Neal Schon of Journey Interview

Jan 28, 05:22 PM

JOURNEY is one of the most popular American rock bands of all time, creating some of the best-known songs in modern music. They have continued to tour and record into the 21st century, firing on all cylinders and making sure their fans will never stop believin'. Since the group's formation in 1973, the band has earned 19 Top 40 singles and 25 Gold and Platinum albums. The Greatest Hits album is certified 15 times-Platinum, bringing Journey into the elite club of Diamond-certified holders. Co-founder Neal Schon (lead guitarist) and original member Ross Valory (bass), and longtime members Jonathan Cain (keyboardist) and Arnel Pineda (lead singer) welcomed virtuoso drummer Steve Smith back into JOURNEY for the "San Francisco Fest 2016" tour, with The Doobie Brothers and Dave Mason, marking the first time Smith toured with the band since 1998. With JOURNEY, Smith toured around the world and recorded numerous successful albums including the immensely popular Escape and Frontiers, both of which garnered the band many Top 40 hits. In 1985 Smith left Journey to pursue his original passion, jazz, and to continue his developing career as a session player, and rejoined the band in 1996 to record the reunion album Trial By Fire. Schon, Valory and Cain have always remained close friends with Smith, who has lent his incredible talent to several of Schon's solo albums, including critically acclaimed The Calling, and this year's Vortex, as well as Cain's 1997 Body Language. They were thrilled when Smith accepted their invitation to rejoin JOURNEY. JOURNEY's rock 'n' roll saga started more than 35 years ago in the San Francisco Bay Area. Neal Schon's musical career began at the age of 15, when he debuted with Santana as a guitar prodigy on the No. 1 album, Santana III. Ross Valory has been a grounding force in JOURNEY since the band's formation (other than a brief hiatus in the late 80's and early 90's) and Jonathan Cain was brought on board in 1980, rounding out the songwriting genius behind the defining album, Escape. Since Arnel Pineda joined JOURNEY as its new lead singer in 2007, the band has released two albums and embarked on seven major tours, performing on four continents for more than five million fans. Columbia Records signed the group in 1974 and each of the band's first three albums-Journey (1975), Look Into the Future (1976) and Next (1977)-charted higher than the previous release. The band embarked on a grueling touring schedule, staying on the road nine months per year performing music that Schon has referred to as "a rock 'n' roll version of the Mahavishnu Orchestra." Infinity, the group's fourth album, produced by Roy Thomas Baker (Rolling Stones, Queen, The Cars), immediately went Platinum after its April 1978 release and remained on the charts for more than two years. In 1978, Steve Smith was brought into the fold, adding his expert jazz-fusion chops to the band's signature sound for 1979's Evolution, their second platinum album. In October of that year, JOURNEY scored their first Top 30 single with "Lovin, Touchin', Squeezin'." Keeping up a prolific output in the studio and on the road, the band waited less than a year to release Departure, which reached #8 on the Billboard album chart and boasted the lead single "Any Way You Want It." A subsequent live double album, Captured, became their fourth consecutive platinum disc. 1981's Escape was the band's first #1 album and spent more than a year in the Top 40, eventually becoming certified eight times Platinum. That album produced three Top 10 hits that have become amongst the best-known songs in Journey's repertoire: "Don't Stop Believin'," "Who's Crying Now" and "Open Arms." In 1983, Frontiers reached #2 on the Billboard album chart, held back from the top spot only by Michael Jackson's Thriller. Between 1983 and 1986 the band landed seven Top 20 hits, including "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)," "Girl Can't Help It" and "Only the Young," their song for the film Vision Que...