Neal Schon has denounced his Journey bandmates’ recent visit to the White House, and now the founding guitarist is hinting that the rift is severe enough to break up the current lineup of the band for good. After months of tension that has been brewing between Schon and longtime bandmate Jonathan Cain, the guitarist has been on a social media rampage over the fact that three members of Journey paid a visit to the White House and posed with Donald Trump in the Oval Office. Schon says his anger has nothing to do with Trump’s presidency but more about the exploitation of the band he co-founded in 1972.
According to WZLX, just a few months after Journey hit a career high with their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, keyboardist Jonathan Cain, bass player Ross Valory, and lead singer Arnel Pineda were photographed at a band meet-and-greet at the White House—an appearance that was set up without Schon’s knowledge.
Cain is married to Trump’s spiritual advisor, Pastor Paula White, who was one of only six religious leaders who participated in his inauguration in January, so the keyboard player’s connection to Trump’s White House is clear. But Neal Schon doesn’t like his band dabbling in religion or politics, and now he is hinting that the end is near for the current lineup of Journey.
Schon took to Facebook to address his bandmates’ recent visit to the White House.
“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 with intent to exploit the brand and use the name.”
Schon explained that his ire is not about Donald Trump, revealing that Journey had been asked “many times” to visit the White House during Barack Obama’s administration and that the band had turned down the invites.
“I believe our music is spiritual and uplifting and doesn’t need to be tagged with any one religion or politics,” Neal tweeted. “This is how we’ve always flown. It’s not about Trump at all.”
Neal also made it clear that “Journey” was not at the White House, but just “three individual members.” He added that while press room tours are done all the time, this one could have been done privately.
“The members who attended know my position and the way we’ve always been until now,” Neal wrote.
“Steve Perry, myself and the rest have always agreed the music we created is for Everyone…I had no prior knowledge of this from anyone. Not band members or management. This clearly shows no respect or unity, just divide.”
Schon seemed most disappointed in Arnel Pineda’s involvement in the visit, pointing out that he “found” him. Schon famously spotted Pineda on YouTube a decade ago and hired him to replace longtime singer Steve Perry.
“He’s living the American dream,” Schon tweeted about Pineda. “How quickly everyone forgets where they came from.”
Pineda issued a response a few days later.
He's living the American Dream … how quickly everyone forgets where they came from. I think the RRHOF has gone to everyone's head. Not me https://t.co/KkhbWrX2JV
— NEAL SCHON MUSIC (@NealSchonMusic) July 29, 2017
— Arnel Pineda (@arnelpineda) August 4, 2017
Neal Schon is the only member of Journey to appear on every one of the band’s albums. But now the Trump visit, which was orchestrated behind Schon’s back, coupled with rumors that some members want to tour without him, could mark the end of one of rock’s most enduring bands. But Schon insists Cain and Co. won’t take the Journey name with them.
Great they can grab whom every they want but I'm not some studio sausage … good luck ???? they will not tour as Journey https://t.co/6rZFOBGiO8
— NEAL SCHON MUSIC (@NealSchonMusic) August 3, 2017
Amid the drama, Schon, who has been unhappy with Cain’s religious-themed side projects, hinted on social media that he is toying with putting together a new lineup of Journey as he embarks on “a new musical terrain that we never have and encompass everything.”
“Hits are hits; we have a ton,” Schon wrote.
Neal Schon also posted several hopeful tweets about reconnecting with former Journey lead singer Steve Perry. The duo reunited at the Rock Hall induction in April, but Perry did not perform with the classic lineup of the band. Still, Neal continues to hold out hope that he will reconnect with Steve Perry on stage at some point, despite the fact that they haven’t talked since Journey’s Rock Hall induction in April.
It's Mutual we will reconnect. I know without talking to him. ???? https://t.co/eDJcFTE28K
— NEAL SCHON MUSIC (@NealSchonMusic) August 6, 2017
Take a look at the video below to see Neal Schon and Journey at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction earlier this year.
[Featured Image by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]