As far as Dave Hammonds is concerned, the band Journey ended that day in 1997 when lead singer Steve Perry hobbled away from the group on his ailing hip. Yes, Dave is fully aware that they’ve released albums since then, that they’ve continued to tour, and that they hired some guy named Arnel Pineda who sounds a lot like Steve Perry to be their lead singer, but let’s be real: he is not Steve Perry. The true lead singer of Journey was born January 22, 1949 in Hanford, California; not on September 5, 1967 in Sampalor, Manila. Looked at another way: Dave is a very gifted painter; so much so that he could whip up a painting that looks a lot like the Mona Lisa, but it will never actually be the Mona Lisa, now will it?
Furthermore, Dave would argue, he can’t ever recall a time when he has ever heard anyone say, “Man! That Neal Schon plays a mean guitar!” or “Jonathan Cain is a wicked keyboardist!” It’s never happened. Steve Perry made Journey, and the rest of the band knows it. That’s why they went to great lengths to hire that celebrity impersonator of theirs. It was the only way for them to hold on to their long since faded glory.
Dave will bet you anything that’s why so many people have bought in to the Arnel Pineda-era Journey and still go to their concerts. They just can’t let go of the past. Well Dave has a message for you all. You can ‘faithfully’ tell yourself that it’s somehow magically still the eighties. ‘Don’t stop believin’ that new ‘frontiers’ are on the horizon, ‘anyway you want it’, and that you and your youth haven’t gone your ‘separate ways’. That ‘wheel in the sky keeps on turning’; even for arthritic, beer-bellied fifty year olds who would gladly still feather their hair if they had any left. But it’s over, and deep down inside, you know it’s the truth.
Don’t be sad or resentful. One day the same thing will happen to Kanye West and his fans. Years from now a young music listener will say, “Who’s Kanye West?” If there is any justice in this world, of course, it will be asked by the great grandson of Paul McCartney, as payback for all those litte twits who asked the same thing about the former Beatle; not realizing that one half of the greatest songwriting team of all time was doing Kanye a solid when he agreed to sing a duet with him and not the other way around.
We don’t stay eighteen forever. Dave Hammonds realized that a long time ago and moved on. So did Steve Perry. Granted, it took a hip replacement before the latter was able to fully move on, but still. Don’t be like Neal Schon, Jonathon Cain or, even worse, Madonna. Hobble along, old timer. Hobble along.