Gregg Rolie Says Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nomination Is for Journey's Fans

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Aynsley Dunbar, Ross Valory, Steve Perry, Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie of Journey photographed in 1978.

Journey co-founder Gregg Rolie had resigned himself a bit to the thought that the band would never be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. So his reaction to the group's first-ever nomination this week is understandably cautious.

"It's taken a long trip to get here," Rolie -- who was inducted into the Rock Hall with Santana in 1998, and was with Journey from 1973-1980 -- tells Billboard. "I have to admit the only thing I thought is it might not ever happen, because of whatever politics were involved. I just didn't know. But here we are now, so...we'll see."

Journey has, in fact, long been a poster child for bands snubbed over the years by the Rock Hall -- particularly late-'70s mainstream rock favorites such as Foreigner, Boston, Styx, etc. Rolie credits the tenacity of Journey's fans with finally getting the group placed on the nominating ballot for the class of 2017.

"The way I look at this is it's all those Journey fans that have petitioned for this for years -- and they have," Rolie notes. "They've written in many, many times, and their support made this happen. It's funny the way they go about doing this, but this time evidently there's a fan base of voters that are beyond the current inductees and the people that run us that support (Journey). So it's for them as well." 

Rolie recently wrapped up a North American tour with Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band, and is now off to Japan with the group. In addition to the All-Starrs, Rolie is also playing with Journey guitarist Neal Schon in Santana IV, a reunion of the 1970-71 lineup of that band that jettisoned the two musicians to go and form Journey. Santana IV has just released the new Live at the House of Blues, Las Vegas on CD and home video, and after playing just four dates this year, is looking to do more during 2017.

"Y'know, Journey's still out there doing this, big time," Rolie says. "It never quit. That was part of the dilemma of why it doesn't seem right (that the band's not in the Rock Hall). It's really current, on top of making the music that we did back then."

"There's a lot of people I believe ought to be in there," Rolie continues. (All-Starr bandmate) Todd Rundgren, for sure. There's a whole list of bands that have been overlooked, Bad Company, there's a whole list. And we were one of them, so now we're in this other situation."

Rolie hasn't had a chance to speak with any of his former bandmates about the nomination. But if he's elected, he will definitely serve. "I know I'd do it," Rolie says. "I'll have to talk to everybody, I guess. As far as Steve Perry goes, I have no clue."