Guitarist Neal Schon
According to an extensive report from Billboard, early in Journey’s 2022 arena tour, lead guitarist Neal Schon became convinced people were out to get him. So he stationed two off-duty police officers outside his dressing room, according to sources familiar with the tour. And at a Florida show last spring, Schon and his wife, Michaele, sent an assistant into keyboardist Jonathan Cain’s dressing room to snoop around – to find what, the sources have no idea.
Keyboardist Jonathan Cain
Cain caught the assistant red-handed, and then hired an off-duty officer to guard his own dressing room, the sources say. So for much of the tour – which sold 296,000 tickets and grossed $31.9 million, according to Billboard Boxscore – two of the three musicians who wrote “Don’t Stop Believin’” and performed it every night for decades squabbled over whether one guard outranked the other in the event of a dispute between Schon and Cain. “That’s just the level of pettiness and control and conspiracy they came to believe in,” a source says of the Schons.
From the outside, Journey’s business might seem easy — perform hits like “Wheel In The Sky,” “Any Way You Want It” and “Who’s Crying Now” in arenas and watch the money roll in. Most of those guitar-piano-and-whoa-oh-oh classics are from the ’80s, when Journey dominated rock radio and MTV, scoring eight multiplatinum albums and six top 10 Billboard Hot 100 singles, and becoming a bridge between ’70s regular-guy bands like Boston, Styx and Kansas and the more dangerous-looking Bon Jovis and Mötley Crües of subsequent years.
Journey has sold more than 75 million albums worldwide, according to a recent lawsuit involving the band, and Billboard Boxscore reports a career gross of more than $352.5 million on sales of 7.6 million tickets. Journey has also cleaned up on synch licensing for decades – the iconic final scene of The Sopranos in 2007 famously used “Don’t Stop Believin‘,” and the band’s songs have appeared in Caddyshack (“Any Way You Want It”), Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (“Faithfully”) and last year’s season of Stranger Things (“Separate Ways [Worlds Apart]”). And the group’s 2022 tour was one of its biggest ever, nearly doubling the pace of its previous standalone tour in 2017, which took 67 shows to gross $31.7 million.
Journey’s personality conflicts
Recently, though, simmering, passive-aggressive, behind-the-scenes tension between Schon and Cain has blown up into duelling lawsuits and cease-and-desist letters, including one over Cain’s performance at Mar-a-Lago. Journey is hardly the only group to tour and make albums amid acrimony between band members; examples include Sam & Dave, The Kinks and Van Halen. But Journey’s personality conflicts have spread to its business far more than most, and sources say the Schons have run off business and road managers, accountants and longtime band members. In February, Journey’s longtime bank, City National, cut ties with the band, according to sources, hampering the group’s ability to easily pay its day-to-day touring expenses. Even Journey’s official webpage abruptly stopped operating for several weeks in early February before it recently reappeared.
Show of Journey’s 2023
At the January 27 opening show of Journey’s 2023 arena tour, which runs through April, Cain and Schon stood at least 20 yards apart at all times, on opposite sides of the stage at the Choctaw Grand Theatre in Durant, Okla. The 3,000 fans singing along to hit after hit clearly energized the band, especially frontman Arnel Pineda, who sprinted and twirled around the stage. But Cain and Schon barely looked at each other, even when Cain sang these lines from “Faithfully,” the 1983 hit he wrote:
“Circus life under the big-top world/ We all need the clowns to make us smile/ Through space and time, always another show.”
Read the full report at Billboard.com.