It ain't easy being Journey. In an age where irony is an essential bit of cultural currency, the mulleted head of Journey has been perpetually on the pike. The band's anthemic ballads and populist rockers, once unmovable from the charts, are now considered cock-rockin' cheese.
But while it's easy to take a swing at a band like Journey, why not find that little piece of your soul, unhardened by indie-rock elitism, and embrace it? Do so now, and you'll be just in time for its latest tour. Purists will contend that, since iconic lead singer Steve Perry and the rest of the group have acrimoniously gone their "Separate Ways" (ha!), this isn't the real Journey. Ignoring the naysayers, the band is using this tour to celebrate 30 years of Journey, so we thought it would be fitting to give our top 30 reasons why we love Journey. However, 30 is a big number and, well, it's only Journey. If Dennis DeYoung gets back together with Styx, we'd happily pull out all the stops. Until then, here are thirteen reasons to love Journey -- shamelessly and unironically.
13) In an effort to soften the blow of changing lead singers, Journey swapped one long-haired, high-voiced Steve (Perry) with another (Augeri).
12) Journey Escape, the 1982 Atari game that entrusted gamers with keeping band members safe from libidinous groupies and shady concert promoters
11) The band's tear-jerking episode of Behind the Music, wherein Perry bemoans his status as a pariah in the band he led
10) "Faithfully," a staple of all hoosier wedding receptions since 1983
9) Rodney Dangerfield's golf bag in Caddyshack, which blared "Any Way You Want It," to the dismay of the bluebloods on the golf course
8) The pseudo-Egyptian/cosmic-insect artwork on the band's LPs
7) Steve Perry's long, flowing hair and tight, tight pants
6) Founding members Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie formed Journey after leaving Santana, inadvertently paving the way for Carlos Santana's stunning late-'90s comeback -- oh wait, sorry, that's from the "Thirteen Reasons to Hate Journey" list.
5) The fact that you can hear a Journey gem every hour, on the hour, on KHITS [96.3 FM] and any other classic rock station
4) The roller-rink scene in Charlize Theron's Monster, making "Don't Stop Believin'" the official theme song of lesbian serial killers everywhere
1) Squeezin' -- Christian Schaeffer
An Honest Mistake
When the Bravery followed its ballyhooed South by Southwest appearance with the release of its debut disc, the backlash began. Wise witnesses saw hacks cashing in on a hip sound. But the group's detractors were so vitriolic that some misguided souls made appeals on the band's behalf, creating Bravery-backlash backlash. To give the group due process, we carefully considered the charges against these defendants.
Charge: Bravery vocalist Sam Endicott stands accused of shameless sandbagging.
Evidence: Endicott did time in a group called Skabba the Hut, where he sported blond dreadlocks, used the stage name "Chewskacca" and coined the tagline "Bust a Nut with Skabba the Hut." Assuming his newfound affection for '80s sounds is genuine (debatable, given its emergence at the peak of the retro movement's popularity), Endicott could have formed a geeky sci-fi outfit such as Aquabats or Epoxies without inciting ire. But there really is nothing more unfathomably lame than a horny, Star Wars-obsessed ska band.
In his defense: Endicott mercifully sat out the nü-metal movement.
Charge: The Bravery remains entangled in a ridiculous rivalry with the Killers.
Evidence: Apparently, the music world isn't big enough for two fashionable-yet-fetid keyboard-powered groups. The Killers' Brandon Flowers griped to MTV that the Bravery rode his coattails to success, adding, "People will see through them." Endicott sniped back, telling a San Francisco radio station, "I feel bad talking about him because it's like hitting a girl."
In the band's defense: If these two groups stage a battle -- with the loser agreeing to retirement -- and somehow duel their way to mutual destruction, they'll save the world from a future fraught with abysmal trend-hopping albums.
Charge: The Bravery's music sucks. Seriously, it could pull a cherry from the bottom of a whiskey sour through a stirring straw.
