September 13, 2002
Please note: As with any Op/Ed, the opinions expressed herein are those of the individual and not necessarily those of Jrnydv.Com.
They kicked out the Perry-heads, and I did not speak up, because I am not a Perry-head.
They kicked out the people who disliked the new album, and I did not speak up, because I like the new album.
They kicked out the people who disliked the DVD, and I did not speak up, because I like the DVD.
They kicked out the people who disapproved of the firing of Rindell, and I did not speak up, because I didn't care that they fired Rindell.
They kicked out the people who disliked the so-called moderators, and I did not speak up, because at that time I didn't really know anything bad about the so-called moderators.
They kicked out the people who used dictionary words like "damn" and "ass," and I did not speak up, because I don't use words like "damn" and "ass," even though I knew that there was absolutely nothing wrong with using such words.
They kicked out people who disagreed, and people who agreed. They kicked out people who liked, and people who disliked. They even kicked out people who loved. And still I did not speak up.
And then they kicked me out. And there was nobody left to speak up.
September 13, 2002
Op/Ed: The Abuse of Journey Power
Please note: As with any Op/Ed, the opinions expressed herein are those of the individual and not necessarily those of Jrnydv.Com.
When a certain individual who worked for Journey was fired a few months ago, I am sure I'm not the ONLY one who heaved a heavy sigh of relief. Finally, the bad apple of the band had bitten the dust. Or so I thought. Seems to me, however, that there is more than just that one bad apple employed by this band, and I say that because I've learned a great deal about these people from others who have been harrassed and abused by them in the past. And this abusive power phenomenon of this band's (mis)management is one I just cannot figure out.
|Remember when the concept of a web site forum meant FREE SPEECH and was supported by the Constitutional rights of every human being in this country? Well, now there are specific "rules" presented on the "official" web site meant to keep certain people from writing or stating certain things. Remember when a web site for a rock band used to be a FUN and POSITIVE place to visit because you simply loved the MUSIC? I do. I remember it very well and I really miss it a lot. Now, apparently, this "official" Journey web site has become an extremely dysfunctional place that has earned a reputation of being a cesspool of negative experiences for more people and fans, than ever before. To quote another favorite band of mine, (ENIGMA), "I'm asking WHY." Why is that? Why does it have to be that way?
||Finally, the bad apple of the band had bitten the dust. Or so I thought.|
The answer: It doesn't HAVE TO be that way at all.
In my opinion, (and thanks to Dave Golland who allows people to state their opinions at Jrnydv.Com), the "official" web site seems to be run by a bunch of militant tyrants, who call it a "crime" whenever someone states their opinions about something related to the band that they disagree with. This unfortunate situation, my friends, is an abuse of power and it has forever tarnished the reputation of this band, and of the official Journey web site. But it CAN be salvaged and changed for the better. Let me tell you my story, and you decide for yourself if it should be changed or not.
I once frequented the official Journey web site as "Towanda." I wrote many posts about missing the talented singing expertise of a certain lead singer, Mr. Stephen Ray Perry, and how great he still is, even without the rest of the band. For stating such things on that web site, however, I got torn to shreds and verbally beaten to a pulp most of the time by those who disagreed.
There were silly characters on the forum with various nicknames such as "Monker" and "Meanie" who constantly pounced on every word I wrote there, and caused me to lose my temper on more than one occasion. It was a "love/hate" relationship that I had with those guys, we danced in circles around each other for many months, and enjoyed some fun sparring debates. During the unfortunate breakup of the band nearly five (six?) years ago, suddenly the official Journey forum became enmired in an "us" versus "them" mentality. Why, I will never know. It all seems so stupid now....especially in light of the first anniversary of September 11, 2001.
That day has forever transformed me as a woman, and as a human being. I now pay attention to the religious views of those other countries out there that I never knew about before. I have taken the time to learn about the women of other countries who are oppressed and how our way of living threatens those differing religious beliefs. I may not AGREE with their beliefs, but I listen, I read, and I have learned from them. Is that NOT what a life "journey" is supposed to be, after all? To learn and grow?
Those things are what everyone in this country SHOULD have gained from this horrible tragedy of September 11th---more understanding, more patience, more tolerance...we should have learned to APPRECIATE the differing views and opinions of other people, to be more HUMANE towards each other. It should have taught us all to take a step back from the blinding tornado of the petty soap opera BS that surrounds us, and gain a new perspective on what is really important in our lives and our world, rather than to allow ourselves to become enmired in petty squabbles on a has-been rock band's web site forum. In the grand scheme of things, does it REALLY matter if Steve Perry sings better or worse than Steve Augeri?
Of course, all of what I am relating of my experience with this former band employee took place before the tragedies of September 11th. But it doesn't change the fact that SOME people still feel the need to manage this band in a militaristic style. And since September 11th, you would THINK that skewed attitude, and the abuse of power these people have held over this web site forum, would have changed for the better. Unfortunately for us all, it hasn't...YET.
Eventually, I was labeled a "Perryhead," (the apparent definition of this term seems to be, "a rabble rouser who can't adjust to change or accept the new lead singer,") by those fans who considered themselves groupie-followers of Steve Augeri (the new lead singer who replaced Perry). I was constantly harrassed and told to leave the forum almost on a daily basis by many others who participated in the ongoing debate over which singer was better. This debate, as most of us know, became quite a farce, and caused many people to leave the forum and all the bickering behind. I considered many of those people, like "DeeDee," my close friends, and we often shared funny emails and personal information about ourselves with each other. They were sort of like an extended family, however dysfunctional it was at the time.
