Neal Schon


JOURNEY Saga Continues With VALORY & SMITH Launching Counter Suit

It looks like the now infamous JOURNEY (Nightmare Productions) board meeting wasn't a coup to overthrow NEAL SCHON and JONATHAN CAIN, but rather a move to stop Neal from registering the name JOURNEY THROUGH TIME, which the participants argued would devalue the JOURNEY name. Cain and Schon then declined to follwo through on a band movie deal, to which Arnel refused to sing on the then upcoming tour unless it went ahead!
"Balaban & Spielberger, LLP, attorneys representing Ross Valory, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician and bass player for the iconic rock band Journey, filed a Cross-Complaint in Contra Costa County Superior Court on April 6, 2020, against fellow band members Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain. The Cross-Complaint attaches evidence that refutes the Schon and Cain allegations and sets forth multiple causes of action for monetary damages against Schon and Cain for the ramifications of their conduct in trying to wrongfully excise Valory from the band.
Journey’s lead guitarist, Neal Schon, and keyboardist, Jonathan Cain filed a lawsuit on March 3, 2020, claiming Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith attempted to launch a “coup” to take over Nightmare Productions, Inc. (the corporate entity that controls the band’s name and trademark) in order to effectuate some amorphous retirement plan that is not described in the Complaint. An Answer filed by counsel defending Mr. Valory (Richard Charnley of Charnley Rian) against the Complaint’s allegations and the Cross-Complaint (filed by Andrew Spielberger of Balaban & Spielberger LLP) disputes and refutes these allegations.
Over the last four decades, Journey has reigned as one of America’s most successful rock bands producing ten platinum albums, eighteen Top 40 singles, and selling more than 75 million albums worldwide. Journey formed in 1973 the same year it created Nightmare Productions Inc., which holds the rights to the band’s trademark and other intellectual properties.
According to Valory’s attorney, Andrew Spielberger, “Ross is shocked and devastated by the conduct of his lifelong bandmates (Schon and Cain) and is disappointed that there was never any attempt to sit down and discuss what is most likely a misunderstanding and something that easily could have been worked out.”
So SMITH and VALLOY have launched a counter-suit for the following:
From within the filing:
"Revenue data from past live Tour and Corporate Show performances from 2017 and 2018 in conjunction with anticipated revenues for a 2020 tour demonstrate that revenues approximate one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000.)"
"Following the legitimate Notice of a Special Shareholders Meeting, upon information and belief, Neal Schon’s agent(s) then informed members of the JOURNEY band as well as Shareholders in Nightmare Productions, Inc. that Neal Schon would not sign off on a (separate) movie deal with Warner Bros. Pictures as long as the Shareholders of Nightmare Productions, Inc. insisted on going forward with the noticed Special Shareholders Meeting set for 2/13/20.   Upon information and belief, Cross-Defendant Neal Schon, and Cross-Defendant Jonathan Cain indicated their refusal to sign off on the Warner Bros. Pictures movie deal regarding the band JOURNEY (having an adverse effect on Arnel Pineda), unless the 2/13/20 scheduled Shareholders and Directors Meeting was canceled. Subsequently, upon information and belief, since the 2/13/20 meeting was not being canceled, a purported discussion between both Cross-Defendants and Arnel Pineda took place informing Arnel Pineda of Cross-Defendants’ decision to cancel the movie deal.  Ultimately, upon information and belief, Mr. Pineda refused to sing with Journey if the movie deal did not go forward.  The Cross-Defendants relented and allowed the movie deal to proceed."
More to come...



JOURNEY vs JOURNEY - Smith & Valory Sued & Fired by Schon & Cain

JOURNEY’S Neal Schon & Jonathan Cain have put recent tensions behind them to launch an extraordinary lawsuit against fellow band members Steve Smith and Ross Valory.
Smith & Valoy have been fired, effective immediately.
Steve Perry votes with...??
What the hell is going on?
It seems Smith & Valory were attempting to take control of the band’s business entity Nightmare Productions to guarantee a better pay-day for after their retirement.
Here’s one summary:
[The] defendants attempted to launch an ill-conceived corporate coup d'état to assume control of Nightmare Productions because they incorrectly believe that Nightmare Productions controls the Journey name and Mark. They hope that, by taking over Nightmare Productions, they can hold the Journey name hostage and set themselves up with a guaranteed income stream after they stop performing. Smith and Valory began their campaign to take control of Nightmare Productions in December 2019 by conspiring to oust Schon and Cain from control.
Schon & Cain hit back with this:
Dear Mr. Smith and Mr. Valory:
This firm is counsel for Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon.
Mr. Schon and Mr. Cain are the remaining principal members of the band Journey.
Unfortunately, your recent actions, in concert with others, have demonstrated that you are no longer acting in the best interests of the band. As set forth in a Complaint filed today in the Superior Court of Contra Costa County, California, you both participated in a scheme to takeover
one of the band’s entities, Nightmare Productions, Inc., in breach of your fiduciary obligations.
You did so to enrich yourselves at the expense of our clients and to the detriment of the band. Our clients have lost all confidence in you and are not willing to perform with you.
Mr. Schon and Mr. Cain, through Elmo Partners, hold the sole exclusive, irrevocable license to the Journey name and all associated rights (the “Journey Mark”). Specifically, pursuant to the Trademark License Agreement, dated January 15, 1985, Nightmare Productions,
Inc. provided this license to Elmo Partners. The agreement provides that the license shall continue “until the date upon which none of Stephen Perry, Neal Joseph Schon, or Jonathan Cain is actively engaged in a professional music career utilizing the name “JOURNEY.”
Mr. Schon and Mr. Cain shall continue to pursue their music careers under the name Journey. Elmo Partners therefore retains and will continue to hold the exclusive, irrevocable license to the Journey Mark. Pursuant to the Agreement between the Elmo Partners, Mr. Schon and Mr. Cain control the Journey Mark. Mr. Schon and Mr. Cain are expressly authorized to perform together under the Journey Mark, with or without anyone else.
You have absolutely no rights to the Journey Mark and are not authorized to use the Journey Mark in any way. Effective immediately, you are no longer members of the band Journey and cannot perform under the name Journey.
If you act in contravention of our clients’ rights, please be advised that we will take all legal steps to protect the rights of our clients.
Nothing contained herein is intended to waive any and all rights of Mr. Cain and Mr. Schon, and all such rights and remedies are expressly reserved.”
You can read the whole complaint, the evidence against and see Steve Perry vote with Schon & Cain to maintain the business status quo.

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.

New JOE SATRIANI Out Now; 2018 G3 Tour Dates

Satriani's G3 Tour Now - features Satriani, John Petrucci (Dream Theater) & Phil Collen (Def Leppard)
New Album – What Happens Next – OUT NOW
(San Francisco, CA) January 12, 2018 -  World-renowned guitarist, and Bay-Area resident, JOE SATRIANI announces a fundraising auction, set to launch this Sunday, January 14th, at the Fox Theater in Oakland, CA to benefit the North Bay Fire Relief in Sonoma County.  The online auction will be live for one week, with bidding ending on January 21st (
The auction will feature autographed collectible guitars from JOE as well as his G3 Tour-mates (John Petrucci & Phil Collen), in addition to guitars signed and donated by fellow Bay Area Residents: Carlos Santana and Neal Schon.  Other items up for auction include a Huey Lewis signed harmonica and a Bill Gibson signed drumhead, along with signed posters and memorabilia from past G3 tours.  Net proceeds will go to North Bay Fire Relief, including UndocuFund, directly assisting the affected undocumented residents of Sonoma County. The auction is being curated and administered by Bananas at Large. 
SATRIANI has lived in the Bay Area for over 30 years and considers it home.  His longtime manager, Mick Brigden, was directly affected by the fire as his entire neighborhood was destroyed, although thankfully, his house was spared.  Raising funds to support those affected in their own backyard is important to the multi-Grammy nominated guitarist.  SATRIANI says, 'This special auction for North Bay Fire Relief in Sonoma County is close to my heart.  So many of my friends and coworkers are still in need after the devastating wildfires. Please join me and my musical buddies in raising some funds to provide some love and care. Thank you!'
SATRIANI's 16th solo album, What Happens Next, was released today (January 12, 2018) on Sony/Legacy Recordings.  His longtime touring entity, G3, opened last night in Seattle featuring Dream Theater's John Petrucci and Def Leppard lead guitarist, Phil Collen, joining SATRIANI.  The G3 tour will conclude on February 25 in Milwaukee, WI.
About The UndocuFund:
The UndocuFund for Fire Relief in Sonoma County was created by local immigration service providers to directly assist undocumented Sonoma County residents who are victims of the Northern California fires. With the support of more than 7,500 donors, the fund has provided financial aid to almost 1,000 families, to date, benefitting nearly 4,000 people, with hundreds more still to be screened. One hundred percent of all donations go to victim support, with partners covering all administrative costs. To learn more about the fund's impact on victims and other details, please visit
About the Redwood Credit Union North Bay Fire Relief 
Redwood Credit Union Community Fund, Inc., in partnership with Redwood Credit Union (RCU), The Press Democrat, and Senator Mike McGuire, accepts financial donations to assist fire victims and aid relief efforts. 100% of tax-deductible donations goes directly to support those affected.  The North Bay Fire Relief Fund supports the immediate needs of people and businesses in the four affected counties (Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake) who were impacted by the North Bay fires, including: People who lost homes, People experiencing economic hardship due to lost or interrupted employment as a result of the fires, First responders who lost homes while fighting fires and protecting our communities, Kids who lost homes (public and private), Small businesses who lost their business or were impacted by the fires, Fire survivor health and well-being, Nonprofit grants were also available for those supporting immediate needs of fire survivors.  For more information: 
About Bananas at Large
Bananas At Large is the oldest Independent Professional Audio and Musical Instrument retailer in the Bay Area, with over 45 years of experience serving everyone from the beginner to the touring professional. We carry all major brands and models, and also a wide range of unique and boutique instruments. 
Joe's touring band:  Mike Keneally (guitar and keyboards), Bryan Beller (bass), Joe Travers (drums).
2018 G3 Tour featuring Joe Satriani, John Petrucci & Phil Collen itinerary:
January 11            The Moore Theatre                                              Seattle, WA
January 12            Historic Elsinore Theatre                                      Salem, OR
January 13            Grand Sierra Theatre                                            Reno, NV
January 14            Fox Theater                                                          Oakland, CA
January 16            Delta Hall at Eccles Theater                                 Salt Lake City, UT
January 17            Brooklyn Bowl                                                         Las Vegas, NV
January 18            Mesa Arts Center                                                    Mesa, AZ
January 19            Orpheum Theatre                                                   Los Angeles, CA
January 20            Balboa Theatre                                                       San Diego, CA
January 21            Fox Tucson Theatre                                                Tucson, AZ
January 24            Historic Paramount Theatre                                        Denver, CO
January 25            Uptown Theater                                                      Kansas City MO
January 26            The Pavillion at The Toyota Music Factory      Irving, TX
January 27            Austin City Limits - Moody Theater                 Austin, TX
January 28            Hobby Center for the Performing Arts            Houston, TX
January 30            Hard Rock Live                                                       Orlando, FL
January 31            Florida Theatre                                                        Jacksonville, FL
February 1            Pompano Beach Amphitheatre                       Pompano Beach, FL
February 2            Barbara B Mann Performing Arts Hall              Fort Myers, FL
February 3            Mahaffey Theater                                                    St. Petersberg, FL
February 6            Raleigh Memorial Auditorium                          Raleigh, NC
February 8            Toyota Presents Oakdale                                     Wallingford, CT
February 9            Landmark Theatre                                                  Syracuse, NY
February 10         Palace Theatre                                                          Albany, NY
February 11         The Palace Theatre                                                 Greensburg, PA
February 12         The Fillmore Detroit                                                     Detroit, MI
February 14         Warner Theatre                                                       Washington, DC
February 15         Orpheum Theatre                                                   Boston, MA
February 16         Beacon Theatre                                                        New York, NY
February 17         Merriam Theater                                                     Philadelphia, PA
February 18         New Jersey Performing Arts Center                      Newark, NJ
February 20         Auditorium Theatre                                                Rochester, NY
February 21         Massey Hall                                                                Toronto, ONT
February 22         Hard Rock Live                                                         Northfield, OH
February 23         Chicago Theatre                                                      Chicago, IL
February 24         State Theatre                                                             Minneapolis, MN
February 25         Riverside Theater                                                    Milwaukee, WI
To Follow Joe Satriani
Facebook:   joesatriani
Twitter:   @chickenfootjoe
Instagram:  joesatriani
YouTube:  JoeSatrianiOfficial



