By Connor Beach
Back in the ’80s, singer-songwriter Hugo Valenti was the lead singer in a “hair band” that signed with record labels including Columbia and RCA, but the music industry is a tough one.
“You get signed, you get dropped, you get signed, you get dropped — it’s just up and down too much,” Valenti said.
The former front man of both Valentine and Open Skyz said he was always compared to Steve Perry, and that the bands were always compared to Journey.
So, he decided to take advantage of the similarities. He founded Voyage, a Journey tribute band, nearly 17 years ago.
Valenti, a dead ringer for Steve Perry both musically and visually, said the band brings to mind the “old times” for the Journey fans that pack into sold out venues from the east coast to Vegas.
Valenti, 54, of Islip, is joined on stage by bassist Greg Smith, guitarist Rob Hoffman, drummer Charlie Zeleny and Al Spinelli on keyboard.
“Everyone’s a pro,” Valenti said. “The band just sounds perfect; for me to sing to that stuff, it’s like a dream.”
With a supporting band of seasoned musicians, Valenti said Voyage has no problem adding new songs to their set hours before they are scheduled to perform.
“If somebody wants to do a new song, bring it to sound check and learn your parts. We’ll figure it out at sound check,” Valenti said.
All five members of Voyage are very committed to the project, according to Valenti, which makes every show extremely gratifying for both the band and their fans.
Voyage has the entire Journey catalog of incredible songs to work with, and the band loves playing them all.
“Obviously everyone waits for the big ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ thing, but there are so many top 10 hits that it’s hard to pick out 15 or 17 songs for an hour and a half set,” Valenti said.
Valenti said that, being a local band, Voyage has had the opportunity to play at The Paramount several times before and have always enjoyed the experience.
“It’s a great visual and sonic experience,” Valenti said. “The feeling of being on a stage like The Paramount and looking out at the audience it’s like… I have arrived.”
Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show on Friday, Jan. 19. Tickets for the show range from $15-$30 and can be purchased at the box office or online at Paramountny.com.