His mother instilled his love for singing at an early age, encouraging him to sing along to songs from his favorite singers like Karen Carpenter and Barbra Streisand. His mother, who had been suffering from heart disease, died when he was thirteen. Her illness had left their family deep in debt. Being 6 months or one year behind on their rented apartment and unable to sufficiently provide for the family, his father decided to move out and ask relatives to take in Pineda’s siblings. To ease his father’s burden, Pineda quit school and volunteered to strike out on his own.
About two years of his life were spent out on the streets, sleeping wherever he could: in public parks, or on a narrow bench outside a friend’s crowded house. He earned meager money by collecting glass bottles, newspapers, and scrap metal and selling them to recyclers. He would also go to the pier with his friends and take on odd jobs like cleaning scrap metal and docked ships. He didn’t have much to eat, sometimes rationing a small package of Marie biscuit as his meal for two days.
Videos of [his cover band] The Zoo performing cover songs by Journey, Survivor, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Air Supply, The Eagles, Kenny Loggins, Stryper and other popular acts from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, began appearing on YouTube.com in February 2007. On June 28, 2007, Neal Schon of Journey contacted Noel Gomez, a longtime fan and friend of Pineda who uploaded many of these videos, to ask for Pineda’s contact information. Schon sent an e-mail to Pineda inviting him to audition for Journey. Pineda initially dismissed the e-mail as a hoax, but after being persuaded by Gomez, he finally replied to Schon’s e-mail. Ten minutes later, Pineda received a phone call from Schon. On August 12, Pineda, along with his manager Bert de Leon, flew to Marin County, just north of San Francisco, for a two-day audition. The star-struck Pineda was welcomed warmly but he described the audition as “nerve-wracking, tense”. On December 5, 2007, Pineda was announced as the lead singer of Journey.
In an interview soon after Pineda joined the band, Neal Schon said, “We feel reborn. I think there’s a lot of chemistry among the five of us. At first we were going to go into the studio and just write 4 songs, but now it’s escalated to a lot of great new and diverse material. The stuff sounds tremendous. Everyone’s so stoked about it. We feel very fortunate to have found Arnel.” Jonathan Cain described the album in an interview: “We recorded our greatest hits with our brand new singer from the Philippines, Arnel Pineda, and it’s unbelievable when you listen to it… We’re excited because we think Arnel is the future for our franchise… We knew that if we were ever gonna move on, we had to get somebody that was really gonna be our future and sound like Journey is supposed to sound…I think Journey fans are in for a real treat.”
Here he is with Journey. I’m not sure yet if I’m watching this.
I did. His voice is good, but the whole thing reminds me of when I lived in Brazil in high school and I started dating this hot socialist with a Rage Against the Machine cover band. He spoke, like, no English, but he was so pretty and so rebellious. (Very like James Franco in Freaks and Geeks when he went to that punk show.) I went to a few of Tiago’s gigs before I noticed through my moshing, stage diving, drunken-ass-teen stupor that he was basically singing like this. (<— That video makes me laugh every time, BTW.) He had no idea what kind of socialist rap-rock lyrics he was spouting. I asked him about it and he was like, “Yeah, I just make the whatever noises I think they’re making.” I was like, “But I thought you liked them because you’re a socialist!” and he replied that it was coo’ because he just assumed that whatever they were saying was stuff he agreed with. I just couldn’t after that. I was so disappointed because I thought we could have been such a nice revolutionary couple. Anyway, you can totally tell that Journey dude is doing the same thing—just making the noises.