Taratogs: Arnel Pineda launches music community

Taratogs - Arnel Pineda
Founders - Taratogs - Arnel Pineda

Cherry & Arnel Pineda, Jaeger Tanco, Maricar, Danela

A regular guy on the streets, but a musician in the sheets? Don’t hide it! Share the talent you’ve got. Taratogs is a community of music junkies joined together by the relentless passion for sound. Whether you’re someone who makes sounds or someone who listens, for as long as you have the heart for music, you are welcome to join. We encourage musicians – independent or signed – to share their craft and engage other members of this community to talk about the art of tunes and encourage others to create, too. By creating this online space, our mission is to keep music and OPM alive. Tara, tugtog!

If you are a musician, songwriter, music lover, poet, cover band, music critic, indie band, professional recording artist, OPM artist, be a part of our community!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/taratogs/
Twitter: @tara_togs
Instagram: @tara_togs

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The Peculiar Journey of Arnel Pineda

August 7, 2014
Written by Mr. Kevin McLaughlin

If Arnel Pineda had been tapped to be the new lead singer for Bon Jovi the story would have been called “Living on a Prayer”. If the band that chose him to replace their front man were Aerosmith the headlines would have blared, “Dream On”. But, since it was Neil Schon who reached out to the once homeless Pineda to replace Steve Perry in the band Journey, the documentary that chronicled his unlikely rise to front one of the most successful bands of the 1980’s was aptly titled Don’t Stop Believin’.

It was very easy for Pineda to stop thinking he would ever make it big in music. Though he had some success in the Philippines and Hong Kong during the 1980’s, it wasn’t until 2007 when Pineda outlasted many others in a nerve-wracking tryout to become Journey’s new lead singer. While many remember Journey for their early 1980’s hits Open Arms, Faithfully, Any Way You Want It and of course, Don’t Stop Believin’ the band would hit a number of snags following the release of their album Frontiers in 1983. The band would go through numerous lineup changes until fully reuniting for the album Trial by Fire in 1996 but for all intents and purposes the band that had catapulted worldwide fame in 1982 was only a memory.


After several unsuccessful attempts to find a dedicated front man, Schon would come across clips of Pineda on YouTube and placed a call to the stunned singer who almost hung up thinking it was a prank. It’s a good thing Pineda stayed on the line because the call was real and would lead to Pineda flying out to Northern California to audition and on December 5, 2007 he was officially announced as Journey’s new lead singer.

It was a long climb for Pineda who had to endure the death of his mother at age 13, his father moving out being unable to pay the rent and leaving his children with relatives and Pineda’s decision to leave ‘home’, quit school and try to make it on his own. Homeless and scrounging for what meager pay he could, Pineda would find solace in music and the fact that he had an incredible singing voice.

I normally check those male models from major fashion magazines and the front men of the most popular rock bands in the world and get their style, and I apply it to myself and mix a little of my own in.


This skill did not go unnoticed as Pineda joined several different groups over the years, winning singing and group contests in the Philippines including the Yamaha World Band Explosion, being in a band that opened for Robert Palmer in Manila in 1989 and releasing a self-titled solo album in 1999.

But it was the call from Schon that would change everything and since landing the gig with Journey, Pineda has been on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the top.

Reaching the singer and his stylist, Ulysses ‘Yul’ Session, while on tour, we got the chance to find out what this opportunity has meant to him and how his style on stage has played an important role in his career.

American Hall of Fame Football player Jerry Rice was quoted as saying if he “didn’t look good, he didn’t play well”. Do you agree with that from a singer’s perspective, that how you look can affect the way you perform?

Mr. Pineda: Most of the time, yes, it’s definitely mental and being conscious of how you look and how it affects your performance. It can be a bit of a distraction somehow, vanity, I guess. Most of the time I don’t have that type of character but on stage it’s a different experience.

Mr. Session: The whole look is important. It gives Arnel more confidence when he looks great. I feel like I’m doing my job when he looks his best onstage.

Is there a difference between Arnel Pineda’s stage style and the off-stage man’s look?

