Who knew that all of those thousands of cover songs posted on YouTube would ever amount to anything? Journey found its new singer, native Filipino Arnel Pineda, via video footage of his band, The Zoo. From a press release:
When it was time for JOURNEY to look for a new lead singer, the internet came to their rescue. Guitarist Neal Schon wanted someone new to the music business, so he turned to YouTube. After finding Arnel singing “Faithfully,” he knew he had found the perfect frontman.
“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.”
Arnel Pineda picks up the story: “My friend Noel picked up the message on YouTube and told me it was from Neal. I thought it was a hoax so I ignored it. Noel said, ‘what if it really was Neal and he wanted to offer you the chance of a lifetime?’ So I e-mailed Neal back and the rest is history.”
This appears to be the video that sealed the deal for Schon:
The Zoo -- cover of Journey, "Faithfully":
(Uh, let's hope that Real Journey can play guitar a little better than Zoo Journey.)
The Pineda-led Journey is currently working on a new studio album with producer Kevin Shirley; it's due out sometime next year. And Schon, for the record, says this new music "sounds tremendous. Everyone’s so stoked about it."
For those of you scoring along at home, Pineda replaces Jeff Scott Soto -- who in turn replaced Steve Augeri, who himself replaced the Platonic Ideal of Journey wailers, Steve Perry.
[Edit: Wikipedia claims that Augeri was working at the Gap when Schon found his demo. Man, that guitarist is the MacGyver of vocalists or something.]
-- Annie Zaleski