South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Journey set to rock Busch Stadium

Journey plays July 6 at Busch Stadium with others

Journey is back on tour in a big way this year, headlining arenas this spring before spending a chunk of the summer co-headlining a stadium tour with Def Leppard.

The legendary rock band will take the stage at Busch Stadium July 6 alongside Def Leppard and Cheap Trick.

Journey guitarist and founding member Neal Schon and keyboardist/guitarist Jonathan Cain agree that today’s edition of the band has never played or sounded better.

Speaking during a recent video interview, both Schon and Cain – the two remaining members going back to the early 1980s when Journey was churning out hits like “Don’t Stop Believing,” “Any Way You Want It,” “Open Arms” and “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” – shared thoughts on the band’s past, the 2022 album “Freedom,” recent lawsuits, disputes and personnel changes, and regaining a level of popularity that has Journey headlining indoor arenas and stadiums.

“Neal would tell you it’s probably the most solid band we’ve had in a while. We finally found a great sound guy in England who really gets it,” Cain said. “The band has never sounded better. So I’m really happy with the way it gets presented. Finally, it sounds like the Journey everybody knows. It’s back to the ‘80s, that’s what it sounds like.”

For a time not long ago, however, there was plenty of speculation over whether Journey, having regained their status as an arena headliner, might see it all come apart, just as the band reached the 50-year mark.

In 2020, long-time bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith (a member during Journey’s 1980s peak) were fired from Journey after they sued to gain rights to the Journey name – a move Schon and Cain termed an attempted coup. The suit was eventually settled – amicably, the band has stated, though terms of the settlement have not been made public.

Soon a revamped lineup was in place, with drummer Narada Michael Walden and bassist Randy Jackson stepping into the lineup to join Schon, Cain, singer Arnel Pineda (who joined the band in 2007) and keyboardist Jason Derlatka.      

This version of Journey made a new studio album, “Freedom,” during the pandemic, with Walden producing. The band then returned to touring in spring 2021 – with drummer Deen Castronovo (himself a previous member of Journey from 1998 to 2015) replacing Walden, and Todd Jensen joining on bass.

But there were more issues to come – this time between Schon and Cain.

In early 2023, Cain and Schon traded lawsuits over access to an American Express account used to handle Journey’s finances. Cain had blocked Schon from having access because he felt the guitarist was recklessly spending the band’s money – an assertion Schon denied.

Schon also sent a cease and desist letter to Cain after the keyboardist joined a sing-along of “Don’t Stop Believing” at a November 2022 event for former president Donald Trump. Cain’s wife, Paula, had served as a spiritual advisor to Trump and they have become friends – and supporters – of the former president. Schon took offense to Cain’s performance, noting that Journey never was and never would be a political band.

Now all seems well again within Journey, after Schon and Cain had a heart-to-heart talk this past fall and resolved the credit card lawsuits.

“Basically, all we really did was get fed up with the legal and having legals talk instead of us,” Schon said. “I went down and met Jon and we talked for a couple of hours and we talked through it all. I think that’s what fixed everything.”

Cain agreed, saying outside entities were contributing to the friction.

“Over the last four years there were a lot of people that were out to divide us so they could control of us,” Cain said. “In the end, it should just be the brothers that made the music. He and I created this thing. … We believed that in our hearts and we backed it up with a lot of hard work and touring, and here we are.”

In fact, Schon and Cain have gone hands-on in managing the band and overseeing its business functions, including income, expenses and merchandise sales.

And of course, they’re leading Journey as the band returns to touring. Fans can expect to hear Journey’s biggest hits – the “dirty dozen” as the band has nicknamed them – along with a handful of either new or deeper cuts. This makes crafting set lists a bit of a challenge, but it’s a problem many bands would welcome.

“We just have a massive catalog with so many great songs that we don’t get to,” Cain said. “That’s the problem. When you play the dirty dozen, all we have is a slot for six songs we can play maybe. Then you have to rotate.”

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