Neal Schon Wants Journey’s New LP to Be ‘Diverse’ Like ‘Escape’
Neal Schon says Journey’s new lineup have 13 tracks largely recorded for a new album — and that he expects the result to be a “diverse” work in the vein of 1981 blockbuster Escape.
In a recent interview with Eddie Trunk, the guitarist revealed that plans had been made to release singles ahead of a proposed tour starting at the end of next year. He added that he's hoping to make a documentary to accompany the LP’s arrival.
Schon, keyboardist Jonathan Cain and singer Arnel Pineda started working with bassist Randy Jackson, drummer Narada Michael Walden and keyboardist Jason Derlatka after the dismissal of Ross Valory and Steve Smith, who were accused of trying to take over the band’s name.
“It’s going really, really amazing,” he told Trunk of their sessions, explaining that coronavirus restrictions meant they’d been recording remotely. “We’ve got like 13 new tracks in the can that Arnel is now singing on. But the band is on fire, man. I’m excited about this record. I believe we’ll start releasing things after the new year.”
He continued: “We have new management that has come into play, and they’ve been amazing to work with: Q Prime; we have Peter Mensch and Cliff Burnstein … I thought we were going to release a single a lot earlier and then, you know, this all came down and they wanted to push it back a bit, and it makes sense ... [Hopefully] near the end of ’21, we’ll be back on tour when everything gets up and running again.”
Schon noted that “for being a virtual record, it sounds amazing,” adding that he expected seven or eight of the current tracks would make the final cut, along with additional material yet to be written. “I’m really pushing to go for a diverse record, like we did with Escape, that has a lot of different elements to it,” he said. “We [got] into some heavier R&B-type rock, like a ‘Separate Ways’ kinda vibe. … The rhythm section is just solid. It sounds amazing. ... Before we get going, we’re obviously going to rehearse and put a new show together … We’ll have plenty of time to hang and probably document a lot of the rehearsals so we can have somewhat of a new documentary to put out there with the new record.”
While he stated he couldn’t say much about the legal battle with Valory and Smith, he confirmed that the situation was “not resolved,” adding: “We’ve put a more than generous deal on the table for them to take and accept, or not. If they don’t accept then we’re going to court ... I’m willing to take it to the max, all the way, for something I worked my whole life on. The way things went down was really not that kosher … What should have happened, rather than them trying to take over at that point, was to call us up and say, ‘Hey, let’s sit down and talk about this.’ Instead it went a different way, and both myself and Jonathan didn’t appreciate it.”