At first, this attention to my forum posts flattered me--I mean, to know that every word I wrote was being read and considered and discussed, even by "Monker" and "Meanie," made me smirk. At least I entertained some people, and most of the time, I didn't let the name-calling or bashing bother me. We had some mighty fine sparring matches, as a matter of fact! Ah yes, those guys were a hoot and a half. But then, eventually, it grated on my nerves when I had to constantly explain every little thing I said, or defend every word of praise for Perry, and every little nit-picky detail.
I never considered myself an "expert" about the band, or the band members. I never once stated that I knew inside information about them, nor do I have any urge to know anything like that. I simply don't CARE about the goings on behind the scenes. What I have loved, since the age of 10, is the MUSIC that these men have created. That music, in my opinion, is the ONLY reason why I joined the web site in the first place.
One day, this recently terminated Journey employee, (who shall remain nameless to keep him imprisoned in the land of obscurity, where he belongs), sent me an instant message--out of the blue. I didn't know who he was at the time, I just recognized his nickname from the forum, and thought he was just another fan. However, as our conversation continued, I learned that he was an employee of the band. I was shocked to learn that he had deliberately contacted me to reveal many intimate, personal secrets about Steve Perry, as well as all the other band members, and presented them as reasons why the band had decided to split up. He was trying to convince me that I should not support Steve Perry or praise him on the forum.
|Suddenly the official Journey forum became enmired in an "us" versus "them" mentality.
||Now, keep in mind that I did not contact HIM. I didn't ASK for any of that private information. I didn't even KNOW the guy. He just targeted me, a "Perryhead," and dumped all of this soap opera band member bullshit in my lap, and then he had the audacity to wonder why I got upset about it. This confidential information he told me was very personal, and NOBODY had a right to know any of it, except those involved. This Journey employee had crossed the line of common human decency by blabbing stuff--on the INTERNET no less--that he never had the right to know in the first place. I felt very strongly, and still do, that as a representative of this band, his behavior was totally inappropriate, and something should be done about it.|
When this situation happened, the "fun" went out of the official web site for me forever. Hey, I know that the men in this band are not perfect, they put their jeans on one leg at a time like everybody else, and God knows they have made many mistakes in their lives along the way. I never saw this band through rose-colored glasses, they have always had a reputation of being a wild, rambunctious group with lots of false rumours flying around everywhere all the time. But I still and always will love Steve Perry's voice and his contributions to this band, no matter WHAT personal "secrets" someone tells me about him or any of the other band members. One bad person will not ruin my love for this music that I have enjoyed since the age of 10, and that person will NEVER change the fact that I still and always will admire, support and love the man who helped the band succeed.
So, like any die-hard long-time Journey fan would do, I took what this person said with a grain of salt, and decided to investigate just what he told me, to find out for myself if any of it was true. From my personal investigation of this guy, I have learned that he has had a long-time serious drug problem, as well as volatile temper problems, and obviously some emotional maturity problems as well. The rest of the band members didn't know what to do with his powderkeg personality, apparently, so they eventually demoted him from sound engineer to web site moderator while they went out on tour. And, as we all know now, eventually they fired him.
That fact is poetic justice in the nutshell.
After this person blabbed all of these things to me, my first instinct was to contact the webmaster (who also no longer works for Journey), and ask him for support in dealing with this jerk. Without telling him what was said, I explained the overall situation. I told him that those "secrets" he revealed to me would not be told to anyone else EVER, because I considered them false rumours. I have kept that promise, which is why I will not include the information here in this article.
The only thing the webmaster suggested to me was to contact Rindell, the band manager at the time, about this employee's inappropriate behavior. He said he didn't want to be 'caught in the middle' of anything 'this big.' Knowing a little bit about how dysfunctional soap operas work, (after all, I studied Journalism in college), and knowing a lot about how politics work, (and intuitively guessing that the music industry is similar to DC political games), I told the webmaster that if he wanted to get this guy fired, I would not be a pawn in his game. I refused to contact Rindell, because I didn't feel that it was all that important anyway, in the big picture of the world. I decided this guy just shot off his mouth like an idiot, trying to spread untrue rumours around to various Perryheads to get them to leave the forum. I dismissed him as petty and immature and I told the webmaster that I would let the whole issue drop.
So, after several emails back and forth, I told the webmaster to forget about the whole thing, but to my surprise, when I refused to contact Rindell, he became angry with me. Then a huge argument ensued between the three of us, (two former Journey employees and Ms. Towanda Perryhead), and as the saying goes, all hell broke loose. Suddenly the tables were turned on me, and I was labelled the "bad guy." The consequences of this serious blabbed secret information made the stakes very high, from what I was told, and because of all this, I was targeted for extermination from the forum. I was threatened with lawsuits, I was harrassed, and I was treated like some kind of criminal just for trying to do the right thing.
During this time, I continued to write on the forum about my feelings and opinions about the misunderstanding. I also wrote several emails to both of these guys, as explanation, apology, and trying to figure out what the big hullaballo was all about, over something so petty and stupid. I felt that, as a reasoning rational adult, I did what anyone else would do, but much to my dismay, I was banned several times from the forum over a period of several months.
However, anyone who has any computer knowledge whatsoever knows that a person cannot really be "banned" from a public forum. I simply changed my nickname and password several times, and continued writing. I also had over 200 computers at my place of work, available to do this, all with different IP addresses. Each time I was banned, I changed computers, nicknames and passwords. I think it was about 6 or 8 times, and it took a few weeks each time for them to recognize that it was "Towanda" writing. But they kept banning me unfairly, without taking the time to discuss the situation like mature adults. They were apparently also afraid that I might repeat what was told to me on the forum, even though I promised that I wouldn't. I have kept that promise as well.
