Neal Schon


Journey - Neal Schon (2001)




Thanks for calling, great to talk to you again.
Yeah, Rindell gave me a heads up yesterday, said we were going to finally do this, you know. I've been putting this off because I thought it would be better to do like sometime before the record was coming kept on getting pushed back.

Is there any way I can get a little more volume out of your phone?

Possibly. You can't hear me real well?
Not that well.

OK. Now I can hear you pretty well. Maybe its just a case of redialing or...
That's definitely what it is, it's a bit of my tinitus.

So the years of standing next to an amplifier have taken there toll?
That and a lot of the symbols, you know, symbols are like really loud when you get drummers up on risers, you know, the sound comes right down directly at your ears. And, you know, loud motorcycles <laugh>, loud guitars and loud motorcycles.

You ride do you?

Where about, just around your home there?
Yeah, well, you know, I go for a longer ride sometimes with friends, you know, we'll go...I've driven to LA before and back, you know, up to Lake Tahoe, and you know, just down to Hollister, CA, I mean it just depends. I can go scootin' around here just to get some air or I can take a longer ride.

Nice and relaxing.
Yeah, very relaxing .

Absolutely. So Arrival is now actually getting released in America. How amazing is that?
Well, its been a long time coming. I mean I think we've been done with this thing, besides the two extra tracks that we recorded just a bit ago, we've been done with it close to a year now.

Really? That long?
Well, not quite, but it feels like it is.

Yeah, I reckon. I mean it's been 6 months since Japan got it isn't it? How do you feel finally about that now?
Well, you know what, I think it's a good record and we're ready to go tour and we're ready to support it and, you know, that's about it, that's all I can really feel right now. It's not even out over here yet and, you know, there's quite a few fans that have bought the Japanese version of it and they seem to like the material live in Japan when we just played there so we're looking forward to just touring and having some fun with it.

Yeah, It's a great album. I think people will re-buy the American version.
Yeah. Well you haven't heard the other two tracks.

No, no.
I wanted to get it to you. I remember the fax that you had...the e-mail that you had sent me and, you know, I don't even have a copy of the songs.

We like said to each other, OK, when we finish those two songs we're not...none of us are getting copies, and no one at the label are getting a copy. Nobody's getting it until it comes out.

That's cool. Therefore no one gets an advanced preview right?
Yeah, well, I felt like after all the Napster, you know, the thing that happened with the record, that's the least we could do is have a couple of surprises for people that didn't buy the record yet.

Napster's just about shut down, what's your whole take on it looking back now?
Well, you know what, I have to say that, you know the whole ordeal with us with Napster was pretty shocking in the beginning, that they had gotten it from, you know, one of the execs at Sony, and it was passed on through somebody in Europe and, you know, we were all shocked. I mean, the record was just done it wasn't going to be out for months and here it was all over Napster. I mean I knew that once the record would come out it would be all over Napster like everything else is, and then I had my feelings about that too. I felt that it wasn't a bad thing but the artists do need to receive a residual and so do the companies, you know? I mean its just like, you just can't get stuff for free like that when there's artists involved; this is how we make our living. So, you know, I think until they come up with something, you know, I've been reading about it everyday in the paper, it seems they've appointed like a mediator to come in between the companies and Napster to try to come up with some sort of solution and I think that's going to be difficult to come up with, you know, the exact solution. They'll come up with maybe some basic solution and something to work immediately but then I think its going to have to be modified as time goes on. But I think that they, you know, the attorneys have spent enough money, the companies have spent enough money that they will definitely think about that before they close the books on the first mediation sessions.

As a band, did you guys do anything to try to get the tracks removed off of Napster or try and limit the damage?
You know, there wasn't much that we could do. Once they have it, they have it. You know, the label was upset about it. I was initially upset about it then I just said well, you know what, there's nothing you can do about it, and then I just started reading, like you and I have correlated before, I started reading the reviews on the record and it was something that actually worked in our favor I feel at this point.
We got to read the pre-reviews from our fans and what they thought of the record and, you know, a lot of them said the same thing that I was saying when we were in the studio, that, you know, it was a great record but it would've been greater with another couple of rock tracks. Or just more evened out as a record, you know, with ballads vs. rockers. And so, I think that all-in-all in the end that it worked for us.

Yeah, I think it might have as well. I certainly feel the same way, I mean it's a fantastic album and I think it's your best sounding album, but yeah, a couple of rock tracks is great.
What did the band feel, what were you talking about when you gathered again in the studio? Were you all in favor of re-recording a couple of tracks?

Well you know what, it all started from me. I started the whole fire. You know, I went on our web site and I started talking about, you know, everybody was asking what ever happened to "World Gone Wild" and this other song "Good Times" that we were playing live and then all of a sudden we weren't playing it, and then it wasn't on the record because John Kalodner didn't OK it and Kevin had never heard it and so everybody was asking about the song, "Why is this not on the record, I can't believe it didn't go on the record." So I started a fire basically on the web site and I said, "How many people would like to hear this and how many people would like to hear this sort of a song and what do you think if we added it to the record" and everybody came back almost like 100%, yeah do it. And so once I got the fire started then I got on the phone with management, then I talked to everybody in the band and basically twisted arms real good and then we went back in the studio and did it.

Lets start with the recording of the album. When you first got to the studio for the first time, did you have the songs written or did you right before you went to the studio?
No, we wrote the songs, we were prepared before we went to the studio. We actually wrote for like two years.

Yeah, it's been a while hasn't it?
Yeah, we had been writing for some time, you know. It was like, quite a bit of material was sitting there before we went into the studio. Actually, there was enough for another record, and then everything went down to our A&R guy, John Kalodner. He listened to it all and he picked his favorite tunes and then he sent his favorite tunes to Kevin Shirley and that's what we recorded at that time.

How do you feel about, you know, do you have to go through Kalodner to get the budget approved or whatever?
I think that's the way business works these days. I would love it to be more amicable between the band and our A&R guy though, and John, you know, in the future - if there is a future - you know, that we can sit down at a table and we can talk about what our needs are and what his needs are. I mean obviously they want to have some stuff that they can get played on the radio, and so do we. It's not like we've never paid attention to that.

Exactly. You're a very commercial band.
When Herbie was managing us everything's changed quite a bit. In the beginning, you know, we pretty much wrote all of our own material, and we orchestrated all of our own material and we went into the studio and we played live and then we gave it to the record company. They never really heard it before it was done. And that was a clause that Herbie had put into our old contract with the label, that we would have total artistic control. And somehow when the new contract came about, that clause was not, you know, in there any longer. And so we had to go through different channels and this is just the way business is right now.

Well, you'd think with a band with your track record, they would be a little more trustworthy don't you think?
I would like to hope so, yes. I think they were very worried though because it's a new record, you know, with a new lineup and they wanted to make sure. But I think that also we wanted to make sure as well, so I wasn't really worried about it.

How did you go towards picking a producer? Was Kevin Shirley just such a success from Trial By Fire that you thought, we'll do it again?
You know, we got along really well with Kevin during Trial By Fire and I really think he was a big fan of the band, and we became very close just friend-wise as well as musically, and he became a good friend of the band and it just felt like a natural thing to do.

Was the feeling the same during the recording of Arrival?
Yeah. Absolutely. You know, I mean, the only thing that I kept saying that everybody got sick of was like, you know, we can't have all of these ballads on this record. And then Kevin will turn around and he'll say well, you know, look whose names are on the ballads. And yeah, I did write a lot of music on this album with Jon and everybody else this time, a lot of ballads and a lot of rock too, but I had no idea that, you know, they'd pick every ballad that all of us wrote, you know what I'm saying? Actually I was figuring, like, if I wrote three ballads or co-wrote on three ballads that, you know, maybe one or two would make it or one would make it and the other two wouldn't, so I mean I felt like overwriting like having more than enough material was better than just having enough.
Then you could pick the best stuff and leave the other stuff behind.

There's quite a different sound on Arrival than there was to Trial By Fire. I actually thinks it's one of the best produced albums you've ever recorded, what do you think?
I think it sounds really great myself. It definitely sounds like the band and it sounds like us live, and that's basically what we did do. We went back to playing live like we always have. Journey has never really gone into the studio, with the exception of a few songs, and ever cut like rhythm tracks, or like laid down the drums and a bass and a rhythm guitar and then go back and overdub. We always just go in and play live, and I play live solos and then I go back and put rhythm guitars on later. Or if I need to clean up the rhythm guitars, I'll do that later, as opposed to, you know, a lot of different producers like to work different ways but I know for myself it's better to catch me live as far as soloing and stuff like that and actually jamming with the band.

Well the record certainly does sound live.
Well it is.

I just think the sound of the album overall is just fantastic, are you happy with the way it turned out?
Oh yeah. Yeah I think it sounds great.

Lets maybe go through the tracks on the album and just get your thoughts on it now that you've had a bit of time to live with them. "Higher Place"?
"Higher Place" was something that I had written a long time ago, I mean actually the music and, you know, we hadn't really done anything with it. I had the music sitting up at Jonathan's and we hadn't really worked on it. And we were running out of time and he was busy doing some other things and so at the last minute I had grabbed the remainder of my rock stuff that we didn't get to and I went up to Jack Blade's house and it was really the first time that Jack and I had ever written together and worked together and, you know, that was what came out of our first day of working together.

That's pretty incredible for a first day's work.
Yeah. I had all the music basically then, you know, I mean we tossed around a few melodies and he wrote most of the lyrics and then, there it was, you know?

Amazing. You two make a great partnership if I do say so.
Thank you.

Yeah. I want to see some more work.
Well, you know, we have a natural thing going on you know, Jack and I. I mean every time we get together and we write something… we actually just co-wrote something for Ozzy Osbourne.

Oh great.
I have no idea what it sounds like now because he's re-recorded it, but the initial demo that I sent, or that we sent, I thought was awesome.

