by Leonard Did anyone catch Arnel Pineda and Journey on Ellen yesterday? If not, here you go:
If you haven't heard the name Arnel Pineda already, you are either: a) living under a rock b) too young and hip to know who Journey is
If you chose b), allow me to explain - Journey were Rock Gods in their heyday -- the kind of band that doesn't exist anymore, that could pack stadiums and turn the scariest cock-rockers into giddy school-girls with songs like "Open Arms", "Faithfully" and "Don't Stop Believin'". For us grown-ass-folks, these aren't just old retro songs that the DJ mixes over hip-hop beats at Shuffle or Amnesia parties, these are the soundtrack to our childhood days - as is.
Some things are better left un-changed but then again, change is sometimes necessary. When Steve Perry's (Journey's original singer) voice went ka-put, the band spent years trying to re-create that magic until recently, when a random visit to YouTube yielded an incredible find: Arnel Pineda, a singer in the Philippines who sounded almost EXACTLY like Steve Perry.
To make a long story short, they went to the Phils and snapped up Pineda. Now he's the new lead singer. It's like that movie Rock Star with Marky Mark, except the star is a Pinoy. There is a feature article on it in this month's GQ (read it HERE).
Sure, Arnel Pineda is now the lead singer of one of the biggest bands ever, but he's singing old hits while sounding like Steve Perry. Charice is a cute kid with some pipes, but isn't she doing her best Whitney rendition? Don't countless Filipino kid-singers belt out "Inday" (Will Always Love You) at every Filipino Day picnic in every city? Is this true breakthrough or are we starting to resemble the fake Gucci bags, Rolexes and Nike shoes we buy at Greenhills? All show but cheap imitation of the real thing?
We're always asking if we're ready for the mainstream. But is the mainstream ready for us? Judging on the racist reactions by many old-school Journey fans, maybe the world isn't ready to see a brown guy fronting one of the world's biggest pooty-rock bands.
Is 2008 the year of the Filipino break-through? Charice Pempengco? Arnel Pineda in Journey? Ramiele Malubay? This guy?
Is it a true 'renaissance' or not? Why or why not? Can we do better?
(by the way, Arnel Pineda and Journey are playing the Molson Amp in Toronto on Sept. 5, 2008. Who's goin?)