They simply wanted to sweep me under a rug and pretend nothing happened, but "Towanda," (the fighter of all wrongdoings), will not be ignored or dismissed like that by anybody. Now, as many of you might know, "Towanda" is a brutally honest bad-ass persona of mine, and that part of who I am firmly believes in fighting for what's RIGHT, no matter HOW "important" or "invincible" these people THOUGHT they were. What it boils down to, folks, and what September 11th should have taught us all, is that we are ALL the same, deep down, and we should ALL respect each other above all else, regardless of the titles a person may earn, or the size of the bank account or famous status a person has. None of that matters.
However, the real me, the other side of Towanda, is a simple easy going small town chick named Becky, and I also happen to be a very sensitive person. So while all this was going on, I spent many nights crying over this situation, upset and frustrated, feeling totally misunderstood, sad, and disillusioned. After all, I had spent 25 years of my life supporting this band, and spending my hard earned money on Journey junk and concert tickets, posters and t-shirts. For these people to treat a long-time die-hard Journey fan like a criminal was simply unbelievable.
|I will state here that, in hindsight, I wish I would have just let the whole thing go. But I didn't. Or should I say, "Towanda" didn't. I strongly felt that it was a totally unfair situation, and should have been discussed openly and resolved somehow. Our tense conversations and emails continued to fly around the internet and the forum, for a period of about 3-4 months. The webmaster eventually threatened me. He said that if I went to any tabloids or the press with the information that this guy had told me, the band would deny everything and I would be facing legal consequences. (That would have been some trick).
However, being the shrewd, street smart "Towanda" that I am, I took that as an empty threat, because I had written PROOF of what was going on between the three of us, and I would use it against them both, if necessary. I kept that secret up my sleeve for quite some time, waiting for the most opportune moment to spring it on 'em. I had had ENOUGH.
|In the grand scheme of things, does it REALLY matter if Steve Perry sings better or worse than Steve Augeri?|
You see, my journalistic background taught me to ALWAYS save whatever I'm working on when I'm using my computer. So, naturally, I saved every conversation and instant message and email that I sent and received, between the now-terminated employee, the former webmaster, and several others on the forum who joined in later on. I printed them all out, (over 100 pages front and back) and saved them all to my hard drive.
I learned later on, from a very well-known, reputable source close to the band that this guy has harrassed many other fans in the past, and has spread vicious lies and rumours for quite some time, but I was the ONLY person that this source knew of, who actually had written PROOF of it.
When the former blabbing Journey employee learned of this secret of mine through the grapevine, (and I'm not really sure how he learned of it), he sent me two separate written threats via email---which, I might add, is against the law. He stated that if I didn't leave the forum, he would send his "borg hackers" after me, (though I had no clue what he was talking about). What the hell was a borg hacker?
A week later, after working for several hours on my own web site project, and writing several letters to family and friends, I later logged onto the Journey forum, and POOF, my computer screen went blank. I guess you could call it a "computer crash." I sat there, dumbfounded, staring at a blank screen for about 10 minutes...rebooting several times...and finally realizing that my computer was toast. It had been perfectly fine the whole morning, and only died when I logged myself into the Journey forum.
After some subsequent research, I was told that my IP address had received malicious code from someone at the Journey web site. A firewall on a web site can log IP addresses, and a computer can be crashed if malicious code is sent from that firewall to a person's computer. I learned all this from the extremely professional and talented computer technical services department at the museum in D.C. where I worked. They scanned over my hard drive and told me I had, indeed, been sent malicious code from this web site. And, furthermore, that act of harrassment was a felony. The now-terminated Journey employee had indeed sent his 'borg hackers' (I figured out that he meant "monster computer crashers") to get me, after all.
The thing that upset me most was, he didn't just crash my computer, but my 10 year website project that I was ready to launch, was completely gone. I didn't have the ability to back up all the stuff I had created on it, so I lost everything that took me over 10 years to create. I cried for months about that, it was my "baby," and I was very proud of it. This Journey JERK didn't even CARE that he ruined my life's work on this project, he had no idea how important it was to me. THAT is when I got angry. Now it was PERSONAL, and "Towanda" can get quite mean when she's provoked.
Luckily, a few months later, I met someone who helped me rebuild my web site even better than it was before. (www.Tolerance4Kids.com). So, again, hindsight is 20/20, it was actually a blessing in disguise to have my computer crashed. But at the time, it felt like I was attacked, and violated, and I was FURIOUS.
In this furious state of mind, I immediately contacted the local police department, and filed a report against this former Journey employee, giving the policewoman a copy of all the emails and correspondence that we had, and a copy of the written report of the technical services department regarding my computer hard drive. She said if I brought this evidence into a court of law, I could sue this person--and this BAND who employed him--for harrassment and destruction of personal property---and in her words, "I would win."
|He sent me two written threats via email. Which, I might add, is against the law.
||Then, taking it a step further, I contacted the FBI computer crime department, and reported this former Journey employee to them as well. However, if the monetary damage was less than $40,000, they couldn't spend much time on the case. Of course, I felt my decade of hard work on my web site project was priceless, but unfortunately, they could not help me. They did, however, offer to scan my hard drive for $3,000, which of course, I couldn't afford. And since I had already had it done at the museum by people I knew and trusted, I didn't feel it would be necessary to do it again. I did, however, keep the hard drive for future reference, just in case.|
While all this was going on, I got a new hard drive, which I had installed the very next day after it crashed, and then I took all of the printed hard copy emails, instant messages, and other correspondence from this argument, and photocopied them 6 or 8 times. I put one in my docket at my law firm in DC for safekeeping, in case a 'borg hacker" should show up on my doorstep unannounced someday.