Fantastic. Ozzy Osbourne heavy, that's what I like the sound of.
Well its funny, you know, I don't get a chance to play that type of heavy guitar all the time so I was hoping he was going to leave it on the record, and then at the last minute, I think Sharon came in. He loved it apparently. Jack told me that Ozzy loved it and he loved my playing on the actual demo, and, you know, Jack for a week straight, Jack was calling me, and he kept saying "He loves this and I think he's going to use the demo and re-do the drums and bass or something."
I said wow that's cool. And then at the last minute I think Sharon came in and it was going to be a...I think he wanted to add it to his record as well, this was for some interactive game he has coming out.

Who was that that wanted to add the track?
Sharon his wife.

OK, Sharon, yeah, sorry - sure.
Yeah, she I guess got involved because she manages him, you know that.

And wanted to add it to the record as well I heard. But who knows, I mean this is just hearsay from me. I don't know the real bottom line of the deal… what it's gonna be, but Zakk Wylde came in and I think he replaced almost every guitar that I did. She had him re-do everything, and so, I haven't heard it yet.
But I think that he's a great guitar player and so I'm sure he did it justice.

Sure. What about "All The Way"? You described it earlier as a bubblegum song.
Well, you know, this is no mystery for anybody who knows me and has known me for a long time, that I'm more in to... I'm not a pop meister. You know what I mean? I mean we do play pop music but, I mean, always my role in Journey, except for on a few little occasions here and there, is to play like a really melodic solo over Jonathan Cain's songs, like "Faithfully" or "Who's Crying Now".
My role in the band is always to bring in the ass kickin' rock. And, so, this is what I do naturally and this is what I love to do naturally, even though I do melodic work very well and I realize that now, and it's something that I just added to my, you know, overall picture of everything, of how I look at music and what I like to play on, and so this was one of the more popier songs on our record and, you know, I mean I co-wrote it with the guys, but still in the end, I wasn't certain about it, you know?
But I think it's a good song though, I think that Kevin, you know, twisted it up a bit and he had me play some mandolins on it and some different instrumentation like that, that really made it come from a little bit different place.
Before the mandolins were on it, I really was not sure about it. But now when I hear it, I think it's a good song.

Oh it is. It's a great ballad. Absolutely. "Signs of Life" is one of my favorite tracks on the album.
That was actually one of the first tracks that Jon and I worked on when we got back together. We started writing for a new record when we didn't know if we were going to have a band or not.

This is after the Perry departure?
This was after we were just in, you know, we didn't know what we were going to do. The band was basically in hiatus, he had hurt himself, and we didn't know what was up. You know, I had nothing to do at the time and Jon didn't know what to do, and I said why don't we just start writing.

Actually, I think that's about the time that I interviewed Jon last time, yeah.
I said, why don't we start writing, I mean, you know, maybe Steve will decide that he wants to come back, maybe he won't, but at least when we decide what we're going to do, and we figure out what's going on, we won't be starting right at the beginning again. So I felt that we used the time wisely and we just started writing right away and we started compiling material.

Any other songs of that era that made the record?
Yeah. There is actually. "All the Things" was one of the earlier tracks that I worked on with Jon. "Signs of Life", "All the Things"...

Yeah. Absolutely, we'll run down them. On "All the Things", that is just a wicked guitar solo you've got going there.
Actually, you know what, it's a good guitar solo but the one that I played on the demo, I thought was even better.

Yeah. I just - it was like, you know, off the cuff and I always play the best when I'm not thinking and it's like usually the first take for me when I'm completely blind with what I'm going to do. And then I have to go back and try to copy it, you know, or reproduce it, you know what I'm saying, after that. And it never comes out quite as good. I thought definitely in that song, that was the case.

It's a wonderfully heavy, basic blues riff isn't it?
Yeah. I wasn't really sure about that song.

You know, when we did it, I mean, I liked it, but I wasn't sure that it was a Journey song, you know? You know, it's sort of like, that's been the consensus of people now that I've heard the record too, from what I can gather, I think it's really more of a live song, than it is a record song.

It sounds like a Hardline song, actually.
Yeah. Easily. You know, those are a lot of my riffs and ideas as well as on all the Hardline stuff. You know, I wrote a lot of those heavy riffs.

And it shows a great side of Steve's voice doesn't it on the record?
Yeah, definitely. He's a chameleon, Mr. Augeri has a lot of different things he can do and personally I think one of the best songs for him vocally on a record is like "Kiss Me Softly". I really like his R&B inflection.

Yeah. Let's talk about that track. Another Jack Blades track. You and him?
This was, you know, Jack and I were sort of on a roll at this point and we had written like four or five tunes, and, you know, I just went up to his house and we were writing every day. And I didn't really have anything in mind, and I started playing this riff that I was messin' around with, for months and I actually pictured it much heavier, the same guitar riff that it opens up with, you know, but it was much faster, and it was heavier.
And so I was explaining it to Jack and he just went back and he hit like this loop that he had, this R&B loop that sort of sounded almost like a seal R&B loop on a drum. And then, you know, he goes, "Try playing that against this". And so I played the riff, and then all of a sudden, I was playing really clean Stratty like guitar, sort of like "Walks Like a Lady" type clean Strat tones, and we just went with it that way.
And, you know, by the end of the day, we had a completed song, and we sent the DAT out to Steve, and then Steve messed with it a bit more and he changed a few of the melodies on the front. He actually sang everything in a lower register.
I had written different melodies originally and he used pretty much the same phrasing, and he lowered everything and he sang it sort of in this low sexy type thing, you know? I was really happy with what I heard when it came back; I thought that he did a really great job on it.

It's really a neat song. It's a real change of sort of angle isn't it? While remaining flowing with the rest of the album, it's just a little something different.
Well, you know, I think it's important that we move in different directions. In the future I would like to even, you know, be more experimental like, you know, I love the time period in the band when we were doing Frontiers and Escape; I mean we were really experimenting a lot. I think now is not the time to be really, really safe all the time. You know what I mean? Everybody knew we needed to get our foot in the door with this record and just make people aware that we are working, we've got a working entity here, we are gonna tour, and that we can make music again, you know? I'm just hoping that the next stuff we work on, everybody's got an open mind to be a bit more experimental and try to go in to some new directions.

Talking of something like that, I love, I think "Living To Do" could've come off of Late Night.
Thank you. Yeah. It was something that my father and I had written a lot of the chords before he passed away. It was a couple of years before he passed away, and it was one of the last things that him and I sat down on a piano and we were playing together and I've got a couple still in my head that we wrote that I've never done anything with yet and they're probably going to pop out somewhere. I was like…I woke up one morning and I remembered all the stuff that we were doing in that song, and I was going up to Jonathan's to write and Kim Tribble was out, the lyricist that we worked with, on that song, and went up to Jon's and I just started playing it. I said I've got this bluesy idea and before the day was out, that song was sitting there. We really didn't change much at all in the studio on that one from the demo.

It's the first time I've heard that guitar sound I think since Late Night, it was great.
Well it's more of a blues inflection for me, you know?

Absolutely, Absolutely. It's a great track.
"I'm Not That Way" got left off of the American release...

Yeah, this is another one of the songs that I brought into the band.
You know, I brought in all the chords and originally I was playing it on acoustic guitar and it had more of a Sting feel to it. And in the end it ended up sounding more like a Backstreet Boys thing to me, I don't know. I think that we missed it a little bit on that song. Even though it turned out well, I think that we missed the boat on that one a bit. And, I think it's a good song; I still think it's a great song, but I would've preferred it to be done a different way and I think that it was smart, you know, removing that one from the record at this point.

To me, it sounded a little bit like, "It's Just the Rain" from Trial by Fire.
Yeah. I mean we needed some uplifting stuff, you know what I mean. We didn't need another slow song. I'm talkin' tempo, I'm going, you know, we've got a lot of same tempos here, we need some up tempo, up tempo, you know?
I think that we made the wise move there.

Now the record goes out on a great song with "We Will Meet Again". I really liked the drum sound. Where did the drum rhythm come from?
Well, you know, it started a long time ago. I came up with the drum riff and Deen changed it. He changed it into his own thing. Then we changed the whole song around, with the addition of the piano to it and Steve's melodies that he put on it.
It just blossomed into a very cool song. We were playing it live in Japan and it was just a great song to play live. It actually jams a bit more live than it does on the record.

How are you finding working again with Deen?
I love Deen. Besides being a phenomenal drummer he's a phenomenal singer and he really adds a lot vocally in this band.

Awesome. And how do you find the lineup on stage these days compared to the old lineup?
Well, you know, it's different, it feels different, but if feels great. It's a bit more rocky, everything seems to rock a little more with Deen. You know, you can't take anything away from Steve Smith, he's an amazing drummer, and Deen will be the first guy to tell you that. It feels different, but it feels good.

Steve Augeri, really, I don't think you could've picked a better singer.
Yeah, I know what...<laugh> I've got a friend over here that's delivering a Buddha right now, in my garden <laugh>. That's awesome. Hold on one second Andrew.

Sure, sure.
<talking to another person> He's like, come down here.

Where's he from?
It's Michael Carabello, my friend the conga player from Santana. He's getting me a birthday present, a concrete Buddha in my garden.

Lovely! A Buddha! When's your birthday Neal?
It's February 27. There's a bunch of birthdays in this last month. Jonathan's is the 26th, I believe his wife's is the 22nd or 23rd, and Rindell, our tour manager, was at the beginning of the month, Steve Augeri's was at the beginning of the month. February was full of birthdays.

Well happy birthday for the other week!
Well thank you.

All right. Tell me, what songs didn't make the album then? How many have you got left over that you actually recorded?
You know what, I really haven't counted, but there's quite a few.

That many? <laughs> Not two or three or anything?
Yeah, and some really good stuff as well.

