When I set out to watch Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey, I wasn't entirely sure of the experience I was about to embark on. First off, I'll admit: I don't really know anything about Journey. Sure I know the hits—when I'm five beers deep and "Don't Stop Believing" comes on the sound system, watch out. But I was not aware of the true weight that this band carries as a piece of American rock 'n' roll history.
Having gone through several incarnations since they formed in 1973 and achieving commercial success between 1978 and 1987, the band would sift through lead singers after the departure of Steve Perry in 1994. Everyman's Journey tells the story of Arnel Pineda, a kid from Manila, Philippines who got the chance to audition for the classic band in 2007 after guitartist Neal Schon had come across some YouTube videos of Pineda while on his quest to find a new lead singer. Schon was blown away. In what is a once in a lifetime opportunity, Pineda was flown to California for a week to meet with the band. The group was preparing to record a new album and embark on a US tour. Pineda went on to land the gig as the next Journey frontman after proving himself to the other band members and days of grueling auditions.
This is the story of a kid who came from nothing and rose to the forefront of an immensely popular and timeless band. His passion always lay in signing, in using his tool—his voice. Throughout the film you are given a look into what life was like for Pineda growing up in an inpoverished society halfway across the globe. His voice became his way to deal, to get him out of the hardships he had to endure. He would sing for friends and book frequent gigs at clubs just to be able to eat. It's clear he never thought that life outside of Manila was possible and that the far-fetched dreams of success beyond what he knew would someday come into fruition. The film follows Pineda for a year of tours, shows, illness and struggle as he deals with being catapulted into this life so vastly different from what he had known.
Arnel Pienda remains grounded and grateful to the past and the gift he has been given. Journey has gone from not just being an American rock 'n' roll band, but to now be a self proclaimed World rock 'n' roll band. Breaking boundries and inviting the masses to experience it all with them; this truley is Everyman's Journey.
Dive into the past as we look back on where Journey has been and then stay for the present.