Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Neil DANIELS: "Don't Stop Believin' - The Untold Story Of Journey"

Omnibus Press 2011

Review by Kimmo Toivonen

Someone could say that Journey are such a faceless band that their story wouldn't make a good book. Yes, they are an AOR band known more for their music than for their wild showman antics or debaucherous lifestyle, but their story is far from boring. The plot has had its' share of twists and turns, and the band members are fairly complex characters. Author Neil Daniels has up taken the task of writing the first Journey biography, and with 30+ years of history, the amount of material he's had to go through must have been huge. Even our modest website gets a quote, so Daniels hasn't really limited his research to big and established sites and magazines...

Since this is an unauthorized biography, some of the content of the book is less than flattering to the band members. Their musical accomplishments get the credit they deserve, but some of the dealings behind the scenes are a bit shady. The band's former manager Herbie Herbert doesn't hold back when he talks about Steve Perry and other things, and indeed it's the material from his interview that offers a lot of insight into the Journey Corporation. The two singers that didn't ever record with the band (Robert Fleischman and Jeff Scott Soto) get more than a fair share of the story, probably because they were ready to talk with the author, unlike the current line-up.

As a long-time yet casual fan of the band, I found the band's story very interesting and quite surprising. I knew that they had their problems, but didn't know about the level of dysfunctionality. Now with their recent rise in popularity things seem to be quite ok in the Journey camp, but you never know... Anyway, I recieved the book on Thursday, used every possible opportunity to read it and finished it on Sunday. That's a recommendation if any.

Daniels' "reviews" of the albums are interesting, even though I don't always agree with him. He really doesn't care much for "Trial By Fire", which I think is a pretty good album - I mean, "Still She Cries" a "dull ballad"? Of course, these are merely matters of taste, and there's no point in arguing about them. I do have to point out that there were some minor slips in the book, worth of fixing in the next pressing: Steve Augeri didn't resurrect Talisman, that'd be Soto's band, and I don't think that W.E.T. have ever toured. Also, surely the first Tall Stories album deserves a place in the selective discography of Steve Augeri? It's a cult AOR classic, and important part of his career.


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