OK. Any plans for it?
You know what, when it gets around time and we get done with the tour, when we start thinking about putting another record together, we'll have to go back through and decipher that and sort of skim through everything and see what lives and what doesn't. But I think it's good stuff even if it doesn't end up being Journey material I think that it does have life somewhere else.

About a year or two years ago you shopped a demo with Steve Augeri and you gave it to your friends to listen to. Was that right?
Oh yeah, we let people listen to it and they thought it sounded great.

How many tracks was on that?
We had recorded "Remember Me" and it was a few others. There was about four or five songs.

OK. I just wondered if there were any songs on there that didn't make the album?
Yeah, there was probably...I can't remember exactly what was on there, to tell you the truth, it's been a while. Jonathan might be able to tell you, he would probably remember.

OK. So what are the chances of you and Jack Blades doing a record?
Well you know what, we've got some really great material that I actually wrote for Journey that we didn't end up using that I was dumbfounded at, actually I thought it was really a lot of the stuff we were missing elements of, you know.
And Kevin, I guess, didn't hear it, the material, he didn't think it was what we needed. Although I thought it was what we needed and what I wanted to do, you know. So there's some great stuff sitting there and I think I'm going to sit on it a while more cause Steve Augeri has added to it and he's actually co-written some of the stuff with us now and he put vocals on it and it sounds wonderful.
So I'm going to sit on it for a bit and wait and see what happens when we go back in to do another record. If it doesn't make it at that point, then I'd have to say, yeah, that Jack and I are going to do something with it. Obviously we'll get a different singer to sing it.

Maybe Jack? Or maybe you and Jack?
Well, you know, I was thinking actually, if we were going to do something like that, Jack can sing, I can sing, and, you know, we can use Deen on drums and he can sing all the high stuff.

That'd be cool. I want to see that recorded.
Yeah, well it's not going to sit there forever I can tell you that because I think the stuff is smokin'.

Awesome. But there's no immediate plans?
I want to sit on it for a little bit. It sounds like it's the type of material that's not going to get old really fast.

Yeah. Now you're an all right singer, when are we going to get to hear you on lead vocals again?
You know what, I'm ready to open my mouth again and start singing. I really am. I'm just completing two records right now.

What are you working on?
I've got two solo projects that I've been finishing, and they're both instrumental records. One is, of all things, this is for Higher Octave, so I came up with this idea a while ago because I was well overdue to give them another record and they started calling and said, "We'd really like to get another record, you were supposed to have one like a year ago, or two years ago, you know, we haven't gotten one since Electric World", and I'm like, Oh man I'm so busy, what can I do? And so the first thing that popped into my head, I was like so what if I do a record of all, the biggest hit ballads of all time.

Yeah. And so they ran it by everyone at the company and they ran it by Virgin because Virgin distributes them and they all loved the idea.

What kind of tracks do you have on there?
I did "Caruso" by Andrea Bocelli, and it's a great version of it. I did "Hero" by Mariah Carey and it's rippin' guitar, it's not a little jazz record. It's not supermarket music or K-Mart music, or elevator music, is what I'm trying to say. It's actually very bold, screamin', singin' guitar. "Hero" sounds amazing I think. I think they all sound really good. I've got "Hero", and then I did Roberta Flack, "Killing Me Softly", and I did Bryan Adams, "Everything I Do, I Do it For You", I did Shania Twain, "From this Moment", I just did "Our Love Goes On (The Titanic Theme)", which is like ripping. And these were all very challenging songs to do, if you can imagine, because they've got amazing vocals on them, first of all; so I have to sort of simulate this vocal without sounding like elevator music, so you can't really just play the melody on the guitar. You have to dig into the melody, find the melody, and then you have to do your own thing to it. For the most part I'm really happy with the way everything has turned out. Now I only have one song left to do and I'm doing a Leon Russell song, "Your Song", but I'm doing a Ray Charles version of it.

Ray Charles, great stuff.
Yeah, Ray Charles does an amazing version of this with orchestration, so it's a really well orchestrated record and its actually just myself and Gary Siramelli and he is like this amazing programmer and he basically did all the strings, he did everything, the drums, the bass, everything, on the computer. And I could just not believe how good they sounded when I heard it back. What was the other song the Andrea Bocelli had that was a big single?

I don't recall the name.
It has an Italian title. I can't remember the name of the song, but I did that one as well.

Hey, I need some music for my...actually, I've got to congratulate you here in a minute, but I'm getting married in January, so I need some music and this sounds ideal.
Wow! Cool! This record will be out by then.

When's it due?
It's going to be done very shortly. They're going to stick it out pretty quick here. The going title I have for this record right now is called, Voice. It's basically, my guitar is the voice on all these songs. And then the other one that I'm just finishing right now too, is more of a techno fusion type record, and it's very cool. I've got Omar Akeem flying out here next week to put on drums, and this one is a bit more jammin', you know, there's like some jammin' guitar on this record. I don't really know what the title of this record is going to be yet. I'm thinking of calling it Playground.

What label is that for?
That's for Higher Octave as well. I had some time off here and I owe them three more records, so I figured I'd knock out a couple while I had some time off and that's what I've done.

Nice to have the talent around to do that.
Well, you know what, it was a lot of work. My playing is the least work out of everything, I mean I have to sit there and mess with it and end up being happy with it until I'm happy, I'm not going to let it slide. Igor Lynn did this record, so what I did, I found two of the greatest guys that do this sort of work where they build the tracks and everything, which takes a lot of time, and I hired them both at the same time and got them working on two separate projects. Then at the end, they're both getting done about the same time and I just come in and I play on everything. Then we move things around if things are not working. It's a great way to work man, I love Pro Tools.

Yeah, everyone raves about that program.
It's a really wonderful way of thinking and working. One of the records I made right downstairs at my house in a bedroom. It's amazing and it sounds huge.

You're getting married very shortly? Congratulations.
Yeah. I'm getting married this month (April) on the 28th.

Great stuff. Congratulations.
Thank you.

Where are you getting married?
In Minneapolis. I've got Prince's old band The Power Generation, most of the people from that are playing at it.

That's nice. A nice wedding band! <laughs>
Yeah, Michael Bland and his band.

Hey, can I hire you guys to play at mine?
I'd love to say yes, but I really don't want to start playing weddings <laughs>

I could never afford it.
You can use our records though.

You guys did play a wedding though last year didn't you? Whose was that?
Oh man, I can't even remember. I tried to forget about that, because I couldn't believe that I was doing it. It was for quite a bit of money and this guy was this big, you know...

I heard he had some money.
He had a lot of money. I mean he flew us down in Lear Jets and flew us back in Lear Jets, it was all pretty incredible.

I couldn't offer you that.
Actually, Rod Stewart played at it, we played at it, REO played at it, and I think one other guy...I can't remember his name...a guitar player/songwriter.

Have you got the support of Sony for this? Are you pretty happy with their support, do you think?
We're going to find out here. I think they've got a lot to work with and I hope they don't blow it.

Me too.
I know they won't blow it and I'm really not worried about it because I'll tell you what's going to happen. As soon as we hit the road, that's when it's going to start picking up, I really believe that. And "Behind the Music" has helped already.

Really? I heard it was a great show. People are saying it's one of the best ever.
It was a good show...I would've liked to have seen more of some of the other members of the band in it. I thought it was mostly the Steve Perry story. But I think that in the end, it was all a very positive thing for everyone, and the ratings of the show were very high. As soon as the show came out, our catalog just went nuts.

Really? That's great. Steve Perry's last words on the show left everyone shaking their head, what was up with that?
You know what, I have no idea what was up with that, and that's what everybody said on the show. I said it on the show, I said I don't know how you can not feel a part of something that you're completely controlling.

Tell me this. You guys were out on the road on the Raised On Radio tour and you were playing two Steve Perry solo tracks in your set. How is that not being a part of the band?
Yeah, I'd like to know that myself, I don't know.

How did you feel about playing "Strung Out" and "Oh Sherry" in the set?
You know what, to be quite honest about it, I did it because we had played one of my songs off of the record I did with Jan Hammer; we were playing "No More Lies". So I very well couldn't say, "No I don't want to play something from your solo record", because I had already done the same thing.

I didn't know that.
But I would've preferred to have just played Journey material.

This time around there are so many songs to choose from, are you just going with the hits and the best tracks off the new album?
Actually, no. We're digging back into a lot of our old material as well.
Before we went to Japan, we rehearsed for a couple of weeks, and we worked up all kinds of stuff. Sort of wiped the webs off everything and refreshed it and brought it up to date. We're digging back into the past and then we're digging into more of our obscure rock songs, and we're updating them. You know, when we played in Japan, we played a different set every night.

Yeah, I heard that. Rindell said that.
We're going to be doing that more in the States and we're even going to be mixing it up more so.

Great. What about playing outside the states? Have you go any plans at all at this point?
Well, you know what, we need to get offers. We definitely...we played Japan, we played Central America, and we had a blast doing both of those. We would love to come to Europe, we'd love to come to Australia, but we need to get offers from promoters.
Before we can do something like that, and preferably what I'd love to do...I mean I've been to Europe before and I've played the little theaters tour, and that would be all right to do that, there's nothing wrong with playing smaller places and that's not where I'm coming from, that I don't want to do that, but you end up losing your ass, money-wise, doing that. I'd prefer if there's some big festival, like rock festivals going on, where there's a lot of bands...I want to get in front of a lot of people. If we come over, I would love to get in front of a lot of people and just do an ass-kicking set, and not play a bunch of small venues.

What about a club/pub tour - something on a smaller scale?
The only thing, the only problem is, there's not much money in it, and it gets very expensive to load all the equipment, and road crew, it's just expensive bringing everybody like that when you're playing very small places and you're not big.
You end up losing a lot of money. Which, at this point, we really can't afford to do as a band.

