Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey Reviews




Movie Overview

Genre: Documentary

It’s a fantastic story, filled of Journey songs so fans will definitely be entertained.

Wish they could have interviewed Steve Perry so we could hear his take on Arnel

Our Review:
4 / 5 – Very Good

Reviewed by: Kevin Taylor

It’s a story you truly have to see to believe. Journey, one of the most popular bands in the history of music, was without a lead singer in 2006. The members still wanted to make music and tour the nation, but they couldn’t do it without a front man who could come close to the level of the iconic Steve Perry. Then, they found their guy, a man from the Philippines who they found on youtube, and the rest they say, is history. This is Don’t Stop Believin’ Everyman’s Journey, the incredible story of Arnel Pineda. READ MORE


March 5, 2013

‘Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey’: Rock on


You absolutely don’t have to be a fan of the rock group Journey to enjoy Ramona Diaz’s “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey.”

Because I’m not. Really. Not to put too fine a point on it, but as someone who was working as a rock critic for the first decade and a half of the group’s existence, I always regarded them as unexplainably popular, an at-best thoroughly mediocre hit-making machine. Not quite in the same league as Yes for pretentiousness, but approaching that same ’80s-era-level of arena-rock bombast. READ MORE


Review: Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey

Mar. 5, 2013 by: JimmyO


PLOT: What happens when an Eighties rock band is looking for a new lead singer? For the hit-makers Journey once fronted by Steve Perry, the answer was found on YouTube. It was then that a young man from the Philippines was plucked from obscurity and found himself on tour with the popular retro act.

REVIEW: As ridiculously difficult as it may be to make it in the music business, it seems we are hearing a whole lot about overnight sensations or YouTube “celebrities.” DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’: AN EVERYMAN’S JOURNEY may be about that very same thing, yet in bringing the audience along for the ride we see a far more personal exploration of a young singer thrust into the limelight.

When we first meet Arnel Pineda he is taking a tour of a local elementary school in his home town of Manila. While getting a picture taken with one of the teachers, she asks what the name of his band is, he replies with Journey. Young or old, possibly every living soul has heard of this super group from the 70’s and 80’s. According to the film their hit song “Don’t Stop Believing” is probably being played somewhere on the radio station as you read this. However, the band’s lead singer Steve Perry left the band after he underwent a hip replacement surgery in 1997 and couldn’t tour with the band for that period of time. He and his former band mates have since gone their separate ways.


In the new documentary feature from director Ramona S. Diaz, the Perry years are referenced but mostly ignored. This is not his story. This is the story of a man from the Philippines given the chance of a lifetime to become the lead singer of one of his all-time favorite bands. The Perry-inspired vocalist was discovered after lead guitarist Neal Schon found some of his videos on YouTube. While it may seem like the making of some sort of reality television series, the match lead to a very prosperous year in 2008 with a certified platinum album entitled “Revelations” and a top grossing concert tour. READ MORE


Originally posted by celadonia: Hope you won’t mind if I just cut and paste my favorite lines from the review.

“Well, it didn’t take long for them to find out after the little sparkplug ran back and forth on the catwalk of their opening 2008 show together in Chile. Arnel brings a personality they’ve never had with an undying athleticism and unwavering smile that lights up the audiences’ faces as much as the bandmates playing along. We see bassist Ross Valory mouth the word “wow” a couple times during stage shows and drummer Deen Castronovo‘s constant praise when Pineda brings the house down despite a cold is a contagious bit of love, support, and admiration. Journey found a new lease on life with their discovery, inherited an entire Filipino nation of fans Schon says thanks him whenever they recognize him on the street, and helped make a young kid’s dream a reality.”

“…The smile never fades, his joy is never satisfied, and the future remains hopeful he could still one day step from his hero’s shadow. With some input on their latest album Eclipse he’s proven himself to be a full fifth of one of the world’s most loved rock outfits and we should give him and the band our full attention and appreciation for keeping the music alive.”


Arnel Pineda Never Stopped Believin’
March 6, 2013

HOLLYWOOD—In 2007, veteran musician Arnel Pineda was on the brink of giving up on his dream of becoming a worldwide success. At 40, the Philippines native had enjoyed some modest success at home and in Hong Kong, but after years of performing with a number of bands, he was nowhere near his goal of achieving the kind of fame and fortune he had imagined for himself as a youngster. READ MORE


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Noel D. Gomez: My Story

Noel D. Gomez

Noel D. Gomez

2004: Seeing Arnel sing for the first time
I was not a fan of rock. But it was at Remy Field, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority in Olongapo City where I saw the rock band 9MM for the first time. They fronted my favorite band, South Border. 9MM started singing Don’t Say Goodbye, Say Goodnight. I had heard the song before. I could overhear people around me saying 9MM must be the original artist. The band sounded just like the original, but I know for a fact Binocular recorded the song. 9MM’s entire show lasted about two hours, the band obliging with the crowd’s requests. With every song, the crowd got wilder, pushing onto the stage and knocking the railing down. By the time South Border took the stage, the crowd had mellowed out. As people filed out, the talk was about 9MM, the front act. After the concert, I decided I was going to learn more about them.

I was working at an internet café at that time. A guy walks in asking to have documents copied. On the letterhead was “9MM”. I asked him who 9MM’s vocalist was. He told me, “Arnel Pineda”. It turns out, the customer managed both 9MM and South Border. He continued to further say that Arnel Pineda led a band called AMO. Having gone to high school at another province, Pangasinan, I had only heard about AMO from my father and uncles. From what I was told, AMO band was the best band in Olongapo.