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

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.

Is NEAL SCHON'S JRNY Something To Watch For

It seems something has broken the camel's back in the Journey camp, with Neal Schon filling social media today with cryptic talk of inner turmoil in the world of Journey.
Although officially the word is "No", something is definitely transpiring between founding member Neal Schon and long time keyboardist Jonathan Cain.
It appears that Jonathan's marriage to high profile Pastor Paula White in 2015 is the catalyst. It is the third marriage for both.
At the time Cain said: “She gave me the news that God loved me and wanted his son back. She spoke to the king in me and gave me new hope I could get right with God. The God I had hungered for, the Father I had been missing.”
White remains the personal minister to President Trump and chairs his Evangelical Advisory Board. She became the first woman ever to pray the invocation at a presidential inauguration on Jan. 20.
Of his recent Christian solo album Cain stated: “This is my love letter to God. It’s my thanks for the grace He gives me.”
Shortly after marrying, Cain was caught up in a controversy when addressing a congregation both were preaching to, when he suggested methods for wives to get to know what their husband’s like, saying: “figure it out. Get a book, get some porn, do something. If he likes to watch porn, watch porn with him, you know what I mean…”
Now Neal has taken to Instagram and Twitter – under the recent new handle “Neal Schon’s JRNY” to post the following:
“Bringing it every night. I want to be elevated by whom I play with not feel like I've got cement shoes. If anyone is unhappy they are Not running My band then They should Leave. God has bigger plans.”
“Yes I've stated how I felt about mixing Religion and Politics and how our music is not of 1 religion - democratic or republican. This is and has been an issue with myself Mr Cain and his now wife since he married. I've had to fight this whole time to protect the Brand I built with Steve Perry way before Gregg and I picked Cain to replace himself when he wanted to retire from the road back then. Well frankly I'm tired of having to defend all by my self. Ross is no help. I continue to grow and be completely creative and want to take the band Neal Schon's JRNY on an exciting new trip musically. Yes we will always have all hits to play But there must be musical growth also. I also need to surround myself with people that care as I do. I'll never stop.”
“I've finally gotten to the point of Enough. Im a very patient person - so I've been told by many including Carlos Santana and he's said wow - How and Why do you do it ? I did it out of love but not receiving any back. They don't give a shit so now I don't either. Your skin becomes tough but it has to to endure ... bottom line I'll always be JRNY as it's been my baby from birth. Herbie and Steve Perry will tell you the same as he did at RRHOF  thank you Steve for the truth.”
“No worries. I will not cave about my beliefs or protecting Journey as I always have. I believe in God.”
Now a news item about the Woody Guthrie Center honouring Neal has been removed from all Google references and the originating news site, with Neal claiming jealousy and sabotage are at play. "Wow this national story has already been removed from google and channel 6 site here in Tulsa Oklahoma. This is totally criminal sabotage but it will not stop the actual ceremony tomorrow..."
As of right now a lot of fans are joining in the conversation to back Neal - an example of which is below.
Stay tuned for more…

JOURNEY: Gregg Rolie, Neal Schon, Steve Perry Reveal Hall Of Fame Career

Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Dallas, TX - March 30, 2017.  North American syndicated Rock radio show and website IN THE STUDIO with Redbeard: The Stories Behind History’s Greatest Rock Bands maps out Journey’s long road to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with a two-part, two week career-spanning radio special. 
From 1981 to 1986 the biggest band in America was Journey. This band from “the city by the bay” sold more than 30 million records in that short time. Millions of people have seen them perform live over years of nearly endless touring to this day. Journey songs became the soundtrack for a whole generation of fans “raised on radio” and for new generations of fans of TV shows like The Sopranos and Glee.  It’s hard to imagine anyone who has grown up in America over the last 40 years who has not been touched in some way by the music of Journey.
The musical Journey began in 1973 with two former members of Santana, Gregg Rolie and Neal Schon, looking to form an ambitious musical outfit to perform rock fusion and rule the live music circuit. There would be multiple member changes, but none more important than the addition of singer Steve Perry.  In Part 1 episode, Gregg, Neal and Steve speak with IN THE STUDIO producer and host Redbeard about the early incarnation of the band and the breakthrough success of their 1978 fourth album, Infinity.
“The real idea behind the band was ‘Let’s go play live’. We used to knock people out. In fact as (Journey’s manager) Herbie Herbert put it, we sold  more tickets than we did records then. People would come to see the band for the instrumentation and energy of it . It wasn’t following suit with anything else on the radio.”  - Gregg Rolie
“Everybody’s feeling at the time was, ‘Look, we’re all starving to death’, you know? And it’s time we gotta make a living at this or I was going to have to get a job selling ladies shoes or something. I wanted to play music and make a living at it.”  - Neal Schon
“I had no idea what I was in for. I really didn’tt realize what a real workhorse this band was until I’d say 178 shows later, that same tour, non stop. But I gotta tell you, I wouldn’t change one thing.”  -  Steve Perry
JOURNEY  Best Of  PART 1  /InTheStudio interview is available now to STREAM at:
Part 2 will be available next week at:



Facing Crossroads, JOURNEY Embraced With Open Arms On Escape

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dallas, TX - June 14, 2016.  North American syndicated Rock radio show and website InTheStudio: The Stories Behind History’s Greatest Rock Bands  explores an Eighties classic, Journey’s 1981 album Escape, on its thirty-fifth anniversary.

In every journey there are crossroads, pivotal moments where paths must be chosen, where there are opportunities to change direction or to go straight ahead. The rock band called Journey never stuck to the straight path through an odyssey of twists and turns, changes and certainly, crossroads.

The first change came in 1978 when Steve Perry joined the band as lead vocalist, transforming Journey from an improvisational progressive rock band into a mainstream commercial success.  In 1981 there was another turning point when keyboardist and songwriter Gregg Rolie, one of Journey’s original members, left the band. In came former Babys member Jonathan Cain, and his gift for melody, especially ballads, meshed perfectly with Steve Perry’s voice.

It was no accident that Journey’s first album with Jonathan Cain, Escape, went all the way to No. 1. Selling nearly ten million copies and staying in the Top 40 for more than a year, the band scored the hits, “Don’t Stop Believing”, “Who’s Cryin’ Now”, “Stone in Love” and Journey’s first # 1 hit “Open Arms”. 

Neal Schon, Steve Perry, and Jonathan Cain share with InTheStudio host Redbeard an in-depth look at the making of Escape, with the musical choices that ultimately underscored the success of this classic album.