What about doing a stripped down tour, just you guys and your guitars and jut picking up stuff there.
Well that's a possibility, you know, I've been talking with everyone about that, there's definitely...I don't need to bring all my stuff. I can rent gear and I can still get away with that, there's no big problem.. I think we can all do that. But we have to get an offer on the table so we can all look at it, so management can look at it and we can say yeah or nay.

You guys would love to play the UK, I guess? Have you got any firm plans, other than the US at this point?
No. Not really, we've got like about close to three months worth of dates I just saw yesterday in the US and that's it for right now. The tour is now is with John Waite, Peter Frampton, and us.

Tell me, you've just jumped into my next question, John Waite, what's happening there? Is he going to join the tour?

That's awesome I think.
Yeah, he's decided that he's in.

Too cool...
You know, I kind of started a rumor on our web site to see what kind of excitement it would generate from our fans. I'd have to say most of them were very excited about it. So a lot of them weren't crazy about my idea, I had an idea about John Waite opens the show, Peter Frampton plays, we play, and then John comes back on and plays with us at the end of the night and we play some Bad English songs, and our fans went, "No, I think that Journey should close the show, Waite should not close the show with you guys, but it would be great to see you guys play with him in his set, at the end of his set." So I went, that's a pretty cool idea.
So once again, using our web site and the Internet you can get it first hand from what your fans think you know.

It's a great medium isn't it.
I love it.

Yeah. I remember, I think I was the first one, I was talking to Jonathon, I was talking to Rindell, I was the first one to put online that Steve Perry was officially out, and I got absolutely abused and shit-canned for it.
Yeah, well that's a touchy subject. Ever since "Behind the Music" came out, I mean all kinds of people have different feelings about that show. All I can tell you is that it is just the topping of the ice burg, that show.

I mean, they didn't want to make a big controversial show even though it was sitting there. You know, they had interviewed Herbie Herbert, they had interviewed Irving Azoff, a lot of us, you know, were tied and gagged and were not able to talk because of contracts we had signed with each other. But I'd have to say that a lot of this stuff, they could easily do a Part 2, and a lot of it got left on the floor, a lot of the real stuff people want to know about.

Really? Was there more to the Steve departure than just his hip then?
Well, no, I'm not going to say that, I mean who knows what the real reason was, but there were a whole lot of logistics that were not gotten into, and pros and cons about a lot of things.

Yeah. But I think you guys have picked up and done the right thing, you know, you can't sit around so long and wait. I think you've got a wonderful singer working for you now.
Well, you know, that was one thing in the show that caused a lot of controversy, in one section it said we waited months for him. And I called up the producer and I said months? Are you kidding? We waited years. We waited ten years and then we got back together and then it was close to two years.
We asked for a commitment from him, we just said, "Do you want to do this or do you not want to do it, we'll wait for you if you do want to do it, if you'll commit to it", "No, I can't commit to it, and I can't commit to doing my operation", and so at one point Jon and I turned around to each other and just said, look, we could be sitting here forever, I mean, do you want to move on, or do you not? And I said, we've got nothing to lose at this point. We had already rebuilt this thing somewhat, and I want to continue doing it.

You guys auditioned, or thought about a couple of singers - you only auditioned a couple - one of which was a bigger name. I really couldn't see it working, but you must tell me, describe how it sounded, with Geoff Tate from Queensryche?
Yeah, he was a really great guy, a super nice guy, we got along really well.
We ended up writing a song, but it sounded nothing like Journey.
You know, and a lot of people are like, you know, I'm reading...I haven't posting anything on our site because there's so much heat and commotion going on there right now, and everybody's feelings about Perry being gone and the new singer Steve Augeri and how he's just a copy of Perry and blah, blah, blah.
Naturally, we had to get someone, because most of our music was based around Steve's vocals. It was not like Van Halen where everything was based around my guitar playing. It would've been much easier had it been like that, just to pick up somebody completely new that didn't sound anything like Perry.
But years ago when I heard Steve Augeri's voice when he was in Tall Stories, I said, this is when I was in Bad English years ago, and I heard him on the radio and I go, man if we ever wanted to put Journey back together, and Steve Perry didn't want to do it, I would call this guy, because I know we could make it sound like Journey.
It's nothing verbatim you're trying to copy everything this guy has done, but you need to have someone that has similarities to be able to pull off the old material.

Of course.
Because basically, that's what our fans want to hear, all the greatest hits, and then they want to hear everything up and above that. And how would you do it with someone that can't even sing that stuff? So that's the whole reasoning.
I mean people are like, some people are pissed off that we got someone that sounds like Steve, but I just know that there was no other way.

Yeah. I think if you go back and look over history, most bands that have had a successful replacement vocalist have done the same thing.
Plus, I know we made the right decision because this man is a great guy.

Yeah, I keep hearing that.
He's got his feet firmly planted in the mud, and he's a Brooklyn, New York guy. He comes off that way, you know I've never seen him act different, he's just a very cool guy, he's a very gracious guy, he's got the ultimate respect for Steve Perry, and our fans. He's trying to do as much justice as he can do to the older material.

Yeah, I heard a little bit of the live stuff, I'm looking forward to seeing the DVD come out, when's that due out?
No, not the DVD, but the live TV. There's a free TV thing that Irving has worked out, Irving Azoff has worked out where people that have dishes, satellite dishes, are going to get an hour free show of that, and it'll be running the whole month of April, I think.

Cool. And what about the DVD release?
We don't know when we're going to put it out. We're still talking with them, it's already finished, and it's very good, I actually haven't heard the 5.1 yet, but Kevin did.
My company Nocturn, my company with Herbie Herbert, is going to be going out with this this time, so we're going to be using the brand new screens we got in back of the band, so we'll be having cameramen on stage with us every night. There's a zillion different ways you can record the band every night with hard disk recorders that are out there, and I'm just saying, we've go the cameras, technology is here to be able to record the band every night. I said, "Lets record every night", you know what I mean? And then we're going to capture one of these shows is going to be pure magic. It always happens. But it never happens when you only set up one date to record. It always turns out to be good, but it's always not your best show. So how can you do it unless you record every show?

So you might do a live record down the track?
Well, who knows? If we go out and we end up recording every one of our shows, that would be easy to do. I could see us doing a double live record.

Yeah, please don't cut it to just 15 tracks, let's do a double.
Especially, we'll be switching setup every night, we'll have so much material that by the end of the tour we'll have covered, like, you know, 40 or 50 songs.

Describe to me with one word, or one sentence, your last live album, Greatest Hits Live.
I don't know. <laugh> That's my word, "I don't know".

I heard you weren't happy.
I wasn't happy with the choice of....everything that was picked, once again, I had no control over. Steve had picked the material and Kevin mixed it, and I thought the performances that were picked, were definitely not some of the better ones that I had heard that we had done.

Is it a little bit studio fixed?
No. It was not fixed at all.

Completely live?
Completely live.

Although some of it needed to be fixed. That's what I'm saying, I mean, it seemed like all of the tracks that were picked were tracks that I had out of tune guitars in, or Jonathan had glitches in the keyboard. Usually the band is right on, but you do have nights where people make mistakes and it seemed like all the tracks that were picked were guitar mistakes and keyboard mistakes and not sounding that great and, I don't know, I just did not care for the sound.
If you listen to Captured and then you listen to that, it's very weak.

Well hopefully, you'll get a chance to make it up. Let me ask you about a couple of songs quickly if I can. One of my favorite tracks, I don't think I've asked you this before, is a track called, "I Can't Stop the Fire".
Oh, with Eric Martin. Yeah, I wrote that years ago for that movie "Teachers".

You played on that though didn't you?

Because I've never read the credits on who played on it.
That's me on guitar. Actually, I wrote the song with Eric.

Yeah, I though so. And who else is in the band there?
I can't remember who played drums on that or bass. That's a very long time ago.

Did you record anything else, or just the one track?
No, I remember I did that track, I did "Just One Night", that was off of one of Eric's first records.

Of course, his first solo record, yeah.
I think that was it I'm not sure, there might have been one other track I can't remember.

So it wasn't like an album project or anything
No, we just got together and wrote a few tracks.

OK, because I'm a huge fan of Eric Martin, I must interview him soon here one of these days, but I thought he'd be a good person to do a project with.
Oh absolutely. We haven't actually been talking about that, but it's funny I run into him every once in a while and him and I definitely had some chemistry when we worked together. That would be interesting to toss around again, actually.

I actually think it's one of his best vocals he ever did.
Yeah, he can sing, man.

He's awesome. Another guy I know you're a bit of a friend of and I'm a big, big fan of and one day I'll get a chance to speak to is Sammy Hagar.
Yeah. Actually I just spoke to Sammy.

Oh did you really?
Yeah, and so I talked to him about...I'm going to be going over to his house in the next few weeks. I'm going to go over there and I think him and I are going to sit down and write a few songs.

Fantastic. You two guys have to make a record together.
Well I told him that, you know, the Piranha Blues release we did I said man, he goes, I'm talking to him and he's in Mexico and he said, "What's this record you stuck out Piranha Blues?", and I said, "Man, I played some of it for you" and he didn't seem to like much of it when I played if for him, it was in the rough stages, and he says, "Man, my cousin called me and he says this record just kicks ass", and I said, "Well, yeah, it does kick ass and I would've loved to have you singing on it". Richard Martin did a great job, but I would've loved to have Sammy Hagar, you know?

Yeah, cause you did the HSAS didn't you, that still sounds great today.
Yeah, I know, I love that record.

Oh God, it's so good. Did you get the re-mastered CD?
Yeah, I have the CD.

Oh it's fantastic.
We rehearsed for two weeks, wrote like 20 songs, in two weeks, rehearsed for two weeks, and then went and recorded live, and then we went back into the studio and I added a lot of overdubs on some songs, but basically all the end tracks were live, like all the lead guitar solos, and the bass and drums and vocals.
And then I just enhanced it on some tracks, I put more rhythm guitars, whatever.

