JOURNEY's Arnel Pineda told the Arizona Republic that he was thrilled to meet the band's former singer, Steve Perry, at the group's Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction in April 2017.
"Like I claim on my [Instagram] post, I waited 35 years for that," Pineda said. "And, of course, it was one of the most momentous days of my life. It's like meeting the pope, you know? He's one of my heroes when it comes to music — one of the few singers that I have adored all these years, along with Robert Plant and Ann Wilson."
Asked what he and Perry talked about that day, Pineda laughed and said: "Oh, just some random things, you know. We were just talking about the gig — How is it? How do I feel? And he joked to me, saying, 'Are the boys treating you nice? If not, I'm gonna call them and straighten them out,' you know?"
Although Pineda did not get inducted with his bandmates, he did get up and join them at the Hall Of Fame induction ceremony, singing "Don't Stop Believin'" and "Lights". He was talked into appearing by JOURNEY's manager John Baruck.
"For the record, I never really wanted to be there because I respect Mr. Steve Perry so much and I think that Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction, that's for them, you know?" Arnel said. "It's for the band and not for me. I was really adamant about not being there.
"And then it was so gracious for Steve Perry that he doesn't want to sing and said that it should be me that should be singing with the band," Pineda continued. "I said, 'It's not right. It should be them playing together and singing together. I was kind of shaky. I mean, how would you feel when your hero is watching you singing his legacy?"
Earlier this year, Perry told SiriusXM that he didn't perform with JOURNEY at the Rock Hall ceremony because he is "not in the band. I haven't been in the band for quite some time," he explained. "Arnel's been in the band for almost 10 years, I think. He's a sweet kid — he's a wonderful kid. He sings his heart out every night. It's his gig."
As for meeting Pineda before the induction, Perry said: "There was something endearing about the way he looked at me. He was meeting, like, a grandfather. [Laughs] He's got the gig. It's his gig. He's doing great."
According to Deadline, Arnel's life story will be the subject of a new movie, to be helmed by "Crazy Rich Asians" director Jon M. Chu.
Born in the Philippines, Pineda has been fronting the legendary rockers since 2007 when JOURNEY guitarist Neal Schon discovered him leading a Manila cover band on YouTube.
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One of the sweetest hug you can ever get from one of my heroes and silent mentors..it means the world to me..waited 35 years for this moment..thank you Almighty God!! #TheVoice #StevePerry #oneofthemostmemorable #maximumblessings Thank you so much Mr Steve Perry for your priceless words and graciousness.. @taratogs @curachalang @yulsession @journeymusicofficial You made it happen @yulsession Thank you for making this Fateful and Blessed Meeting with THE VOICE #StevePerry #youwillalwaysbetheOne #zhofallangngfezlak #mayey