Journey Revisited Lead singer Jeff Salado Bass - Michael Gonzales Drums/Percussion - David Hawkes Guitar - Val Popovic Keyboards, Keytar, Guitar - Kevin Jachetta Journey Revisited Journey Revisited

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

JR frontman Jeff Salado featured in Q&A at Examiner.com

Jeff Salado
Lead singer, Journey Revisited.
What a great feature today at Examiner.com! Seth Metoyer did a Q&A with Jeff, "Journey Revisited singer Jeff Salado talks music, touring and playing Monterey" -- here's the intro:
Only a handful of singers can capture the essence and vocal range of original Journey singer Steve Perry. One vocalist that comes to mind is of course the current lead singer of Journey, Arnel Pineda. Another vocalist who lands on the radar rocked the 2014 Monterey County Fair. That singer is Jeff Salado from the Journey tribute band, Journey Revisited (or JR as some fans refer to them). The band recently played the stage at the Monterey Fairgrounds and fans can't seem to get enough of the tribute band. Singer Jeff Salado recently spoke to Examiner about his musical influences, touring, what it's like to play in Monterey and more.
A few of the questions...

What made you want to sing in a Journey tribute band?
I was playing in a variety band in 2003-2005, top 40 stuff, dance party music and we did a handful of Journey songs, and we often had requests to do them but we didn't have a keyboardist. I decided at that time to form a Journey tribute band because of the overwhelming response to my vocals -- they thought I sounded a lot like Steve Perry.

How do you respond to the compliments about how similar your vocals are to Steve Perry?
If anything I'm flattered and honored by the compliments that continue to come in about this; it works out perfectly as this is a tribute to Journey. What better way to honor the Perry legendary vocals than to go out each gig and sing for fans of his voice.

What's the difference between a cover band and a tribute band?
Obviously a cover band only covers the musical aspect of a particular group. The tribute band does note-for-note renditions of the particular artist and goes all the way -- dressing like the members of the original group and performing the shows as the original artists do (or did).

Click over for the entire interview by Seth Metoyer. You can also read these JR in-house features on Jeff here:
* Frontman qualities: Journey Revisited's Jeff Salado's on-stage/off-stage personas
* Behind the scenes - Journey Revisited frontman Jeff Salado on Journey influences, show prep

The Examiner piece also featured this performance of "Faithfully" from a recent gig in Novato, CA:


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Frontman qualities: Journey Revisited's Jeff Salado's on-stage/off-stage personas

By Pam Spaulding

Journey Revisited's lead singer Jeff Salado asked me what I thought about seeing the band for the first time live -- when I came out to California in November.

With experience as a journalist, photographer, and videographer, I decided to give him feedback/insight that he was unlikely receive from the average concert-goer. What was surprising is that once he read it, he asked me to recast what was a private email into an article because he wanted to share with you all what it's like to perform through my lens as a writer, a fan and good friend.

Prior to the November Black Oak Casino performance, I had only seen Jeff onstage via video. where it's clear that he has great stage presence and stagecraft -- he interacts with fans, and connects them to the music of Journey. I did, however, have the good fortune to spend time with him prior to the concert, hanging out in his environment -- seeing the offstage Jeff Salado.

Most fans never get to interact with that Jeff - the goofy, funny, nerdy, lovable guy who's also capable of conversations of great intellectual depth and thoughtfulness. A dude who loves talking Journey from the perspective of a singer (of course), cars (from Turbo International Buick Grand Nationals, Muscle cars, to fuel-efficient Geo Metros), boxing, history, science and classic TV. Jeff possesses a noggin full of useless trivia like myself that makes conversations incredibly interesting. That guy isn't on stage.

So my presence at Black Oak as a working professional (to capture photos and video) allowed me unique access to observe him passively on multiple levels. After the show, I had a lot to say about that experience, but not in detail, or with a critical eye. So here's my perspective on the Journey Revisited lead singer...what you see and experience is more than meets the eye.

The Professional Jeff

This is the serious guy you see at the venue working on sound check, trying out an ear monitor, or the green room discussing band plans for 2015. He's quite relaxed but carries a level of command of the room that telegraphs business. After all, this is a job for all of them. They are all conscious of wanting to be at their best to please the audiences that eagerly await hearing classic Journey.

It's also reflected in the photos in the Green Room. You'll notice that the other guys are relaxed, focusing on their own warm up routines, but Jeff's presence set the tone for the evening, loose but mindful of the task at hand, for instance, inquiring about adding songs to the roster for the next year, and how the band can accomplish learning them by tour time.

