Neal Schon explained that the drama over the past years with Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain is long in the past. Schon’s latest solo set, Universe, features tributes to Jimi HendrixPrinceStevie Wonder, the Beatles, and includes an instrumental version of Journey’s “Lights.” Schon revealed to Rolling Stone that the first single from the band’s latest album — which was recorded separately during the pandemic — would be out by mid-February. Schon and Cain, who disagreed more about Cain’s political and religious leanings than anything musical, have found a newfound understanding within their relationship: “We found out that there was a lot of miscommunication that I felt was coming from management. The divide-and-conquer situation was going on. They were saying I said things that I didn’t say. I heard it had happened with other bands from guitar techs that I had been with. It was happening in the Van Halen camp between Eddie (Van Halen) and Sammy (Hagar). I was just like, ‘I’m seeing the same scenario.’ Once we got past all the crap and we talked everything out, we found out that a lot of it was just B.S. and we were actually good. Him and I are still very tight as songwriters. There’s still magic there. He’s still creating amazing music, even without me, but us together, we create something that really sounds like Journey.”

Schon shed light on how he and Cain come up with Journey’s material: “He usually starts from music, melody, and piano. I start from a rocking track. There’s a lot of melody on the new songs we’ve been laying down.”

Schon spoke about the about using the band’s golden anniversary to broaden their audience overseas once Journey’s able to hit the road: “We’ll soon be approaching our 50th anniversary. It’s kind of mind-boggling to me. It should be a great one. What I do know is that we’ve hardly spent any time abroad, but we are going to be taking this around the world and playing in countries and cities we’ve never been to before.”

Schon said that he’s planning for the band to tour behind the new album with a more fluid setlist than usual: “I think we’ll construct a set in a way where we’ll have time for all of it and it won’t have to stay the same every night. We don’t have to conform to that. Everyone will be able to carry it and feel strongly about improvising on the spot and going with it.”

We asked Neal Schon if looking back, he would’ve done anything differently in regards to his life in Journey: [“I can’t really say I would do anything differently, y’know? Everybody grows up at a different time in their life and you’re crazy when you’re young and, it’s like, y’know, you live it. We were out there having fun and we were being wild and it was just what it was. It’s easier to get along now. We don’t have all the bits and problems that do when you’re growing up in the rock n’ roll industry.”] SOUNDCUE (:21 OC: . . .  rock n’ roll industry)

FAST FACTS

  • Journey‘s still untitled 2021 album marks the band’s first studio set since 2011’s Eclipse.
  • In addition to Neal SchonJonathan Cain, and frontman Arnel Pineda, the new lineup is rounded out by returning bassist Randy Jackson, and drummer Narada Michael Walden.

CHECK IT OUT: Neal Schon’s 2020 cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain”: