Amidst his three month solo tour across the United States and Canada, Filipino frontman Arnel Pineda of legendary American rock band Journey took time off of his busy travel schedule to eat with friends and fans on Tuesday, November 14 at the Original Lapid Filipino Cuisine restaurant in Bellflower, California before heading back on the road.
Pineda will be heading back to Los Angeles on Sunday, December 3 to perform at the famous Orpheum Theatre, which has staged many legendary rock and roll performers from Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones, and of course, Journey.
Despite having graced the stages of Europe, Asia, and the Americas in concerts reaching thousands in attendance, Pineda seemed at home when hanging with fellow Filipinos, whom he said his latest album and solo tour are for.
“I’d like to entertain them with a lot of these great classic songs that I’ve sang all these years, even before Journey found me,” Pineda told the Asian Journal.
Pineda hinted that at least two or three of his original songs from the album will be performed. Backing him up will be other talented Filipino musicians, including some former members of Philippine rock bands South Border and Rivermaya.
“I think it will be a great nostalgic night for me with LA,” he added.
The powerhouse singer has come a long way since joining Journey ten years ago in 2007. Since his first public performance with the band at the 2008 Viña del Mar Festival in Chile, Pineda has gone on to perform at numerous tours and has appeared on a number of television shows with hosts like Oprah Winfrey and Ellen Degeneres, winning the hearts of loyal Journey fans all over the world.
Journey has just spent much of 2017 touring in over 70 concerts across the U.S. and Asia, including at the Mall of Asia Concert Grounds in Manila, Philippines.
“It’s a lot of work. A lot of pressure and a lot of stress. But at the end of the day, it’s all worth it because we are making a lot of people happy, especially all those hardcore fans of the band,” said Pineda.
“They’re just happy enough to see that the band still moves on and goes on even though the voice of Steve Perry, is not with them anymore,” said Pineda. “It’s been such a blessing.”
After losing their lead singer Steve Perry, whose voice had so strongly resonated with fans since the late ‘70s, the band went through a couple lead singers before finally landing with Pineda in a rather unconventional manner that made headlines around the world.
Upon finding Pineda’s cover of American rock band Survivor’s 1985 song “The Search is Over” with his band ZOO on YouTube, the search was indeed over as Neal Schon, Journey’s lead guitarist, decided that Pineda could be what Journey needed to continue.
But of course, the transition wasn’t easy despite having covered the band’s songs many times.
“Just like anything else, coming into a new team, you’re unsure. You try to study it,” said Pineda.
“Of course, you want to fit in as soon as possible, but it’s just not that easy you know,” he added.
In an interview with PBS’ Independent Lens, Pineda recalled feeling confident leading up to the first performance in Chile, until it started to sink in that 18,000 people were attending — over 25 million people would also be watching it live on TV across South America.
Upon hearing the thunderous applause of the Viña del Mar Festival goers, Pineda remembered feeling extremely terrified and anxious. In the interview, he remembered seeing the last few moments before stage time going in slow motion, and even asking Schon if he could go home.
“I was such a big fan of the band and suddenly, it was becoming a reality that I was one of them,” shared Pineda.
But as the set started, Pineda’s talent wowed the crowd who at that moment accepted him as the band’s frontman, commending his incredible vocal range, power, and contagious energy.
“There was an uneasy feeling but at the same time, there was excitement and thrill,” said Pineda.
Now ten years later and with another successful 2017 Journey tour under his belt, Pineda’s own solo tour across the U.S. and Canada is meant to reach out especially to the Filipino community.
His latest solo album titled “AP” reintroduces his fans to the Arnel Pineda before Journey — a passionate Filipino singer with a love for his culture.
In the album are original songs by Pineda, many of which take him back to his pre-Journey days as a number of tracks are re-recordings of Pineda’s original compositions from as early as the 2000s with his bands Ammo and Zoo.
Fans of The Zoo and their “Zoology” album that was released in 2007 under Universal Music Group can expect to hear re-recorded versions of “Wrong” and “Soulmate” in his latest album.
Also included is the emotional love ballad “Owe” in which he bares his imperfections in dedication to his wife.
And while the world has widely sang along with him to Journey hits like “Don’t Stop Believing” or “Wheel in the Sky”, Pineda plays ode to his culture and beginnings as a musician in the Philippines with a couple of Tagalog songs.
“This album was made to reach out to my kababayan — to my fellow Filipinos,” said Pineda, acknowledging the many Filipinos living around the world.
Also from the “Zoology” album are Tagalog song “Paumanhin” which merges reggae beats and electric rock guitar harmonies, and “Ewan Ko Ba” which starts off with fun syncopated guitar riffs before getting into funk rhythms through clavinet patterns, strong bass lines, and of course more electric guitar.
“This is for Filipinos,” said Pineda.