Journey’s Feud Reportedly Started In 2017 White House Visit
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Fans of Journey may find it upsetting and perhaps, startling, to find Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain’s recent legal disputes and verbal spats while they are preparing for their just-started 50th-anniversary tour.
However, by looking back around five and a half years ago, during the summer of 2017, fans will be able to put the current strife in perspective.
On July 27, 2017, Cain, singer Arnel Pineda, and bassist Ross Valory visited the White House and got a picture with then-President Donald Trump in the Oval Office. Although Cain is married to Paula White-Cain, who served as the evangelical advisory board chairman in the Trump administration, the keyboardist mentioned in one of his statements that he considered the visit as a “historic opportunity” and “not an endorsement” of the president.
Schon, on the other hand, conveyed his displeasure with his bandmates through his social media account. The founding guitarist wrote at that time:
“I will remain strong and consistent with the belief we’ve always shared and agreed upon — Journey should never be used and exploited by anyone, especially band members, for politics or any one religion.
“I’ve been here since 1972, and this has always been our belief. This was an intent to exploit the brand and use the name. Journey was not there — three individual members were. … Tours are done all the time, but it could have been privately. … I had no prior knowledge of this from anyone. Not band members or management. This clearly shows no respect for unity, just divide.”
He also explained, “I don’t have a problem with Trump. It’s all politics. We’ve never allowed this. It’s not smart to mix,” which was later followed by a tweet that reads: “I don’t care about anyone [visiting] the WH. They have tours, but using Journey is not accepted by myself.”
Schon insisted too that what has happened was an “exploitation without my permission and at my expense, being the founder,” and promised that his bandmates “will be hearing from me.”
Given that everything had been positive and upbeat during Journey’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction a few months prior in Brooklyn, the timing of the 2017 White House spat was particularly intriguing. Even though he didn’t join the band to play on stage at the ceremony, the celebration brought former singer Steve Perry back into the fold.
A few weeks following the tour, Cain claimed that no talk of the White House or other topics had taken place. He said:
“I don’t know. I just don’t know. You’d have to talk to [Schon] about it. I stayed neutral on it all. I woke up one morning and there was a storm, and I just didn’t get it. Arnel and the guys — Arnel especially — wanted to go meet the chef [Cristeta Comerford] who cooked there for 22 years who was Filipino. So we did, and it was a private tour. … It wasn’t Journey-paid. And somehow a picture got taken … and then, boom, the picture came out and everything happened. It was just an innocent visit. It wasn’t anything political.”
Cain also commented on Schon’s reaction and he stated:
“Well, you know, he decided to share it with the fans instead of talking to me. … I have no comment on it, except it was a private visit, which turned into this big, blown-out thing. And then, of course, more stuff came out, and more stuff, and it was hard. It was just hard to watch.”
After the scandal, Journey did perform a few times, touring with Asia and appearing at the Classic East event at Citi Field in New York alongside Earth, Wind & Fire, Fleetwood Mac, and the Doobie Brothers. Carl Palmer, the drummer for Asia, later admitted that he didn’t observe any division on the tour saying:
“It was not evident at all.
“They were incredibly professional. They would pass each other in the corridors and … fist-bump each other. You would not see any of that [rancor] at all. … That may have been going on in social media, but it was not going on onstage and it was not going on in the corridors — and we did 42 concerts altogether with them. I don’t think it’s ever a wise thing to wash your laundry in public, but that’s … up to them. All I can tell you is they were the utmost in their professionalism every which way, and I was absolutely knocked out by them.”
Cain said the reason for that is simple. He insisted:
“The music is bigger than all of it.
“It’s bigger than any kind of squabble, any kind of whatever you’ve got. We just showed up and played our asses off, that’s all. I love this band too much, and Ross loves this band, and we love our fans. I think in the end, we all have to just tolerate and get along. I’m prepared to do that.”
“I think time heals all things, and you move on.”