Mr. Pineda: It’s a very big difference on stage, I try to be as well dressed as possible and offstage I’m just an ordinary dressed guy.

Mr. Session: Arnel’s off-stage style is more casual with more colors. He wants to be comfortable when lounging in his off time. His onstage look is a more polished rock star look. Arnel has great body proportions even though he is small framed. He looks best in fitted clothing and well-tailored pieces.


Who, if anyone, has influenced your style?

Mr. Pineda: I normally check those male models from major fashion magazines and of course the front men of the most popular rock bands in the world and get their style and I apply it to myself and mix a little of my own in.

Mr. Session: My personal style icons are Brad Pitt in his movie star look, George Clooney, Tom Ford, old days Paul Newman. I like classic old school menswear.

Can you tell us your thoughts on a few designers we see you wearing: Yves St. Laurent, Burberry and Alexander McQueen?

Mr. Pineda: All I can say is, these brands, YSL, Burberry and Alexander McQueen, their style is eternal. You will never go wrong as long as you wear them. Timeless. I love to wear the high-end designers mixed with street wear. The fabrics and quality of tailoring are top notch.

Mr. Session: The high-end designers have impeccable taste and the cut with the amazing fabric makes for a great look. Burberry has amazing leathers along with St. Laurent with the rock edge to their designs. John Varvatos has the rock star edgy look down pat. McQueen are masterpiece designs. We love to include as many as possible. I love to use local designers for one of a kind statement pieces as well.

Mr. Yul Session, Arnel Pineda’s Road Manager and Stylist.

Somehow I’m quite settled to be remembered as the singer who can cook, farm, raise a family and, well, rock n’ roll like there’s no tomorrow.

Does the venue and location have any effect on the style you choose for a particular show, say playing in Japan vs a show in Europe?

Mr. Pineda: Yes, of course. Japan and Europe, they are both challenging because people there are so into fashion and I’m learning a lot as I go on.

Mr. Session: Japan allows for a more creative look on stage vs the USA where we try to stay more classic mainstream. Different weather in the areas needs to be factored in too. Arnel is from Philippines and doesn’t respond well to cold weather. We allow for layers so as he performs and has warmed up we can peel off the layers.

Yul seems to play an important role when it comes to you style. Can you tell us about how you guys came to work together?

Mr. Pineda: A common friend introduced Yul to me as an assistant. And to my surprise, he’s into fashion and he is quite hardcore, so since he’s my PA, he became one of my voices when it comes to how I would look up on that big stage. We are still a work in progress, which is a healthy thing.


Photo credits: The Click Studio Photography, Christophe Ochal – CC, Sean Molin – CC.

Describe your reaction when Neil Schon first called and asked if you would be interested in auditioning for the job?

Mr. Pineda: I thought he was crazy, until now. But I still think it’s crazy in every way.

Many front men for bands have had lasting legacies, and a lot has had to do with their personal style (Mick Jagger, David Lee Roth, Steve Tyler, etc). What would say is Arnel Pineda’s style and how do you want to be remembered?

Mr. Pineda: I’m just a messenger. I’m very glad and I’m very grateful that I was chosen to be the one to get the chance to do it. Look, no matter what I do up there with the rest of the boys, it will always be the legacy of Mr. Perry (Steve Perry) and Journey. They will always hear him and I’m perfectly fine with that. And somehow I’m quite settled to be more remembered as the singer who can cook, farm, raise a family and, well, rock n’ roll like there’s no tomorrow.

If it all ended tomorrow (being the lead singer for Journey), would you have any regrets and what would you do next?

Mr. Pineda: No regrets at all. The memories I’ve made with the big boys I will definitely cherish and will be framed and have a special place on my family’s house walls. And then I’ve got hundreds of ways to reinvent myself plus the permanent things I need to manage after Journey, most importantly my family.

If you could duet with any singer, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Mr. Pineda: There’s so many… Jim Morrisson, John Farnham, Bono, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ann Wilson, Brian Johnson, Steve Perry, Steven Tyler, Robert Plant, Stevie Wonder, Barbara Streisand, Don Henley, Karen Carpenter… gosh, there’s just too many great singers out there. It will be completely and totally magical event if it was to ever happen.