I also sent a copy of all this stuff to several of my friends around the country who will remain anonymous. One person I sent them to is a personal friend of Steve Perry. I figured, since we had already developed a close friendship online for many years, this person might want to pass the information on to Perry's lawyers, to go after this big-mouthed blabbing jerk once and for all. After all, the (former) Journey employee was HIS problem, not MINE.
But, I added that if Perry wanted to go after this guy, I would help him by pressing charges or joining a lawsuit. I never wanted any money or a lawsuit against the (former) employee for my own financial gain, that was not my motivation at all. I just wanted to make sure that he didn't target anymore fans with his malicious slander and lies in the future.
Whether that message or those papers were ever shared with Perry's lawyers, I will never know. After that, I simply walked away from it all and went on with my life. And now, by writing all this down for others to learn from, I feel that I have a sense of closure.
I was informed by my investigative sources that this same former employee of Journey had been warned several times by Perry's lawyers to stop blabbing and spreading lies over the internet. But he continued to do so, thinking he was invincible. That seems to be a common denominator of those power-abusers who presently run the Journey web site, the whole concept of being "invincible." Again, it's a phenomenon I just don't understand. Didn't September 11th TEACH anyone in the band's management that we ARE all expendable, and vulnerable, and hated by many other countries? We are definitely NOT "invincible," folks. Every person on this planet will eventually be held accountable for their actions. It is time for those in "power" in Journey management to realize this.
In the past, I have also helped Kevin Chalfant by doing research for him at the Patent and Trademark Office. I share a friendship with his sister and her family and she means the world to me. So at her request, I heped him out when he needed a favor. Knowing that the Journey webmaster I had been arguing with also worked on Kevin's web site, I contacted Kevin and sent him, and his sister, a copy of everything too. That way, I figured all bases were covered if this should ever come around again in the future. Everybody who had this information would be on the same page and there would be NO QUESTION about the inappropriate behavior of this (former) representative of this band.
Whatever happens with those papers, they are no longer my problem. I have not only removed myself from the equation by boycotting the official Journey web site, but I've also released all of the negativity from this experience and all the paperwork that went with it, into the cosmos for the gods to deal with, as a lesson in KARMA. This former employee has many enemies in the music industry, apparently, (from what I've been told), and now that there is proof of his inappropriate behavior floating around in the cosmos, I have the relief of knowing that this unnamed perpetrator, the recently terminated employee of Journey, (and new tenant of the land of obscurity), will no longer be able to harrass other fans.
I say, finally and with relish: good riddance to bad rubbish.
Furthermore, I have joined the team of JRNYDV.COM to continue my support for this band's MUSIC, which I still enjoy. I decided, after some time had passed, to volunteer on this site because it promotes a positive energy and respect towards everyone who contributes to it. I still love the music of Journey, but I do it on MY terms, in MY own way. Nobody is going to take away the joy I've felt for 25 years of my life, whenever I hear a Journey song, or Steve Perry's voice. They can HAVE the dysfunctional negativity, I will no longer tolerate it. Life is hard enough without all the unnecessary skewed power trips of a handful of unrealistic, uncreative and unappreciative blind-sheep followers of this band's (mis)management.
But why has this small group of dysfunctional people been allowed to ruin such a great thing for the rest of us? Why are these sniveling, petty people allowed to "ban" anyone who uses a swear-word, or says something they disagree with? Why are they allowed to demand of the forum writers to remove certain web site links that they do not like? Is that NOT a violation of our civil rights of free speech? Who are THEY to tell US, the fans, what we can like and what we can't like?
In my OPINION, which I am allowed to express on every OTHER web site on the internet, this abuse of power has gone beyond all boundaries of human decency and has GOT to be changed. Whether that means firing everybody and starting over with a new, fresh group of intelligent, educated and enthusiastic people, or whether that means removing the entire forum from the official web site, SOMETHING has to be done to salvage the tarnished image of this band we have loved and supported for so many years. Many solutions are plausible, all the band has to do is pick one.
If this band were CREED or PUDDLE OF MUDD or NICKELBACK, then I could possibly understand this jealousy, greed and hunger for power among those in management because THOSE bands are a goldmine right now in the music industry. Journey, however, is NOT. It seems ridiculous to me, that these victims of their own illusions should have such power, and such freedom to abuse that power.
As much as I love the music of Journey, the sad reality is, this is a band that is considered OLD NEWS now, no longer in the mainstream, no longer in the Top 40, and hasn't been for many years. This is a band who USED TO BE great. At best, now they are considered a "classic rock" band, and play to smaller venues, festivals and small town outdoor events. Even though Steve Perry has been gone for nearly 6 years, they still play HIS voice on the radio stations to announce a Journey concert. Journey's heyday has been over for many years. Now they just keep it going to pay the bills, and support their families rather than party and tour the world playing to sold-out crowds of 50,000 or more. Those days are long gone for Journey.
||I immediately contacted the local police department, and filed a report against this former Journey employee.
All I have to say to this phenomenon of those power-abusive people in management is, you'll be lucky to get 15 SECONDS of glory with these guys. Those who worship or miss this former employee of Journey that I mention here, I feel sad for you. Those who support and agree with the current militant style of management that the official Journey forum and web site employs, obviously don't have a clue about what goes on behind closed doors with this band. That educational value is what motivated me to write my story for all to see, here on Dave's web site.
The Journey forum--and EVERY web site forum on the internet--was created to be a place where people can FREELY express themselves, to state their differing views and opinions, to chat about band-related issues, and above all else, to enjoy and celebrate the MUSIC and the memories that go with it, with other fans. It is NOT about "us versus them," or "Perryheads" versus "Augeri fans." Anyone who has lost site of the true magic of the music of Journey only contributes to the continuing demise of the Journey web site. And that is an absolute shame. I wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing is yanked from the internet altogether in the near future.
