How many weddings have you been to this summer when at one point in the reception, the DJ starts spinning this song:
Just a small-town girl
Livin’ in a lonely world
She took the midnight train goin’ anywhere?
Probably plenty. I have personally been at one reception where “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” was played, not once, not twice, but three times in the span of a three-hour reception, with the drunk and sober alike singing at the tops of their lungs.
The band responsible for that hit, Journey, returns to Usana Amphitheatre on Thursday, July 17, and this time around it is bringing along with it the Steve Miller Band and Tower of Power.
Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain of Journey and Steve Miller of his eponymous band talked to The Tribune in a conference call about what is different about this particular tour, the advantages of vinyl and, of course, “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
Schon on what’s different this time around
Well, you know, we went through a lot of material in the 2 ½ weeks. We rehearsed and rehearsed quite a lot of stuff and a lot of new stuff with Arnel [Pineda, singer since 2007] from the two records we’ve done with him as well as our greatest hits. And we went back to a lot of the original arrangements because they’ve sort of drifted through the years, you know, and got back to record versions so we could play more songs between the sets. So I think basically we’re going to play more songs in the set and keep the jamming down a little bit more.
Schon on the surging success of “Don’t Stop Believin’ ”
It’s funny. When we cut it years ago [I] thought to myself, [I] think that song is going to be a huge anthem, you know. And at the time it was a big song. You know, there were a lot of big songs on the record, though, and some were bigger than “Don’t Stop Believin’.” So to have it resurge, you know, and become like this national anthem, world anthem, it’s really wild. And no matter where I am, no matter if somebody plays it, no matter where, everybody sings it. And so, very cool, and we’ve attained very young audiences, too, with like “Glee” hammering the tune and redoing it, you know we have a lot of kids in our audience. I look out and I see about four different generations.
Miller on vinyl
I was over at a musicologist’s house, a guy who had 10,000 [records], and we sat around for about two hours listening to old 45s, the worst vinyl there is. We were listening to songs and then we were looking for one song and he said, “Well, I don’t have it on vinyl. I’ve got it on CD,” and we put the CD on, and it was like thin and transparent compared to the vinyl. So, vinyl’s like a really juicy steak compared to like a … tough steak or something. It’s really good. And once you listen to vinyl and get a chance to hear it, I think anyone will enjoy it more than they will digital, but it’s just the world we live in. The fact that it’s coming back I think is great. I’ve got a turntable and I’m listening to old Bessie Smith records on it and I love it.
Schon on how singer Arnel is doing
You know what? As far as Arnel goes, he’s just a completely awesome human being and singer, amazingly talented, and actually I’m in the studio right now just doing a one-off thing that is for a benefit and he sounds amazing. I mean, he’s sounded amazing since he came into the band. … We want to reassure fans that no, Arnel is not going anywhere. He’s still right here with us.
Schon on the tour with Tower of Power and Steve Miller Band
We’ve been doing this for years and we’ve sort of like worn out all the options of different people to play with. There’s a few that I wish to do with, but it hasn’t happened, and Steve Miller definitely was one of them and Tower of Power and myself go way back to ’69-’70 and I used to jam with those guys all the time.
Cain on the tour’s music
I’d say the thing is that time period that Steve and I had our success, people were hungry for the combination [of styles]. It’s sort of like American music is the blues, it’s pop, it’s soul and it’s the combination that makes it unique. I think that all of us have that in common. We both grew up loving soul and rhythm and blues and great melodies. I think in the end, melodies were contagious. They were in the air. People wanted to be able to sing along with stuff. People wanted to party.
Just a small-town, er, joker
P Journey, the Steve Miller Band and Tower of Power share a bill.
When • Thursday, 6:45 p.m.
Where • Usana Amphitheatre, 5150 S. 6055 West, West Valley City
Tickets • $44 to $135 at SmithsTix