Arnel Pineda’s website. Journey’s website.

Special thanks to World Wide Exposure, Inc

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Arnel Pineda’s Chance Meeting With A Rock Great

While waiting to board his flight back to Manila on September 2nd, Arnel was humming “Hotel California” and playing his guitar. Suddenly, a big smile covers his face as he gets up to say “hi” to a man walking towards the gate. Arnel says, “Hello Mr. Oates, how are you?” It was John Oates of the pop-rock duo Hall & Oates!

John Oates noticed Arnel was holding a guitar and says, “Taylor, eh?” – recognizing the brand. Within a few seconds, the tables turn when Oates learns Arnel is the lead singer for Journey. Oates proceeds to shower Arnel with accolades; Arnel still delighted he was vis-a-vis with the one who knows all about the “M-E-T-H-O-D of Modern Love”. They shared notes about their latest gigs – in Aspen – with Oates playing with Train and Arnel with Journey.

More of the exchange in the following video:

As Oates continues to where he was going, Arnel starts to play licks from the Hall & Oates catalog, still smiling from the encounter.

Note: John Oates has a new single out, “Let’s Drive” available at Amazon.

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What keeps Arnel Pineda grounded

It’s always a pleasure to sit down and interview Arnel Pineda because he’s one of those rare celebrities who, in spite of being an international star, has always treasured his Filipino roots.

Although he spent the last few years touring the world as part of Journey, he has stayed true to who he is, which is basically an ordinary boy who grew up amid a tough life in Sampaloc, Manila before hitting it big as a singer when he was picked to be part of Journey. I guess it’s precisely this that keeps Arnel grounded.

“I’ve been through a lot, so there’s also a lot I have to be thankful for,” he said during the recent launching of Puregold’s new jingle for its 10th anniversary campaign. Arnel was tapped to sing the theme song, titled TENkyu, which salutes and celebrates the success of the sari-sari store owners, carinderia owners and wholesalers who are part of Puregold’s Tindahan ni Aling Puring, a program that mobilizes small entrepreneurs who contribute a major part to the dream of better lives for millions of Filipinos. Arnel sang the theme song in flawless Filipino, and if you listen to it, you’ll find yourself admiring how much of a Pinoy he remains even after his worldwide success.

Arnel said that even if he’s constantly traveling the world, the Philippines and Filipinos remain a big part of who he is. It’s always a thrill to watch him onstage performing with Journey, and he is the only Asian among that group of Caucasians. It seems incredible and unbelievable, but it’s true — and Arnel knows that whenever he goes abroad to perform, he carries on his shoulders the dreams of his countrymen, inspiring them and delivering the message that yes, it is possible for a Filipino artist to make it on the world stage. But the best part is when he comes back, he is one of them again and thinks and behaves like a true-blooded Pinoy right down to the way he speaks.

Kapag nandito ako sa Pinas, nakakalimutan ko mag-English,” he told reporters present at the Puregold launching. “Kaya napakalapit sa puso ko ng lyrics at melody ng kanta.”

Many people may not realize it, but Arnel is the perfect person to be part of such a campaign because while he never may have owned a sari-sari store, he came from humble beginnings. He is a living testament to what hard work, determination and faith in God can do to achieve one’s dreams. And each time he is interviewed, he is not afraid to tell people the challenges he has faced and how many times he has failed before he succeeded. All this is an integral part of his story. “Hindi ko naman itinatago ‘yon,” he said. In fact, he remembers that before rising to fame as part of Journey, he once accepted small gigs and would augment his talent fees by selling cooked food with his wife. Arnel recounted: “Madalas, uuwi kami ng madaling araw galing sa gig, pero bago ako umuwi, bibili ako ng karne na pang kare-kare tapos lulutuin namin at ilalako sa may Balintawak.” Even way before that, he learned how to survive by figuring out ways to earn money for himself and his family. The singing, he said, came much later.

Singing the theme song of Puregold’s 10th anniversary campaign is not the only way that Arnel pays tribute to his humble beginnings. In fact, he has put up a foundation that reaches out to underprivileged children and tries to provide them with quality education, health services and medical attention.

