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Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain talks 'Glee,' 'Eclipse'by Ed Masley - The Arizona Republic
July 18, 2011
This would have been the perfect time for the members of Journey to ride the revival of interest in "Don't Stop Believin'" to glory. All they had to do was write a big, melodic anthem to connect with fans who came to Journey late when their signature song started showing up everywhere, from the series finale of HBO's "The Sopranos" to the Journey-loving hit TV show "Glee."
Instead, they came back with "Eclipse," their heaviest music in ages on a prog-inspired concept album.
We caught up with keyboardist Jonathan Cain, who talked about how the band's new singer, YouTube find Arnel Pineda, shaped the lyrics of "Eclipse" while guitarist Neal Schon shaped the music, along with the "Glee" phenomenon and the inspiration for "Don't Stop Believin'."
Q: I really thought "Don't Stop Believin' " had reached a new peak when I spoke to you in 2008. Kid Rock and Kanye West were doing it in concert. "The Sopranos" had used it. Then, the "Glee" thing happened and that song is everywhere. Again. What is it about the song that has people coming back for more?
A: It gives people permission to dream. It says you can go somewhere and be happy. You can take the midnight train goin' anywhere (laughs). That was my father's war cry back when I was down and out, living in LA, trying to find my way. He used to tell me that, on the phone. "Don't stop believin.' " "Stick to your guns." "Hang in there." All that (expletive) that dads say to their distraught, depressed kids. I wrote that chorus and brought it into the guys and trusted that we would write a great song together. And we did.
Q: Did you expect the "Glee" thing to blow up as big as it did?
A: My kids were like, "Dad, this is huge. You have no idea how big this is."They're the ones who pointed out to me, "Look, iTunes downloads. You're No. 1." You kept seeing, on iTunes, kids reaching for the download of that song, whether it was their version or our version. They wanted both versions. Now, "Don't Stop Believin' " is one of the most downloaded songs of the century. That's pretty cool.
Q: You mentioned people downloading both versions. What did you think of the "Glee" version?
A: Well, you know, I thought it served the show. It wasn't really made to be a record. It was made to be heard on a television show that was sort of in the spirit of a glee club or "Fame"or whatever. I liked the way they kicked it around and did the a cappella. We thought it was very creative. I'm actually glad it was kind of removed from what we did. And I breathed a little sigh of relief when they didn't win the Grammy (laughs). I was sitting there at the Grammys thinkin', "Does this mean that we lose recognition for the song 'Glee' won the Grammy for?"
Q: When I first heard "Eclipse," I thought "City of Hope" had a bit of a "Don't Stop Believin' " thing going on lyrically.
A: That was inspired by Manila. I was there with Arnel making "Live in Manila," and what hit me was these kids in the street with no shoes, no food in their belly, living in shanties, smiling and waving at us as we drive by. For the love of me, I couldn't work that out. I'm like, "You kids are unbelievable. You're living in this kind of poverty, and you still have that kind of attitude towards strangers?"
Q: Could you talk about the concept of the album?
A: I read a book that changed my life a few years ago called "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. And there was another one that came out shortly after that, "The Power of Intention" by Wayne Dyer. They described this place where perfection exists for human beings. So the concept of the album is to turn down the noise in your head and try to connect to a deeper place. We get sucked into the Internet and streaming information, and it's time to just unplug and look within. Life is perfect, you know? The Hindus got it right. We've always been a band about the positive things, and I just thought this was something that, at 60 years old, I could write.
Q: You're really embracing your heavier prog-rock side on this one.
A: Neal wanted to just do one stream of thought. And I think at this time in our career, we should be able to experiment. We have enough songs they can download, hit-wise, the ballads and all the stuff we're sort of known for. We've done all that. So if we're gonna make an album, let's do something different. Neal had my back all these years, man. When I brought in "Faithfully," he pulled out a guitar. When I brought in "Open Arms," he played guitar. So I had his back, too. I said, "I'm there for you, bro." That's how we roll. That's why we're partners. We put this thing back together, put it on the tracks, dragged it up the hill and got it running again. It wasn't easy. Back in 1998, we had a lot of non-believers pointing fingers at us, sending hate mail. So we've come a long way. And we have Arnel, whose personality is really plugged into this record in a big way. A lot of what's in "Eclipse" is what Arnel believes about the world and the universe.
Q: Did you say you got hate mail?
A: Yeah (laughs). For putting the band back together. There were certain people that didn't want us to carry on without Steve (Perry). I had to change my phone number. There are still people beating us up on the Internet. That's why we shut down the forum. We couldn't stand it anymore. No matter what we did. You can't make everybody happy. We just put our head down and went forward. We said, "This music is bigger than all of us."That's how we felt. We said, "You know what? We'll prevail. We'll bet on these songs." So Neal and I stuck our necks out and we were right.
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