Kalamazoo Musician is Now the Drummer for Journey
He gave Kalamazoo its own holiday hit with 'Candy Cane Park,' now Narada Michael Walden is playing drums for one of the biggest rock bands in the world.
Even the casual rock fan probably knows that Steve Perry, the voice on all of Journey's iconic 70s and 80s hit songs is no longer with the band. Did you know other members have gone their separate ways recently? The rhythm section, bassist Ross Vallory and drummer Steve Smith were fired in March after being accused of "launching an 'ill-conceived corporate coup d'état' in an effort to take control of the band's name." This wasn't the first time the two had been terminated.
The big story for us is their replacements: Randy Jackson and Narada Michael Walden. First: yes, it's that Randy Jackson, dawg. The former American Idol judge is a musician by trade and played bass in Journey from 1985-1987. Jackson is now back in the band, holding down the low end. Providing rhythm is Narada Michael Walden. While it was Glenn Miller who put Kalmazoo on the musical map, Narada Michael Walden gave us our own Christmas song: "Candy Cane Park."
Walden had his biggest success as a producer, winning three Grammy Awards in the 80s and 90s: Best R&B Song for Aretha Franklin's "Freeway of Love" in '85, Producer of the Year, Non-Classical (1987) and Album of the Year for The Bodyguard Soundtrack in 1993. Far from a household name, this might be the biggest gig the Kalamazoo and Plainwell native has ever had. Watch him perform for the first time with his new bandmates in Journey below.