I was in San Francisco in '92 and saw Hardline with Mr. Big. That must've been like a San Francisco rock reunion or something, because you had Eric Martin there, but you brought Sammy Hagar out to do "Top of the Rock" at the end of the Hardline set.
Yeah. Then you heard some real lungs <laughs>. That guy has got some serious lungs, I'm mean full out volume. Him and Jimmy Barnes, man.

Oh Barnes, yeah.
Him and Jimmy Barnes, have got sirens.

Did you know, it's an absolute fact, to this day - they still regard Freight Train Heart across the world, and definitely here in Australia, as his best record.

Absolutely, without a doubt. He's singing some absolutely appalling shit these days.

Oh yeah, he's doing these cover records and these horrible soul blues records, even his rock albums don't really hit the spot, he needs good song writers with him. Working Class Man and Freight Train Heart were just wonderful records.
Well that's the only time period that I paid much attention to him because you don't hear much of him in the States.

I should send you what he does these days, I mean he's still a great vocalist, but, you know. You guys were going to do a band thing with him permanently weren't you?
With Jimmy?

I don't know, I don't recall talking about a band. I mean, I had played a few shows with him and played on the record, that's about it.

Yeah, OK. You didn't think of a more permanent thing to do with him in the States?
Well at the time I was still in Journey, I mean, we still had some stuff going on and I wasn't about to leave that, and really I had not gotten an offer from him to play in a band permanently. He had another guitar player, Johnny Diesel, and he was a great guitar player.

Yeah, he still is, he's good. I'm sorry I diverse on the subject a bit...Sammy Hagar, what are you going to write with him for, just anything?
Who knows until we get together, it's been a while since him and I sat down and tried to write anything so who knows what it's going to turn out to be, it's going to be very interesting.

Fantastic. I'd love to see you guys do a record.
I'd like to write him a really classic heavy ballad, like a heavy power ballad, something that's just classic though. You know, it's easy to write rock with Sammy, you know, it's so easy for me to write rock and roll with the guy.

Yeah. I like his softer stuff actually, so that'd be good if you could. I like it when Sammy slows down. Have you heard any of the craziness of what Van Halen are up to?
I haven't heard anything and I have no idea. I'm just like whatever man, I can't tell what's up.

Do you think Journey could get away with going 18 months without even a press release?
Well we went along for 10 years without a press release!!
We never broke up and we never had a press release. Steve just didn't want to work and we were on a hiatus. Hiatus for ten years you know.

That is a shocker isn't it?!!
OK, tell me, to wrap up Neal, I sent you that cover CDR of bands doing Journey songs.

Oh you sent me that tape, right.

What do you think of bands going out and doing Journey stuff. What do you think of the material?
I was not that impressed to tell you the truth. I thought "Edge of the Blade" was interesting....

Actually I thought that was probably one of the better ones.
Well I thought it was one of the better ones of all of them but there were really some not so good ones.

Yeah, I know, there were a couple of shockers.
But it's flattering that somebody even wants to do your material.

I thought the last track, "Separate Ways" wasn't great. (James LaBrie version on the Rock Superstars Vol. 3 CD)
It was not that great.

I think probably the best track on there was actually the acoustic, "Send Her My Love".
Yeah, I recall that.

But I did like "Edge of the Blade" (Jorn Lande), I thought that was pretty good and I thought "Stone in Love" (House Of Shakira) was pretty good too. Do you get a laugh out of bands doing that?
Well I wasn't laughing, no...well actually I was laughing a little bit inside, it was funny to hear someone else doing your stuff. I've never actually heard a Journey cover band. I know there's a lot of different cover bands in different parts of the States that do Journey material, one in Chicago, and one in...I can't remember, there's a band called Escape that does our stuff, I don't know if they're Cleveland or Chicago, or something like that. There was one in LA a while ago, and I've never heard any of them, so I don't know, you know, so it was strange to see or hear anybody doing our material.

One last question to wrap up. I'm actually doing a second web site to run in conjunction with my current one. It's going to be based on classics, all of the old stuff that people have missed, because that's what I get asked all the time, you know.
Oh, I think that's a great idea. Records that sort of went by the wayside.

Yeah, exactly. The most common question I get asked is, "I love all this stuff that you've got on your site, I've just come back into the fold after 10 years in the wilderness because of MTV and all that. What have I missed in the mean time?" So this is what the site is going to concentrate on.
One of the things I'm going ask different artists is "What do you consider the best rock albums out there"? Have you got favorite records that you really admire?

Yeah, absolutely. They're all really old records. Any one of the three Jimi Hendrix records, the first three. I love all of Led Zeppelin's stuff, but I really like the first record. I love all of Jeff Beck's stuff, but I really love that first record Truth. For rock records with vocalists, I think that him and Stewart were really great in that time era. And I love the first Small Faces record with Rod Stewart.
I thought that was a great party band. There's so much good stuff man, but I loved all the Cream stuff. I particularly loved Wheels of Fire, because that was the record that really sort of took me and stuck me in the improvisation world of guitar. Listening to that record I sort of figured out how I could move around on the guitar. And then you know, that's just rock, but I have my favorite Blues records and Jazz records and all different genres.

What do you think of Mr. Santana making a good comeback in the last year or so?
I'm really happy for him. I'm especially happy for him that he's a guitar player <laughs> and, you know, that I play with him and I'm glad to see someone that's a bit older than me that had a big comeback like that. It's exciting, you think to yourself, "Well, the same thing could happen to anyone, you know."
You come with the right record at the right time.

It could even happen to Journey.
Absolutely, I definitely think we're a contender.

Lets hope it starts with Arrival!
Lets hope man I'm keeping my fingers crossed. We're going to give it our all. We're going to pull out all the stops and we're going to give it our all.

Fantastic, fantastic. Well, I think you and John Waite on tour together is the most marvelous idea, I hope that comes off.
Well it's funny, you know, John and I had talked about a while ago, and I was saying to Jon, "We couldn't find anybody that we liked that was available to go out with us."

I thought Jonathan wanted to beat John Waite up.
No, no. I mean the past is the past. I heard that Waite thought that we both hated him. You know, maybe at the time when the band broke up we were not fond of each other.

Things just got frustrating?
Yeah, things got very frustrating and twisted up, but I mean so many years have gone by, I don't hold grudges against anyone. I don't hold grudges against Perry, I don't hold grudges against anyone. It's just, time moves on, people change and this is what you have to go with.

Actually, I've got one last question. Everything's going so well with you now, the record is fantastic, it's one of my favorites, I think it's better that Trial By Fire, etc. Steve Perry comes back to you now and says, "I'm ready to come back to the band. I'd like to." What do you say to him?
I think that we've got a solid band right now and there's no going back. Like he said in the interview on TV, he said, you know, when Jon called him and talked to him and said, "Well we'd like to move on", and Steve said to him, "Well there's no coming back", and Jon said, "We realize that."

I think that's the right thing to do, have some consistency. Lets hope there's many more Augeri fronted records to come.
You know what man? This is our first record in a lot of sense to me, it's almost like, I'm looking at it like we don't have any other records out there. Sure, we're playing the greatest hits and we're able to pull that off with Augeri, but really it's our first record, and so I think we're going to acquire a lot of new fans as well as take some old fans with us. We'll lose some of our old fans which is natural when you change the front man. But I think all and all, all we have to do is stick with it and keep pumping out great music and we're going to be fine.

I agree. Fantastic. OK Neal.
All right Andrew.

I think that's about it. I think I've covered everything.
That should hold us over for a while.

Absolutely. Great stuff. OK well we'll talk via e-mail.

Thanks for you time man
You're welcome.

Thanks buddy, I appreciate it.
Yeah, thank you. G'Day now!

Thanks Neal. Bye, bye.













Neal Schon (1998)


Neal, how are you man?

I'm fine how are you

Fantastic thanks. Its great to talk to you finally!

How's the tour going?
The tours going great, we had our first show in Marin County - a little dress rehearsal. It went really great, and people were really raving about it.
And tonight we start our first show here in Tokyo.

First show tonight is it?

You must be really buzzed then?!!
We are really excited about it, and we got so much great feedback from the first show, that now I am not so much worried about it.

I got some great responses myself.
So it has been 10 years off the road. Suddenly you have a new singer out front. What is it like?

It's a little like we are reborn again. The guy that we got, we couldn't have got a better replacement. Actually because we have so much old material that we need to play, that the fans want to hear, otherwise I don't see the purpose of going out and doing Journey.
Our 'Greatest Hits' is probably the biggest record we ever had. And it continues to sell and be played on the radio. That's what fans want to hear, so it was very important to find someone that could cover the older stuff and do it very well, and Steve Augeri definitely is that.
Then besides that he is very much of a chameleon in that a lot of the new material that we are writing, he is able to take us some new places that we weren't able to go before, which is a fresh new outlook on where the band can go.
He is more of a rocker I think.

I have had amazing feedback on the whole Journey thing, and I think people want to hear the band rock again.
Well that's where we are going. That's what I have been writing, sort of where I have wanted to go. Even on our last record, the Trial By Fire record, a lot of the rock stuff just got shelved and ended up being like 20 ballads, I don't know how many ballads.

Too many!
It was sort of a snooze for me.

I said to Jonathan though, on the tracks where you did get to shine, there was a lot of guitar on those.

Just not enough of them?
Yeah, on the tracks that I got to do something on, I tried to stretch it out a little bit, but still, I don't know, for a record I would prefer that if you have 10 songs on a record, I would prefer to have 8 rockers and 2 ballads.
Because we have so many ballads from our other repertoire, the other records, we have to play those songs anyway in the set.
I can't see writing a bunch of brand new ballads, so that your whole set is going to be full of ballads. Right now we have a pretty cool set that w come out rocking, and rock for 4 or 5 songs, and then we do a ballad thing in the center, then we rock out all the way through the end.
So it is pretty cool. And when we can mix in more of this new stuff we have right here it is going to be exactly what we need.