2006: Meeting Arnel
A friend who was entertainment supervisor at Brad’s Bistro in Olongapo City invited me to watch a band that they brought in from Manila. At that time, no band really struck me as exceptional, so I declined. My friend insisted that this band is very good; the singer was Arnel Pineda, formerly with AMO, Olongapo’s best. I agreed on the condition that it really is Arnel Pineda. Otherwise, not expect me to show up.

My girlfriend Rona and I arrived early at Brad’s Bistro, and got good seats close to the stage. We learned that the band’s name was “Zoo” and were wondering if they’re as good as my friend claimed. We saw someone who looked like Arnel. Unsure, I thought to myself: he only has to start singing and I can confirm. When they took the stage, immediately I knew it was Arnel. He was just as I remembered: very good. We decided to see them perform again. The third time we went, someone had taken our usual spot so we settled somewhere in the third row. In between sets, Arnel approached us, saying he was surprised not to see us in our usual seats! I guess he noticed we’ve been over to see him a couple of times.


Rona and AP at Bart’s Bistro in Olongapo.


I got familiar with his rock repertoire, since everytime he sang in Olongapo (three times a week), there we were. Rona and I carefully figured the cost of the shows into our budget. One day, while singing karaoke with some friends, I saw on the song list “Iiyak Ka Rin (You’ll Be Crying Soon) by Arnel Pineda”. A friend asked me if I have any of his songs, to which I said, “no”. The next time I saw Arnel, I asked why, despite his solo album where he had blonde hair, I hadn’t heard about him until now. Arnel replied that he was promoted more as a balladeer than the rock singer he truly is.

Everytime Arnel and Zoo came to Olongapo, I would round up my friends and a bunch of us would to watch cheer, yell and liven up their gigs, encouraging more patrons. There were times I picked up my friends’ tabs when they didn’t have enough funds.

In September 2006, Zoo’s new album, Zoology, was released. The band announced that it might be a while before they can return. That was the last time they played in Olongapo.

February, 2007
Rona and I decided to celebrate our anniversary by traveling to Manila on February 23, 2007. Zoo guitarist Monet Cajipe and I had a mutual friend who told me they played at Hard Rock Cafe. They were surprised and happy to see us. We told them how much we missed their gigs in Olongapo, that we traveled hours to hear them once again. Arnel had their gig that night recorded by Hard Rock staff on VHS so we could take it home with us.

The YouTube Idea
Arnel invited us to the band’s favorite roadside eatery that they frequented after their gigs. I wondered and asked Arnel why he still goes to such a hole-in-the-wall place even though he’s already a recording artist. It was then that I had a serious talk with Arnel. I suggested uploading the recorded video to YouTube. I also asked if he had any plans on going to the US. I wanted to help promote the band so they somehow get discovered in America. Arnel answered, he is not hoping anything will come about as far as going to the US. He added, “You know how that goes – I am not Tisoy“. (Tisoy means having Caucasian blood/looks).


Rona and I traveled to Manila to see the band at Hard Rock cafe.


Why Arnel Joked, “When My Visa Gets Approved”
We asked Arnel to sing Faithfully. On the video, you can hear him dedicate the song to us; then, he spoke to “Mike” in the audience, “You just wait, when my Visa gets approved…”. Perhaps to say to the person, who is a drummer working in the US, (Arnel) is going to  show him what he’s all about.  Because of this statement, many people believed this was in reference to his audition with Journey. It was not. The video had not yet been uploaded, and Neal Schon had not seen it yet. Many also thought only Journey wanted Arnel to try his luck in the States, which is untrue. There have been some casual invitations; one of which was with the Vegas band, Yellow Brick Road. Arnel was not too interested because they were a cover band. He was not too keen about leaving Zoo, with a newly-released album, and he was confident they would do well.

March, 2007: The First Upload
I offered to promote Arnel and the band by uploading videos of their gigs to YouTube. The first video, Faithfully, appeared on YouTube on March 3, 2007. I recorded anything I could, taking several trips to Manila and Hard Rock. With a rented internet cafe computer and poor connection speed, it took all night to upload just one video. Rona was getting upset about the hours it took to put videos up. We decided to buy a laptop so I didn’t have to be away too much. As I put more videos up, I gained more subscribers and friends to interact with while telling them more about Arnel. As a relative newbie, I made the mistake of posting a negative comment about Jeff Scott Soto, the Journey singer. I realized it was uncalled for and I quickly wisened up, keeping as many subscribers and friends as I can who could spread the word about Arnel.

June, 2007: Neal Schon Emails Me
I remembered having slept late, around 5 am, managing the YouTube account. I woke up around 11:00 a.m. on June 28, 2007 and found a new message on the account from someone who introduced himself as Neal Schon, the guitarist of Journey. Neal wrote that Journey was still very active in America and Europe. He asked how he could contact the singer of the video clips I posted. He provided his phone numbers, email address, and the Journey manager’s contact info. After reading Neal’s e-mail, I immediately looked them up, verified what he said, before texting Arnel. Arnel calls me back saying, “Bud, ignore that; I have been in the music industry long enough; getting similar offers that turn out to be bogus or nothing.” Arnel was not convinced. It took a while chatting with Arnel on Yahoo Messenger for him to give in when I said, “What a wasted opportunity if this turns out to be real.”

Arnel tells me, “I emailed Neal my phone number and he called and wants me to audition in America.” Arnel remained skeptical; I suggested video conferencing. He became fully convinced upon receiving a formal written invitation from Journey to audition with the band.

August, 2007
Arnel left for the US for his week-long audition. Upon his return, I asked if he made it. Arnel neither confirmed nor denied, but said, “however you feel it went, that’s that.”  I knew right there and then he got it. Later, when he was officially announced as the lead singer of Journey, Arnel told me that Neal stated, “I’d rather form another band if we don’t get Arnel.” That’s how much he wanted Arnel for Journey.


Note: Noel’s memoir was translated by Lou Atienza and APR.

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