Co-founding leader and guitarist Neal Schon is comparing Journey’s next album to their 1981 masterpiece, Escape. Schon and the latest lineup of the group has been recording the album virtually due to the ongoing pandemic, which will mark the band’s first studio set since 2011’s Eclipse. In addition to Schon, Jonathan Cain, and frontman Arnel Pineda, the new lineup is rounded out by returning bassist Randy Jackson, and drummer Narada Michael Walden. Ultimate Classic Rock reported during Schon’s recent interview with Eddie Trunk on SiriusXM, he said of the new sessions: “It’s going really, really amazing. We’ve got like 13 new tracks in the can that Arnel is now singing on. But the band is on fire, man. I’m excited about this record. I believe we’ll start releasing things after the new year.”

Schon went on to say that’s he’s not done writing material for the album: “I’m really pushing to go for a diverse record, like we did with Escape, that has a lot of different elements to it. We (got) into some heavier R&B-type rock, like a ‘Separate Ways’ kinda vibe. . . The rhythm section is just solid. It sounds amazing. Before we get going, we’re obviously going to rehearse and put a new show together. We’ll have plenty of time to hang and probably document a lot of the rehearsals so we can have somewhat of a new documentary to put out there with the new record.”

Schon explained the legal battle between him and keyboardist Jonathan Cain against band’s ousted rhythm section — bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith — has not yet been resolved. Court documents filed by a lawyer representing Schon and Cain accused the fired duo of launching an “ill-conceived corporate coup d’etat” in an effort to take control of the band’s name.

Schon was candid about where he and Cain stand in regards to the split and subsequent lawsuit: “We’ve put a more than generous deal on the table for them to take and accept, or not. If they don’t accept then we’re going to court. I’m willing to take it to the max, all the way, for something I worked my whole life on. The way things went down was really not that kosher. What should have happened, rather than them trying to take over at that point, was to call us up and say, ‘Hey, let’s sit down and talk about this.’ Instead it went a different way, and both myself and Jonathan didn’t appreciate it.”

Jonathan Cain told us that he and the band’s co-founding guitarist Neal Schon burying the hatchet after a dark period in their relationship truly gave Journey a new lease on life.

The trouble came to a head back in 2017 when Schon called Cain out on social media claiming the keyboardist’s devout born again Christianity was adversely affecting the band, citing Cain’s minister wife Paula White-Cain delivering the invocation at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, and Cain setting up a private tour of the White House with the band’s bassist Ross Valory and frontman Arnel Pineda.

SIDE NOTES

  • Out now is Journey – Live In Japan 2017: Escape + Frontiers. The set, which is available as a double CD and DVD or Blu-ray, was captured live on February 7th, 2017 at Tokyo’s Budokan arena.
  • In addition to current frontman Arnel Pineda, the show features the full musical line up of the classic early-’80s version of Journey that recorded the albums — including co-founders Neal Schon and Ross Valory, along with Jonathan Cain, and Steve Smith.
  • The DVD tracklisting to Journey – Live In Japan 2017: Escape + Frontiers is: “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Stone In Love,” “Who’s Crying Now,” “Keep On Runnin’,” “Still They Ride,” “Escape,” “Lay It Down,” “Dead Or Alive,” Neal Schon Guitar Solo, “Mother, Father,” Jonathan Cain Piano Solo, “Open Arms,” “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart),” “Send Her My Love,” “Chain Reaction,” “After The Fall,” “Faithfully,” “Edge Of The Blade,” Steve Smith Drum Solo, “Back Talk,” “Frontiers,” “Rubicon,” “La Raza del Sol,” and “Lovin,’ Touchin,’ Squeezin,'”

CHECK IT OUT: Journey’s 2011 track, “Ritual” from Eclipse: