I first fell in love with the band Journey when I was in high school and brought the band’s album Infinity when it was first released. Their record company Columbia Records at the time heavily promoted the album. It was Steve Perry’s first recording with the band and Columbia knew they had a hit on their hands. I was blown away by Steve Perry’s voice and completely floored by how great the songs were on the record. Journey became one of the biggest bands of the seventies. They helped define the term “Stadium Rock.” The band has gone through multiple lineup changes over the years. This article takes a look at the revolving door of musicians who have come and gone as members of the band Journey.
The Orginal Journey Band Members
Neal Schon, born on February 27, 1954, in Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, is an American musician best known as the lead guitarist for Journey. He was one of the founding members of the band in 1973. Over the years, Schon played a significant role in shaping the band’s sound and has appeared on every Journey album to date, from their self-titled debut album “Journey” (1975) to their most recent releases. He primarily plays the electric guitar but has been known to play acoustic guitar and perform backing vocals as well. Schon co-wrote some of the band’s most iconic songs like “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Wheel in the Sky,” and “Any Way You Want It.” Besides his work with Journey, Neal Schon has had a rich solo career and has also been a part of other bands like Santana and Bad English.
Ross Valory, born on February 2, 1949, in San Francisco, California, is an American musician renowned for being Journey’s original bass guitarist. He joined the band at its inception in 1973 and contributed to albums like “Journey” (1975), “Infinity” (1978), “Escape” (1981), and many more. Valory played both the bass guitar and occasionally provided backing vocals. He was a part of Journey until he was fired from the band in 2020. Apart from Journey, Valory was involved in the Steve Miller Band and also had a side project called “The Vu.”
Gregg Rolie was born on June 17, 1947, in Seattle, Washington, and is an American keyboardist and singer. He was a founding member of Journey and joined the band in 1973. Rolie played keyboards and was the lead vocalist on the band’s first three albums: “Journey” (1975), “Look into the Future” (1976), and “Next” (1977). He left Journey in 1980 to pursue other musical endeavors. Notably, he was a member of Santana before joining Journey and co-wrote and sang lead vocals on classics like “Black Magic Woman” and “Evil Ways.” After leaving Journey, he went on to form The Gregg Rolie Band and also joined Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band.
George Tickner, born on September 8, 1946, in Syracuse, New York, is an American musician who played rhythm guitar for Journey. He was among the original members when the band was founded in 1973 but left shortly after the release of the band’s self-titled debut album in 1975. Tickner contributed to the writing of some early songs but didn’t stay with the band long enough to participate in the more commercial phases of Journey’s career. After leaving Journey, Tickner largely retired from professional music to pursue a career in medicine.
Charles “Prairie” Prince
Charles “Prairie” Prince, born on May 7, 1950, in Charlotte, North Carolina, was the original drummer for Journey when the band was formed in 1973. However, he never officially recorded with the band and left before their debut album was made. He is best known for his work with The Tubes, a San Francisco-based rock band. Though his time with Journey was short-lived, Prince has had a significant career in music, working with artists like Todd Rundgren, and Jefferson Starship, and as a session musician for various other artists.
The Next Phase and Beyond
Aynsley Dunbar, born on January 10, 1946, in Liverpool, England, is a British drummer known for his work with various rock and blues bands. He joined Journey in 1974, shortly after the band’s formation, and played on the albums “Journey” (1975), “Look into the Future” (1976), and “Next” (1977). Dunbar’s jazz-influenced drumming style added a unique element to Journey’s early sound. He left the band in 1978 before the band shifted to a more mainstream, commercial sound. Apart from Journey, Dunbar has had an extensive career, playing with artists like Frank Zappa, David Bowie, and Whitesnake.
Robert Fleischman, born on March 11, 1953, in Los Angeles, California, is an American musician who briefly served as Journey’s lead vocalist in 1977. Though he never appeared on any studio albums with Journey, he contributed to songwriting and is credited with co-writing songs like “Wheel in the Sky.” Fleischman was replaced by Steve Perry later in the same year he joined. Outside of Journey, Fleischman had a solo career and was a member of other rock bands like Vinnie Vincent Invasion.
