April 1, 2013 at 9:53 am #1795
The Craziest Journey Ever
by J. Rentilly March 8, 2013, 09:23 am EDT
Famed mythologist Joseph Campbell said that every man lives a hero’s journey. For 45-year-old Arnel Pineda, once a scrappy, streetsmart nobody in the Philippines, that journey comes with a capital J.
After years of rocking with cover bands at pizza joints in Manila, the golden-voiced Pineda was plucked from the Internet in 2007 to be the lead singer of Journey, the classic-rock titans celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. Pineda’s rags-to-riches storyline is captured in the riveting, music-rich documentary, Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey, in theaters today.
To mark the film’s release, we chatted with Pineda—who, by the way, is still completely flabbergasted at the fame that’s accompanied his rise to rock stardom.
“I don’t consider myself a rock star,” Pineda says. “I would rather be looked at as a regular guy who happened to be in the right time at the right place. But if you call me a rock star, thank you.”
Men’s Health: How has your life changed over the last few years?
Arnel Pineda: Tremendously. It was drastic. My wife and I were not prepared to face it, and we were trying to just be cool. Eventually, we were able to accept it all and we figured out how to take it easy and not get too overwhelmed. We had to think about the future and our kids and how we would deal with the new job. We’re cool now.
MH: Is playing it cool a secret to handling success?
Pineda: Even though I’m hugely grateful for being found by [Journey lead guitarist] Neal Schon on YouTube—which I thought was a hoax at the time—I don’t let it get to my head. For me, singing with this band is a task. I need to get it done. The music is all-important to me. I have too much respect for the music and for the band and the fans to give anything less than my best. But it’s easy to get caught up in that pressure and crumble. I just need to deliver what’s been given to fans for so many years . . . not that I could ever match [original Journey singer] Mr. Steve Perry.
MH: Where were you in your life when you got that fateful email?
Pineda: I was in my house. The computer was on. My email was up. But I was putting groceries away with my wife and looking after our baby son, who was crawling around our little house in Manila. It was 9 in the morning—just another day for a simple family like us. Then suddenly, a meteor came right at our house and it changed our lives forever.
MH: A lot of people might choke at an opportunity like that. How did you dig deep and get the confidence to nail the gig?
Pineda: I told the band a couple of days ago that I’ve been afraid all of my life. No confidence. No self-esteem. We were an underprivileged family. My parents were both tailors. We got by. But we only had a few important things in our life. I only got confidence when I was given this opportunity, and being around these guys gave me confidence. It taught me how to stand tall and how to be there for 15,000 people in the audience. Journey gave me a magic wand, and it’s changed the man that I am. I was able to muster this kind of courage that I never, ever had in my life.
MH: It’s a fairy tale story in a lot of ways, but there’s a key component: You were also working your ass off for years, getting ready for the opportunity, and playing a lot of gigs with local bands.
Pineda: The real hard work was done by the guys in Journey. I guess I did my part; I was singing in clubs and bars in the Philippines, trying my best. But I’m here today because of Journey. Back in Manila, those were my decadent years—sex, drugs, and rock and roll for me back then. Now I just want to be with my family. However I can connect with them, that’s what I do. Also, it’s all about rest, rest, rest for me. It takes a lot to sing these 18 songs every night. I have to take care of my voice. Now that I’m in a big rock band, I’m not a rock star anymore.
MH: There are some fans who will never accept Journey without Steve Perry singing. How do you handle the haters?
Pineda: It is what it is. I’m good enough for the founding members of the band. So I guess I’m good enough. Whatever happens, I’m here. I can’t control anything else. And I do make a lot of people happy spreading the message of this music. I just do the best I can every single night.April 10, 2013 at 4:12 pm #1922
It’s always fun for me to watch Arnel go down to the audience and shake hands, do hi-fives with them.April 10, 2013 at 4:22 pm #1923
What did your mother say about eating your vegetables? Well, our guy must have listened well.
Proof.April 10, 2013 at 9:55 pm #1925
@sevens: I emailed you before the site launch, hope you got it! Do you want your name back, “seven”?
@celadonia: Please please please write an article about his Airnels and/or the nicknames he has earned from his energy onstage?
Or anyone who would love to write, please be inspired!
:ap_yeah:April 12, 2013 at 11:58 am #1939April 13, 2013 at 12:25 am #1949
fabb, it’s something on my list this week. but i’ll be out of town for a hobby thing and family.
Miss AP so much already! wahhh. Was at the bar last night in greenbelt and I thought he should put up his place there.April 14, 2013 at 5:54 am #2014
I saw this yt video about 2 yrs. ago. It has a little of 1,700 hits only so I suppose not a lot have listened to this yet. Video by fnv 1962. Listen to his vibrato. GoosebumpsApril 14, 2013 at 11:24 am #2015
celadonia wrote:I saw this yt video about 2 yrs. ago. It has a little of 1,700 hits only so I suppose not a lot have listened to this yet. Video by fnv 1962. Listen to his vibrato. Goosebumps
Cela, thank you so much. It’s so beautiful. You found another hidden gem.April 15, 2013 at 3:06 pm #2055
Sorry if this has been posted before….but finally! For the first time, I watched the complete Journey-Rascall Flatts CMT Crossroads show! Now downloadable from YT.
I must say: a country-fied Arnel? Never say never! Love all his vocals in the RF songs.
Mods: feel free to delete if this is a cross-post. (Crossroads, crosspost, get it? Oh never mind!).
CheApril 15, 2013 at 6:59 pm #2060
Haha, Crossroads cross-post. We’ve actually had the full show on this site since the day after the concert. It’s on the main page in “Videos”, or will show up if you enter Crossroads, or Rascal, etc. in the search box. Thanks, Che!
:ap_hug:April 16, 2013 at 2:52 am #2081
via Steve Walker of WRBQ. Kinda pro-Steve Perry and pro-Arnel blog post.April 22, 2013 at 12:49 pm #2177
Ten Biggest You Tube SensationsApril 23, 2013 at 12:31 am #2230
Thank you! Front and center: http://arnelpinedarocks.com/2225/arnel/arnel-listed-among-biggest-youtube-sensationsJune 10, 2014 at 8:39 am #5205
JenaIsleParticipantJune 10, 2014 at 1:53 pm #5210
Successor slowly moves out of Arnel Pineda’s shadow
by Mikee Delizo
June 6, 2014 (updated)
Am having a hard time copying here the entire article so please just click on the link above.
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