is the ratio of jobs lost to positions gained from tweets or any other internet
postings? It must be astronomically
negative. Arnel Pineda is the
exception. Based on performance clips
uploaded to youtube, he would find himself trying out for the biggest prospective
gig of his career: filling Steve Perry’s shoes as the lead singer of
Journey. Ramona S. Diaz documents a true
rock & roll Horatio Alger story in Don’t
Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in New York.
was a Filipino bar singer, barely eking out a subsistence living. He had one super-fan posting videos to
youtube. Scouring the internet for a new
vocalist, Journey lead guitarist Neal Schon stumbled across Pineda’s covers and
fell out of his chair. The other band
members could hear what he was talking about, but were a little skeptical of
going so far out of the box.
Nonetheless, they arranged to bring a flabbergasted Pineda over for an
a documentary about how a scuffling singer from the streets of Manila failed
his audition for the big time would not get much distribution or festival play,
so it is safe to assume Pineda overcomes his initial jitters and earns his shot
in the band. Diaz follows the newly
reconstructed Journey as they spend their first year on the road together. She had “rockstar” access right from the
start, capturing the entire audition process, Pineda’s debut concert, and wear
and tear of a punishing tour schedule.
Believin’ is all about Pineda’s
rags-to-riches story, it is a pretty effective infomercial for Journey as
well. Evidently, they started out as an
early jam-band, but became more radio friendly to placate their label. It worked.
Viewers who are not diehard fans of the stadium-rockers will be
surprised by how many recognizable songs are heard throughout their sets. It is more than just the title song, which Diaz
shrewdly holds in reserve for the big climatic payoff.
the focus is on Pineda and his family, but founding-member Schon also gets his
due and considerable camera time as Pineda’s biggest booster and a rock &
roll survivor in his own right. Audiences
can tell they have real chemistry on-stage.
If their band-mates do not get as much attention in the doc, they are still
reaping the rewards of a rejuvenated Journey, at least according to Billboard’s figures, ranking them at #12
on the 2012 moneymaking chart, right ahead of Elton John and Katy Perry. The way they have also embraced their legions
of new Filipino fans is also a cool subplot.
It is impossible to resist Pineda’s feel-good
story, especially when you see the impoverished neighborhoods where he once
lived. It might be predictable, but is immensely
satisfying. A rare happy look “Behind
the Music,” recommended both for the band’s Baby-Boomer fan base and the
Facebook generation that will more likely identify with Pineda, Don’t Stop Believin’ opens this Friday
(3/8) in New York at the Quad Cinema.
Labels: Arnel Pineda, Documentary, Journey