Neal Schon has told Rolling Stone that he and his JOURNEY bandmates are “deep in” the writing and recording process for their next studio album. “It’s coming along, man,” the guitarist said. “It’s really shaping up. Narada [Michael Walden, producer/drummer] and I have been working nonstop. Jonathan [Cain, keyboards] is also working from his houses in Florida and Nashville. Arnel [Pineda, vocals] is working from Manila. [Bassist] Randy Jackson is working mostly from L.A. And it’s one of those Zoom sessions and it sounds phenomenal. It sounds like we’re all playing in the room at the same time. I actually can’t wait until we do get together and start putting the show together. The new single should be coming out mid-February.”
Asked how the new JOURNEY members have changed the band’s sound, Neal said: “You have to hear it for yourself. It still sounds very much like JOURNEY thanks to the songwriting, my guitar playing, and the vocals. But the rhythm section is definitely a powerhouse. Narada has been known for years, and Randy Jackson is a completely monstrous bass player. Some people may not be aware of his work, but they have credentials that go way, way back. Randy and I have always been pretty in tune, and Narada and I are in tune. And now it’s coming together. It’s got a new strut to it.
“There’s nothing we really can’t play,” he added. “I’ve got a track I laid down with Narada the other day. I sent it to Arnel and he was freaking out. He said, ‘This sounds like brand-new [Jimi] Hendrix or Prince. Please write more of that.’ And I was just messing around. It was just a jam we did and it turned out to be monstrous. We’re creating. We aren’t afraid to go to new places. It’s easy to stay safe and write where we have always been. We have a bit of that so we don’t lose everyone, but at the same token, this is a new chapter of JOURNEY. I want to go where we have not gone before.”
As previously reported, JOURNEY is scheduled to headline the 2021 edition of Lollapalooza‘s flagship event in Chicago on July 31.
Last March, JOURNEY parted ways with bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith after the two allegedly attempted a “coup” in order to gain control of the JOURNEY trademark.
The new JOURNEY lineup performed a socially distanced version of “Don’t Stop Believin'” for UNICEF USA‘s virtual event “UNICEF We Won’t Stop”, which aired in May 2020 on MSNBC. That same month, JOURNEY was supposed to launch a North American tour with THE PRETENDERS, but canceled the trek amid the COVID-19 pandemic.