* A Story of How Lead Singer Arnel Pineda Came to Join the Band Journey *
Many people have lost track of the hit band Journey since their lead singer, Steve Perry. However, the band is alive and well, enjoying a renaissance with their newest addition, singer Arnel Pineda.
Not many people know the story, but Arnel’s gateway to success started in clubs and venues thousands of miles away from the U.S. in the Philippines, where he covered many famous American songs, such as those by Journey. Avid fans posted their recordings from the audience to the Internet, including YouTube, where the buzz eventually caught the attention of the band member of Journey, who was at the time doing an extensive search for the next lead singer on their group.
When Arnel eventually got that call on the phone from the band, he later would say he was in disbelief, as if it were a prank. This can’t be Journey calling me! After some reassurance, he got the green light and all the details to hop on a plane and hook up with the rest of the band.
Before his departure, Arnel had to go to the standard interview with immigration authorities. The interviewer asked him the question: “What is your purpose of coming to the United States?”
What would he say?
He would say the truth, of course.
“I’m going to the U.S. to join the band, Journey.”
The cynic would immediately fault it as some transparent pipe-dream of yet another languishing, amateur musician.
Fortunately for Arnel, the immigration authority was actually a fan of his group, the Zoo, and frequented the venues to watch him perform. So he didn’t let on but instead prepared the next question for a memorable moment in Arnel’s ascension into rock stardom.
“Oh, so you are going to be the lead singer of the band Journey? Could you then please sing for me ‘Wheel in the Sky’ to share with us?”
Earlier, the immigration interviewer had silently clicked on the microphone on the tabletop, wired to the PA in the entire office. Now everyone in the immigration office could hear their conversation. He would make it a memorable moment for the singer on his journey.
Innocently, Arnel started the first few lines and carried them into the chorus. You’d imagine how stunned the rest of the office was at the revelation. But, then, he was on his way.
That day, there was an angel, and there would be no cynics, only believers. This dream to sing in a rock band would be Arnel’s that day and for the rest of his life. So don’t ever stop believing!