The whole concept of the name "Journey" is symbolic of GROWTH. September 11th should have taught all of us to grow as individuals, but to also come together as a common family on this planet and to promote PEACE. This web site fiasco is simply a smaller version of the bigger picture that is happening all around us now, with the "war on terrorism." The band's management has declared a similar "war on Perryism" on anyone who doesn't think or believe the same things THEY do, and frankly that Hitler-esque type of thinking is NOT going to help anyone on their personal life journeys to grow into better people. In fact, it's going to have the exact opposite effect, and tear everybody apart. That is what I see happening with this band, and the fans right now. Should we ALLOW this abuse of power by Journey's (mis)management to continue? I say NO.
Again, as I stated before, it doesn't HAVE TO be that way. It shouldn't be that way. A change has to be made NOW. I for one will not support a web site, or a band, that is being (mis)managed by these power-abusive people.
September 16, 2002
Op/Ed: My Two Cents
Please note: As with any Op/Ed, the opinions expressed herein are those of the individual and not necessarily those of Jrnydv.Com.
I have been to a number of Journey shows. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many Journey fans. I’ve run into some of the management. I’ve met all the moderators. I’ve been quite talkative on Journey’s official website, Back Talk, and a few other spots in cyberspace. The bottom line is that I’ve had as much contact with Back Talk, moderators and management as anyone, yet I have no horror stories and no major problems with anyone. This is like any other group in life; you click with some people and with others you don’t.
I hear people complaining about Back Talk. I have a big mouth and I like to argue. I’ve always said exactly what I meant on Back Talk, although perhaps because I argue for a living, I believe that delivery is everything. You can always make your point, but the trick comes in not getting people so emotional that they turn off their ears and brains. People have a way of becoming extremely uncivil in cyberspace very quickly. There are sites in cyberspace with absolute free speech or nearly so. They tend to be very disorganized, unpleasant places.
As for the moderators and fan club personnel, surely people realize they are doing a job in addition to being fans. I’ve observed Cat (Caryn) in a variety of situations and it’s clear to me that she is only trying to do what is in the best interest of Journey (even over her own interests) in the most tactful, professional way she can. I have stood next to her at shows when people make the most unreasonable requests and get angry with her when she cannot do exactly what they want. I can only imagine the sorts of issues with which moderators have to deal. People must realize moderators don’t dream up their own rules for Back Talk, right?
I’ve had run-ins at shows with security. I’ve been pushed, yelled at and generally annoyed by security who take their jobs too seriously. If I ever thought anything would be accomplished by it or if a particular incident was severe, I’d complain to the people who employ security, the venue. Frankly, I’ve had much more problems with security at non-Journey concerts and it has never seemed worth the aggravation to complain.
I’ve met the often-discussed Allen. Guess what? He is not Satan. He is very intelligent, articulate, entertaining and yes, even endearing. He is generously willing to share his memories and insights. And oh yeah--he is human and sometimes a tad vulnerable, too. He is perfectly willing to admit he has made mistakes in his life.
If people are disillusioned with Journey’s management, I’d say don’t get so close to the edge. Music is a business. Sometimes that business is harsh. The magic is the music. The magic happens during that sliver of time when this band is on stage or in a recording studio creating for us. If you look too hard at all the details and what goes on behind the scenes and you don’t like what you see, step back. Myself, I find it a fascinating distraction for my rational mind, but I never believed in Santa Claus either. You know, this is just a rock and roll band.
I am a fan of another very creative, passionate artist who admits he has done all kinds of nasty things that he would rather not think about throughout his life. I would be afraid to guess what his management may have done on his behalf and perhaps even without his knowledge. He doesn't even have an organized fanclub and I can guess why. If you look behind his talent and artistry to the man, you will find a wealth of unflattering little stories and things that might detract from the purity of his music. When I hear certain songs of his or certain phrases, however, I have to just stop what I‘m doing. His talent is otherworldly and comes straight from his heart and soul. I don’t really care what he’s done or what tricks his management is playing that day.
Life is so complicated, and the heart is so simple. No matter what gifts one might have we are all very human. The human form and mind is often distracted and prone to mistakes. When I hear Journey and feel the passion and emotion in their playing and writing, I am in awe. Journey’s music is from the heart and soul. It is so simple and so true. Everything else is just a distraction and really doesn‘t matter. As a fan I don’t want to contribute to another distraction in a world of distractions for a band that creates such magic when they are given the space to just play.
September 23, 2002
Editorial: Towards a Constructive Solution
The problems discussed in previous editorials and Op/Eds indicate that something is very, very wrong in the Journey world. Low-ranking management personnel, both paid and unpaid, have taken it upon themselves to abuse what power Journey has given them over the fan base. The most obvious instances of this abuse of power can be seen in the massive amount of people who have been banned or otherwise censored on Back Talk, the band's official forum. Further evidence that this has gotten out of hand can be seen in how one of the "moderators" of that forum, Journeycat, would actually take it upon herself to order the owner of a private tribute website to remove an editorial with which she disagreed (see "Letter to the Editor", by Journeycat, September 7, 2002). The recent Op/Ed by TowandaRG (September 13, 2002) has served to shed even more light on some of the more dastardly doings of lower management.
In order to solve this problem, we must first identify it, get to the root of it. We know that power, to whatever degree it is possessed, is a corrupting influence. Some handle its temptations better than others--and that is all the more reason for those who dole out the power to be extra careful in choosing its recipients. In selecting "moderators" from among the fan base, management elevated certain fans into positions of power over other fans, thereby creating a fan hierarchy. And by endorsing Back Talk as the official band forum, they have explicitly acknowledged that hierarchy. No fan loves the music of Journey any more than any other fan; no fan should get any special privileges not available to other fans.
