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Journey’s Arnel Pineda Says His World Has Been ‘Turned Upside Down’

Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

On Aug. 20, Journey will release the DVD of the documentary ‘Don’t Stop Believin': Everyman’s Journey,’ which chronicles the rise of Arnel Pineda from an unknown singer in the Philippines to fronting one of classic rock’s most durable bands. In a new interview, the band members looked back at Pineda’s debut with the superstars.

“It was my world being turned upside down,” Pineda told Rolling Stone. “But in a good way, a fantastic way. I’m still in disbelief. I’m in front of thousands of people singing all these songs that I listened to when I was 18 years old. Now I’m with the big boys and it’s such a blessing. It’s one in a million.”

But as much as he’s enjoying the ride, guitarist Neal Schon says that Pineda felt the pressure before his first performance, which took place in Chile on Feb. 21, 2008. Schon says, “I remember we’re getting ready to go on in Vina del Mar and it’s sold out and it’s live to 25 million people all over South America. Arnel is like, two seconds before we go on: ‘Can I go home? I don’t want to go out.’ It was fear and loathing to the max, but then he went out and he went for it and the audience went nuts.”

Still, Schon sees that, for all the controversy surrounding the decision to hire Pineda, it has been a big help to the rock veterans. “The good news is that when he came in, it was a breath of fresh air for all of us and every scenario that went with it,” he continued. “All of a sudden, instead of us being a band from the U.S.A., we became a worldwide band. We’re accepted worldwide everywhere we went with him in markets we were never accepted before.”

PBS will air ‘Don’t Stop Believin': Everyman’s Journey’ on Sept. 30 as part of its ‘Independent Lens’ series.

Next: UCR's Interview With 'Don't Stop Believin'' Director Ramona Diaz

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