“(Escape) was an ambitious broad stroke of the brush... It tried to cover a lot of territory. We could have been killed for it, but Journey was in the place where that statement could be made, musically. They had the freedom to actually make an artistic statement and be heard. People were listening.”   - Jonathan Cain

JOURNEY Escape @ 35 /InTheStudio interview is available now to STREAM at:

Direct Link to InTheStudio broadcast affiliate radio station list: “

Direct Link to JOURNEY website:

Direct Link to InTheStudio website: “

MelodicRock REVIEWS IN BRIEF December 2015

90% CATS IN SPACE – Too Many Gods (Harmony Factory/Cargo Records)
What a fun album. The whole album could have been released anytime in the mid-late 70s and you wouldn’t have known any different. Listening to this is like walking into a drive-in diner in 1978 and hitting random selections on the jukebox.
The album is consistently strong, but quite varied also.
There’s ELO (Too Many Gods, Mr Heartache); Queen (Stop); Styx/ELO/Queen (Last Man Standing – easily the most memorable song); Elton John meets The Who meets Queen (Unfinished Symphony) and even 70s Meatloaf (Only In Vegas); The Who (Five Minute Celebrity).
It is really quite an impressive and very accomplished piece of work - especially for a debut album. I can’t imagine 70s rock fans hearing anything better than this in 2015.
87% C.O.P – State Of Rock (AOR Heaven)
This has the obvious musical comparisons to Grand Illusion and the glorious, over the top, high pitched pomp that band delivered. Why? Vocalist Peter Sundell is front and center here along with his brother Christian Sundell. For those missing the pomp/AOR of Grand Illusion and Peter’s unbelievably high vocals, then jump on this!
It’s like Grand Illusion, but it also has its own personality and delivers some outstanding Scandi-AOR material, while the production is top notch (thanks to Ola af Trampe).
Another memorable, high quality release.
93% ANBERLIN – Never Take A Friendship Personal & Cities – Live In New York City (Tooth & Nail)
I absolute love these two Anberlin albums – easily the best of their career and here they are, faithfully reproduced in their entirety in a farewell live performance. Both albums are stacked with great tunes, but these versions are even more electric, as the atmosphere captured here is truly compelling. Great recordings – live, raw and honest, and overflowing with emotion and energy.
90% MR. BIG – Raw Like Suchi 113 – Sendai Japan 2014 (Wowow Entertainment)
Another month, another Mr. Big release! Cashing in on their legendary status in Japan and their anniversary year, this new live album is every bit as essential as any of the band’s other live releases. Packed with songs from the last two studio albums and various other classics, the recording is overdub free and live as on the night – which is the usual engaging, high energy excellence these great musicians deliver every time they hit the stage.
Definitely recommended for Mr. Big fans.
88% DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES – Live In Dublin (Eagle Rock)
The unquestionable brilliance of Hall & Oates is captured on this double live concert, recorded in July 2014. As expected it is a hits rich set that covers many of the bands’ hit singles, but at 15 tracks over 2 discs, it feels a little underdone and I have heard so many great live sets from these guys that this one just doesn’t have the same wow factor for me as other have. It may be down to the actual set list – there’s at least 4 tracks I’d sub out in favor of others (Do What You Want, Las Vegas Turnaround, Back Together Again & It’s Uncanny). It makes for a pretty laid back mid-concert run of tracks. But the rest – magnificent as always.
Thankfully the glorious Out Of Touch, plus mega-hits Family Man, Maneater, Say It Isn’t So, Kiss On My List and Private Eyes are all included. And what can you say about a 15 minute version of I Can’t Go For That?!
The DVD is certainly more engaging and I’ve always loved the way the guys interact with the crowd (who are very enthusiastic on this occasion). And the band is incredible of course, as are the harmonies.
And man…it has to be said – Daryl Hall’s voice is beyond unbelievable. He hasn’t lost anything over the years, he sounds freeking crazy good. What a voice!
85% NEAL SCHON – Vertex (Mascot)
Not to be restricted by any conventions over how much music one should record or be limited by any one style, guitar legend Neal Schon delivers 90 minutes of whatever he wants…in this case, inspired and diverse instrumental music. 18 songs over two discs, with tracks ranging from 2 to 7 minutes in length, Vortex is Neal in his favourite setting – just letting go.
And what’s even better – he’s backed by Steve Smith on drums, providing the intelligent, musically complex drum and percussion needed for such a bold musical statement such as this.
There’s fast, slow, rock, jazz, electric, acoustic….you name it. Guitar instrumental fans will love, no question about it.
75% GUN – Frantic (Caroline)
Gun seem to have made the transition from the angst driven melodic rock/hard rock of their past with original vocalist Mark Rankin, to the new lineup with Dante Gizzi now up front. The sound change is vast – the guys are now a power/pop outfit with a feel-good uptempo vibe. This is the second album in this format. The songs are pretty consistently good once again, but the style is hard to accept after such brilliance previously.
There are some very catchy tunes here, some more guitar driven than others, but overall not as many highlights as the last album for me. I miss the old days but don’t see Mark returning to singing. What a waste.
90% PAT BENATAR & NEIL GERALDO – 35th Anniversary Tour Live (Indie)
Now this is a ‘greatest hits’ set I can live with. The talented duo of Pat and Neil shred through some of their most iconic hits in a (all) fired up, live raw setting.
The rocked up set includes the brilliant Shadows of the Night, Invincible, Sex As A Weapon, Promises in The Dark, We Belong, Love is A Battlefield (8 minutes in length) and an even longer Heartbreaker to close the set.
The only thing that bugs me is Pat’s slightly tweaked chorus vocal in the mega-anthem All Fired Up. Doesn’t work. Whatever though….the rest is brilliant and a great tribute to the songs included. Boy can that Neil guy play guitar…
84% ELEMENTS OF FRICTIONS – Pride Music Sampler
Great way to introduce your new label to the world – gather some of the best melodic rock artists around and compile a bunch of unreleased tracks. Kicking off with one of the best rock anthems you’ll ever hear – a new Marcello Vestry track When You Grow Up. Elsewhere it’s a little hit and miss, but the highlights are Area 51 (Matti Alfozetti), Don’t Leave Me Lonely (Matti again), Make You Mine (Larry Baud, written by, yes…Matti), Without Your Love from Snakes In Paradise, the Matti written Only My Heart (sung by Mats Levin), Another Me (Paul Laine) and Somebody Up There (Tommy LaVerdi), which rocks pretty hard.
86% MARK SLAUGHTER – Reflections In A Rear View Mirror (Thunder Spirit Records)
Slaughter frontman Mark delivers his debut solo album here – which rocks seriously and surprisingly hard. Not sure what I was expecting, but it’s heavier than I figured. It’s also more diverse. Some of the songs are screaming rockers (Away I Go, Miss Elainious); some are more reflective (Carry Me Back Home, Baby Wants).
Others are closer to the anthemic rock of Slaughter (Never Giving Up, The Real Thing, Somewhere Isn’t Here) and some are just something new altogether (Don’t Turn Away, In Circle Flight, Velcro Jesus).
Some of it works – some of it doesn’t. I’ll let the listener decide, but this is an interesting journey and does what a solo album does – offer the artist and excuse to try different things.
85% CAGE – Ancient Evil (The Metal Masses)
Traditional American metal at its loudest, fastest, intensest (no, that’s not a word…). San Diego based Cage have been doing the metal circuit for a long while now and they don’t let up with age. This is the heaviest thing I’ve reviewed here in a long while. You know what to expect. Fast, furious, screaming high pitch vocals and some of the most brutal double kick drumming this side of thrash metal. Did I mention the ear blasting guitar demotion?
All you need to know is that it’s well produced, features a balanced mix and sounds huge.
84% 7TH HEAVEN – Next (NTD Records)
The hardest working band in Chicago America never fails to deliver quality music. On their new album Next they introduce new vocalist Adam Heisler after Keith Semple left to chase bigger dreams. Adam changes the tone a little bit – his vocal is a little deeper than the very AOR-friendly Semple.
Song wise the band continue to pursue the modern pop direction set up by the last album, moving further away from AOR/melodic rock into dance/pop with a commercial power pop base.
Some hugely catchy tunes here, but a few others that I don’t feel have the spark of the last 2-3 albums. Not sure if it’s the songs or the singer to be honest. Maybe a little of both.
Still, you won’t find a better example of the genre should modern pop be of appeal. These guys are an industry unto themselves and if you don’t like this album (or any other), then you know they’ll always be back next year with more!
86% HUNGRYHEART – Dirty Italian Job (Tanzan Music)
Italian rockers Hungryheart deliver their third studio album and continue to grow as songwriters and performers, not to mention also in the production stakes.
Each album has improved upon the last, which is all you can ask of any band. This album features some catchy melodic hard rock songs with a strong European flavor. There are some hard rockers and a nice variety of moodier melodic tunes too and just the one ballad – Nothing But You.
Tracks like You Can Run, There Is A Reason For Everything and Time For Letting Go show real promise and give hope that the guys might be able to cut through the plethora of releases out there to find some new fans. Well worth checking out.
89% DENNIS DRIES – I (AOR Heaven)
White Sister’s Dennis Dries finally delivers a long awaited solo album and it doesn’t disappoint. He’s joined by the great Paul Sabu to create a very likable pomptastic classic rock release that’s quite diverse, yet very focused at the same time.
Diversity comes in the shape of the pomptastic Heard It On The Radio; to the sentimental AOR of “I”; to the acoustic lead Home; and back to the melodic hard rock of Unbroken.
Focus comes in the form of the precision and thought put into the music and the production. A lot of time and energy has gone into this record, no doubt.
This may not be for everyone, but White Sister and classic pomp/rock fans will surely delight in Dennis’ unique vocals and writing style.
Best thing about this album is how it stands out from the pack by being different than most other titles out there, yet familiar at the same time.
50% LIPSTICK – Lipstick (Indie)
At lot of great releases about this year, this is not one of them. Unless you are into really average mid-80s glam, cowbell and all. There’s 16 tracks and 65 minutes of music to get through here, all featuring the unremarkable vocals of Greg Troyan.
These tunes are apparently “Super Demos”. I’d agree with the ‘demos’ part if not the ‘super’, but otherwise I’d use the old analogy, some albums/songs remain unreleased for a reason.
It will take a very dedicated glam rock/Poison groupie to appreciate the contents of this disc.
80% KICKIN VALENTINA – Super Atomic (Target Records)
American sleaze/hard rockers Kickin Valentina released their debut album earlier this year. You’ve got a strong Guns N Roses/LA Guns/Ratt type vibe going on here, with heavy, dirty blues riffs, a driving rhythm and raspy, gravelly vocals all combining to form a pretty credible, high energy rock outfit.
Musically this is all in your face hard rock with bar room swagger and some impressive guitar soloing to match the screams of vocalist Joe. Not an album for fans of big hooks or big harmonies, this one is better suited for fans of the bands mentioned and the whole LA late 80s LA sleaze scene.
92% ROMEOS DAUGHTER – Spin (RD Records)
A long overdue review here for this new gem from one of the UK’s premiere female fronted AOR bands.
Once again Leigh Matty delivers a silky smooth vocal over a very tight performance form the band and guitarist/producer Craig Joiner.
Anyone who picked up and enjoyed the band’s comeback album Rapture will be able to slide this album right alongside.
Perhaps a little lighter/more laid back than the 2012 album and moving a little more into modern pop style, it doesn’t matter in the end. It’s just filled with beautiful songs and warm, inviting melodies such as the born for radio Already Gone and Love Will Come To Those That Wait, plus the moody Enemy and the haunting acoustic beauty of Didn’t See You Coming.
The driving All Because Of You and the closing Tall Buildings add a little fire at the end of the album.
77% POWERPLAY – All Those Years (Target Records)
The debut album from Danish pop/rockers Powerplay ranges from Alien style Euro-AOR through to Chicago/State Cows styled Westcoast pop.
I definitely prefer the AOR flavored tunes, of which there are several fine examples (City Of Love, Climb A Mountain, All Those Years). There’s a little Work Of Art/Toto in the mix also, but to be honest, I’m not entirely sold on the vocalist and sometimes the album crosses over into ‘too pink and fluffy’ territory. Worth a listen, but more work needed to bring themselves into the wider fan base this music has.
69% ST. PROSTITUTE – Glorified (Target Records)
Another big sleazy hard rocking album on show here – this time from Denmark’s answer to Hanoi Rocks. Well maybe not, but you get the idea. It’s all guitars and all gravelly, sleaze drenched vocals. This one isn’t as memorable as a couple of other reviewed, but it probably packs a more powerful guitar punch and there’s certainly isn’t any issue with the monster sound.
90% DIEMONDS – Never Wanna Die (Napalm Records)
These guys are being compared to Halestorm and the immediate reaction to the female lead vocalist and the classic-meets-modern hard rock approach seems to match.
But this is a different type of album to Halestorm. More traditional hard rock and definitely a step heavier than Halestorm. Vocals are great, riffs are fast, furious and frequent and the production is huge.
This deserves a longer review, but time is of the essence. It’s a really strong album that gets better and better. Highly recommended for fans of powerful female fronted hard rock and metal.
78% PRETTY WILD – Pretty Wild (Dead End Exit)
Pretty Wild are, well…pretty decent! Take the old school melodic hard rock approach, add in some Scandi sleaze, mix it up with Bon Jovi, Johnny Lima and Reckless Love and you will get a pretty fair idea of the sound of this album. Not quite as immediate or as essential as those named, but still pretty worthwhile.
85% REACH – Reach Out To Rock (Sunhill Productions)
Reach are… yes! Swedish! And they produce solid, high quality melodic rock. Who would’ve thought? These guys lag behind the front runners of the genre though. They feature a more guitar heavy sound with less keyboards. Plus the vocalist isn’t quite as engaging as some of the others in the Swedish melodic rock gang.
There’s a moody feel to this album, a darker undertone than the likes of BFT, Art Nation or Wigelius. Not bad by any means and one for fans of guitar driven melodic hard rock with a Scandi-accent. Well produced and packing a decent punch – just not as immediate or as hook driven as their compatriots.
Still some good choruses here though – especially You Called My Name, We Are and Fortune & Fame.
55% ROB MORATTI – Tribute To Journey (Escape Music)
I’m a big Rob Moratti fan. I’ve featured him here many times across the years and his various projects and he’s a terrific guy. Which is why this is hard to say – but I simply don’t see any point to this release at all. In fairness, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it and no one is expecting it to match the impact of an original studio album. Rob has a fantastic high pitch voice well suited for paying tribute to the great band Journey and vocalist Steve Perry. Nothing wrong with that!
However, I just don’t see any point in compiling 12 very very over-played, over-covered, over-done Journey classics and doing absolutely nothing different to them. This is a note for note tribute, which is always going to come off second best to the originals.
That’s a brave move by Rob as he’s only going to draw comparisons with Steve MF Perry afterall!
Perhaps there would have been some greater point to doing this if the songs were deep cuts or less recognizable hits. Or perhaps changed them up a little; make them heavier or acoustic in places….anything! Sorry Rob – I’ll hang out for the all-new studio album mate.
83% SHADES & PETERS – Let The Record Spin (Indie)
This album came out late in 2014 and has a similar musical play to the recent Tom Cochrane album.
Two rockers – you know them well – Rene Shades and Martie Peters, changing things up and creating something new – an acoustic driven, fairly laid back album touching on country, pop, blues as well as a little rock for good measure.
Despite my not so favourable verdict on the Cochrane album, Shades & Peters come out better off for delivering better quality songs.
Not everyone that has followed Push or MPG is going to be into this. And some that weren’t into those groups might indeed prefer this. It’s different that’s for sure.

