. “We appreciate all of Jeff’s hard work,” blah, blah, blah, said Schon in a statement. “We’ve just decided to go our separate ways…”
Bam! That’s where the clue is. See, Perry employed the very same punat the end of my interview with him. And of course, I take this not asa coincidence or an indication that we all need to lay off theall-too-easy play-on-words from Journey songs, but as a sign that thesepower-balladeers are just moments away from reaching out to each otherto organize a reunion. (Never mind that conventional wisdom says thelikelihood of this is about, you know, zilch.)
So is a détente upon us? Are Schon and Perry sending psychic signalsto each other via titles from one of their biggest hits? How might thenext telltale message read? “Anyway you want it, the band has neverbeen the same without Perry”? Or, “Who’s crying now, naysayers?”? Or,”We’d like to thank our fans because they never stopped believin’!”?Type your predictions below.