Long ago, when the business of rock & roll was vagabond hippies pushing good vibes, and little ballrooms around the country blowing out small sound systems staging the headliners of the day, there was a stocky, feisty stage manager with the Santana band. His name was Herbie Herbert and with his cohorts, John and Jack Villanueva, he reshaped rock & roll in concert. They traveled the globe together in those years, their tiedyed wall of Fender Twins becoming a trademark of early Santana band.
Later, working with Gregg Rolie, Neal Schon, and Ross Valory, the early Journey band took shape. Week after week, along with charter member George Tickner, Neal and Gregg and Ross Fashioned such great tunes as Mystery Mountain and Of A Lifetime in the little rehearsal hall at Studio Rentals in San Francisco. The little family grew, meeting Herbie daily, planning their future together. It seemed a long shot in those days, there was a wealth of talent and material, but few observers believed in those early sessions; and certainly no one but the band and Herbie and their loyal crew and friends at Columbia, really believed in the potential that would come to flower in later years.
There was tour after tour in the beginning. Back and forth across the country with a station wagon and a little rented truck, the band and Herbie, and two roadies. Opening for everyone from Aerosmith and Kiss to Mihavishnu and Hot Tuna, Journey honed and polished their chops, surprising fans everywhere, building a following that would prove formidable in the coming years. Every town was a new vista for the intrepid players, and along the way, with the help of Columbia Records Promotions people, and the friends they had made in all the FM radio stations, the little band from San Francisco began to change the ears and hearts of fans and pros alike. Their music was so consistently clean and together. Rarely, if ever, did one hear a note out of place.
Time passed. George Tickner left the group to pursue a career in medicine. With drummer great, Aynsley Dunbar, the quartet pushed on. The albums weren't smash sellers then, and the work was very hard. One hundred and seven shows as the Special Guest for ELO, Journey trooped on and on, playing on a tiny strip of stage, delivering their powerful, tasteful music to people. Through it all, Herbie and his band never lost their visions, and desire. Their's would be different story. Even then, people were amazed at how friendly and genuine the guys are. In a world of hype and shallow promises, they were standouts, both as players and as people.
After a false start with vocalist Robert Fleischman, a true renaissance came to Journey in the person of Steve Perry. Steve sang lead vocals for their Infinity album, released by Columbia in 1978. It is a stunning album, and indeed, Perry's voice seemed to have been made for the music of Journey, his towering timber and range the perfect compliment to the textured vocals, searing guitar, thumping bass and dynamic drums of Journey's tunes. Steve fit so well with the character of the band. If anything, the group became closer to the people at gigs and in-store appearances.
With Infinity, a new chapter began for Journey. Album sales toped the million mark for the first time. The group completed an incredible 180 gig our of US, Canada, and Europe. When they returned to San Francisco in the Fall of `78, veteran timekeeper Dunbar and Journey parted company, and the band was joined together with Steve Smith. Steve had played with Jean-Luc Ponty, Focus, and the great Ronnie Montrose earlier in his career. His addition to the band was the final piece in the set for Journey. The album Evolution, truly shows the genius of these five players. In concerts, a wonderful dream has been realized. No one believed in the little band from San Francisco. Now it is all here for us to know and enjoy. The band travels across the world this year, to Europe, Japan and Australia, as well as the US and Canada. And everywhere they go the people know they have a fiend in Journey.
The true wealth in life is people and their regard for you. The true payoff is to have your labor bear fruit, your toil realize love and success. Surely their is no richer band than Journey.
Neal is Journey's Lead Guitarist. A prolific writer and arranger, he is a tireless perfectionist. Born in Oklahoma at Tinker FB, his family moved to the Bay area of California while Neal was still a child. His father, a respected music teacher, started him early on in music. He was an accomplished oboe player in school, and this early discipline has provided all of us with one of the greatest guitarist in the business. Early in his career, Neal turned down an offer to play for Eric Clapton in favor of a slot playing lead for Santana. He Created quite a stir in those early years, only fifteen years old and capable of all the riffs and much much more. Today, Neal continues to delight Journey audiences the world over with his smooth and assured style. Neal is a major contributor on all the Journey albums, and his sensitive and emotional music is a cornerstone of the Journey sound.
Born in Hanford, California, Steve Perry grew up in a musical environment. From childhood, he had his sights set on a career in music. In the timber of his voice and vocal style, one hears favor sings of the great singers of R and B: Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and others. Steve is an earnest student of his craft, always practicing, and developing his chops. In concert, his range and strength seem limitless. Steve is responsible for many of the lyics and melodies on Infinity and Evolution. Journey's most recent releases. His poetry is real, and his evocative and passionate statements on love and life are key reasons for the affection and devotion of Journey fans around the world.