JOURNEY Adds NEAL “VORTEX” SCHON As Special Guest On Canadian Tour

Release Year: 
Omar Hakim Tapped to Play Drums for both JOURNEY and NEAL “VORTEX” SCHON
NEAL “VORTEX” SCHON has been added as the special guest to JOURNEY’s upcoming Canadian tour, which launches Monday, July 6 in Winnipeg Manitoba with concerts scheduled through August 3 in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. This tour marks the first time the American rock greats perform a Canada-only tour, including markets in which band has never previously performed such as Penticton; Prince George; and Dawson Creek, British Columbia; and Lethbridge, Alberta. See below for a complete list of tour dates. Tickets are on sale now - visit for complete tour and ticketing information.
NEAL "VORTEX" SCHON features Schon on guitar, Omar Hakim on drums, Rachel Z Hakim on keyboards and Jerry Brooks on bass. NEAL “VORTEX” SCHON will perform selections from Schon’s brand new, all-instrumental 2-CD album, Vortex, released June 23 through the Mascot Label Group. The albumfeaturing Neal Schon on guitars and bass, drummer Steve Smith, GRAMMY-winning keyboardist Jan Hammer, and keyboardist Igor Len - utilizes rock as its foundation, and embraces elements of jazz, classical and world music in an 18-track, sonically explosive collection of original compositions.  The music of Vortex came to life at Berkeley’s Fantasy Studios, Schon’s preferred spot for recording since Journey cut the 10-times-platinum number-one album Escape there in 1981.
Blazing hotter than ever with the lineup of founder Neal Schon (lead guitar and backing vocals), Jonathan Cain (keyboards and backing vocals), co-founder Ross Valory (bass and backing vocals), and lead vocalist Arnel Pineda (who was discovered by Schon), Journey has created some of the best-known songs in rock, such as “Wheel In The Sky,” “Separate Ways,” and “Faithfully.”  Neal Schon recruited Omar Hakim to play drums for Journey’s recent Hollywood Bowl Opening Night concert, the band’s July 4th performance in Provo, Utah, and the Canadian tour.
The Hollywood Bowl, one of the most iconic concert venues in the world, launched its 94th season with its 2015 Opening Night Concert featuring JOURNEY who performed with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), on June 20. The Bowl’s opening night is traditionally a fundraiser for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s many education and community programs, which serve more than 150,000 youth, families and teachers every year, and this year it raised a record $1.6 million; the previous best was $1.4 million in 2011.
Following the Hollywood Bowl opener, and Hakim’s debut with Journey, Neal Schon stated, “I'm very happy I was able to bring Omar Hakim in to help us pull together a very elaborate and complex show at the last minute. It was a nearly impossible feat, and tall order for anyone, but with Omar’s musical integrity and talent, we pulled it off and had a blast! Glad to know I've still got the ears and now I'm 2 for 2: first was finding Arnel and now, recruiting Omar Hakim.”
Over the years JOURNEY has earned multiple accolades, including 19 Top 40 singles; producing 25 Gold and Platinum albums; and receiving a Diamond certification for its Greatest Hits album, marking U.S. sales in excess of 15 million. In 2011, they drew nearly a million fans to their Eclipse World Tour and was awarded the prestigious "Legend Of Live Award" at the Billboard Touring Awards in honor of their significant and lasting contributions to live music and the touring business, and in acknowledgement of their commitment to the fans and the art of performing live.
The group’s seminal anthem - “Don’t Stop Believin’” - is the top-selling digital catalog track inhistory, after being featured in the last scene of the electrifying series finale of HBO's ‘The Sopranos’  and then reaching another level of stratospheric success when it was covered by the cast of FOX's wildly successful series ‘Glee.’  Three decades after its original release, "Don't Stop Believin'” has reached a new generation of young fans welcoming this legendary band as it continues to bring its signature sound of classic hits around the world.
The intensely creative guitar giant, Neal Schon, has always had an innate ability to make glorious music. He began playing at age five and was inspired by soul vocalists like Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight, and blues and jazz guitarists ranging from B.B. King Albert King, and Eric Clapton to Wes Montgomery. When Schon was just 15 years old, Carlos Santana invited him to join his band. Schon’s recording debut was on the classic 1971 album Santana III. He played the solo on the LP’s hit single,“Everybody’s Everything.” Recently Schon  completed the album Santana IV with Carlos Santana, co-writing songs and playing guitar. Additionally, Journey, co-headlined with Santana on Carlos’ recent homecoming concerts in Mexico.
6-July                         Winnipeg, MB                      MTS Centre
8- July                       Calgary, AB                           Fort Calgary – Stampede Roundup
10-July                       Penticton, BC                       South Okanagan Events Centre
11-July                       Vancouver, BC                     Rogers Arena
13-July                       Victoria, BC                          Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre
15-July                       Prince George, BC               CN Centre
16-July                       Dawson Creek, BC               EnCana Events Centre
18-July                       Edmonton, AB                     Rexall Place
19-July                       Lethbridge, AB                     ENMAX Centre
21-Jul                         Regina, SK                             Brandt Centre
22-Jul                        Saskatoon, SK                      SaskTel Centre
25-Jul                         Hamilton, ON                      FirstOntario Centre
26-Jul                        Kingston, ON                        Rogers K-Rock Centre
28-Jul                        Montréal, QC                        Centre Bell
30-Jul                        Moncton, NB                        Moncton Coliseum
31-Jul                         Dartmouth, NS                    Alderney Landing
2-Aug                         St. John’s, NL                       Mile One Centre
3-Aug                         St. John’s, NL                       Mile One Centre
For more information, visit:

NEAL SCHON Debuts New Solo Track & Talks To Billboard

Tuesday, June 23, 2015
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



NEAL SCHON Talks SANTANA; Recording Wrapping This Week

Monday, April 20, 2015
Guitarist NEAL SCHON has just posted on his FB page with an update on the upcoming new SANTANA record Santana IV.
He posted these comments: "Wishing a Great Week to you All. We are Wrapping up Santana IV this week!!! Sounds Amazing!!"
“This record is going to take over the World. I just hope Management gets it together for us to tour together as I WILL Tour with Carlos either way. Its way too happening to not. World domination once again!”

