Journey: Finding New Ways To Stay On Top

BAM: The California Music Magazine
March 11, 1983
By Robin Tolleson
Transcribed by Steven Lake

Roadies will help you, managers will help you, but you lose points, time, and money being obstructed by groupies, photographers, and promoters," says Journey bassist Ross Valory. Keyboardist Jonathan Cain sits up in his chair and adds, "The groupies are funny because they wear little hearts, and tennis shoes—they pucker up their lips and blow kisses. They come in waves, and there are fat ones and small ones. And when a fat one gets you and sits on you, it's like 'Aaaaaaeeeeeeaaaaaa!'" \/alory laughs and nods his head in agreement. Cain concludes, "You have to stop, and they'll take like three grand." Some of you readers are probably thinking Wow, life is really hard on the road for Journey." No, life is really quite easy on the road for Journey these dates. What is hard, though, according to the descriptions of Valory and Cain, is the new Journey video game, aptly named after their double-platinum eighth album, Escape.

Journey vocalist Steve Perry, drummer Steve Smith, guitarist Neal Schon, Cain and Valory—is apparently the first rock band to be immortalized on its own video game, another feather in the cap of manager Herbie Herbert. Herbert's Nightmare Productions is an estimable Bay Area success story, having masterminded Journey's rise from little-known, struggling, instrumentally oriented thrashers to pop-rock superstars. The Escape video game was developed by Nightmare Productions' artistic arm, Jim Welch's Artists and Friends, Inc. It is released through Data Age, Inc., a video software firm based in Campbell, California. Data Age has produced several other games for use with the Atari video system, including Airlock, Sssnake, and Bugs.

Several members of Journey are publicized "vidiots," making it all the more fitting that they be the subject of their own game. Insiders say that Journey's contract rider demands video games in the dressing room before a concert (along with a carrot juicer for Smith, Perrier for Perry, and inversion boots for Schon). Valory is an avid Intellivision fan, and Smith bought an arcade-size Defender game that accompanied the band on their last tour and into the studio. Under a fluorescent glare in one of the conference rooms at Nightmare Productions' Columbus Street office building, Valory recalls the band's early experience with video games. "It all started in Japan," he says, fidgeting with a. can of Hansen's fruit soda. "I had been into a few video games. I got Steve Smith, and we went wandering around the streets of Tokyo. They had arcades that would stay open until 3 in the morning. Ever since then he's been really hooked, and I'm still hooked." There is an exception to every band fad or fashion, and in this case it is the very talented guitarist Neal Schon who explains, "I get very uptight playing those games. When I miss I start kicking the machine, cursing, throwing it over . . ."