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Talking with Jonathan Cain

Marin resident and keyboardist for Journey, Jonathan Cain

Photos by Barbara Ries

Having lived in Marin for nearly 30 years, Jonathan Cain, keyboardist with the mega-popular rock group Journey, is living the dream. His dream includes enjoying what he calls the finest weather in all of California in his north Marin backyard, where he has written some of his favorite songs and has recently planted a vineyard of pinot clones. In his spare time, between helping out at his children’s schools (talent show production is his forte) and working on his craft — he has been collaborating with friend Dennis De La Montanya on a label called DelaCain, and they plan to release their first pinot noir, “Chanconne,” this summer. It’s an event he might miss, since Journey will be touring as they have for the past 20 years. “It’s hard to leave my wife and family,” says Cain. “We say we have gotten used to it but it always hurts when I leave.” This year the tour will include ‘70s rock legends Cheap Trick and Heart. Can’t make the tour? Head up to Rohnert Park to buy Journey’s new CD, Revelation (sold exclusively at WalMart) and then keep driving north to Healdsburg (De La Montanya Winery & Vineyard), grab some Chanconne, and enjoy!

You could live anywhere. Why Marin? When I come home to Marin I can relax and unwind. Marin is a safe and friendly place to raise our three children. We have also found the public schools excellent.

What makes you happy in Marin? Going to Blackie’s Pasture to ride bikes, having lunch in Tiburon, riding mountain bikes up on Mount Burdell, watching our kids do well in academics and special concerts and playing golf at StoneTree with my son, Weston.

What bothers you here? Traffic. Since I’ve lived here, Highway 101 has never been as bad as it is right now. I hope there is a pause in building new homes because the roads can’t take any more cars.

What do you value every day? My health, the love of my family and friends and the blessings I have been given in my life.

What is your desert-island favorite book or album? I recently read a self-help book by Wayne Dyer called The Power of Intention, which I couldn’t put down—great stuff to ponder. I also love The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

What person has influenced you the most? My father has had the most influence on me. He was a strong, determined self-made man with a heart of gold and a true passion for life. He passed away about 20 years ago and I still think about him nearly every day. I can trace every note I play on the piano back to my dad. I am writing a memoir about growing up in Chicago in the ‘50s called Mixed Blessings. Dad is a big part of the story.

What has been the most fulfilling moment in your work? There has been many, but I have to say that when the show The Sopranos used our song “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” in the closing episode it redefined the song and its message. That was a revelation for me — that a song I helped write 25 years ago could be so relevant in a powerful series.

What do you like about yourself? I think I am still open-minded about the future and I view life with all the trials and tribulations as an opportunity to grow and learn.

How do you want to be remembered? I hope that I would be remembered as husband, father, songwriter and a member of this community who made a difference.

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