Journey’s Jonathan Cain On Steve Perry Comeback: ‘I Think It’s Wonderful’
Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain helped craft some of the band’s biggest hits alongside Perry, and when the subject of his old partner’s renewed activity came up during a recent interview, Cain couldn’t hide his enthusiasm. Calling it “great,” Cain continued, “I think it needed to happen. You get a monkey off your back. You get out in front of the people and feel what that feels like. I’m very happy for him that he has embraced this concept of, ‘This is who I am today and I don’t sing like I used to sing.’ I think he’ll enjoy it and embrace it.”
Continued Cain, “He deserves to be out there on stage. I think it’s wonderful. I could never understand why he seemed to be in recluse mode, hiding away somewhere. When you’re Steve Perry, one of the greatest voices of all time, you should be on a stage where you belong. So, good for him. I’m happy he’s out there flexing his chops.”
In fact, as Cain allowed during another part of the interview, it’s partially Perry’s absence from the current Journey lineup that’s keeping the current members from working on new music. Admitting that guitarist Neal Schon is “sort of resistant” to the idea of writing new songs tailored to the band’s classic sound, Cain argued that that’s what the fans want — and without it, there’s no reason to keep releasing Journey albums.
“You have to really embrace it, who you are, and look at it square in the eye and say, ‘This is what Journey is, like it or not.’ He feels like, ‘I wanna rock!’ And I say, ‘Well, there’s a certain pop sensibility that’s missing that you’ve got to admit we have.’ And that’s Perry’s kind of thing,” Cain pointed out. “Perry had that pop sensibility. I followed his lead, he followed mine — and Neal added the rock edge to it. With Perry missing from the mix, do you ever get back to it? I don’t know.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean current Journey vocalist Arnel Pineda isn’t the guy to lead them back there — just that the ongoing inability to broker an agreement between the group’s creative anchors may keep them out of the studio. “I think I know how to start, but everybody has to be willing to get on the same page and make classic Journey music,” Cain concluded. “That’s where I’m at. If everybody is willing to make a legacy album like [2001's] ‘Arrival,’ I’m in. If you’re not, I’m not.”