After performing, writing and recording with some of the some of the best known bands and vocalist of the eighties, keyboardist and longtime member of Journey, Jonathan Cain can look back and reflect on a successful career. With the band Journey, their song “When You Love A Woman” was nominated for a Grammy Award, he has received two of the most prestigious BMI songwriter awards - “Most Performed Song of the Year,” for over two million or more radio plays with songs “Open Arms and “Who’s Cryin Now.” Journey’s Greatest Hits received the Diamond Award for sales of ten million and the band has sold 60 million albums with a string of top ten singles accounting for over two decades of music played on the radio.
As a songwriter, he’s had songs recorded by Michael Bolton, Sammy Hagar, Kenny Rogers, Heart, Greg Allman, Conway Twitty, The Oak Ridge Boys, Colin Raye, Lorrie Morgan, Maria Carey, Australian singer Jimmy Barnes and Peter Frampton. As a producer he’s worked with Michael Bolton, guitarist Neal Schon and most recently wrote and co-wrote most of the songs on the new Journey CD Generations. He’s also produced seven of his own solo albums - Back To The Innocence and Anthology, his debut albums as a singer songwriter, Piano with a View, Body Language, For A Lifetime, Namaste, Animated Movie Love Songs, Bare Bones and most recently Where I Live, a vocal CD.
After getting married to his beautiful wife Liz, settling down and having three children, his musical quest began to refine after he built his home studio, “Wildhorse” - a stand alone building on his property that is a 1500 sq. ft. building with a control room, recording room and office, complete with the new technology as well as the classic analog sound. “Once you make a footprint of that kind of commitment to your art, you only raise the standard of your writing and records”. He has taught himself the art of making and recording CDs from start to finish. “It’s kind of scary having so much freedom, but it’s also a rush.” he says. “You wake up everyday and go to work in your own backyard creating a different vision from project to project.”
His passion for the piano has led him to the instrumental genre. After co-producing Beyond the Thunder with Neal Schon for Higher Octave records, he was hooked. “It was such a freedom to just play without having chased the pop-song for so many years “I didn’t want the wave to end so I asked Higher Octave if they would listen to my piano compositions”. That led to a deal and three albums where Cain honed his skills as an instrumentalist all the while continuing his duties as keyboardist and songwriter with Journey. “It’s kind of a duality I guess . . . maybe my romantic musical side,” he says.
Not wanting to completely abandon his singer/storyteller side, Anthlogy is a collection of all his vocal efforts as a result of forging a new record deal with friend Eddie Wilner of “One Way Records”. “I didn’t want my music to disappear from the shelves and Eddie helped me stay on the street.” Cain added three new songs to this 19-song collection including a guest performance with his band mates from Journey on “Lose Myself.”
Being a Dad led him to his CD Animated Movie Love Songs, a tribute to the romantic music of the animated movie classics. “I was at Disneyland with my kids when I got the idea” he says. “I thought it would be great to have all these beautiful melodies on one CD”. After spending five months, arranging and recording with digital orchestra and his Mason Hamlin BB piano, Cain emerged with his latest offering. “I have been really pleased with reaction I have received from friends and fans.
Cain tours during the summer with Journey which includes over 25 thousand miles of touring the country on a tour bus and 50 shows playing to about a half million people. He has toured with Journey since 1981 and with the new the lineup since 2007: lead vocalist Arnel Pineda, drummer Deen Castronovo, along with founding members Neal Schon and Ross Valory. “Touring is a powerful way of taking your music to the people” he says. “It’s sad to leave my wife and family and that’s the hardest part. We say we have gotten used to it but it always hurts when I leave”.
Cain has wrapped his family around his music and it’s evident in his solo efforts. On the CD Anthology, family seems to be the theme and there are even songs written for his kids like “Little River” and “Waiting on The Angels.” Animated Movie Love Songs is a tribute to the time he spends with his children, loving and sharing the same movies.
He had also written a Christmas song for his children’s school “If Every Day Were Like Christmas” and the kids got to sing it. “We made a CD and some cash for the school” he claims. One thing’s for sure, Cain’s passion for melody and songs will always take him to new places. The next year he and the children made a whole CD with fifteen holiday tracks. All proceeds went to the school.
Jonathan Cain went back to the basics while writing Bare Bones, his latest instrumental. The cover of the original Bare Bones CD was drawn by his son Weston Cain. Jonathan knew when he saw the drawing that it would be perfect for the CD.
Jonathan was inducted into his high school’s Wall of Fame, on May 17, 2004. Jonathan commemorated the event by writing a new song called “Shine On Chicago”. The song tells the story of growing up in Chicago and the events and people of the time. Jonathan, Neal Schon and Steve Augeri were invited to Wrigley Field in July of 2004. Jonathan and Neal played the National Anthem. Then Jonathan threw out the first pitch of the game, with his son Weston by his side. Later, Jonathan and Steve sang the 7th inning stretch. Chip Carey interviewed Jonathan during the bottom of the 7th inning.
Journey received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in early 2005; and the mayor of Hollywood declared January 21, 2005: “Journey Day”. Journey played at the House of Blues on Sunset that night. When tickets when on sale for the show; the show sold out in three minutes. All Journey members past and present (except Gregg Rolie) came to the Walk of Fame Ceremony.
Jonathan returned to Chicago on December 1, 2008 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Our Lady of Angels fire; in which he is a survivor. He wrote and sang “The Day They Became Angels” just for the occasion.