Who’s Played the Most Journey Shows? Singer and Drummer Totals
While guitarist Neal Schon has been the lone constant member of Journey, they've had a fair degree of turnover with lead singers and drummers over the years, with six men performing each of those roles. We take a look at which singers and drummers have stood onstage with the band the most times throughout its long history.
Between their first-ever gig on New Year's Eve 1973 and the end of 2018, Journey have played approximately 1,860 shows. We're calling it an estimation because the official tour archives on Journey's website go back as far as only 2008, so we had to rely on fan sites, crowd-sourced pages and news stories to track down, the best we can, the first 35 years of the band.
Keyboardist Gregg Rolie, Schon's former Santana bandmate, sang on Journey's first three albums, with Schon taking two leads on 1977's Next. But with poor sales, Columbia Records requested they bring in a more traditional frontman, so they hired Robert Fleischman to share lead vocals, and then went on the road. But by the end of the year, the band realized things weren't working out with Fleischman, so Steve Perry was brought in for an audition. He passed, and after 39 shows, Fleischman was fired and Perry took over for the last few dates of 1977.
Even though Journey's fortunes began to change with 1978's Infinity and Perry in front, Rolie still contributed a few lead vocals on the group's next three albums. But after the tour in support of 1980's Departure, and a total of 401 shows, he left. In addition to cementing Perry as the band's frontman, Rolie's exit also prompted the need for a new keyboardist. Journey found one in Jonathan Cain, formerly of the Babys, and he's played keyboards with them ever since (for a total of 1,459 shows).
Early '80s albums Escape and Frontiers took the band to even bigger heights, but Perry gave a solo career a shot with 1984's Street Talk, proving he could have hits away from the band. Still, they reconvened in late 1985 to record Raised on Radio, but when the tour concluded in early 1987, Perry left, which forced Journey to go on a hiatus that lasted eight years. Schon, Cain and Perry performed one more time together, at a 1991 tribute concert for promoter Bill Graham, who had been killed in a helicopter crash a week earlier. It was Perry's 678th show fronting Journey.
They reunited in 1995 for Trial by Fire, but Perry soon suffered an injury to his hip while hiking. As he debated on whether or not to have surgery, Schon and Cain were eager to get back on the road ... with or without the voice of their hits. Perry's second exit was made official in May 1998, and Journey hired Steve Augeri as his replacement and mounted their first tour in more than a decade.
With Augeri, a vocal ringer for Perry, they rebuilt their status as a top concert draw, mounting lengthy tours annually. With the exception of 2000, when they played only seven concerts, Journey played 50 or more dates every year during his tenure. They also recorded two albums with him, Arrival (2001) and Generations (2005). But 14 shows into a 2006 tour with Def Leppard -- Augeri's 447th overall with the band -- the singer suffered a throat infection and was replaced by Jeff Scott Soto, who had worked with Schon in the past.
Soto finished out the tour, as well as another the following year, before being fired, after 81 total shows, for what he suggested was a combination of music, personal and business reasons. Cain and Schon discovered Arnel Pineda singing Journey covers on YouTube and hired him to be the band's sixth lead singer. The relationship has resulted in two albums, 2008's Revelation and 2011's Eclipse, and, as of the end of 2018, 632 shows -- almost as many as Perry's 678 total.
Prairie Prince of the Tubes had originally signed on to be Journey's drummer. But he didn't last beyond his first show. He was replaced by British veteran Aynsley Dunbar, who had previously worked with Jeff Beck, David Bowie and Frank Zappa. He lasted four albums -- his last was Infinity, Steve Perry's first -- and 205 shows before he was fired. As he told Modern Drummer in 1982, "They wanted me to play note for note behind them, and I wouldn’t do it. So they put up with it for about four and a half years before they told me to get out."
Steve Smith, whom they knew from Ronnie Montrose's band, joined for 1979's Evolution and stayed throughout Journey's commercial peak (1978-83), during which time they performed 425 concerts. But as the band recorded Raised on Radio in 1985, he bumped into creative differences with other members and left, leaving drum chores on all but three of the album's songs to session aces Mike Baird and Larrie Londin. Baird ended up on the tour, playing 68 dates with the band from 1986-87 before Journey imploded.
For the record, Randy Jackson replaced original bassist Ross Valory during the Raised on Radio era. Valory got his job back in the '90s, which gives him 1,791 shows, with Jackson holding down the bottom end for 68 concerts.
Smith also returned for the mid-'90s reunion, but the band didn't tour in support of Trial by Fire. Enter Deen Castronovo, who had worked with Schon and Cain in Bad English. He held down the drum stool for longer than anybody, nearly 17 years and 945 shows. But a week before Journey's 2015 summer tour was about to begin, he was arrested on charges of rape, sexual abuse and assault. Former Miles Davis sideman Omar Hakim -- who also worked on David Bowie's Let's Dance, Sting's The Dream of the Blue Turtles and Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms -- was recruited for the remainder of the year.
As 2015 drew to a close, Journey announced a 2016 summer trek with the Doobie Brothers, and with it came the return of Smith. Although he said in a statement that he planned to remain in the band only through the end of 2017, after which he would return to his jazz and session projects, he played with Journey in 2018, adding 194 shows to his 619 total.