In the course of their now almost 50-year musical journey, the band Journey, founded in 1973 in San Francisco, not only went through many skins - massive disagreements were not left out either. For example, their current main protagonists, guitarist Neal Schon (the only remaining founding member) and keyboardist Jonathan Cain (architect of the band's mass success in the '80s), are not exactly of one heart and soul. In the interview Cain finds both praising and slightly critical words for the new Journey album "Freedom".
When Jonathan Cain joined Journey in 1980, the band formed seven years earlier by former Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch members had already entered the rock mainstream with hits like "Wheel In The Sky" and "Lights." But his entry marked the beginning of their most successful phase: "Don't Stop Believin'" was just one of the songs that made Journey one of the most successful bands of the '80s in the U.S., alongside Foreigner, Asia and Toto. But while Cain drifted further and further into Christian fundamentalist territory and became a Trump admirer, Neal Schon retained some of the hippie ideals that had shaped him in the early '70s. A visit by Cain to Donald Trump shortly after his inauguration left deep rifts between the musicians, who had previously been friends - at least in terms of their shared art - and led to the temporary quasi-dissolution of the band. But eventually Cain and Schon got back together, at least on a musical-business level
eclipsed: You have two drummers in the band now? Why? Does Neal Schon want to make you a hippie band again?
Jonathan Cain: (laughs) That's not true anymore. For a while we had two drummers, but Narada Michael Walden wants to cut back after a small heart attack, and so Deen Castronovo, who came back, is our only drummer
eclipsed: Before we get to the new album, enlighten me on who is currently in the band. You are on tour in the US right now.
Cain: The core is Neal, our lead singer Arnel Pineda, who has been with us since 2007, and myself. The rest of the musicians can change from album to album and tour to tour.
eclipsed: This is probably also related to the fact that former band members Ross Valory and Steve Smith secretly tried to get the rights to the Journey name and brand. [Schon and Cain subsequently sued them in 2020 and kicked them out of the band, note]
Cain: That's where Neal and I pulled together, and that's how we are and will always be Journey.
eclipsed: And you were able to agree on "Freedom" as the title?
Cain: Yes, exactly. That fits with a lot of worldviews ...