Can't wait to hear it. I have heard the new track - it's a great song.
Yeah, we like the new song. All the rest of them that we worked on at the same time are as good as that or even better, so I am excited about it.

If I can I take you back a little bit…You have had a 10 year break almost and you get it together for Trial By Fire, was the excitement there at the start, did you think this could be great?
Well, we all thought the whole purpose of doing a new record was so that we could go out and play again. And when it didn't happen, pretty much all of us were dumbfounded.
You know, why did we do a record, if we weren't going to go out and play live?
You know what I am saying?
Steve Perry decided…If he had of decided up front…well it was kind of hard to know that he was going to get these problems with his hips and everything.

That was only half the problem though, wasn't it?
Yeah. But it didn't happen and we waited around to see if he was going to get hip surgery and all that and that didn't happen, so we just decided, you know what - we want to go out.
It was time just to move on.
We are very happy that now we have come to an agreement with him that we are able to do this now.

Now this was long and complicated and difficult wasn't it?
Well, I think anything in big business is. You look at the business aspect of it, and there is a lot of things that remain that will never change - the whole catalogue.
There is a lot of loose ends that have to be tightened up so that you can create a new ground to walk on.
And yeah, I wish it had of gone faster, because we were all chomping at the bit to go, and it seemed to be moving like a snail. But now it is done and we're here and you know, we start playing tonight!

There has been a lot of stories and hearsay, so maybe I can throw a few of these at you to clear up for us.
Did Steve Perry just want to be a studio band?

I don't know what he had in mind, but it wasn't what I had in mind. You know!
I really don't know. I was confused at the end of it - at the end of Trial by Fire.

Were there problems during the creation of TBF?
Not really, it was relatively painless. The band went in and cut seventeen songs in two weeks! We were done with all the tracking and then Steve started singing, and the rest of the time spent in there was for string parts and vocals.

At what point did you loose some of your guitar tracks?
All the songs had to run by our A&R guy at Sony, John Kalodner, and the rest of the company and you know, I think Steve Perry is more prone to sing ballads than rock n roll, more the R&B influence in there.
So a lot of the rock stuff that I had written was a lot harder and he's never been able to rock into that as well as some of the other people I have worked with.
So it wasn't a natural thing, and the stuff is still sitting there on the shelf and I have been throwing them at Steve Augeri, and he just jumps right on it!
I have an abundance of material that is just sitting there and a lot of it is very very strong. So I am very happy, I am not searching for ideas.
It's like a brand new start and everyone is really happy about it, and the coolest thing is that everybody gets along really easily now.
Back to a democratic type situation. We are a team. The whole band is a team and there is not one person trying to run the whole thing.

How about the story that Steve Perry would record the new album, and Augeri tour with it?
No, that was something that was talked about and I couldn't really see the purpose in that.
You know, in the end.

So that was debated though?

So now Steve has made a clean break with the band? He has signed away the name?

I guess that's the way it has to be?
Yeah, the way it has to be. We all put a lot of time and effort into this band and I spent half my life building this band.
I started this band way back in '76, and we were together 5 years before Steve Perry even joined.
So I really felt like the name was mine, even though he helped build the name to what it became. I felt that since I started it, it was my name.

I guess he has been an interesting guy to work with?
Yeah, well people change. Things happen.
I have been divorced three times now, nothing ever stays the same. Nothing is a shock to me. You have to move on and pick up the pieces and put it back together and I'm happy with it.

Can you explain why the lack of information available on the band over the last 6 months or so? Was that a management thing?
Well you know, all this stuff has been going on while we have been trying to settle stuff with Perry. It is very difficult if you start talking to people and you say something that someone doesn't like, then it is going to take an extra 2 months to get them to agree on something else.
It's just a touchy situation.

So you had to do blackout then?
You know where I am at with it, is that I am happy where I am at right now, I hope he is happy where he is at now. Everybody in this band is just really happy right now. I don't want to fling mud, I don't want to do anything like that. I saw this whole situation develop with Van Halen. It just becomes stupid and ugly.
In the end fans don't even care about it. They like going 'shut up already', just get on with it.
I sort of feel like, if I haven't got anything good to say I'm just not going to say anything at all.

Didn't Steve Perry bring Irving Azoff to you?
Right, Herbie Herbert had retired as a manager and has his own record label on the internet. He has his hands full so Irving was brought in, and he is still managing us now.

Are you happy with that, because it was a hell of a job getting info out of them!
I am, I like Irving a lot.
He definitely knows what he is doing. He's got the track record and he has been really good for us.

That's fair enough.
Tell me how many people and who you auditioned for the new singer position?

There were only really 2 that we had checked out.
We had played with Kevin Chalfant a long long time ago, and we kind of felt that since Kevin had done The Storm thing, that it wasn't the right thing to do.
We felt that The Storm was a mini Journey band.

Well it was close, with Gregg Rolie and Ross Valory there…
Yeah, and it had Smith at one point and then he quit. I just felt like I wanted to start on fresh grounds. When we met Steve Augeri, he was from Brooklyn New York, I am from the East Coast, and he is Italian. So now we have three of us in the band which is real great!
He just had the right personality, he looks really good on stage, he has his own little vibe. He is not pretentious, he is not a poser type of singer. He just gets up there and does his thing and he really pulls it off.
He is a super guy. The guy definitely has his feet firmly planted in the ground.
He is a well-rounded person. A very classy individual.

John West was also another you looked at….
John West we tried out. He sounded amazingly like Perry too. We just decided he was not the right guy. Personality wise and I didn't think he fitted as well as Steve did.

How many other suggestions did you get?
We tried out the guy from Queensryche.

So you did do that!
We tried Geoff Tate, yeah. He came out and we actually wrote a pretty cool song with him but he was not the right guy to cover the old material.
When we tried playing the older material it obviously was not the right guy.
But a super nice guy as well.

And another rumor…Glenn Hughes...
Glenn I thought about for a second. And we felt instead of getting a guy that has been around and around forever, we wanted to find somebody that had a fresh face.
The main thing was, when I was in Hardline I was living in LA and we were driving around and the Tall Stories record comes on the radio when they were getting a lot of airplay.
And I felt like this guy really kicks my ass!
It sounds like a rocked out version of Journey. Which is where I wanted to go and I always just remembered that and I said that if it ever gets to putting this band back together and Perry is not involved, I want to call this guy.
This is like 6 years later, and it has come down to that.
I talked to Jonathan and it just so happens that one of my close friends also from Brooklyn NY Joe Cefalu, he had a tape of Steve Augeri with his number because we didn't know where to get hold of him.
So we called him up and he didn't believe that it was me on the phone. He though it was one of his buddies pulling his leg.
I said we really want you to come out here and audition and sing on some of these new songs we have and sing on some old material.
And he said I gotta tell you, I have pretty much retired. I stopped singing 2 years ago because of the state of the music industry.
It is very tough for people. If you don't have a tracks record like Journey, it is hard to make a living by it, very difficult to get going again.
So he was doing other work on the side and he said he hadn't been sung for 2 years, so I just said 'well you better get singing'.
So he sang for three weeks and got his pipes back in order and came out here and floored us all.
And that was that. Very simple, which was even more beautiful about the whole situation. If we had to have looked and looked and looked for a singer I would have said I think I am juts going to start something else.
Because it happened so fast and so naturally, it is meant to be.

Did you try a guy by the name of Hugo?
No. We listened to a tape of his and even remember him being in a band a while back when I was doing the Hardline thing called Valentine.
And I remember seeing him in a video and he looked exactly the like Perry which I thought was really weird.
I said if we are going to get somebody with him looking exactly like Perry, I though that was a little too weird!
And also I just think that Steve Augeri as a singer was a lot more happening.

Now you wrote Remember Me with Jack Blades.
Yeah Jack was great. It was the first time that I had hooked up with him and Jonathan and he came over. Actually we wrote a few songs together within two days. Jack was excellent to write with. He was very fast and energetic and moved as fast as I do in a studio, which I love. And what comes out of that is when you are just jumping on it with someone that is right on the same page as you are, it just comes out because it is not over thought.

I am a huge fan of Jack and his writing and the bands he has been involved with.
Yeah, Jack is a really great guy.

Any chance of you doing something more collaborative with him later on?
Absolutely. We worked together so well that he had called me the next day and wanted me to go up to his house and work on some stuff for him, for Aerosmith or whoever because we just collaborated so well together.

You two guys should make a record together or something?
Maybe so! Down the line I would love to do that.
Right now though, I have my hands full. I have a full palate here and really just want to concentrate on Journey. I am not going to think about any solo projects for quite some time, until we are up and running and we are back where we left off.

In your frustration and down time with Journey, you have had a lot of side projects that have tried to emulate being in Journey - Bad English, Hardline, the album with Jimmy Barnes.
Yeah, and I have done the Abraxas album with the original Santana guys, I have done some solo records that were more jazzier, you know I have been staying busy.
I have been really wanting to get Journey back happening because that's where I really belong I feel.
There is a connection there between Jonathan and I. You know we wrote a lot of the material anyway. We started writing while we were trying to settle all the stuff with Steve Perry and get on with it.
And Jonathan and I were actually writing all the songs and he and I were singing on the demo's, because we didn't know who was going to be singing, and it still sounded like Journey!!
You know, neither one of us can sing like Perry, but we had the melodies!

But I like both you guys voices anyway! Late Nite is one of my favourite all time records.
Oh thanks. I listened to some of the stuff a while ago. It is pretty funny to go back and listen to that again.
It is kind of like all over the map, musically.
In retrospect when I go back and listen to it many years later, it is kind of where I was at in my head too! Hahaha.
It is a reflection of what you are doing at the time and what kind of lifestyle your having and that was a little crazy and I was whacking it a little hard and you know that is why the music was all over the place.
But there were some decent things on there.

