If you asked the majority of my friends “Who is Eric Hersey’s favorite band?“, many would probably say Journey. They may be wrong, but there is no doubt that my love for Journey is far greater than the average music enthusiast.
The Backstory of Journey and Me
I remember making a mix CD with my good friend Erik in High School. He was making mixes for several years and dubbed them Stewmania (based on his last name – Stewart). As part of my graphic design class, we needed to design an album cover. I decided to make the artwork for Stewmania 4.
We had a substitute teacher the day I was printing out the artwork. He was right out of college and doing sub-work. He looked over the track listing on the mix and made a snide comment about Journey. Almost as if they didn’t belong on a high school student’s mixtape. I guess I realized that there was a public perception of Journey and my perception of Journey.
A Gift to My Uncle
I’m not entirely sure where I first discovered Journey. Turns out that my father did have some Journey albums on vinyl (Infinity is the only one that remains in my possession). I’m guessing he had many more and played them throughout my youth.
Journey was out of commission in the early ’90s. I don’t know why this is a memory I have (I typically have a very poor memory), but I remember my father being very excited with the Journey – Trial by Fire Album coming out in 1996. I actually remember him buying two copies and gifting one to my Uncle Donald for his birthday. I’m not sure if my uncle was a fan or something he and my dad had in common, but that is probably my first time actually recognizing the band. Needless to say, that album is engrained in my memory and scores higher for me than the general public.
My next memory involving Journey is a bit abstract. This memory might be the general reason why I hold Journey in such high regard. Some aspects are a bit unclear and blurry, but the overall feeling still resonates in my brain.
I remember having a white bulky clock radio. The alarm was set to go off and instead of your typical annoying buzzer, it turned on to the local radio station. In my area, 107.5 was EAGLE and played classic rock. I am not sure what year it was, but I must have been getting into my rock phase and out of my Pop (which was WOMP FM).
Shortly after my dad’s passing, I remember being in a dream state when the song “Lights” from Journey played in the background. Unaware I was sleeping, I had a dream that felt like a movie. It was a city burning, in slow motion. It almost felt like a riot, where everything was in complete chaos. People were running, and bridges were falling into a river, yet I watched on and felt no panic. It felt like the ending credits of a dramatic movie. I ended up waking up as the song faded out. It was the weirdest – yet most peaceful thing I had witnessed. I never analyzed or worried, but that day I get goosebumps from the song “Lights”.
Publishers Clearing House Greatest Hits
In the late ’90s/early ’00s, you would receive junk mail in your physical mailbox. I was going through a bit of a rebellious stage and managed to hang out with many others going through that same phase. Being relatively poor, we figured out ways to scam companies to get ‘freebies’. I remember my friends calling the numbers on the back of food products and explaining that they received damaged goods. They would receive coupons for free products shortly after. When I (my mom) received an offer for 10 Free CDs in the mail, I soon took advantage.
I remember going through the list and selecting my CDs (most I still own today). Journey’s Greatest Hits was the first item on my list. I also remember getting Thriller, Tom Petty’s Greatest Hits, and a few Staind albums (I guess they must have had their few hits during this year.) A few weeks later, I received the CDs and discarded any contract stating I would buy additional CDs.
Did I mention that I hung out with some shady characters? It’s probably not that uncommon as a teenager, but my group of friends ended up doing some pretty awful things. I was no angel, but if we scaled my involvement compared to theirs, I was one of the good guys.
In 2001, Journey got back together after a long hideous. They replaced Steve Perry with another Steve and they sounded pretty good. I probably didn’t even know they had a new album out until one of my friends brought me a DVD of a live concert.
Everyone knew I was a big Journey fan and when they were at a ‘party’, they noticed a DVD for Journey. My friend did indeed steal this disc from the host’s house and brought it back to me for my enjoyment. I honestly don’t know whose house or poor parent lost this DVD that day, but I will offer my apologies now.
I found myself really enjoying the new album, DVD, and band. A few years later, I would have a job and could buy my own albums, DVDs, and Journey merch.