Known Johnson

May 10, 2008

Attack of the clones

Filed under: Music — Tom @ 12:44 am

First Journey did it by picking their new lead singer from some Filipino cover band, and now Boston picks up a replacement for the late, great Brad Delp from . . . Home Depot? Scoff if you will, but you have to give this guy a listen. That’s about as close to Delp as any person could ever come. Just imagine that voice surrounded by a screaming crowd and blaring guitars and it would be next to impossible to determine if it was the real deal or this new guy. And guess what? That new dude in Journey is pretty damned close to Steve Perry, too. Check him out:

Does it matter anymore? Do they need to be legit? Who cares? Steve Perry will likely never play with Journey again. His health issues and the grudge he holds against the band are seemingly going to prevent him from ever pairing up with the band again. Does it really smudge either band’s histories to have two very, very similar singers fill in at this point? Most remaining fans just want to hear a reasonable facsimile of the music, and for most of them, the guy singing needs to sound like the original, if not be the original. They want the “close your eyes and pretend” moment. Can you pretend it’s Steve and Brad fronting these bands? You bet. That’s good enough for the majority. I’m not even going to say that’s a bad thing – and I might have a few years ago because these bands were getting subpar singers to stand in. Now they seem to realize that everything rests on the voice, and if they can’t find what are essentially clones, then they’re screwed.

Journey has even gone so far as to re-record a bunch of their older hits with the new guy, which will be bundled with not only the new album but also a live DVD with the new guy. Believe it or not, I’m curious enough that I’ve gone from stunned smirking and joke-making to wallet-open curiosity. Yeah, I’ll likely be picking this shit up. What’s it to ya? $11.88 for three discs, and dude actually does sound like Steve Perry? I’ll take the risk.

Now Boston, on the other hand . . . their new material is going to have to do a lot more than just sound like Brad Delp’s behind the microphone. They haven’t had a consistently strong album in more than 20 years – and they’ve only had FIVE albums in thirty years, and the first two were two years apart! Great singer or no, they’ve still got to have songs. Journey, amazingly, seems to have ’em. I don’t know how, but I don’t need to. They defied the odds twice here – they picked up a great replacement singer and seem to have tapped back into the old power source that made those old songs of theirs so great. Will it sustain through the length of a whole new album? I won’t know until June 3, but I’m strangely excited to find out.



  1. Never play with Journey again? Don’t say that! You know it’ll happen when they celebrate David Letterman’s 50th year on television or something. Boston’s replacement singer does “sound” a lot like Brad, but he still can’t sing like Brad. RIP.

    Speaking of Perry, there’s a song of mine on iTunes called “How Journey Saved My Life.” It’s a true story except instead of a car, it was a boat. And instead of it happening in 1981, it didn’t really happen. Nah, it did. Kinda.

    Comment by Chris Blake — May 10, 2008 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

  2. Now Boston, on the other hand . . . their new material is going to have to do a lot more than just sound like Brad Delp’s behind the microphone. They haven’t had a consistently strong album in more than 20 years –

    I think that’s a typo, Tom. You accidentally typed “20” when it should have been “30.”

    Comment by Chris — May 12, 2008 @ 12:23 pm | Reply

  3. Nah, I like Third Stage. I know, I know, I’m like the only one, but I think it’s a pretty good album. Look past the goofy “launch of the first organ powered space ship” thing and there’s a bunch of solid songs on there. Not a great sounding album, mind you – thin and top-heavy – but those are real ear-worms, especially the second half of the album. Is it an album worthy of 8 years of waiting? Probably not. If you don’t have it, you should give it another shot – forgive it for not being the anthem-filled rocker than the first two are and enjoy it for being a really nice, melodic album (and maybe skip “The Launch” and “Cool The Engines.”) I will continue to maintain that it is far better than its reputation until someone acknowledges that I am right! 🙂

    Comment by Tom — May 12, 2008 @ 4:22 pm | Reply

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