REVOLUTION SAINTS Self Titled Debut Out February 20

Friday, February 20, 2015

Released on CD, Deluxe Edition with bonus DVD, 
Digital Download and 180 gram black vinyl.

European release by Frontiers Records: Friday 20th February 2015
UK release: Monday 23rd February 2015
US release: Tuesday 24th February 2015

Deen CastronovoJack Blades and Doug Aldrich. Put these three rock titans together in a band and you have the exciting new hard rock/melodic rock supergroup REVOLUTION SAINTS.

Superbly handling drums and lead vocals is Deen Castronovo. Already renowned for his drum talents and backing vocals in JourneyBad English and more, Deen's excellent vocal talents are in the spotlight on this release.

Revolution Saints (L-R): Jack Blades (bass, vocals), Deen Castronovo (lead vocals, drums), Doug Aldrich (guitar). Photo Credit: © Jeff Allen at Orion's Eye Photography

On bass, and co-lead vocals on a few tracks, Jack Blades is well known for his melodic, yet hard rocking approach to songwriting and playing via multiple classic albums by his main band Night Ranger, as well as with the Damn Yankees and the Shaw/Bladesreleases.

On guitar, Doug Aldrich was excited to lend his fiery blues guitar attack to such a unique and melodic band. Doug, who just left Whitesnake after a fruitful 12 year run (including co-writing 2010s critically acclaimed "Forevermore" release) and also of Burning Rainand formerly of DIO, has a deep pedigree and is one of today’s most respected guitarists.

You can tell by the name - and the names involved - that REVOLUTION SAINTS isn’t your average rock 'n roll band. The new album brings back the classic melodic rock style to where it should be: inspiring, uplifting vocals, soaring melodies and musicianship to die for. It’s completely badass.

The project is the vision of Frontiers' President Serafino Perugino, who for years had hoped to work on a project where Deen would be the lead vocalist. Having previously worked with all three artists on different projects on Frontiers, having Deen, Jack and Doug on board together was a dream come true for Perugino.

Revolution Saints (L-R): Doug Aldrich (guitar), Deen Castronovo (lead vocals, drums), Jack Blades (bass, vocals). Photo Credit: © Jeff Allen at Orion's Eye Photography

With production overseen by in-house Frontiers man, Alessandro Del Vecchio (who also contributed to the songwriting and played keyboards on the album), the recording process took place in Portland, Oregon during the summer of 2014.

REVOLUTION SAINTS' music is played with a heart and soul and that highlights the passion and the enthusiasm of three of the best rock and all-around musicians in the game today. Truly, this will be a release that you cannot afford to miss. Lovers of melodic rock will fall in love all over again with REVOLUTION SAINTS.

Revolution Saints (L-R): Doug Aldrich (guitar), Deen Castronovo (lead vocals, drums), Jack Blades (bass, vocals). Photo Credit: © Jeff Allen at Orion's Eye Photography

Deen Castronovo: lead vocals, drums
Jack Blades: bass, vocals on Turn Back Time and Way To The Sun
Doug Aldrich: guitars

Alessandro Del Vecchio: keyboards, backing vocals, vocals on Way To The Sun 
Arnel Pineda – co-lead vocals on You're Not Alone
Neal Schon – guitar solo on Way To The Sun

Produced by Alessandro Del Vecchio

Revolution Saints (L-R): Doug Aldrich (guitar), Deen Castronovo (lead vocals, drums), Jack Blades (bass, vocals). Photo Credit: © Jeff Allen at Orion's Eye Photography




Friday, August 29, 2014
It’s the album of his career – literally.
To celebrate 30 years as a solo artist, Jimmy Barnes is revisiting some of his biggest hits, collaborating with some of his favourite artists; Keith Urban, The Living End, John Farnham, Bernard Fanning, Shihad, Tina Arena, Baby Animals and Jon Stevens plus more.
“I wanted to do something special for the 30th anniversary,” Jimmy explains. “There was talk of a tribute album, but that idea would have taken me out of the picture. So then I thought of a better idea – I’ll get all my favourite acts and sing with them!”
Jimmy re-visits ‘Good Times’ with Keith Urban, ‘I’d Die To Be With You Tonight’ with Diesel, and ‘Stand Up’ with his daughter Mahalia.
The album also includes brand new recordings of ‘Working Class Man’, which sees Jimmy reunited with the song’s writer, Journey’s Jonathan Cain, as well as ‘Ride The Night Away’, featuring the song’s co-writer Little Steven Van Zandt from the E Street Band.
“We’ve actually kicked some new life into the songs,” Jimmy says. “I think when people hear the record, they will get the sense that these are very modern takes on these songs. They sound fresh and they sound new and they sound alive.”
The first single is a blistering version of ‘Lay Down Your Guns’, featuring The Living End. “We got into the studio and within four bars of playing the song I knew it was the right marriage of song and artist,” Jimmy says. “It was a rollercoaster from there – I just got on and enjoyed the ride. It was fantastic.”
Chris Cheney from The Living End recalls “We’ve recorded with Jimmy twice now and he’s really great to work with. No messing around, just get in and get it done! ‘Lay Down Your Guns’ was the first song I thought of when Jimmy asked up to be part of this project. I can remember going to see him at Rod Laver Arena in 1990 and this song kicked ass.  It’s way above my range as a singer but he still sings it in the original key. He just gets in there and nails it!”
The new recordings are brilliantly complemented by original versions selected from across 30 years of Jimmy Barnes hits.    Appropriately the 30/30 album will be available almost 30 years to the day from the release of Jimmy’s chart-topping debut solo album Bodyswerve in September 1984.

“Thirty years ago, I’d just left Cold Chisel,” Jimmy recalls. “It was a frightening prospect going out on my own. Luckily for me, I had a great ally, partner and sounding board in Michael Gudinski.”
Fast-forward 30 years and Jimmy is still recording for Liberation, part of Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Group.

Jimmy Barnes has released 14 studio albums in the past 30 years.  Nine of those albums have reached number one – more than any other Australian artist.
Produced by Kevin Shirley (Cold Chisel, Silverchair, Aerosmith), the 30/30 album not only celebrates the phenomenal career to date of one of Australia’s foremost musicians but also illustrates Jimmy’s continuing relevance within the contemporary Australian music scene, both as a recording and a touring artist.

In celebration of his 30th Anniversary Jimmy Barnes will be embarking on a tour later this year, playing a select number of A Day On The Green wineries nationally, with full details to be announced soon.
The tracklisting includes:
1. Going Down Alone, Journey
2. Good Times, Keith Urban
3. I’d Die To Be With You Tonight, Diesel
4. Lay Down Your Guns, The Living End
5. Ride The Night Away, Little Steven (Van Zandt)
6. Stand Up, Mahalia Barnes and the Soul Mates
7. Time Will Tell, Baby Animals
8. Working Class Man, Jonathan Cain (Journey)
9. Still On Your Side, Bernard Fanning
10. I’d Rather Be Blind, Jon Stevens
11. When Your Love Is Gone, John Farnham
12. Love & Hate, Shihad
13. The Other Kind, Trot Cassar-Daley
14. Walk On, David Campbell
15. Stone Cold, Tina Arena
Hi all,

To celebrate 30 years as a solo artist, I’m releasing an album revisiting some of my biggest hits and collaborating with a whole swag of my favourite artists. I wanted to do something special for the 30th Anniversary and there was talk of a tribute album, but that would have taken me out of the picture. So I’ve thought of a better idea - I’ll get all my favourite acts and sing with them.
After 30 years and 14 studio albums I wanted to do something special while reflecting on the moments, songs and other artists who have shared the journey.
This album will see the likes of Keith Urban, The Living End, John Farnham, Bernard Fanning, Shihad, Tina Arena, Baby Animals, Jon Stevens, David Campbell, Mahalia Barnes sharing the mic with me and more to be announced in time.
You might have noticed some pictures of the studio sessions on my Facebook and Twitter page over the past six months. It’s been tough trying to keep the project a secret during this time, so it’s wonderful to be able to announce it this morning.
The album will be on shelves August 29 through Liberation, appropriately almost 30 years to the day from the release of my debut solo album Bodyswerve in September 1984.

In celebration of my 30th Anniversary I’ll be embarking on a tour later this year, playing a select number of A Day On The Green wineries nationally, with full details to be announced soon. 
I’ve got a few more exciting things up my sleeve for you all to be announced in due course, so stay tuned.
You can read all about the release in Kathy McCabe’s feature online here:
See it now!


Monday, June 30, 2014
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


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.
For more information please visit:





Thursday, June 12, 2014

Neal Schon: Doing It His Way

Guitarist Neal Schon makes his claim for Guitar Hero status on the new Journey album Eclipse. I talked to Neal just prior to the band hitting the road in the USA for their 2011 Tour - Leg 1.


Hello Neal!
Andrew! How are you, buddy?

I'm doing ok. How are you?
I'm doing good, man. We're just, you know, booking out here, trying to keep up with this, man; it's a lot of work! You know-the travel.

We're just in from Italy-last night from Milan. We had a great show there. We just did sound check and I did another interview for Guitar Player Magazine. And so, here I am! I've been ready to do you for a while but I understand you had some other things going on.

Oh yeah, sorry. I flaked out on you a couple of times there—held up and then kids. You know what it's like with 3 young kids. (laughs)
I understand. It happens.

So thank you at least for staying patient and good to talk to you again.
Same here!

Yeah! Are you completely sick of talking about this album yet?
(long pause) No. But I've seen a ration of shit that you are getting already!! (laughing!!)

