Journey isn’t planning to let its 40th anniversary go unnoticed. The group’s Jonathan Cain tells Billboard that Journey is eyeballing a special show in its home town of San Francisco, most likely at AT&T Park.
“I can’t really say much right now, but if we can get that to happen, that would be” the anniversary celebration, Cain says. Asked if the special show could involve former members of the band, he says “that could be” but adds it’s more likely to pay tribute to one of Journey’s earliest supporters.
“We’re thinking more of a Bill Graham tribute kind of thing,” he explains. “Bill really was a big supporter of Journey, and without Bill we’d never have played the Rose Bowl. He was our sort of godfather. So we’re thinking that maybe we’ll sort of wrap up the bow and do a tribute to him. We think about him a lot. He was just a tremendous guy.”
The show will be part of a busy year of performing for Journey. With, “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey,” a documentary about Filipino singer Arnel Pineda’s time in the band debuting this week, the group is finishing a run in Australia with Deep Purple before it begins a short Japanese tour on March 11 and then heads to Europe with Whitesnake beginning March 16.
Journey plans to do some “hit and run, under the radar sort of stuff” in North America, and it’s also planning to play some soccer stadiums with Rascal Flatts, Journey’s partner on a recent “CMT Crossroads” episode.
“We want to think outside the box and try some new things and play with some different folks and just really strengthen the brand on a worldwide sort of campaign,” Cain explains. “We want to continue bringing Journey music to different places. It’s exciting to go out and win people over like that.”
What Cain is less sure about, however, is another Journey album. After the lukewarm response to 2011’s harder-rocking “Eclipse,” its second release with Pineda, Cain says that, “We’re not convinced the market will bear another CD from us, and it’s so much work to make one. We have a great catalog right now to play. We have a lot of songs we’re not even playing, so what’s the point of making a new CD right now?” He does, however, say an EP of some sort could be possible, and the group is hoping to land some material in a movie in the near future.
“If our creative juices get flowing enough, we might be like, ‘OK, let’s try another album,’ ” Cain allows, but he says it will be closer to vintage Journey than “Eclipse” was. “I enjoyed the process of making ‘Eclipse;’ it was a great experiment and a great challenge, but it wasn’t received very well. So I think we need to stay sort of closer to who we are, to who we’ve been — great songs, great melodies, harmonies — and not worry about if it’s heavy or not. Our fans are getting older, man; they’re not headbangers anymore. So if we do anything, I think we need to go back to the center.”