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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sean Kelly

Reel Asian 2013: My Thoughts on Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey

Dont_Stop_Believin_Everymans_Journey

In 2007, the band Journey were on the search for a new lead singer, to participate in a new album and tour.  While looking at Journey cover-artists on YouTube, lead guitarist Neal Schon found one of the most unlikely candidates – a Filipino man named Arnel Pineda, who had the uncanny ability to fit into the mold of whoever he was singing.  Pineda quickly found himself the new lead singer of Journey and the documentary Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey follows him and the band, as they begin to experience success, they haven’t seen in years.

Journey is probably best known as the band, who had a huge hit in the early 1980s, with the song “Don’t Stop Believin’,” which is considered to be one of the most downloaded songs of the 20th century and has also received some recent popularity for its use in the TV show Glee.  The band was also known for the vocal stylings of their original lead singer Steve Perry, who was with the band from 1977 to 1998.  Arnel Pineda was the band’s second new singer after Perry’s departure, following an 8 year stint by Steve Augeri.  Steve Perry’s were hard shoes to fill and Pineda’s biggest challenge was to defy the naysayers, who tore him apart with criticism on the internet, some of which was racist.

Much of Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey follows Pineda on his debut tour with Journey.  I do have to say that it was quite amazing how close this Filipino man sounds to Steve Perry when he sings.  Most of Journey’s popular songs are featured in the film, with “Don’t Stop Believin’” saved for the very end, when the band performs in Pineda’s hometown of Manila.  The film also goes into Pineda’s backstory, in which he grew up poor on the streets of Manila and had some substance abuse problems when he was younger.  Performing music was a major escape for Pineda and being invited to join Journey was definitely a dream come true for him.

The film also lets you get to know the band Journey, the members of whom casual fans, who only equate the band with Steve Perry, might not be familiar with.  The film goes into the band’s history, which dates all the way back in the early 1970s, when the band had more of a progressive rock sound.  It was quite interesting hearing the history of the band, which I only really knew from their hits from the 1980s.

With Arnel Pineda as their new lead singer, Journey received a bit of a career resurgence, as well as a new international fanbase, particularly in the Filipino community.  I thought that Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey was a highly enjoyable documentary, which shows that dreams can come true for anyone.

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Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).