The members of Journey are speaking out regarding the band’s first-ever Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination and the fact that longtime lead singer Arnel Pineda wasn’t included in the nod. In an interview with Billboard, Journey keyboardist-guitarist Jonathan Cain said it’s wrong that the long-overdue nomination didn’t include Pineda, the Filipino singer who has been fronting the band since 2007.
“I don’t think it’s fair,” Cain said of the singer’s snub. “There is no Journey without Arnel right now. He certainly has earned his stripes. He’s been with us longer than any lead singer has consecutively stayed in the band. He’s given us 10 years straight, not running off or doing this, doing that, just being The Guy. So that’s worth something.”
Cain admitted that the rest of Journey has no control over the Rock Hall politics, but he feels that leaving Arnel off the list is “a significant oversight” that he hopes the committee will reconsider should Journey earn an induction.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has a long history of member induction controversies, and Pineda wasn’t the only Journey member snubbed by the organization. Original drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who played on Journey’s first four albums, was also left off of the nomination list.
Journey’s nomination for Rock Hall honors is years overdue. The band’s first album was released in 1975, which means they were first eligible for the nomination in 2000.
Cain pointed out that all of his band’s opening acts from the ’70s and ’80s, including Cheap Trick, Joan Jett, Steve Miller, and Heart, are already inducted into the exclusive Hall of Fame, and he has no doubt that if the band doesn’t make it this year, they will eventually join their peers.
Of course, the biggest question about a Journey induction would be a possible reunion with former frontman Steve Perry. The rock legend has not spoken about his former band’s nomination, but Cain says he would be happy to reunite with the man who debuted some of the band’s biggest songs, including “Don’t Stop Believin,” “Open Arms” and “Wheel In the Sky.”
“I can’t really speak for him in that regard, but certainly the door’s always been open for him to join us any time he wants,” Cain told Billboard.
But getting Perry on board — even for Journey’s inevitable Rock Hall induction — could prove to be difficult. After selling more than 80 million records and packing stadiums as Journey’s frontman, Perry left the band for good in 1996 and he remains estranged from his former bandmates. In a previous interview with Billboard, founding Journey guitarist Neil Schon said the band does not speak to Perry at all, and they’re not sure why communication has been cut off. Schon briefly contacted the singer.
“There’s no communication at all,” Schon revealed.
“I feel like I’ve reached out in every humane way I can… just to be friends, like we were. There’s no reason not to be. I’ve tried to get his real phone number instead of talking through his attorney, but he will not give it to me, not even to say hello.”
That said, Cain added that there will always be “an open chair” for Perry should he ever want to sing a song with Journey again.
“He chooses to remain aloof and that’s fine,” Cain told Billboard. “Peace with him… It’s almost 30 years since Steve’s done a gig with us, so we’re not holding our breath.”
In a statement several years ago to the Oprah Winfrey Show, Steve Perry indicated that there are no hard feelings and that he wishes Journey well.
“Though we’ve gone our separate ways, I will be forever grateful for our time together…the music we created…and our faithful fans,” Perry said of Journey. “Continued success to all of you.”
Steve Perry last sang a Journey song publicly in 2014 when he turned up at an Eels concert in St. Paul, Minnesota, and joined the band for an encore that included the Journey classics “Open Arms” and “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’.” Now, Journey fans would love to see him reunite with the classic lineup of the band after Rock Hall inductees are announced in December.
Take a look at the video below to see Journey performing one of their biggest songs, “Open Arms.”
[Featured Image by Mike Coppola/Getty Images]