Arnel has really come a long way from those small gigs in pizza parlors and for him; those humble gigs serve to remind him of where he came from and who he was before all this success. It’s a story that will never stop inspiring, and one that we will, as the song goes, “Never stop believing.”

Rock of Ages to be re-staged

Last year’s biggest theatrical party, Atlantis Productions’ Rock of Ages, is all set to rock Manila once again for a limited repeat run in July.

Rock of Ages is the hit Broadway musical featuring beloved rock songs from the ‘80s like We Built This City, Can’t Fight This Feeling, Wanted Dead Or Alive, Don’t Stop Believin, More Than Words and Every Rose Has Its Thorn. It tells the story of two young people — Drew and Sherrie — who hit the Sunset Strip armed with nothing but their dreams. Along the way, they meet a colorful array of wild and raunchy characters and find their blossoming love threatened by the rock star, Stacee Jaxx.

The powerhouse cast led by MiG Ayesa, Nyoy Volante and Vina Morales who play Stacee, Drew and Sherrie, respectively, will set the stage ablaze once more along with Aiza Seguerra (in her Aliw award-winning performance), Jett Pangan, Calvin Millado, Jamie Wilson and Bibo Reyes. Adding a new punch to the pack is one of the country’s finest singers, Rachel Alejandro who steps into the shoes of Justice Charlier.

Rachel has appeared on stage almost exclusively with Atlantis over the last decade creating memorable roles in Rent (Manila and Singapore), Avenue Q (Manila and Singapore), Xanada and Aida. On joining Rock of Ages, Rachel says, “I’m in love with ‘80s rock music so I was so excited when Atlantis asked me to be part of the cast of the 2012 run. Unfortunately, I moved to New York for almost a year and had to give up the show. When direk Chari Arespacochaga asked me to be part of the repeat, I jumped at the opportunity. It’s such a fun show and I know for a fact that my castmates are a riot. I am so looking forward to it all!”

Chari says, “Rachel is truly one of our favorite actresses to work with. A genuine pro, she is obsessively committed to perfection. She also completely understands this genre. I am very happy to have her in the show and look forward to the Justice that she will create.”

Rock of Ages runs at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium from July 12 to 28. Limited show-buying and fund-raising opportunities are still available. Tickets are also on sale now. For details, call Atlantis Productions at 892-7078.


What keeps Arnel grounded | Entertainment, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com.

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One summer day with Arnel at Central Park

Arnel gets days off while on tour and one of them was in New York City in the summer of 2010. While on a benefit tour with his former band AMMO, a day was set aside to just kick back and walk around Central Park with some of his friends and fans. Coley and Gigi recall the day for us:

All over the park, performers had their hats out to entertain people. Sitting on a bench along a path was a man playing jazz and big band with his little trumpet. He appeared to be in his 60’s, neatly dressed, his curly white hair under a baseball cap. By his feet was the open trumpet case, with some bills and sheet music. The group tossed a few bucks in. Like the Pied Piper, the man got Arnel to stop walking, sit on the bench and tap his feet to the music.

The man starts another piece, and Arnel hummed along – to the man’s amusement. After the song, an exchange ensued between the two musicians:

Man: “Where are you from?”
Arnel: “San Francisco”
Man: “Are you a musician or a singer?”
Arnel: “Yes” (politely)
Man: “Are you any good?”
Arnel: “I would like to think so” (laughing)
Man: “Would I know your work? Where can I get it?”
Arnel: “Walmart”

They both laughed; the man probably thought Arnel was joking about Walmart. They shook hands, bumped fists and the group moved along. The man never knew Arnel sang with Journey.

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Behind the Scenes: Arnel Pineda in “TENkyu Po” video

Puregold posted a video from the making of TENkyu Po. The jingle was recorded by Arnel Pineda and rap artist Abra in support of their Tindahan Ni Aling Puring program. Look who shows up at the very end! 🙂

Thanks to Terri Win for her help in translating the lyrics, as follows:

Sell me a dream
I’ll give you diligence in return
Wrap it with good luck
And add some joy

Aling Puring says, “thank you!”

