Journey to rock Mohegan Sun, with special guest Asia
Jonathan Cain, longtime keyboardist and rhythm guitarist of Journey, had just finished a three-week gig with the band when we reached him by phone.
Journey had been playing at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. But we wanted to chat about a different gig — the band’s concert, with openers Asia, at Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday, June 16.
Cain, who wrote such hits as “Faithfully” and co-wrote “Don’t Stop Believin’, was happy to talk. After all, the residency was over — they sold out all nine shows — and Cain said he was ‘just chillin.’”
After congratulating him on Journey’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, we asked what folks can expect at Friday’s show.
“We do have some new stuff,” he said. “We have Steve Smith, of course. No one has seen him yet with Journey at Mohegan Sun.” Cain was referring to Steve Elliott Smith, the renowned drummer (mostly known for his work with Journey) who, in 2015, rejoined the band for the third time. (Modern Drummer magazine readers voted him the No. 1 All-Around Drummer five years in a row.)
“He’s a vital tool that we think really changes the sound of the band quite a bit and makes it pretty awesome. ... Having him on stage magnifies the dynamics. ... There are surprises too, different solos and different segues and a new video show. It’s great stuff. You’ll love it.”
Band members will share a few stories, he said. “We’ll chat about how some of the songs were created, things like that, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, of course. ... We’ll talk about life on the road. ‘Faithfully’ is the ultimate road song.”
Discussing that 1982 power ballad, Cain said he wrote it in about a half hour. “I started it on a napkin on a bus ride to New York City, and finished it the next morning.”
Journey got its start in San Francisco in 1973 and has sold more than 80 million albums. It was also the subject of an award-winning documentary, “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey.” Cain said though the band found success, it wasn’t a given in the beginning, as far as his own path was concerned. It was his father who inspired “Don’t Stop Believin’ — the mega hit he co-wrote with Steve Perry and Journey founder Neal Schon. Cain was questioning his career at the time and his dad told him not to give up.
“He was in my corner from the time I was 8. He prophesied I’d be a songwriter and be playing for thousands of people a night. He saw it in his soul. ... I was spared from a terrible school fire in 1958 where nearly 100 children died, and the next day he put his hands on me and said, ’God saved you for music; music will be your blessing.”
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