Monday, June 9, 2014

There's nothing like an ace tribute band - check out Journey Revisited

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - more so if it puts money in the pocket of the original band, no?

In my humble opinion, for classic melodic rock bands like Journey, these tribute bands probably boost sales of back catalog -- they draw new fans into the fold that enjoy the classic sound and experience that they provide.

After all, Journey, always a darling with fans, but not critics, can't hit every city. So tribute bands fill the gap; and most are regional. If you Google "Journey tribute bands" there's a ton out there to see, some great, some good, and, well, some also-rans. Most cover the Steve Perry era (1978-1996), as it's the most in demand. There is a lot of talent out there giving a lot of Journey fans hungry for the classics (and some of those deep cuts too!) pleasure.

You'll recall that Journey founder Neal Schon famously surfed YouTube for a new lead singer, looking at vocalists in tribute and cover bands, before settling on Arnel Pineda, who was fronting Zoo in 2007 (the band initially tapped Jeremey Hunsicker of the Journey cover band Frontiers; Hunsicker actually wrote songs that ended up on Revelation).

I happened to be on one of the fan forums that I am a member of -- "THE" JOURNEY JUNKIES- JJ's -- and moderator Viv Henry posted a link to a video by JourneyRevisited:

Journey Revisited is based in Modesto, California.
Vocalist Jeff Salado must take good care of his pipes to maintain the power, range, and tone that he has; he's the best out of the tributes out on YouTube that I've heard so far at handling the Perry upper range from the early-era tunes. And truth be told, Journey proper doesn't include some of those classics on its setlists these days, so it's good to hear "When You're Alone (It Ain't Easy)" done so well by JR - Jeff's vocals are rocking.  And the band is really tight musically with great fidelity to the Journey sound - and they don't use backing tracks, all of it so on-point, really organic and authentic.

So I popped on my headphones and over the weekend went over to watch more of JR's videos at I am thoroughly digging their sound.

Journey Revisited is (L-R): Michael Gonzales - Bass Guitar/Vocals,  Dave Hawkes - Drums, Jeff Salado - Lead Singer,  Kevin Jachetta - Keyboards/Vocals, Val Popovic - Guitar/Vocals.

"Too Late" (from Evolution) is such a beast to sing and the band nailed it beautifully as well. But I was blown away by his rendition of a non-Journey song -- "Unchained Melody" -- that classic requires so much control in delivery, and he not only did that with ease (looked effortless), Jeff's emotive delivery was also gorgeous.

Too Late

One of the things you have to remember about most tribute bands is that they are not just working musicians and vocalists; they do what they do because they are just as much die-hard fans of the particular group's sound that they re-create as the audiences they play to. I had the chance to briefly chat up Jeff (nice that he's so accessible!); and we had a great conversation about music, and about Steve Perry's recent return to the stage to perform live. We were both moved by the appearances -- as much as any starstruck fan of Mr. Perry, whose gifts have been sorely missed.

Just the Same Way

Part of that reminiscing involved discussing the authenticity of delivering a performance with feeling -- one of SP's gifts -- something those with the common bond of love for a band's sound and experience long for. And that is what good tribute bands deliver for people seeking that bonding experience with the music. It's something Journey and other bands being paid tribute to should be more in sympatico with -- more fans in love with the music will buy classics. And new music, should these bands put it out.

It's too bad I don't get to the West Coast much at all (I'm in NC, and rheumatoid arthritis makes traveling a bear); I would love to check this band out live; I'm glad there are Journey Revisited fans out there capturing vid and pics. I'd be right there doing it too and rocking out!

Check the band out on...
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