Thanks for helping each other
Not too much, not too little
Thanks for the inspiration
Growing year after year

Aling Puring greets you with, “thank you!”

Thanks for the new life
Thanks for the beautiful home
Thanks for the graduates
Thanks for the OFW

Now, we’re boss.

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Giveaway: A signed Eclipse CD upon AP’s Twitter 200K Milestone

Signed Eclipse CD

APR will give a Twitter follower or an APR site participant an Eclipse CD signed by Arnel — when he crosses the 200,000-follower mark for his @arnelpineda Twitter account. See the Twitter watch here: Arnel’s Twitter predicted to soon top 200K followers

The only thing needed is for you to finish this line:

“When I see you in person, AP, I will say, ______________”

Please post your line in the comment thread below. One name from among those who comment will be randomly drawn to receive the CD. Arnel will be reading all your messages at some point, and definitely after the milestone is reached.

Thank you from AP, and APR!

Winner Selection Video

Congratulations, Paisley Massingill! Please contact APR at http://arnelpinedarocks.com/contact  and let us know to which address the signed CD should be sent. Thanks, everyone for playing! The beautiful messages have been sent to AP as well.

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Arnel Sings “TENkyu Po”, Puregold Ad

May nakapagsabi na, “Puregold is in the business of making other people’s dreams come true…”

Narito ang aming kauna-unahang TV commercial – “TENkyu po” na nagdiriwang ng sipag, tiyaga at asenso ng Puregold – Tindahan ni Aling Puring members! Ang “TENkyu po” jingle ay inawit ng international rock star at lead singer ng Journey na si ARNEL PINEDA kasama ang up and coming fliptop/rap artist na si ABRA. Sabay-sabay nating panoorin ito, Ka-Asenso! At sabay-sabay tayong maging proud maging ka-Puregold! – From Puregold’s Facebook.

English Translation:

Someone once said, “Puregold is in the business of making other people’s dreams come true…”

Here is our very first TV commercial – “TENkyu Po” that celebrates hard work, perseverance and success of Puregold – Tindahan ni Aling Puring members! The “TENkyu Po” jingle was sung by international rock star and lead singer of Journey, Arnel Pineda along with the up and coming fliptop / rap artist named ABRA. Let’s watch it together, partner! And let’s all feel proud being colleagues with Puregold!

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Journey’s Arnel Pineda wants to be a chef

Arnel Pineda, He may be the frontman of one of biggest rock bands in the world but Filipino rocker Arnel Pineda still dreams of becoming a chef someday.

“Mahilig kasi akong magluto. I want to be a chef,”  Pineda told  ABS-CBNNews.com in an interview. “Ako kapag pahinga ko kahit pagod na pagod ako, ako ang nagluluto para sa mga kids.” (“I enjoy cooking. Even when I’m not working, though I am dead tired, I do the cooking for the kids.“)

If given a chance, the lead vocalist of Journey would like to open his own restaurant. “Yeah I will, definitely I will. Pumipili pa lang,” said Pineda, who loves to cook Filipino favorites like kaldereta, sinigang, kare-kare and others.

The rocker learned to cook at a young age to help his mother in their small business.

“Nagtinda kami ng ulam. Buhay pa ng mother ko — 1978, 1979 — may tindahan kami sa Sampaloc, sa M. dela Fuente. Noong na meet ko ‘yung wife ko ay 2003, nagtitinda ako, lahat — gulaman, bola-bola.  Bumili ako ng kariton, so kapag walang tugtog, ‘yun ang ginagawa namin. But we all have to move on,” Pineda recalled. (“We sold main dishes. My mother was still living — 1978, 1979 — we had a store in Sampaloc, at M. de la Fuente. When I met my wife in 2003, I was selling anything from gelatine to meatballs. I bought a pushcart so when I didn’t have a gig going, that’s what my wife and I would do.“)

Pineda is set to leave the country again as Journey continues its world tour in the United Kingdom and Germany.

Journey’s Arnel Pineda wants to be a chef | ABS-CBN News.

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