No one gives more of himself in concert than Gregg Rolie, Journey's superb vocalist and Keyboard player. He is totally committed to the people, and it shows. Gregg is a prolific writer of songs who has long since made his mark in the music business with many songs he wrote while still with Santana. However, the best is yet to be, and few realize or appreciate the depth of this man's talent. Born and raised in California, Gregg is an intense and professional player every bit as serious and driven as the other members of Journey. And the true payoff is his fire and emotion in concert. The fans remain the object of his performances.
Ross was born in California, and like Neal, studies music early on. Trained on piano, guitar, and voice, Ross is a thoroughly accomplished professional. Onstage and off, he is also the soul smile of Journey, and his humorous antics are a trademark of the Journey show. In Concert, he makes the stage come alive, and his steady, powerful voice lends harmony and dimension to Journey's vocal arrangements. Ross was an early mainstay of the Steve Miller Band, and he has been a dues paying, road running star of rock and roll ever since.
Steve Smith is one of the best drummers in the world today. In concert, he fuels the Journey express with an incredible store of energy and strength. His flawless ability is the result of years of practice and experience. Only 24, Steve has studied with the great Bernard Purdy, and at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Prior to joining Journey, Steve was the anchor of the Jean-Luc-Ponty Band, Focus, and most recently Ronnie Montrose. Steve practices incessantly, and devotes all of his time and concentration to his art. He is also a sensitive and aware man who has contributed a great deal to the family of players that is Journey.
JOURNEY: BEHIND THE SCENE
They have become an institution across the world. Journey is the most consistent live band in rock & roll. After years of practice and hard work, this title is no bull. Show after show is delivered with poise and precision. The band has worked very hard to make this a reality. With their manager, Herbie Herbert, they have carefully planned each new step in their collective career. Details are never overlooked. They have worked very hard to deserve the success that has come their way.
One of the most important things one can say about Journey is that they never forgot who and what and why. They know how they became what the are today, and they know who helped put them there. First and foremost credit must go to the fantastic people at Columbia Records. Over the years, the band has worked very closely with their regional Promotion Managers, Local Promotion Managers, Sales, Merchandising, and Press folks to insure their ongoing triumphs and accomplishments. It is safe to say that all would have ceased t be long before Infinity was released had it not been for the commitment and energy of that top brass at Columbia. Bruce Lundvall, Jack Craigo, Joe Mansfield, Ed Hines, Mike Dilbeck, Don Ellis, and Ron Oberman are just a few of the many who stuck by the band early on. Today we continue to look to the future. There are new tunes coming that will blow your minds; This is just the beginning.
We have been on the road together for some time now. It is difficult and demanding life, but also a life full of rewards and beauty. Over the years, Journey and Herbie have built an incredible Road Crew. Often, people fail to understand how much work and time it takes to stage a rock & roll show. Working with local stage crew and the different promoters at each stop along the way, our crew labors constantly to deliver the best and most consistent performance in rock & roll. Like their counterparts on stage, the Journey Road Crew is never content until they have made everything work the best it can. Show after show, the best is never enough. They are a big reason why your ticket dollar is worth so much tonight; a great show, flawless presented, and on time, no matter what the obstacles
Rock & roll is very much affected by all the problems of the world. The 500-mle overnight runs, in the worst of weather, during fuel shortages, and transportation strikes, with airlines and Teamsters. It's very difficult for the crew in the first place, let alone dealing with all the external problems. Constantly moving, constantly touring, and tonight's show could well be the best ever, because that is the spirit of the true artist, the ability and opportunity to entertain once again. Perhaps the greater the challenge last night, the better the show tonight.
There are certainly times when the crew and band are collectively defeated by these problems. That's where the office comes in to save the day.
Even less well known than the Road Crew are our staff at Nightmare, Inc., Journey's management company, have long been the unsung heroes and heroines of the Journey success story. Putting in ten and twelve hour days, six days a week, they toil endlessly on the band's behalf. Thanks is too small of a word for how we feel:
· Susan Alexander, Chief of Operations
· Carolina Bagnarol, Accounts
· Greg Schafer, Production and Advance Manager.
· John Villanueva, Office Manager.
· Vicky Andalucia, Design Consultant.
· Joe Martinez, Office Assistant.
So the efforts of many people combine to create the Journey success story. The long ago dream of a sleepless roadie driving across the world in a bobtail truck has become reality. Each player is keyed and prepared, and indeed has grown and risen to the occasion. The bottom line is you, the people who come to hear the band. Journey stops here tonight to play for you. Our hearts reach out to you and we are grateful and proud for the gifts you have given. Thank You.