Steve Perry, born on January 22, 1949, in Hanford, California, is an American singer known for his soaring vocals. He joined Journey in 1977 and quickly became the band’s iconic lead vocalist. Steve Perry played a significant role in Journey’s commercial success and was a key contributor to albums like “Infinity” (1978), “Evolution” (1979), “Escape” (1981), among others. He co-wrote and sang some of Journey’s most famous songs, including “Don’t Stop Believin'” and “Open Arms.” Perry left the band in 1998 due to health issues and to pursue a solo career, which itself has been highly successful, featuring hits like “Oh Sherrie.”
Steve Smith, born on August 21, 1954, in Whitman, Massachusetts, is an American drummer. He joined Journey in 1978, replacing Aynsley Dunbar, and played on some of their most successful albums like “Evolution,” “Escape,” and “Frontiers.” Known for his technical skill, Smith left the band in 1985 but returned for various stints, the latest being from 2015 to 2020. Outside of Journey, Smith has had a rich career in jazz and has been part of his own jazz fusion band, Vital Information.
Randy Jackson, born on June 23, 1956, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is an American musician, best known as a judge on the television show “American Idol.” He joined Journey as a bass player for a short stint during the mid-1980s and played on the 1986 album “Raised on Radio.” Jackson was part of the band’s transition towards a more pop-oriented sound during that period. Besides Journey, he has been an in-demand session musician and has produced and performed with a wide array of artists across genres.
Steve Augeri, born on January 30, 1959, in Brooklyn, New York, is an American rock singer best known for his work as the lead vocalist for Journey from 1998 to 2006. He was brought in as a replacement for Steve Perry and featured on albums like “Arrival” (2001) and “Generations” (2005). Augeri co-wrote songs for the band but had to leave in 2006 due to vocal issues. Outside of Journey, he has been involved in other bands like Tyketto and has also embarked on a solo career.
Jeff Scott Soto
Jeff Scott Soto, born on November 4, 1965, in Brooklyn, New York, is an American singer who served as Journey’s lead vocalist for a brief period from 2006 to 2007. He stepped in following Steve Augeri’s departure due to vocal issues but was in the band for less than a year. Though his time with Journey was short-lived, he did perform live with the band during that period. Outside of Journey, Soto has a prolific career, having been a part of bands like Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force and Talisman, as well as a successful solo career.
Deen Castronovo, born on August 17, 1964, in Westminster, California, is an American drummer and vocalist. He joined Journey in 1998, replacing Steve Smith, and contributed to albums like “Arrival” (2001), “Generations” (2005), and “Eclipse” (2011). Besides playing drums, Castronovo also performed backing and some lead vocals during his time with the band. He left Journey in 2015 amidst personal issues. Beyond Journey, he has played with bands like Bad English and Hardline and is known for his work in various other musical projects.
Narada Michael Walden
Narada Michael Walden, born on April 23, 1952, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is an American musician, producer, and songwriter. He joined Journey as a drummer in 2020, replacing Steve Smith. Known for his diverse skill set across genres, Walden has a rich career outside of his time with Journey. He’s a multi-Grammy Award-winning producer and has worked with a myriad of artists including Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Aretha Franklin.
Arnel Pineda, born on September 5, 1967, in Sampaloc, Manila, Philippines, is a Filipino singer and songwriter. He became the lead vocalist for Journey in 2007, discovered by Neal Schon through YouTube videos of Pineda covering Journey songs. He made his studio debut with the band on the 2008 album “Revelation” and has remained with the band since. Outside of Journey, Pineda had been a part of several bands in the Philippines and has a solo career as well.
Jason Derlatka, born on September 8, 1972, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is an American keyboardist, vocalist, and composer. He joined Journey in 2020 as a touring keyboardist and background vocalist. Though he hasn’t been featured on any studio albums with the band yet, he brings a wide range of musical experience to Journey. Derlatka has worked extensively in television, composing music for series like “House” and “Parenthood.”
Todd Jensen, born on October 19, 1965, in Portland, Oregon, is an American bassist. Though he never officially recorded with Journey, Jensen was involved as a touring member following Ross Valory’s departure in 2020. Known for his versatility, he has played with various artists and bands spanning multiple genres, including David Lee Roth, Ozzy Osbourne, and Alice Cooper.
Complete List Of All Journey Current And Former Band Members article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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