There were some musically very intense things on there also.
Yeah well that's the other thing that we are doing now. Journey now is going in a much more adventurous musical place. The instrumental sections n the songs themselves are much more stretched out as I have a lot more room to play and I don't have people breathing down my neck saying there is too much guitar.
I've got more an open range to really express myself and we are sort of writing the material like that, to set me up.
There are so many guitar players out there now, like Satriani or who ever it is, that the music is completely set up for the guitar player.
I feel like I am a decent enough player to be in that position to have the band set me up in certain songs. So it is more of a guitar song.

Great, great! I want to hear that.
Yeah, that's what I want too, and now I am finally getting that. That's why I am really jazzed about this.

So how many tunes have you got written for the new record?
We have written like 12 or 13 songs right now and we are not done. I think we have like another 5 to write. And then we will pick the cream of the crop.
But we are sitting in a good place.

Any song titles yet?
You know what - I could say yeah, but who knows if they will stay and end up like that. You know what I mean?
With lyrics, we will sit there and tweak them throughout the whole project.
I would rather hold off on the titles because who knows what they are going to end up to be.
But there are great lyrics written already.

And is Steve Augeri getting in on the writing also?
Yes, he has started contributing. A lot of the stuff, like I said, Jonathan and I had been working together for about six months working just a couple of days and week and not really pressing it hard like we had to come up with stuff, we just did it for fun. And the stuff was just flying out just effortlessly. When it starts happening like that, you get in this prolific vein where you are not thinking too much, you just go in and play the first thing that is on your mind each day. Music is not rocket science. Rock n roll certainly isn't. if you think about it too much while you are writing, and you have to think about the song you are writing, you know, let's put this but here, do that there, it just becomes too scientific. It is just supposed to make you feel good.
The best songs just some out immediately.
You don't have to think about them that much, it's just natural.
You can hear the energy in it, the freshness in it, there is more of a rock vibe and a party vibe to it.
Since we starting playing again, I want to create a concert where it is a giant party.
It should be a party, a celebration. Something that somebody wants to come to and have fun and cut loose a bit.

Not like a wake then?!
Exactly! You can water it down and have these ballads with deep deep lyrics, but there is places for that stuff. Otherwise it should be more of a fun thing.

And what happened to Steve Smith?
Smith just decided that he wanted to pursue his jazz career.
That was fine because I had my old friend Deen Castronovo sitting in the wings ready to go and he is just kicking some ass. He is more of a rock drummer.
And he sings his ass off.
So now every member of the band sings. Deen has a strong high voice, he actually sounds like Perry.

He sings like all the high stuff in the choruses.

So you guys are going to have some cool melodies?
We have great vocals right now. Better than we have ever had. Definitely background vocals.

One of my favourite records you have played on is the 'Hardline' record with Deen there too.

Yeah, killer hard rock.
We had fun making that! Haha. It started out as me producing these guys. I ended up playing on it. Bad English had busted up in the middle of working on that, so I decided to hang out there for a second.
In the end what happened was that the band were way too young for me. You know what I mean? In every sense.

All the guys were much younger than myself - they had not gone through some of the things that I had gone through and I didn't care to go through those things again.
I felt like playing with people that had been though as much as I have which is a lot!
The only place I could probably really find that is in my old mates that I played with in Journey.

Go back to your roots then?

I saw Hardline with you at the Marin Center in 1992.

Yeah, with Mr. Big and Electric Boys. I have one of Dean's drum sticks.
He's funny, a great guy.

Tell me time line for the next six months for Journey.
Well what we are starting to do is wait to see what happens with this single that comes out of the soundtrack to Armageddon.
If the song is a hit, we have the chance of going out and doing some sheds you know. Otherwise if the song is not a hit, or doesn't get played on the radio enough, or Sony doesn't let us do a video for some reason - with the situation of having a new singer and a new drummer - I feel that we will need another fresh record to mix with our old stuff. But we are going to play some shows in between. We have these state fairs that are lined up.
Now that we have got together and rehearsed and we have a set together, and everybody knows their stuff, all that work is done now.
So if we get a call and someone wants to add us to a big outside show this summer, then we are going to do it.
But as far as going out and headlining, without this new songs, if it doesn't get out there far enough, I think we will hang and work on the record in between playing a few gigs here and there.

How behind the band is Sony?
We are about to find that out tonight. We are in the land of Sony right now! Haha.
To be honest, they were real skeptical of us even continuing without Steve Perry.
And then we played this show that had a lot of international people at it and they got on the horn the next day, and all of a sudden they are excited again.
So they will be coming to these two Tokyo shows and taking us out for dinner tomorrow night, so we should be able to feel what is going on after that. Because I feel that if we kick ass here and do the right job, I think that they are going to give a call to New York and going to say we have to do this, let's jump on it right now.

Any chance of an Australian leg of the tour?
Now that we have a band that wants to work….we never really pursued playing.
It was always just in the United states or Japan.
Now we want to become a worldwide band. Definitely we have the catalogue to do it and Trial By Fire sold a million records in Europe without doing anything.
So the window of opportunity is definitely there and we are going to put in the time and do it.

And when will the new record be out?
We are going to go in and slam this thing out. We don't anticipate taking any longer than six weeks.
We are really well prepared. Having the material is everything. We only have to go an rehearse for a week or two and we will just go in the studio and play it live like we used to. That was it just comes out what you are really are. Painless and fast and we will just be in and out.

Well you guys are experienced enough to know what you have to do….
Yeah, I hate spending a lot of time in the studio, I really do.
I am very fast in the studio for solos and that. Especially if I am playing live, it's usually the first or the second take.
If I try and do any more than that, it goes down hill.
I know myself like that and I am better like that.
My motto is - if you are thinking - you're stinking! Hahaha

So we could have a record in September then?
Yeah we would love to do that.

And a producer? Kevin Shirley again?
Yeah Kevin Shirley. He is amazing, we love him. We call him the spank master!
Cause he just spanks it hard! Hahaha
This last single we did Remember Me, we went in with him, you know when Jonathan and I sent the demo to John Kalodner we thought it would be great to get one of these new songs on a movie before we do the new album.
So we sent the demo and he called back and said I love the song - you are flying to New York tomorrow.
So we jumped on a plane, everyone gets to New York and we cut the song in a day and a half.
And it was painless and so much fun, just because we have such a good working atmosphere again.

Where will you cut the album?
In San Francisco some place.
We are going to check out the Record Plant. Metallica's new room is down there; we haven't checked that out yet. But I want to get an old console.
I also want to get my bigger cabinets in the room this time so they can breathe a bit.

One last quick question…was John Waite ever considered?
Not for Journey. But I went back and listened to some of the old Bad English stuff, and it sounded very cool.

They still sound great.
Yeah, I like the first one better than the second.
Waite, Jonathan and I had talked about musical direction. I wanted to go more towards this rock and funky sort of Small Faces direction and he wanted to go with the Dianne Warren thing, the smash hit single thing.
It is not really where I wanted to be and not what we talked about so I lost interest in it.

He always talked about getting a live record out.
Yeah, the band played great live.

Any chance of that still happening?
You know what? I'm busy! Hahaha.
I feel fortunate that I have a full palate right now. To start this machine up and get going again.

Okay Neal, I think that's it!
Okay, you know we can talk more down the line.
Get you some updates on what has been happening with our live shows.

That would be great. I appreciate your time.
Okay, great. Bye bye.




Neal Schon - "Purple Rain" (Paying Tribute To Prince)

Honoring and Remembering PRINCE on his Birthday with my guitar soaring high to heaven and carrying his spirit and music on. His music lives forever.
"Prince, pancakes and Journey guitar riffs at 4 am.... late eighties and I am sitting with Prince on the floor in his apartment at Paisley Park. We’ve listened to Joni Mitchell, Peter Gabriel and I notice a worn Journey Escape record in his collection. Surprised I turned to him and said “Never took you for a Journey fan”. He gave me that doe eyed look that always made me uncomfortable and said: “Neal Schon is one of my favorite guitarists on the planet, he is a genius.”
I thought it only fitting that Neal would return the respect by playing a fiery, inspired version of “Purple Rain”. Having worked for Prince for the last few years of his life Neal’s beautiful interpretation makes the loss of the colossal talent of “P” a little less sad. They are each prodigy’s that have woven themselves into the fabric of our lives and our lives are richer as a result." ~
Rick Barron.


Podcasts & Radio
This week of Westwood One's Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon, new interviews with Journey guitarist Neal Schon, vocalist Myles Kennedy and Uli Jon Roth. Alan Niven (GNR/Great White) co-hosts.
In our first interview JOURNEY guitarist Neal Schon discusses the band's current tour with Def Leppard, his public feud with bandmate Jonathan Cain, Neal Schon's Journey Through Time, a Journey music festival, Santana and the Santana IV album, Carlos Santana, Santana III, the need to form Journey, new music, the desire to make a blues album with singer John Waite, doing something with Steve Perry 'that's different than Journey', his upcoming solo album, his work with Sammy Hagar, and comments about the various singers he's worked with including Steve Perry, John Waite and more. 
In our second interview, singer Myles Kennedy talks about his recently released solo album Year Of The Tiger, his upcoming solo tour, his voice, playing GNR songs in the future, Slash's guitar playing, Mark tremonti and more.
In our final interview, guitarist extraordinaire ULI JON ROTH discusses his UJR Sky guitars -visit: -- As well as the recent immigration issues that delayed his scheduled North American tour, Electric Sun, late starts in North American clubs, leaving the Scorpions and becoming a solo artist, the metaphysics of music, the importance of commercial success, The Sails Of Charon, Your Light & The Taken By Force album, not being fond of the Scorpions lyrics, Tokyo Tapes and more.