Evidence: Even though it merges elements of ABC, Dead Can Dance and Mooney Suzuki, the Bravery incorporates an almost-impressive array of aural atrocities: soul-bereft disco hi-hats, squealing solo-studded rawk and an amalgam between frilly ambience and fey grooves that begs the phrase "new-age-wave." Endicott's voice ranges from a moody processed croon to an annoyingly sassy yowl.
In the band's defense: There's some decent drumming on the record, though with two members credited with "programming" in the liner notes, it's hard to tell which percussive parts came from a keyboard.
Charge: The Bravery's lyrics make its music look masterful.
Evidence: Endicott's lyrics range from idiotic to banal, without an inspired exception. The following lines are his worst: "You put the broke in broken-hearted/You put the art in retarted" [sic]. They're chanted cheerleader-style, which is appropriate given that he swiped this wordplay gimmick from the pom-pom flick Bring It On.
In the band's defense: During the apologetically titled "An Honest Mistake," Endicott murmurs, "Sometimes I forget I'm still awake/I fuck up and say these things out loud." He's citing the Prince precedent ("I was dreaming when I wrote this"), apparently forgetting that this excuse remained valid only until the close of 1999.
Verdict: We find the band guilty on all counts. To paraphrase The Simpsons' road-raging judge, we sentence the Bravery to kiss our ass. -- Andrew Miller
Save a Prayer
After being mobbed by the other women in the office who wanted to talk to Duran Duran dreamboat John Taylor, B-Sides beat them off with our copy of the band's new album, Astronaut, and secured the interview. Here's what the married father (sob) and B-Sides discussed.
B-Sides: So first of all, I have to admit to you that I'm a little bit of a Duran Duran superfan, so you'll have to excuse me.
John Taylor: What constitutes a "superfan"?
Well, like, I still kiss, ah, you know, my poster that came with "The Reflex" 45.
Yes, it's true.
No, you don't!
It's true! I got it when I was like seven years old, and I still have it. It's actually at my desk.
You're not married?
No, I'm not married.
Yeah, it's in great shape, believe it or not.
Well, I should hope it is. It must be quite sticky by now though.
So do you encounter a lot of people like me out and about or....
Yes! Well, obviously, I think the reunion has brought a lot of energy back to the band, and a lot of feelings that were perhaps underlying are now, like, back....I don't want to say people need us, but there are some people that what we do gives them a sense of fun and vitality.
Sure, sure. I'm sure now, too, with the '80s fashion revival, the crowd probably looks the same in some ways.
The crowd looks good, the crowd looks pretty good. We were always the generation that [was] very image-conscious. Right? Generation Hair Lacquer..... We've all been saying the crowd that's come back to us is the crowd that we always wanted..... I mean, they're the people we have a lot in common with, I suppose -- we all love me. [Laughs]
Kinda along those lines, back in the '80s, it seemed that fashion and hair were very important to Duran Duran. So what kind of hair products do you use? Your hair looks great on the [Astronaut] cover.
For many years after I left the band, I stopped using hair products. And when we finally decided that we were going to work together, we singled out a house in the south of France that we rented for ten days. We sent an engineer in to set up, and it was a house that we all lived in -- it was like Big Brother or something. We all made a decision that we were going to move in, leave the family, leave the wives. And I think I was the last one to get there; I'd flown in from LA. I got quite a tiny room because everybody else was there before me. And I get into the room and in the corner is this golden hair dryer -- it's just glowing. It's not like my hair was dirty or anything, but I sat down in front of the mirror, I picked up the hairdryer and suddenly, I'm blow-drying my hair. This is all bullshit, of course, but you know [laughing], it's a funny idea, isn't it?
Maybe you could make an album based on that! I just have one more question for you: How does it feel to be the most handsome member of Duran Duran? Are you shy about your handsomeness?
Not really, not really.
You wear your handsomeness with pride?
Yeah, well, it's all about how you feel, isn't it? Sometimes you've got to work hard to feel good, but I'm very lucky. There are a lot of people out there who I don't know, who I've never met, but they think a lot of me and I do feel that -- I think we all get that, so that's extraordinary, amazing. Why me? -- Alison Sieloff