Journey, Def Leppard team up for a dream tour of mega hits

Journey, pictured, and Def Leppard will perform at the PNC Arena in Raleigh June 5, 2018.
Journey, pictured, and Def Leppard will perform at the PNC Arena in Raleigh June 5, 2018.

"Don’t Stop Believin'" isn’t just the name of Journey’s biggest hit. It’s also the advice Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain received from his father when he struggled as a musician during the ‘70s

“'Don’t stop believin, Jon,’ is what my dad told me,” Cain said in a phone interview. “I wrote it down in one of my notebooks.

“Don’t Stop Believin’" is also the name of Cain’s memoir, which hit shelves May 1. In the book, Cain, 68, looks back at the band, which is still moving forward.

Journey will co-headline with Def Leppard June 5 at Raleigh's PNC Arena as part of a 58-city tour across North America. In an interview with The Associated Press, Joe Elliott, lead singer of Def Leppard, said the spotlight will be shared equally with each taking turns closing out the shows.

It's the second time the two have toured together with the first time happening in 2006.

It's a logical combination with both having major hits in the same generation.

Here's a look at some of Cain's memories of the band's, ahem, journey.

Def Leppard
Def Leppard, pictured, will co-headline with Journey at Raleigh's PNC Arena June 5, 2018. Ross Halfin

The making of a hit

Cain remembers when Journey vocalist Steve Perry was assembling songs for the 1981 breakthrough album, “Escape.” Perry asked Cain for ideas, he said.

“The clock was ticking on us and Steve wanted to know if there was anything in my magic notebook,’ Cain recalls while calling from Cleveland. “I shared with him the phrase, ‘Don’t stop believin.’"

Cain proceeds to sing the couplet, "Don’t stop believin'/hold on to that feeling." It’s an enduring anthemic song. The chorus doesn’t arrive until the conclusion of the tune.

“Steve came up with that idea," Cain said. " He said, ‘Make them wait to hear it. That way they’ll always want to hear it.’ I can still hear Steve yodeling the words to ‘Don’t Stop Believin."' Steve was the best bandleader you can have. He was magical.”

Journey Jonathan Cain.jpg
Jonathan Cain of the band Journey is the author of a new memoir, “Don’t Stop Believin.’" Journey and Def Leppard will co-headline a tour coming to Raleigh's PNC Arena June 5, 2018. Courtesy of Jonathan Cain

Filling a void

When Perry left Journey in 1998, Cain was admittedly concerned.

Then in 2007, guitarist Neal Schon witnessed Journey cover band singer Arnel Pineda belting out “Don’t Stop Believin'” in his native Manila via YouTube.

An invitation to audition for the lead singer role was offered.

“I was skeptical,” Cain said. “I’m a realist. I thought this kid has never been to America. There will be blowback because of his skin color and his race. I worried about how much of this country would accept him.”

But Pineda was accepted by Journey fans, and 20 years after Perry bid farewell to Journey, the band is nearly as popular as it was during its heyday.

“We could have never have guessed this would happen,” he said. “There is life for us at this point. When I look back at all that we accomplished, it’s just amazing to take it all in.”

Arnel Pineda, left, and Neal Schon of the rock band Journey perform onstage. Journey and Def Leppard will perform at the PNC Arena in Raleigh June 5, 2018. Chris Pizzello AP

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Journey has sold 48 million albums and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. “I don’t know how to top that,” Cain said.

There often is unpredictability at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions, especially for bands whose lineups have changed. Cain said no one knew what Steve Perry would do during the night of the induction.

“I was hoping he would perform,” Cain said. “I was waiting for him to do so. He didn’t perform but I was ready if he was up to it. On the plus side, Perry was full of grace and humility. He had a one on one for 15 minutes with Arnel, who came out and said, ‘My God, I met him! It was an amazing experience.'”

Journey, which also includes bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith, played “Lights,” “Separate Ways” and “Don’t Stop Believin.’"

'The Sopranos' finale

While "Don't Stop Believin'" already was an iconic song, the band was ecstatic that "Sopranos" visionary David Chase selected the song to cap his iconic HBO series in the finale.

“That blew us away,” Cain said. “ David Chase notified us a year before it aired. ‘I’ve chosen your song’ is what he told us.”

The members of Journey were sworn to secrecy. “We didn’t say a thing,” Cain said. “It was a feel-good song for Tony Soprano’s character. I loved the show and James Gandolfini (who played Tony Soprano.)”

While on vacation in Italy in 2013, Cain was checking out of a hotel in Rome shortly before Gandolfini checked in. Just a few hours later Gandolfini passed away in his room.

“I was freaking out when I heard about it,” Cain said. "That was just too weird.”

Having faith

Cain's wife, Paula White, is Donald Trump’s personal minister. “Paula prays for (Trump) and takes care of his family. She shows me the way. With her, I can’t help but continue to believe.”


Who: Journey and Def Leppard

When: 7 p.m. June 5

Where: PNC Arena, 1400 Edwards Mill Road, Raleigh

Tickets: Start at $45.50

Info: 919-861-2300 or thepncarena.com