Neal Schon Says Fired Journey Drummer Didn't Care About Making A New Album


Journey co-founder and guitarist Neal Schon offered some insight into friction that predated the band's schism earlier this year with drummer Steve Smith and co-founding bassist Ross Valory.

The newly-configured version of Journey has been working on a new album over the past several months. In a conversation with Eddie Trunk surrounding the band's plans, Schon offered a detail that illustrates a fundamental disagreement between himself and the ousted drummer.

"Steve Smith had made a comment to me before that he was not interested in making any new music, he was interested in picking up the paycheck," Schon said. "Right then, he lost me, you know what I mean?"

Schon is as excited ever about the new batch of Journey songs. He suggested that Journey might have two albums finished by the time the band is able to tour again post-pandemic.

Making new music and exploring new territory, he says, is fundamental to what Journey is all about — it's in the band's name, after all.

"I'm all about creating and moving forward, as well as hanging on to the good things that we've done in the past," he said.

The lawsuit filed by the band against Smith and Valory this winter following their termination alleged that the pair attempted a "corporate coup d'état," an attempt assume control of the band's name so they could continue to profit from Journey's activities, even after they retired.

Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain argue their former bandmates' attempt to expand the board of Journey's Nightmare Productions, Inc. company to include Valory and Smith, plus former lead singer Steve Perry and longtime manager Herbie Herbert, was an attempt to stack the board against the band's two primary songwriters.

Valory and Smith have argued that their action was entirely legal. They say their former bandmates interpreted it as a mutiny so they could fired them and keep a larger share of Journey's earnings to themselves.

Valory's lawyer told Business Wire in April that Schon and Cain never made "any attempt to sit down and discuss what is most likely a misunderstanding and something that easily could have been worked out."

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