From EVERYBODY!! You know. It's a catch 22; it's all I can tell you. It's like, if we……I LOVE the record and I know that you love the record…

Yeah, I sure do.
.. and now I'm like the devil in everybody's eyes because it doesn't sound like our older stuff…but if we make a record that sounds like our older stuff then they'd say, well why can't they do something different. So, it's…you always want the opposite. They can always criticize.

You're never going to please everybody and if you wanna play the older stuff, you've already got it - go play it.
Exactly what I thought.
I'm sorry, man. I'm eating like a little piece of candy here cuz I'm just dragging ass and I want to wake up for you here.

Ok, so you've got the album out. A lot of people really love it and get it, which is great.
Yeah, and what I've been talking to management about is that we need to get more awareness that it's actually out. It was cool to come here to Europe and do all these dates in South America and stuff but, in a sense, I think that we could have done a bit more damage if we had stayed home and did more TV and made people aware that it's even out.
I think that things are going to pick up. It's been known to happen to other records too, in the past. It just takes while to work things. We do have some TV coming up and I think that's going to help out tremendously.

I definitely think that the record has legs so that's not the problem. We can keep coming with the tunes off it and, you know, I feel good about it. The whole record industry is in a different place than it's ever been before, like always…

Yeah. (laughing)
(laughs)… like every year it changes and it seems like it gets worse; but that's just the nature of the beast. If you get dealt lemons then you've got to make lemonade.

You're one of the few bands that have been around, virtually for every change in the music industry (laughs) since 45 singles almost.
Yeah. Yeah (laughs)

You've been there the whole time-you've seen it all.
Yeah, I get asked the questions all the time – in every interview - like, 'How do you suggest for people to get new music out there…'
I'm like, you know what? I have no frickin clue. Just PLAY LIVE!!

Nobody has any idea these days. It's tough.
Play live, play in front of other people and hopefully word of mouth spreads. I don't think there is any foolproof plan or any perfect plan to get things out anymore—there isn't.

No, there isn't. Nobody has the answer because nobody's been getting rich.
No. They are all searching for it. It's terrible for new artists because I feel bad for my son too because he's a great guitarist and he's trying to get things going and it's like everybody's looking to me like, why can't you do that for him! (laughing) And I'm like, I can get him all the gear, I can get him the studio time, I can get him this, I can get him that; I can't get him a record deal.
I said, Miles, you gotta get out there and just play and so that's what he's doing.

So he's out there and he's playing and he's going at it—and making quite a little name for himself.

Yeah. Absolutely.
And so that's what ya gotta do. You know, you gotta pay your dues and there's no way getting around it. There's no quick way.

Well that's what you guys did.
Well, yeah. I mean, there's a quick way. When labels existed, and they heard somebody they liked and they'd come out and do a massive push and stick a ton of money into promoting and everything like videos….They'd spend all the bands' money so that they're never ever gonna make any money (laughing) in the next 10 years. (laughing)

(laughing) yeah!
You know? But they're thinking to themselves, Well, it doesn't matter because they're not gonna last that long we'll drop them before that. It's a very crude industry.

It is.
But, um, I'm really grateful just to be able to a part of it still and do what we do.

It's kind of amazing isn't it really? I mean, it's a testament to you guys and your stamina, your personal, physical and mental stamina…
It's definitely a test, you know? I mean, we haven't even started the states yet, obviously. I've gotta tell you-the South American tour was grueling. It really was. It was a hard schedule to keep up with, mainly because of the travel.
We had to fly everywhere and it was the whole crew and the band. All of our equipment went underneath the plane with us to every city that we went to…or country. Every 2 days it felt like it was 9 or 11 hour travel days.

So, I felt like I was going from Ashcroft to London every 2 days.
We came down with some really weird infection. Our manager, John and myself. We got weird ear infection—I think from the water. We had a really bad ear infection, sinus infection and it went into the chest. I was on the heaviest antibiotics I've ever been on for like a month straight and still it didn't go away.

So I was like trying to travel and keep up with it at the same time, you know, and it's like rough when you are not actually well.
And so, right now, everybody's good! And that's the way we're trying to keep it. We're like….. we constantly meet a lot of fans and washing hands and (laughing)…

You really are still a hands on band, aren't you, when you're on the road? You know, meet and greets and stuff?

Hello? Sorry! It dropped out.

No worries at all.
I was talking and talking and talking and then I go, Hello????

There was nobody there!

So was I! (laughing) What I was saying was you're still a very hands on band when you get on the road, aren't you? With fans and stuff?
I think so- yeah. You know, we try to be as much as we can—meet and greets every night. It's tough sometimes to keep up with that. It's not that you don't want to meet the fans; it's just burnt, you know? Burnt. And we've been doing it and they haven't been really super big meet and greets so it's like a little bit easier. You take a fast picture and meet some people and say 'hello' and then pretty much we're on stage after that.
And so, but when you're traveling… we did like 7 hours last night travel and then tonight we've got 9 hours on the bus. Some people are not sleeping on the bus and I'm kinda up and down. Arnel doesn't like—he hasn't been sleeping on the bus.

And so, you're trying to catch up with your Z's and keep everything in focus.

Yeah. It's tough on the road-people don't appreciate how hard it is.
Well, they don't do the work, that's the thing. They like to criticize it but look! (laughing) 'well, it wasn't as good as this and it wasn't as good as that' but if they had known the circumstances - what everybody has gone through in the last few months, you go, Oh-well now I can understand.
It's always like that.

Tell me, back on the point you made originally, you were saying that you want to give a bigger splash for Eclipse in the U.S. and you're going to ramp that up. You are obviously keeping track of the sales figures – are you a little bit concerned that they're lower than expected?
You know…well…..we had so much going on around the time that Revelation was released…we had a lot of TV exposure.

You were everywhere!
I know! We were on Ellen Degeneres; we were on Oprah. You know, Oprah was the thing that like really kicked everything off.

And, that's what everybody gets the awareness from. You can't buy advertising time like that. And especially if you can sound good live, I mean-that's the thing. We do sound good live and so…nobody's afraid to play it live on TV. So, we're working on that right now-just getting more TV exposure. I think that is going to kick everything in the butt.

And, you've got another long tour, haven't you.
Well, we're going to be out for 2 years.

That's amazing, isn't it? How many bands could actually do that?
Yeah. (pause) Well, we'll see if we make it! (Laughing)

(laughing) Hahaha! You'll just pull up stumps halfway through and go, eh, that's enough.
(pause) No, it's hard to do that –you can't do that—once you're committed , you're committed, you know?

But we are committed to 2 years and worldwide. We've been off a lot this time and, usually, we'll just do the States and we'll go over to Japan and that's it. We played a couple of shows in South America before when Arnel first came in the band but it was easy. You're in and out. This time there's…you know the UK was great and we had a great time in the UK this time and we have so many great fans there—and enthusiastic audiences. We just had great shows there.

I had great feedback on that –I heard really great feedback.
Yeah. It was really great; we loved it there. The band just seems to be getting bigger and bigger over there, which is so crazy to me—this many years later!


Hello? You there?
Yeah. I'm here, Andrew.

It comes and goes. We'll deal with it.
You've put in the hard yards over in Europe, haven't you? It's what, you're 3rd or 4th tour back there, isn't it?

Um, in Germany?….I think it's the 3rd - I'm not really sure. But, yeah, this is a different market - Germany is. So far, some of the smaller dates that we've played are… they're good but, so far, I prefer playing the festivals…

Yeah ok.
Like we did last time. And, I just like getting in front of more people. You know, actually, we did a lot of damage last time---in a good way.

Just being able to get in the middle slot or a special guest and play a little bit shorter set but just charge it up in front of a lot of people. We worked for a lot of great reviews and took a lot of fans with us. So, I'm looking forward to these bigger festivals that are coming up here shortly.

You're coming off of an album that sold 800,000 units in the U.S. I mean, who the hell does that these days?!!
(softly laughs) I don't know.

(laughing) How did that happen?
(laughing) I don't know anybody that sells records at all, it's like crazy: except, for catalog stuff - older catalog stuff - like our older stuff. The classic rock stuff that's been there forever; it just keeps on selling albums.
That stuff's never going anywhere.

Good for us!!

A new record-a new studio album sold that many units. It's just unbelievable.
Yeah! But you know what is funny about this record is even though I don't think the units are out there, I think they've downloaded it because everyone is singing the songs in the audience when we play the live stuff. (laughing)

(laughing) Ok.
So, they know the songs—they do! They know the lyrics and they know the songs. They're singing right along with it. I'm like, wow—this is weird! How can they know it?

There's a few bands on the road at the moment that are taking new albums out with them and playing the new songs and I'm really glad that they're doing that.
Yeah. I mean, for us, Andrew, I feel that if we don't do that then we're just kind of sitting in neutral and resting on our laurels, which we could have easily done anyway. We could have just played our greatest hits forever and forgot about ever making a new record and forget about being critiqued for it, you know?

I think we're real ballsy about where we went here. You know, Jon and I absolutely agreed on where we wanted to go after we finally talked about it. It was just kind of like a no brainer because we had all this other material sitting there; we had so many great ballads and they're all sitting there and how many can we really use in a show?
Not very many. You know, you have so many minutes to play in a show. It's not like we're doing a 3 hour festival or 2½ hours or even 2 hours, you know?
We've got a lot of stuff to play and a lot of hits to play and people expect to hear that; there's no getting away from that ever!

Nor do I want to! I love the fact that people want to hear it!

Oh absolutely!
If they didn't want to hear it, then I'd be going, Why do I want to play?
They still love it so, yeah, I want to play it.
And we're mixing the new stuff in and it's going over well! I mean, you know, nobody's sitting down! I remember the days when you'd play something new and everybody sits down…and they kind of like fall asleep for 4 minutes or however long the song is and then they get back up on their feet when you play something familiar.

I saw you guys in L.A. in 2003 and you did Higher Place and I think I was the only person standing in the whole building! (laughing)
Yeah, I mean, it hasn't been like that with this record so far.
Everywhere that we've played and when we were playing the longer show, which wasn't a real long show but some of the South American days, we played 5 tracks…5 new tracks? And nobody sat! Nobody sat!

The whole time. And they dug it and they didn't even know it. That's a good sign in itself, right there, you know?