Given that it is the Back Talk forum--and its explicit endorsement as the official band forum--which has created this hierarchy among Journey fans, we must now ask the purpose of having an official band forum is in the first place. Why is there a Back Talk? Well, there are two reasons. The first is to provide a band-sanctioned home for the fans, thereby maintaining goodwill for the band among the fan base. This was especially important after the virtual defection of a large portion of the fan base over the replacement of Steve Perry. The second reason for the existence of an official forum is to provide a sounding board for the band members and their creativity. The official forum aids the band members when it comes to the opinion of the fan base on any number of subjects pertaining to the future direction of the band. It helps the band members know what they've done right--or wrong--so that they can improve upon their current level of creativity.
In attempting to satisfy its first duty, to provide a welcome home for the fan base, Back Talk has a muddled record. Admittedly, the existence of multiple moderators is a response to the forum's initial failure in this capacity. The former webmaster of Journeytheband.Com, Mike Sorrentino (a.k.a. "Skylord") obviously had his hands full when it came to building the official band website and moderating the two forums that then existed--the General Forum and "Ask Journey." The incessant fighting over the lead singer debate (and other less-remembered battles) was more than any one person could handle, so the decision to increase the amount of moderators seemed logical, in order to help provide a welcome home for Journey fans. Let's face it, as the posted Back Talk rules suggest, constant bashing of fellow Journey fans or band members is uncalled for. But then the newly empowered "moderators" began to go too far. Persons were banned not for repeatedly bashing others, but for refusing to change their opinions. Before long, persons started to get banned for questioning the motivations of the "moderators." "Bashing" became synonymous with "criticizing." In attempting to bring Back Talk back from one extreme--unmonitored strife--the "moderators" went too far in the opposite direction--censorship and tyranny. As a result, a large percentage of the Journey fan base, feeling unwelcome, abandoned Back Talk for other existing forums--and some even started forums of their own.
And how has Back Talk satisfied its second duty--providing a sounding board for the band members to consult on the feelings of the fan base for their current level of creativity? On that score, Back Talk's record is abysmal. There are many Journey fans--even fans of Steve Augeri--who would like to provide the band with constructive criticism on their latest release, Red 13. There are also many fans that would like to provide constructive criticism on the operation and management of the "Under the Radar" tour. Unfortunately they have not been allowed to voice their criticism, for whenever they have made any such attempts the "moderators" have shut down their threads and deleted their posts. Frankly, "moderators" have even been known to edit the posts of others, when they have uncovered content not to their liking. In this environment, Journey fans are not free to critique the creativity of the band. And without being able to depend on such constructive criticism, the band, surrounded by "yes men" and others who keep their jobs by making the band feel good about themselves and their products, will fail to rise above their current invisibility. The band may have decided to call this tour "Under the Radar" of their own volition. But if the forum continues to censor constructive criticism, they may never get back out above the "radar" of the music industry again.
Now then, how do we solve this problem? As Victor Hugo, the great nineteenth-century French author said, "Tear down this rickety old system...and reconstruct it." Back Talk has failed to meet its dual obligation, and--through the actions of the fan hierarchy it has created--it has served to further divide the Journey fan base. For these faults it should not be maintained as the official band forum. There are in fact a multitude of forums out there that provide a welcome home for Journey fans, allow them to critique the band, and are "moderately" moderated. Many of them can be found in the "Forums" page of the PORTAL Section of Jrnydv.Com. The most popular at this time appear to be the VH1.Com Journey Forum, the MelodicRock.Com Journey Forum, and the Rock and Roll Forum, which discusses many rock acts but was started by Journey fans.
Being one of the few official band forums in the industry, Back Talk started for all the right reasons. Unfortunately, it has failed. The time has come to shut it down and end the unfair hierarchy of the privileged fans. Only then can Journey and its management move on with clean hands and the knowledge that it has done what it can to right the wrongs that have been committed in their name.
Op/Ed: The New Band Bio
Please note: Op/Eds and Letters to the Editor are not necessarily representative of the official editorial position of Jrnydv.Com.
A couple of days ago, Journeycat posted Azoff Management's latest gaff, the new band bio, on the General Forum of Back Talk. It's a very poorly done re-write of the DVD bio, which was the worst aspect of an otherwise great DVD. We now pesent to you, in its entirety, Azoff Management's new Band Bio, with our own editorial corrections and commentary in bold type.
Founded in 1972 [It was December, 1973, actually. Weren't Schon
and Rolie still in Santana in 1972?] in San Francisco around former
Santana members Neal Schon and Greg Rolie, with the assistance of Ross
Valory, George Tickner and Prairie Prince, Journey's legacy has spanned
nearly 30 years with 18 U.S. releases and 50,000,000 in album sales.
Their music is artful, intense, melodic rock played with passion and
superb musicianship. [Where that number comes from is apparently
complicated. There have been 12 US original releases including
Red 13, 1 Japanese original release (Dream, After Dream--and
that's not including the original version of Arrival), 6 US
compilations/live albums, and 2 oveseas compilations. The
number 18 must be the 12 original and 6 compilation US
releases. But they named Red 13 because it's the 13th original
release INCLUDING Dream, After Dream. So why talk about US
releases at all? Also, there is suspiciously no mention of Herbie
Herbert's role in the creation of this band.]
Journey's initial style was progressive jazz-rock, complete with extended
and improvised solo spots, a style much in evidence on their first three
albums for Columbia Records. In April 1975 Tickner bowed out of music
to attend Stanford Medical School. He was eventually replaced by
ex-Alien Project vocalist, Steve Perry (following a brief tenure by Robert
Fleischman). [That was the single-most ridiculous statement on
the DVD bio, so it's not surprising that they still haven't changed it.
