Journey Fires, Sues Bassist Ross Valory And Drummer Steve Smith

Years of infighting and strife between the members of Journey has culminated this week with the firing of co-founding bassist Ross Valory and longtime drummer Steve Smith.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday in California Superior Court accuses the rhythm section of launching a 'corporate coup d'état,' in an attempt to wrest control of the band name from the other principal band members.

The suit, filed on behalf guitarist Neal Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain, says Valory and Smith sowed discord within Journey and put their self-interests ahead of that of the group with their alleged scheme.

Journey is asking the court to strike down Valory and Smith's attempt to gain control of Nightmare Productions (an entity the pair incorrectly believed held Journey's naming rights) and seeking $10 million in damages.

If the Valory and Smith were successful in their coup, it would have effectively ended the band, Journey's law firm, Miller Barondess, LLP, said in a statement.

Schon, Cain and Steve Perry agreed in 1998 that the three of them had the "irrevocable right" to Journey's trademarks.

The lawsuit claims that Smith and Valory conspired to "oust Schon and Cain" from Nightmare Productions in an ill-fated attempt to "hold the Journey name hostage and set themselves up with a guaranteed income stream after they stop performing."

Valory and Smith were previously fired from Journey in 1985 over creative differences but brought back a decade later.

Lead counsel for Journey, Skip Miller, said Schon and Cain didn't want to take legal action against their longtime bandmates, "but the devious and truculent behavior of Steve and Ross left them reluctantly with no choice but to act decisively."

Journey has a tour beginning in May with The Pretenders. The band plans to move forward "with top musicians" supporting Schon, Cain and lead singer Arnel Pineda.

Photo: Getty Images

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