Absolutely. So, where did the idea for the album come from? I mean, you've been promising to rock it up for a while. Is this like a continuation of from where you were going with Planet US and Soul SirkUS? That desire to really turn it up?
I don't think so. I mean, I think it sounds like Journey.

Of course! It certainly sounds like Journey: I meant the heaviness of it and the attitude.
Well…(pause)..I mean, I don't think it's heavy metal by any means. It's very melodic still but it's guitar driven…and some of the grooves are like bigger than the usual stuff that we do. It's just not as much pop - it's more rock - it's more of a rock record.

Oh I know.
Yeah, well so do I! That's no secret to anybody; I always talk about it – that I like to rock and I'm…


You know, I was talking for at least 5 minutes…

Oh no!!
…and then you weren't there and I was like, I don't know what's going on. It's pissing rain here right now.

Well, you know what? It's pissing rain here as well and I had a black out- I lost ALL power including my phone connection.
Oh, ok. Well, we're driving back now; we're going to the hotel. Maybe the reception will be better.

Sorry. Where were we?
Um……I don't know where we were.

What pearls of wisdom did I miss out on there?
Um… you know, I don't know. I was babblin, man. I couldn't—unless I recorded it and listened to it—I couldn't tell you what I was talking about!! (laughing)

You asked me a question and I was answering but I don't remember where we left off but it was like 10 minutes ago.

(still laughing). Ok….so it's time to record a new album and you've obviously got something on your mind. How did you bring it up with Jon about style and what you wanted to do?
Well, you know, we just talked about it and said, 'Look, is there really a reason to repeat ourselves here and keep writing exactly the same stuff on every record?'
I mean, really, is there a need to do that? We've all these new areas we can go—Arnel's coming into his own. He has no brakes; we don't have brakes with him so let's just experiment a bit. I look at this record, Eclipse, like it's our new Frontier record-like Frontiers one was for us, when we put it out with Steve.

That was a totally experimental record at the time and I think some of this stuff is even more straight up. But, there was nothing wrong with it back then; I don't think there's anything wrong with it now.

I think it's a lot…what's different about the record is that it's a long play record-you listen from one end to the other and it's not like you pick out this song and then you pick out that song and you have those 2 saved…and everybody's going to have their favs but really I mean, and unless I'm wrong, that's the way I listen to it and I like it. I think it's got a great flow and musically it goes up and down, like it should and it keeps my attention, which is hard to do, man! Honest to God!

I love the 'journey' of an album—pardon the pun. I love 45 or 50 minutes of an emotional ride; I don't want to hear 4 minute singles all the time.
Yeah. I mean, those are great too but they also easy to come up with and we have a lot of those already. You know, I mean, we've got tons of hits like that and so we're trying to move forward here and show some light of existence and new area and not just repeating the same thing over and over and over - move the chords around, move the melody around, do the same groove, don't change anything up too much. That's the bit, you know.

Well, on the positive side of the reviews, that where you've gained a lot of respect, you know, for not taking it easy—for not sitting back and just being lazy or whatever you want to call it.
Yeah some people are getting it. I've read a lot of really great reviews and a few bad ones, but you've got to expect both sides—like I said, you can't please everyone…but the ones that do get it, absolutely get it.

Yeah, well as much shit as I get on the message boards, I like to think that I got it so…(laughs)
You did and you're catching a lot of shit for it, too!! (laughing)

It's ok! I don't care either!

What do you from here? Have you got a long term plan as far as what you'd like to write next or do you just forget about it for a couple of years while you're on the road?
You know what? We're not…I'm not thinking about that right now. We're just starting touring here and we have a very young record. (laughs) Some people are cutting the legs off already and saying, it's done! It hasn't started yet-it hasn't begun yet…that's the way I look at it, especially when we're going to support it for 2 years on tour. Things just haven't started really yet.

I agree completely and I only asked that because I wondered if you actually set out a plan or you just take it as you feel at the time and live in the moment.
Right. That's it. I mean, that's all you can do-play the cards. You know what I mean? You're dealt a deck of cards, man, and you play 'em as they're coming.

Absolutely. I talked to Arnel about this and I was saying to him that he's so well accepted now, I think. This is a tough question, but do you think some of the stuff that was aimed at Arnel in the beginning was because of the way you swapped singers? Could there have been a better way of doing things?
(pause) You know (pause), things happen for a reason, Andrew.
And for some reason, things just did not fit like a glove…like we thought it might and we felt the need to find a guy and that was just my gut instinct - it was everybody's gut instinct.
But it's not taking away from anybody, it's just…that's the way it went, that's all. I suppose when you're looking back, there's always better ways of doing things but, at the time, we all like listened and had eyes wide open and we said, you know-we need to find somebody.




I'm going to keep calling back till we get this interview done!
(laughing) Oh, it's fine, I don't care.

Did you ever expect to find Arnel where you found him? Not as far as the YouTube thing but just, being from the Philippines?
I didn't know what I was going to find. I was looking into a lot of different singers on there and there was a few guys that I heard that absolutely had great voices; it was more of a soul thing. I was looking for that. I like soul but I was looking…
I wanted the rock mixed with the soul. We needed to find a high tenor: somebody that had a high tenor voice to properly do our old stuff as well as just for us to sound the way we do - the way we're supposed to sound. Arnel was really the only guy who I stumbled upon him and he is the only guy that I really…when I heard his voice I went, WOW—who is that?
Honestly. He just struck me - immediately. I went, that voice is something else.

Yeah. It is.
I think it was just fate. He's a really great guy and he's very humble and he's very talented and nobody deserves it as much as this guy. He was like homeless!

I know! It's unbelievable.
He's never forgotten that. He's definitely tremendously talented; he has a God given gift. Ok? No matter how long other people work on it and work on it and they get better at their craft and they sing better and they do this and that, some people are just gifted from the second they were born. To sing or to play whatever they're playing and they have a natural ability—he is one of them.

You worked with Kevin Shirley again for this record. But not the mixing aspect?
You know what? Kevin always does a great job; I found the problem with Kevin, you know, is he is always so busy-he's all over the place. And, it's hard to lock him down for enough time. (laughing) He's something. You know what I mean? That's what we found when we were done, it was like there was a whole lot of extra work that needed to be finished and that's why it's co-produced by myself and Jon.
Arnel pretty much re-sang the whole record; I re-did a lot of guitars and…added some keyboard parts and finished stuff up and tightened things up, moved string parts around. I mean, I did a lot of work with Jonathan on this record-- you know, after Kevin left.

Then, I was there for the whole mixing process with David Kalmusky and Jonathan would come in. But I sat there hour after hour in Nashville and made sure I got the best I could get out of it. I think that had we not done that I think the record would not sound the way it does. And I think, personally…I think it's one of the best sounding records we've made in a long time. I think the fidelityis full…a big bottom end that we don't have on a lot of our records; we compared all the mixes. We made like a little Pro Tools session and listened to ALL our records in a row-little bits and pieces of ALL our different records. They were big records and we then listened to the new record go by and it was just like… it sounded bombastic compared…it was all smashed in the middle. It's wide range fidelity and I don't care what anybody says-the proof is that if you listen to it side by each---you know, a lot of older records were actually mixed more for radio.
Because of all the compressing they used on radio and whatnot. This record was made for you to play over a system—like a good system…

…or even good speakers on a computer, you know what I mean?

And not for radio, so much. All the mixes that used to go out to radio in the old days are so horrendous sounding when you put them on a record player.
You know, they sounded great on the radio; it was nothing but high end sizzle and noisy! Just noisy!

I love the way…I love how Deen sounds on this record.
The drums…we worked long and hard on the drums, too.

Man, they're big!
The drums. The way they were recorded—there was issues with them. Big time.

We re-worked a LOT of that. Yeah. There were certain songs the mike wasn't on the snare! (laughing) I had to duplicate the snare and move it around! It was like…there were some issues.
You know, there was just a lot of work, Andrew, that's all I can tell you.
More work than I have ever done on any record, ever in my life.

It sounds like it.
Thank you. When we all finished with this and it was down to the sequencing. The sequencing was really…like if anybody wants to try to sequence this record in a different way…let them try! I listened to this record every frickin' which way you could listen to it. Moved every song, moved it around in front of it, in back of it. I mean…. I came with some of the stuff that more Journey-friendly - Someone and Anything Is Possible - I tried moving those up more towards the front and the other stuff sounded so out of character.

So, I worked on the sequencing for a couple of days straight and that was what I could get out of it—to where it flowed as an overall statement.

I feel it really does! I'm not sure I could rearrange it any better either.
Yeah. Well, you know all I can tell you is I know that I worked my butt off on this and the end result is absolutely as good as it can be for what it is.
And, if you don't care for it, then you don't care for it; if you love it, you do. It's like that, you know?

Absolutely. I think you've done a great job; there's no doubt about it and I'm glad you're on the road and things are going well.
Yeah. Things are good. I'm looking forward to getting back to our system. We had own PA system in the UK and in the United States. These shows that we're doing right now, we have whatever system you have that the promoter supplies you with and that's just the way the smaller shows go. So, it's more challenging for our mixer and such but, I mean, I think he's been doing a great job.

Yeah, ok.
I've heard some complaints here and there about sound but he's still fairly new with us and he's learning our stuff to great detail.

It's getting better and better by night by night. That's all I can tell ya.

Who is that? Is that your new permanent guy?
Yeah. He was out with Nickelback and he's done a lot of people. He's done Halen before, he's done Ozzy—Lionel Ritchie (laughs). All sizes—in fact, he's done Chicago. If you look at his roster, I mean it's just miles long. So, he's getting a grip on our stuff right now.

There was a different guy, Martin, actually that was mixing us, from South America. So, it's like we switched in midstream. With Martin, it was very more of a clinical mix; it didn't sound like the band to me. He's very good at what he does but it was more like a Steely Dan version of Journey.
Everything was separated and we were all compressed and tight. You know, Deen and I—sometimes sounded like we were in a closet!