NEAL SCHON Looks Beyond Drama; Talking With JOHN WAITE For Blues Project

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World Exclusive:
Journey guitarist NEAL SCHON has reached out to former BAD ENGLISH band mate, vocalist JOHN WAITE about doing a "rough, vicious" blues project. Neal spoke exclusively to of news that producer Kevin Shirley had the idea for the project, to use "a lot of great singers", but having recently heard a new live video of Waite, was so impressed with how good he sounded, "insanely good", so reached out and the pair are talking.
As for a rhythm section, Neal says: "I haven't talked about who for drums or bass, but I believe Deen Castronovo would be great."
Yes he would!
So what of this week's drama surrounding JOURNEY? All good says Neal: "I'm having fun playing as always for my fans. Journey will tour for the next 2 months then we will have time to think away from each other."
Neal continues: "I'm working and pretty much finished with my new solo album 'Universe' featuring Narada Michael Walden. We will definitely play some gigs after the record release in the top of 2018. We are pretty much done now. It's all promising, but I'm not done with Journey. We, or I, have much more inside me to come out. I will follow my heart."
So there you are folks, a really interesting musical time ahead for Neal and a lot to look forward to in 2018.

NEAL SCHON Debuts New Solo Track & Talks To Billboard

Tuesday, June 23, 2015
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From today - you can hear a new NEAL SCHON solo track from his upcoming solo album Vortex.
He's touring with Journey, finishing up a Santana reunion project and has a new solo album coming out. Look up "busy" in the dictionary and you'll likely find a photo of Neal Schon.
"I'm really busting ass this next year and this year," Schon tells Billboard. "I'm so busy I don't have a free day. I barely have a day off 'cause I bit off so much. But now that I'm in it, I'm not willing to go, 'Y'know what, man? I'm tired.' I'm a little fried, but everybody goes, 'You look great.' I'm feeling good and health-wise I'm really good, so I'm just gonna do it." The two-disc Vortex, whose title comes from a recent nickname for Schon bestowed by Carlos Santana, reunites Schon with early '80s collaborator Jan Hammer, after the keyboardist dropped in on 2011's The Calling. "I had sent Jan a couple tracks to play on for (The Calling) and I hadn't worked with him since the '80s, so we rekindled our friendship and renewed everything," Schon says. "For this album I went to him ahead of time and said, 'I'd love for you top-lay on this record but I'd love you to stretch out more and I'm gonna leave some open space,' and he said, 'Great.' He worked on it in his own studio and just killed it, man."
and on JOURNEY....
Schon plans to give Vortex a live airing during the Les Paul 100th birthday tribute concert on June 9 at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York. He has designs to do a solo tour as well but will have to fit those between his other endeavors. Journey begins its nine-show residency on Wednesday night (April 29) at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, which Schon predicts will be "really great. We're gonna be mixing up the set, so we won't be playing the same thing every show. We've rehearsed a lot of stuff that we didn't play in our tour last year, but we'll have time to rehearse even more." All nine shows will be recorded and filmed, according to Schon, and he also hopes that during downtime Journey will start working on new material. "I've been trying to get things going," Schon reports. "I have a few ideas, just everybody's been in different places and we haven't gotten together yet. But we could probably put together a couple songs while we're rehearsing in Vegas, maybe get 'em in movies or play some new stuff live. That'd be fun."

Vortex is out June 23 via Mascot Records.

01. Miles Beyond
02. Awakening
03. Cuban Fly Zone
04. El Matador
05. Eternal Love
06. In a Cloud
07. Irish Cream
08. Lady M (Our love Remains)
09. NS Vortex
01. Tortured Souls
02. Schon & Hammer Now
03. Airliner NS910
04. Unspoken Faith
05. Twilight - Spellbound
06. Triumph of Love
07. Mom
08. Talk to Me
09. White Light




Monday, June 30, 2014
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Neal Schon
(Official / New Album / 2014 / Feat. M. Mendoza, D. Castronovo)


Order 'SO U' NOW
iTunes: (includes instant grat tracks)


Taken from the Frontiers Records release SO U.

Guitar legend Neal Schon has joined forces with bassist Marco Mendoza (Black Star Riders, Ted Nugent, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy) and drummer Deen Castronovo (Journey, Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Vai, Hardline) to create a unique body of work with jazz and blues-inspired virtuosic hard rock playing, entitled SO U.  The new album features Schon, Mendoza and Castronovo splitting vocal and writing duties, with many of the tracks also co-written by Night Ranger/Damn Yankee's songwriter, singer and bassist Jack Blades.
Neal Schon commented, "This is a great new record that features all three of us -- Deen, Marco and myself -- sharing lead vocals.  Enjoy!"
Best known as founding member and lead guitarist of Journey, Neal Schon has enjoyed a remarkable career as one of rock n' roll's top virtuosos, with a hand in creating some of the most popular songs of all time.  Beginning his career more than 35 years ago in the San Francisco Bay area, the 15-year-old guitar prodigy left home to join Santana.  Schon moved on in 1973 to form Journey.  With Journey and other projects, he has earned 19 Top 40 singles and 25 platinum and gold albums, was awarded the prestigious "Legend Of Live Award" at the 2011 Billboard Touring Awards, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005 and was individually inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall Of Fame in 2013.   As the only member to record on all of Journey's albums, Schon continues with the band today in its latest incarnation. 
In addition to 6 solo albums and 14 studio albums with Journey, Neal Schon has also performed with Joe Cocker, Sammy Hagar, Paul Rodgers, Larry Graham, Betty Davis, Michael Bolton, fusion legend Jan Hammer, Hardline and supergroup Bad English, as well as a variety of side projects. 
His latest instrumental solo album, THE CALLING, released in 2012 via Frontiers Records, won rave reviews from fans and the media alike, with Vintage Guitar declaring "THE CALLING is a fine piece of work demonstrating that Schon still has it going on -- and then some...The songs are strong and his guitar tones are absolutely luxurious." 
In demand as one of the leading guitarists of his generation, Schon also worked with Gibson to manufacture his own limited edition "Neal Schon Signature Model Custom Les Paul" guitar, but now uses custom PRS Neal Schon LTD Private Stock guitars, made especially for Neal by Paul Reed Smith.
Neal Schon: guitars, lead vocals
Marco Mendoza: bass guitar lead vocals
Deen Castronovo: drums, lead vocals




Monday, June 16, 2014
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Guitar legend Neal Schon is enjoying great success at US Classic Rock radio with his track 'Serenity.'  'Serenity' is comfortably seated in the Top 5 and has risen as high as #2, alongside such mainstays as Led Zeppelin and Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers; the song has been on the charts for 8 weeks.  Check out the lyric video here.  'Serenity' is taken from Neal Schon's latest album SO U, a jazz and blues-inspired hard rock studio album featuring Sch'n, bassist Marco Mendoza (Black Star Riders, Ted Nugent, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy) and drummer Deen Castronovo (Journey, Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Vai, Hardline).  The three musicians split vocal and writing duties, with many of the tracks also co-written by Night Ranger/Damn Yankee's songwriter, singer and bassist Jack Blades.  The album is available now via iTunes, Amazon and via the Journey online store
Of SO U, Ultimate Classic Rock raved, '"SO U stands tall as one of the finest albums that Neal Schon has released to date. The combination of Schon with Deen Castronovo and Marco Mendoza is a potent triple threat which delivers on every level. With nine tracks spread over 51 minutes, SO U never overstays its welcome and the typically diverse blend of material will strongly resonate with fans of Schon's previous work, most notably Santana and Journey. I'll be standing by and waiting for a sequel." 
In other news, Neal Schon is giving away the title track 'So U' as a free download to fans who subscribe to his email list.  He has also announced a contest to win a signed signature PRS guitar to the best video submission for the track 'So U.'  Visit for more information.
Never one to sit still for long, Neal Schon is currently on the road for an extensive summer tour with Journey.  He will next record and tour with his legendary mentor Carlos Santana and original Santana band members Gregg Rollie, Michael Carabello and Michael Shrieve.  Schon's forthcoming solo effort, tentatively entitled VORTEX, is nearing completion and he is helping to organize an all-star cast of musicians for the recording of a benefit album of songs by Sting and The Police to help raise awareness for global child slavery.  He will also appear on the album.
Best known as the founding member and lead guitarist of Journey, Neal Schon has enjoyed a remarkable career as one of rock n' roll's top virtuosos, with a hand in creating some of the most popular songs of all time.  Beginning his career 45 years ago in the San Francisco Bay area, the 15-year-old guitar prodigy left home to join Santana.  Schon moved on in 1973 to form Journey.  With Journey and other projects, he has earned 19 Top 40 singles and 25 platinum and gold albums, was awarded the prestigious 'Legend Of Live Award' at the 2011 Billboard Touring Awards, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005 and was individually inducted into his native state's Oklahoma Music Hall Of Fame in 2013.   Along with Journey band members Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain, Schon is responsible for co-writing 'Don't Stop Believin',' the 20th century's most downloaded song.  As the only member to record on all of Journey's albums, Schon continues with the band today in its latest incarnation. 

In addition to 6 solo albums and 14 studio albums with Journey, Neal Schon has also performed with Joe Cocker, Sammy Hagar, Paul Rodgers, Larry Graham, Betty Davis, Michael Bolton, fusion legend Jan Hammer, Hardline and supergroup Bad English, as well as a variety of side projects.  His latest instrumental solo album, THE CALLING, released in 2012 via Frontiers Records, won rave reviews from fans and the media alike, with Vintage Guitar declaring 'THE CALLING is a fine piece of work demonstrating that Sch'n still has it going on ' and then some'The songs are strong and his guitar tones are absolutely luxurious.'  In demand as one of the leading guitarists of his generation, Schon also worked with Gibson to manufacture his own limited edition "Neal Sch'n Signature Model Custom Les Paul' guitar, but now uses custom PRS Neal Sch'n LTD Private Stock guitars, made especially for Neal by Paul Reed Smith.
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