There were a couple of unusual circumstances that night -- I was introducing the band on stage, and they were celebrating guitarist Val Popovic's birthday. So Jeff and Val were holding court in discussions, considering whether to sing a version of "Lights" based on the studio recording or a live version.



Jeff's ability to stay motivated in adverse conditions is remarkable; that night at Black Oak was an unusual perfect storm to vex a vocalist -- the smoke in the casino was overwhelming due to a group that arrived and proceeded to smoke out the capacity of the air system to clear it out. Cigarette smoke flowed freely into the concert venue space.

It's enough to shake any vocalist - the issue became so problematic that Jeff, during the performance, twice asked me to retrieve lozenges from the dressing room in a valiant attempt to keep his vox from being affected by the smoke. Everyone in the venue was feeling the horrible burn. It is also not surprising how well Jeff pushed past it, making slight vocal changes and choices to accommodate the uncertainty of his ability to deliver certain notes -- a hallmark of a self-aware vocalist. Jeff's had to endure enough uncertainties and frustrations and always forged ahead as the professional that he is. But he has remained humble.

It's rare for an artist to talk about an off-night; it's a vulnerability that many won't admit to. But the reality is that we're only human; and Jeff wanted me to share that it's something he's not ashamed of; we all have days where we come up short for whatever reason. It's no different for entertainers  -- their skills and performance are dependent on tissues that get strained by smoke or hurt by allergies. The show must go on.

The Onstage Jeff

This aspect of Jeff Salado will be familiar to many of you. My first reaction to seeing him onstage in person (after doing the band intro I had to quickly get offstage and get down in the venue to see the rest of Escape) was "WOW." Hearing his voice live with my own ears -- it was literally going from mono to stereo for me, and I was having a hard time concentrating on my photography during that number; I had to keep stopping to look up at Jeff to reconcile what I was hearing with seeing him up there on stage with the guy I just had lunch with, cutting up with friends.

And, as I mentioned above, I saw him on what he considered an off-night because of the smoke affecting his breathing, challenging him when hitting/holding certain notes that he normally does with ease. He also was mindful about some mistakes in timing on certain songs.

These are things the vast majority of people in the audience didn't notice or care about. But the perfectionists of Journey Revisited always want to deliver 110%, Jeff included. For Jeff that means focusing on his stagecraft and appearance as well -- he told me, "it's not only the music, it's how it's being presented and looking our best and feeling our best is doing our best."

For me, imperfections are part of the beauty of live performance though; you're seeing the marvel of the gift of the human voice, a fragile instrument with miraculous ability to produce sounds so rousing, so moving. Not everyone is as blessed with the physical goods to produce the notes that Steve Perry did, but to have the skill of controlling that instrument to project sound with such clarity and power and emotion is one of Jeff Salado's natural gifts that he works hard to hone for the audience.

You have to deliver night after night, whether you feel like it or not -- and still make a connection to the audience. The band digs deep to deliver no matter what the conditions are.

Every night is unique; we are not machines; I'm an attuned audience member in that respect, as are many who appreciate the difficulty of being a lead singer, you can't replace pipes like guitar strings. The one thing I wish for, as part of Team JR, the band's support infrastructure, is that I lived closer to see JR live more frequently to enjoy the uniqueness of each performance, the nuances, the choices made (I live in NC).

The "It" Factor

It makes for a more informative piece to discuss this section not in a cheerleader "isn't Jeff cute and he sings great" review. It means so much more to describe how the performances work, and how that the forces align to deliver a special experience for fans, casual and die hards alike.

For me, seeing Jeff the performer up there, the offstage Jeff ceases to exist; this onstage Jeff delivers a huge dose of liquid mojo out there for the audience to drink in. What is it?

* Vox - His pipes are amazing; I could hear that despite the challenges that night at Black Oak. One video, I watched over and over afterwards, was Too Late because his vocals speak to me in that song, and the band is so tight on it. I think many fans find the sweet spots in their favorite Journey songs that Jeff sings that you walk away wanting more. His range, his power, and his strong Perry-like vibrato and tone are what sets him apart from other Journey tribute singers.

One thing that is quite noticeably different about Jeff in comparison to Steve Perry is his speaking voice. Perry in older interviews has an almost alto, soft voice; Jeff is most definitely a baritone and a harmonious, deep resonant one at that. It's immensely pleasing, though it's not called upon for the Journey catalog. He would make a great DJ...

* Emotive ability - He puts himself into the song; Jeff has the ability to "perform" emotion even when he's not feeling it that night. Even though I knew he was having a rough go of it (i.e., the lozenges run), when I would watch him, I felt the songs, I felt the resonance and connection to them. That's a hallmark of a pro.