And, so, it was just not working for Deen and I at all. Our new guy is a little bit on the other side so he's having to pull it back a little bit. He gets it rocky like a big monster but then he needs to be able to put it on top in the vocals. It's a fine line and he's...he just said to me the other night - he said, 'This band is not as easy as I thought it would be to mix.'
I said, No, it's not! But now, you're finding out. There's a lot going on that doesn't meet the eye when you listen to it. Jon's got a lot going on over there and there needs to be space made so that everything can be heard.
But, he's getting a grip on it! I really feel that he is.

Very cool. I've got to ask you 2 questions about the album that keep popping up. So, don't shoot the messenger but the one thing that everybody keeps saying is, This is Neal's record. Do you agree?
Well, you know what? It was…I've always wanted to do a conceptual record.
Whether or not we got a conceptual record - I don't know about that. I think musically it is a conceptual record, the way songs flow into other songs.
Conceptually, with lyrics, being about what they are on the record, I think that does flow too, but, obviously, it's not like a theme to it, lyrically, where…like a Tommy with the Who or anything like that.
So, you know, it was a vision that I had and but I think it's just as much Jon's record as it is mine! And the whole bands'.
I mean, Jon wrote the songs with me. And Arnel wrote on 2 songs and so I think it's all our record.

Yeah but it is a guitar record - there's no doubt that it is more of a guitar record.

And you know, some people maybe would prefer to hear the songs shorter but I felt no need to chop them shorter. I'm like, Why the fuck chop the stuff up when we're going to make a single anyway out of a song—it's going to get chopped up anyway for radio. For the actual record, why not have it stretch a bit? You know? If someone doesn't have the patience to listen to it then they just don't! You know but I felt no need to chop it up for radio purposes because I'm looking at it and I'm going, Really, how much radio is out there any more?

That's the exact same thing that Jack Blades said to me a couple of weeks ago when I was talking to him.
When Jack and I worked together… Jack and I were working on the other solo project that I worked on - you know I made 2 solo records after the Journey record and Jack helped me with the one with Marco and Deen… and so we were talking about it and I said, you know, what's the need to chop everything up? I don't get it.

That's what he said.
I'm like it's not like it's played on radio anymore and if they do want to play something, it's so easy to chop it up and not make it sound like it was like completely chopped off at the legs any longer: with Pro Tools there's a smooth way of doing it, where in the old days with tape, an edit was an EDIT…

(laughing) Literally!
…just cut it off. Cut it off a lot. I mean, we chopped down the City of Hope and we're chopping—we're ready to chop all of them.

Obviously, they need to be chopped but I just didn't feel the need.

Well, there isn't a need-you're absolutely right.
Kevin Shirley, before he left his last .02c was - I saw some stuff that he sent to Jonathan - he said, I feel there are too many guitar solos, it's too long, chop it up, and I was like, Well you could shorten stuff up, but then I said, Why??
It's a long play record; it's that type of record you know.

Oh, I'm lovin the extra guitar!
Well, like I said, it's always easy to chop later. If need be.

Here's the other big question that keeps coming up. You stated that you needed Arnel to return to the legacy sound, then there's the criticism that now this new album isn't the legacy sound! So what were you talking about?
Um…(laughs) Well, I don't know how to answer that. You know, like I said, we all need to feel like we're moving forward at one point and this is Arnel coming into his own. I mean, we can easily go back and go and write another Separate Ways - we can go back and write another Faithfully - we can go back and write another Stone in Love - you can go do that. But it's like we already have those songs.

Well, people will argue with me, well, you don't need those songs anymore - don't play them! I'd rather hear you play this! Everybody…it's a catch 22 constantly, Andrew. It's like, you know, no matter what you do, someone is saying, You should be doing this…and in the end, you need to do what you think you ought to do - not what everybody else thinks you ought to go.
We're in a Lamborghini here; we're switching gears and we're not stuck in neutral, you know what I mean?

…or first or second gear. Things are opening up! We're learning about who this new band is - with Arnel. We can…I don't think…Who knows what our next record will sound like.
You know…I have NO clue. But I can tell you that the fact that we made this record is a record that I wanted to make and everybody loved it when we were done with it and –I still LOVE it!

I still love it too.
Yeah. I think that it's a great record. It wasn't made specifically for radio - no it wasn't. Period.

Well, I'm glad…and that's exactly what Jack Blades said, “We didn't make it for radio; we just did what we wanted to!” (laughs)
Well, Jack was, before they started recording their record, we were talking about it! I'm like, man! ALL our songs are like 5, 6 minutes long! He goes, Really? And I go, YEAH! I go, Who cares??!
You know? I mean, if somebody, whoever, is listening and they don't like it because it's too long, they can always move forward - you know, go to the next track!! (laughs)

You could put out a 30 minute edited version for those that like concentration.
Like I said, Andrew, it's always easy to chop; you can't add. When you've added it from the git go, you can't add later. You can always take away.
And, all these songs can be put more in a radio friendly way to where they can be chopped down to 3½ minutes and still make sense.

Sounds good. I heard Arnel talking about Arrival, saying how much he liked the songs on that and it's still a GREAT album.
Yeah. We actually considered, at one point, Jonathan and I were talking about re-doing some of that stuff as we did with our Greatest Hits. And we felt very strongly about Arrival, too, the material –wise.

It's a great album.
Who knows, you know? Maybe we'll do something like that: maybe we'll dabble into that. We could have done more Greatest Hits 2 with this record…like the other Greatest Hits that we did with Revelation and do the same thing we did last time. We just chose not to, you know.
Well, we've definitely started something because now everybody likes the idea of re-doing a greatest hits but, once we got into it, and I realized it wasn't going to be that hard, I said, Why don't we do a full length record? You know, I want to do a new record…as well. So, a lot of people are doing that now.

Ok, so I like the idea that this is a stand-alone record it gets to stand on its own. But you're not ruling out doing some re-recordings of Arrival tracks and some other stuff at a later date?
No, I'm not opposed to that at all. I think we have great material on there, which I think…personally I think Arnel will KILL!
Not that Augeri didn't do a good job - he did! But, you know, they are 2 different guys.

Oh absolutely—very much so. You've managed to pick up singers with their own identity yet still have the Journey sound, haven't you. You've been pretty clever with that.
I think, honestly, Arnel is like…the guy. When he's not tired and he's not sick---he had a bit of some kind of chest thing going on where some of his high end went away for about 4 or 5 shows. He was really struggling—the smoke. The problem is, Andrew, is there is a lot of cigarette smoke over here.

Oh I know!
There's so much smoke in the air. I'm telling you what, when I played with Paul Rodgers, for a time, if ONE person lit up a fucking cigarette, he would leave the stage.

Really? (laughs)
He would. I mean, that was his thing-he hated cigarettes. I mean, like most singers do and it was like a couple of these places we played, I felt like I inhaled a carton of cigarettes while we were on stage. I don't even know how he sang with that crap…it was very, very difficult. It got in his lungs and it took him a bit south for a second, but he's on the road to recovery right now - he sounded really great last night.

It's a different thing in Europe, isn't it - the whole smoking thing is still widely accepted, isn't it?
I told my stage manager, Rob, today I said, I want fans-across the front of the stage - not ON the stage but like just build a little platform down there. And I want fans all the way across. And he's building them for all the cigarette smoke and he's blowing all back into the audience.

(laughing) If they're gonna blow smoke up, then it's going to go right back into the audience.

Great stuff. Now when are you coming to Australia - come on!
Next year! We're supposed to come next year.

Yeah, that's what I keep hearing. Is it going to happen?
I think so! I mean, honestly! I mean, it sounds pretty solid. That's why we're doing…we're not doing 2 years to go back into the same markets.

Well, I know that there's a lot of people down here that have waited a long time for you guys to come here.
Yeah! We need to put the right package together for it. I would love to play some dates with Barnes there. With Jimmy Barnes.
You know, seeing Jonathan wrote and produced that Freight Train Heart record for him and I played on it—we could have some fun.

That's a killer record. It still is.
I know! I love the record.

It's still his best album.
I haven't heard him years but, man…what a voice. I heard he's back in Cold Chisel…that's amazing.

Anything you'd like to say in concluding, Neal?
You know what? I think the record stands on its own merit and I'm sticking with that. I think that anybody that thinks that this record is done right now is COMPLETELY wrong.


There's a lot of records that I've seen that were out there like 8 months before something even hit and so we've got a lot of stuff and a lot of different ways to go about getting this record out. And everybody said, well, it's more of a European record…well, yeah! Europeans are digging it but it doesn't mean that it's not going to happen in the States too but we actually need to get there.
We need to GET there and make some things happen. It just doesn't happen like magic, man! We've got to be seen on TV; we gotta promote it! You know?
It'll happen.

I'm sure it will. I'm sure it will; it's a great record and it deserves it and thanks for making a record that really appeals to me! (laughs)
Thank you. I'm glad you appreciate it; there was a lot of heart and soul went into this thing: that's all I can tell you--a lot of effort.

Yeah. It shows. I think it shows. Whether you like it or not, you cannot deny that there's a whole bunch of stuff going on there.
Well, I'm glad you see it, my friend.

So, that's it for me, Neal; I'm off to bed.
Ok, Andrew. It's great talking to you. I haven't talked to you for long time.

It's been a while.
Best wishes to you and you're family.

Thank you, mate! Hopefully, I'll be able to bring them over to see a show next year.
Great! I'd love to see you.

Thanks for your time, Neal.
Thank you! Take care.


c. 2011 / Interview by Andrew McNeice




Frontiers Records May 2014 Releases Spot (Official) / Featuring California Breed, Timo Tolkki's Avalon and Neal Schon.



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Neal Schon: guitars, lead vocals
Marco Mendoza: bass guitar lead vocals
Deen Castronovo: drums, lead vocals

Thursday, May 1, 2014
So U
Produced By: 
Neal Schon
Running Time: 
Release Date: 
May 16

Guitar legend Neal Schön 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 Schön, 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 Schön 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 Schönhas 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. Schönmoved 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, Schöncontinues with the band today in its latest incarnation.

In addition to 6 solo albums and 14 studio albums with Journey, Neal Schönhas 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 Schönstill 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, Schönalso worked with Gibson to manufacture his own limited edition "Neal SchönSignature Model Custom Les Paul” guitar, but now uses custom PRS Neal SchonLTD 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

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