Tickner left in 1975 and Fleishchman joined in 1977. And how
can a frontman/lead vocalist replace a rhythm guitarist? Also,
the bio ignores the leave-taking of Prairie Prince in 1974, and his
replacement by Aynsley Dunbar.]
The switch to their signature highly sophisticated rock occurred with the
recording of their hugely successful album, Infinity. Unfortunately Dunbar
was unhappy with this new style and left for Jefferson Starship, to be
replaced by legendary drummer Steve Smith. The band's next release,
Evolution followed and brought the band their first US Top 20 hit, "Lovin',
Touchin', Squeezin'." [Dunbar was fired, and the Jefferson Starship
gig did not happen for him immediately, as the bio implies. And
Steve Smith was not "legendary" in 1979--his subsequent career
has made him legendary. He himself has said that he views his
years in Journey as an "apprenticeship."]
Captured was a live double album that surprised many critics. The album
featured cranked-up guitars and raucous hard rock, eventually peaking at
#9 on the US album chart. Founding member Rolie departed after it's
release, to be replaced by Jonathan Cain, who had previously played with
the Babys. [Founding member Rolie departed BEFORE Captured
was released--even before the one studio track on the album
was recorded. And the live tracks were recorded in Montreal and
Detroit on the Departure tour--promoting an album not
mentioned in this bio.]
Cain's arrival was an important landmark in Journey's career, as his
songwriting input added a new dimension to the band's sound. The band's
next release, Escape reached #1 and stayed in the charts for over a year.
It also spawned three US Top 10 hit singles, "Who's Crying Now," "Don't
Stop Believin" and "Open Arms." The follow-up, Frontiers, was also
massively successful, staying at #2 on the Billboard album chart for nine
Valory and Smith departed the group prior to the release of 1986's Raised
On Radio, which generated another US hit single, "Be Good To Yourself".
The band was joined in the studio and subsequent live dates by bass
player Randy Jackson (ex-Zebra) and drummers Bob Glaub, Mike Baird
and Nashville veteran Larrie Londin. [Valory and Smith were fired
also, but Smith appeared on several tracks on that album. Bob
Glaub was not a drummer but a bass player who recorded a few
tracks on the album but did not go out on tour. Larrie Londin did not
tour with Journey either, as the bio implies. And finally, the white
Randy Jackson who is/was the guitarist and lead singer of the
heavy metal group Zebra is most definitely not the same as
Journey's Randy Jackson, the African-American who is once
again in the news as a judge on the popular Fox TV series
In 1996 Perry, Schon, Smith, Cain and Valory reunited to release Trial By
Fire, which entered the US chart at number 3. The following year Deen
Castronovo (ex-Bad English) replaced Smith and vocalist Steve Augeri
(Tall Stories) replaced Perry after health problems sidelined the singer.
Vocalist, Steve Augeri first recorded with Journey for the band's 1998
contribution to the Armageddon soundtrack - "Remember Me". The
soundtrack, which hit #1 on the Billboard charts and was certified triple
The band's 18th release, [That number doesn't make sense by any
calculation!] Arrival debuted in the spring of 2001 and the group
launched their incredibly successful 56-city Arrival 2001 World Tour.
An Essential Journey greatest hits collection arrived in 2001 from
Columbia Records; an honor previously bestowed on legends such as
Miles Davis, Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, and Barbra Streisand. [What an
honor that only tracks from the Perry era were included in the
Throughout the summer of 2002, Journey again brought its live show
around the country during their "Under The Radar Tour". It also gave the
band an opportunity to showcase music from their new EP, Red13, to
their die-hard fans. A late 2002 release of the EP gave the rest of America
the chance to embrace Journey's latest rock creation.
The Egyptians regarded the divine scarab beetle as a symbol of
self-creative power; rebirth, renewal, transformation and regeneration.
The scarab, which has also become the long-time symbol for the
legendary rock band Journey, has evolved into an exceptionally fitting
symbol for a band that began in 1973 as an experimental rhythm section
(formed around guitar prodigy Neal Schon) and eventually sold over 50
million records and became one of the biggest rock bands in the world. For Journey, transformation and renewal
are an integral part of the creative force that has led the band on their
remarkable "journey". Journey's touring and performing continues to
delight audiences across the country and around the globe.
[There are also several grammatical and punctuation errors. And while the latest verion of this bio has removed reference to Randy Jackson's having been in the band Zebra, the other--perhaps more glaring--mistakes remain. Unfortunately, Azoff Management doesn't seem to care enough about Journey to even proofread the band bio, let alone check the facts. This is a sad state of affairs indeed.]
Letters to the Editor
Selected Responses to "The Abuse of Journey Power", Op/Ed by TowandaRG
Please note: While all responses to Becky's Op/Ed are not reprinted here, the below responses are an accurate representation of the body of response the piece has received. We thank you for your responses and apologize that, due to constraints on space, we could not publish the responses of all of you. Please continue to write your Letters to the Editor regarding more recent Op/Eds and Editorials.
What happened to this woman was not only disgusting, but criminal. I appreciate the fact that she took the time to say what has needed to be said about what is going on over at the Journey camp. I no longer go to Back Talk and have been totally turned off of Journey due to all the garbage going on over there. The firing of that particular indivdual is only the tip of the iceberg. They need to do a lot more housecleaning before I'll ever believe they don't endorse what goes on there.
