Journey's Jonathan Cain Talks 'Don't Stop Believin'' Memoir, Shares Cover Image: Exclusive

Jonathan Cain
Michael Cairns

Jonathan Cain

If you like sex and drugs in your rock n' roll memoirs, Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain's upcoming Don't Stop Believin' might not be your escape. But Cain promises plenty of creative insight and positive message in the tome, which comes out May 1 to coincide with Journey's summer tour with Def Leppard.

"I like the way we did this, because it's a musical, songwriter's book," Cain, who co-wrote Don't Stop Believin' with Travis Thrasher, tells Billboard. "I'm excited. I'm scared, a little nervous but grateful. I never thought this would happen. I started writing this book 10 years ago."

The story Cain set out to tell is "just one of perseverance. It's about dealing with the setbacks of the music business -- the ups and downs, the dedications, the rejection, dealing with everybody that says 'You're not good enough' and carrying on. Just because somebody tells you you can't write and you can't sing doesn't mean you've got to quit, it just means you haven't gotten to the right position yet. So it's a book of hope and faith." And the pages reveal that the primary source of Cain's own faith was his father Leonard Friga, the guy who told him to not stop believing in the first place and even predicted that his tenure with the Babys before joining Journey in 1980 was "just a stepping stone."

"I had the greatest father on the planet," Cain recalls. "He was a real vision-keeper, just a whole icon for me in my head, and I was so lucky to have his love. So part of this (book) is a love story -- my love for him and all he did for me, and the way he picked me up whenever I seemed to get knocked down. He was always there."

Don't Stop Believin' chronicles the tragic 1958 fire at Chicago’s Our Lady of the Angels, in which 92 students and three nuns died, and how Cain found solace from that in music, as well as his early career struggles as the leader of his own band, which also had a brief recording contract. Journey's inner-workings are detailed as well, and Cain is confident the book will provide insights into his relationship with former frontman Steve Perry, both as a songwriter and a friend.

"It was kind of divine intervention that the Lord would bring me to this guy that could just sing like that, and how many things we had in common and how much we loved just writing great songs," says Cain, who has not seen or heard from Perry since Journey's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction last April. "It was just magical. I wanted to show the reader that I got lifted up and swept into this vortex of greatness and was in the studio making Escape with a band I hadn't played a note with. I can't make that up. It happened. I want the reader to know just how supernatural that felt, and how after the years of rejection and failed attempts at trying to be a solo artist and trying to take my music down the road that I'm part of something this cool."

Journey will, in fact, be getting back on the tracks May 21 when it begins its 58-city tour with Def Leppard. The groups toured together 12 years ago, and Cain predicts the complementary pairing is still intact. "The music fits together well," he says. "We're so different than them. Our sound is different, (with) keyboards and our ballads. We just go different places with our music, so I think it's going to be a really different musical night." He also promises that Journey is "clicking" even though the tensions between him and guitarist Neal Schon that surfaced last year via social media haven't been fully rectified.

"Y'know, we just tolerate it," Cain -- who's married to minister and presidential advisor Paula White and released his first Christian album, What God Wants To Hear, in 2016 and the Christmas album Unsung Noel last year -- says with a chuckle. "He just did an interview and aired his laundry again, so I'm like, 'OK, whatever dude...' The music is bigger than us, bigger than all this stuff and the fans are more important than all that stuff. So I'm not going there. I haven't even thought about it, to tell you the truth. I really haven't. I'm just out there for the fans. I'm out there for the legacy. We just got the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so you want to live up to that and I think that's the spirit you go out with, not anything else. I'm just looking forward to making music again, music I love and I loved to help create."