* Physical performance: Jeff gives it all onstage -- often at his own expense in post-gig pain. I know he wishes he could jump off the riser every night, but no one takes the Perryisms and runs with them in spades like he does. He projects a significant bodycon (body confidence) onstage. I fail to see that in other Journey trib singers. And check out YouTube, you'll see exactly what I mean.



What Jeff has rivals the dynamism of Arnel Pineda's energy in the current iteration of Journey proper. JR fans are roused by the music as Jeff performs the classic hits no longer covered by Journey in concert. He brings not only the essence of Perry's notable energy to the stage, but Jeff  (and his many female fans aren't hearing any news here) brings a considerable dose of his own sensuality that he naturally projects and and overlays on top of it. It's why he has such a tremendous...

* Audience connection - If you were standing near that stage, which I often was, I was bowled over at how dynamic and powerfully he draws people to him. When he looks directly at people during a song that energy flows to them, and reflects back. It's exciting to experience.



Several times he looked at me  (captured in several photos like the one above) as he does to people in the audience all the time. When I saw the images, as I was going through the 800+ shots taken during the show, I could actually recall that energy. It's why audiences come back, and want to come back. He connects as an artist.

Jeff on what he is trying to project:
"I want people to feel something special; when they go home after a JR concert, I want them to feel like they were wanted, that there was a connection directly with me. I want them to feel that -- I want them to come back -- we're trying to drum up new fans and we always want to make the next show even better."
​As someone who wrote a nationally read, influential political blog, nearly a decade of citizen journalism, I've been around many powerful politicians and public figures and interviewed quite a few. And I can honestly say I've not seen that many people onstage or out in the political realm with the kind mojo Jeff Salado has. The closest ones that I can recall that evoke such a connection are some politicians, one I've met, one I've only heard about -- Bill Clinton and former U.S. Senator John Edwards. Regardless of their politics, they shared a peculiar ability to draw people to them through sheer force of personality and mojo.

I met the ill-fated John Edwards in 2008. The quality that he shares with Jeff is the ability to make everyone else in the room disappear when he looks at you. You feel like you are the center of his universe, with undivided attention, whether it is for a few seconds, or a few minutes of conversation. He makes that person feel special in some way. There's no way to create it or recreate it.

I've had discussions with Jeff -- amusing ones at times -- about this energy and its impact on women. It's there onstage, but it's also there when he's still in stage persona and interacting with people, men or women, straight/bi/gay, whatever. He obviously knows how to turn on the considerable natural charm, but it's that extra mojo that just flows from him that is non-denominational -- many rock stars have it like Steve Perry, Mick Jagger, and Robert Plant.

Many in the audience can feel that energy from an artist, but they just can't quite put a finger on why they are drawn to that person onstage or articulate it, in this case that mojo's coming from a Journey tribute band singer named Jeff Salado. He has "It" and knows how to use it, whether innately or that he's developed it over the years through self-awareness of it. When he was feeling good in Tucson and Fresno last week and was really pulling out all the stops in physicality on stage, I cannot imagine the level of "It" he was projecting.

I also mentioned to Jeff, who's quite photogenic, that I had an inordinate amount of good action shots because, whether consciously or not, his bodycon translates so easily into providing poses that make it easy to compose the shots, to use the whole frame. This just as true of Val on the axe.

With them I didn't have to work to find the shot; they provided so many to choose from. That's why I am so eager to get to shoot the band again in more a favorable physical location; Black Oak was dark, and mostly stage-lit red.

I can only imagine what I could capture when there is better lighting. Time to hop another plane westward soon!

I told Jeff to read this from time to time to remind himself what sets him apart as a performer and professional from so many others. You'll have to weigh in to share your thoughts about what Jeff brings to a Journey Revisited performance.

And thanks, Jeff, for being so willing to open up and share!

Friday, December 5, 2014

They are rocking the house at Fulton 55 in Fresno...

The guys arrived late to the gig because of heavy traffic coming from the airport - after all they played Tucson last night and had to get to Fresno, but it took no time for the house to be brought down by Journey Revisited -- we all know that!

(Photos by Reese Entertainment)











Tearing it up at Casino del Sol!



The audience was eating out of the palm of their hands, said lead singer Jeff Salado about the enthusiastic crowd at Casino del Sol in Tucson. He went on to say on his Facebook page:
We tore it up big Time!!!

...We're proud to be real Journey fans' favorite tribute to Journey. We thank you all for your continued support. Journey On!!!
(Photos by Reese Entertainment)










(Photos by Theresa Guerrero)