The only Journey related forum that has ever existed that does allow total free speech is the Journey Usenet Newsgroup, alt.music.journey. The simple truth is that the more active posters there are on a Journey forum, the more arguing there is. When I was owner of the Journey mailing list from 1993 through 1996 (approximately) there were constant situations of division and arguing among the fans. I know from experience that no-win situations are constantly arising, and I will never be a moderator of a Journey-related mailing list or forum again because of it. I pushed the "rules" of the forums to their limits. But I never crossed the line. Nobody forces people to engage in conversation with me or anybody else. Becky talks so often about how she does not like conflict. She preaches about patience and understanding and tolerance. But by putting it within a very hate-filled, divisive, vindictive, vengeful letter she loses any credibility she may have had.
Author: Mary Lou
I don't understand what is fully going on except it is not worth having a nonacceptable opinion. I am a little older than Steve Perry and have loved the Voice of the Century for 30 or more years, and the entire lineup. You can take people offline but you can't force them to buy a CD or attend a concert.
Editorial: A Holiday Pick-Me-Up
This time of year, it's always there, even if you never watch it: you know how you flip the channels looking for something to watch on the weekends, and you inevitably catch a brief glimpse of ice skaters competing? Well, if you're like most people, even though you may like it, you probably still just keep flipping, right?
Everyone knows the skaters are all professional and extremely graceful, and watching them perform is aesthetically pleasing because they make it look so easy. You may even have fond memories of watching Dorothy Hamill while growing up, wishing you could be as graceful, pretty or talented as she is.
Even though most people like to watch the sport occasionally, while flipping channels, most of us don't sit and watch it for more than a few minutes. But yesterday if you had watched, you might have stayed long enough to be pleasantly surprised.
Remember the last Winter Olympics? There was a Canadian couple that won the silver medal, and later fought the judges for--and were eventually awarded--the gold. This same Canadian couple showed up at yesterday's ice skating competition: Ms. Jaime Sale, and Mr. David Pelletier. Most people refer to them simply as "Jaime and David," feeling a more personal connection towards them for their many years of hard work & dedication to the sport.
It turns out this particular program was the Hallmark Skaters Championship, which aired on NBC at 5:30 p.m., Sunday, December 15, 2002.
After watching several incredible couples do their thing, and hearing the background songs of Charlotte Church and other classical tunes being played during performances, any Journey fans who were watching were treated to a big surprise when this particular Canadian couple performed last on the list.
The song they chose to skate to was none other than our very own "Lovin,' Touchin,' Squeezin." The dance/skate routine they created to go with the song, fit the whole feeling of it, perfectly! These skaters were sexy, "shaking their groove thang," all over the ice!
Anyone watching could tell that they were having fun with it, and even the audience got into the groove by clapping during the performance. Afterwards, the skaters stated that they really felt that energy from the audience and it enhanced their performance.
Those Journey fans out there who may have seen this competition, happily learned that Jaime and David won the championship, with scores of 5.9 and 5.8 across the board. Of course, every Journey fan out there would also like to think that the song had something to do with their success!
Hearing Perry's clear, clean voice, Schon's guitar licks, Valory's heavy bass, Rolie's thumping organ, and Smith's precise drums, and watching such beautiful skating technniques only made this Journey fan even more proud of our guys!
It is obvious that Journey has successfully saturated our culture in a positive way when their song is chosen as background music for a holiday sporting event on a major television network.
This was truly a great holiday gift to the past and present guys of the band--and a well-deserved one at that--as well as a happy surprise to all the fans who stopped flipping channels long enough to see it.
Next time you feel the urge to flip that channel, wait a few minutes, and you may be happily surprised to hear Journey played at more skating events in the future!
Happy Holidays everybody, from the Jrnydv.Com Staff!
Op/Ed: The Forums
By Brenda Chandler
Please note: Op/Eds are not necessarily representative of the official editorial position of Jrnydv.Com.
The forums have become a joke unlike any I've seen before. The rules are completely arbitrary, and change at the whim of the moderators. The moderators seem to be people with little in real life, so they find importance in life by exerting control over a forum.
The people who post there also seem like people who seem to find fulfillment through an internet life on the forums, most particularly the Water Cooler. Just a visit there is almost scary. Whether it's "send prayers" or "send vibes" or any of a number of completely inane topics, the Water Cooler is a place filled with people on the fringes of society. It's pretty sad that they are forced to find fulfillment from a bunch of other people who are equally void of a real life. Some of them [have made] thousands of posts, even tens of thousands. What's worse is they actually have pride in making so many posts.
Then there are a couple whose entire lives are so centered on the band that they follow Journey from city to city, often getting backstage passes. Then they post their mundane experiences in an attempt to look "cool", all the while exposing to those of us with real lives just how pathetic they really are. A person with a real life doesn't need to follow an old rock band around and tell everyone else about their latest backstage pass experience. These are people with serious [s]elf esteem issues. Counseling is much in order for many of the site regulars.
How about the die-hard Steve Perry fans? These folks are about the most incredible characters on the planet. Everything is a sign of Perry's return! Whether it's his hair being a little longer, the fact he is in a picture with Melissa Ethridge, or anything else - it all points to his return to recording and superstardom! Talk about living in a complete state of denial! He has no record label deal with no label even interested, he has no interest in recording himself, and he has remained completely silent. Nothing he has spoken of has come to fruition - be it the web site, the novel or autobiography, the acting career - nothing! Face the music, people - Steve Perry has left the building and he isn't coming back!
We tried an experiment on the Journey forums. Can one be banned for simply disagreeing (without any inflammatory language) with a member of the inside clique? The answer was an astounding yes! To disagree with even a political viewpoint of a regular, even if using no foul language or "attacking" in any way resulted in getting banned. You can't disagree with anything without getting banned.
The inmates are running the asylum.