Journey Drama: Is Neal Schon Bringing Back Gregg Rolie?
Neal Schon has signaled that founding Journey keyboardist/singer Gregg Rolie will have some role in the band’s upcoming tour. In a post about the tour on the band’s Facebook page, a fan commented, “Please tell me Gregg Rolie is coming along for the ride! He’s the better keyboard player and a co-founder it only seems right.” Per Loudwire, Schon replied, “You’ll be seeing him.” Schon did not elaborate on what that meant.
Schon and Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain have been feuding publically in recent months. Cain recently accused him of . Prior to that, Schon's legal reps sent a cease-and-desist letter to Cain's legal reps, after Schon took issue with the keyboardist performing “Don’t Stop Believin'” at a gala event hosted at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla. Schon has always maintained that Journey is not a political band.
Earlier today, Schon tweeted, “No one is going to dictate to me at this point what I can and cannot do in regards to Journey. I haven’t been here and not here to take orders- never have and never will. It’s my band and I’ll own it as I should and make the right changes as needed.” When one fan asked, “Who is trying to dictate to you?” Schon replied, “Have a guess..”
No one is going to dictate to me at this point what I can and cannot do in regards to Journey. I haven’t been here and not here to take orders- never have and never will. It’s my band and I’ll own it as I should and make the right changes as needed. NS pic.twitter.com/VKFXSrhOvQ— NEAL SCHON MUSIC (@NealSchonMusic) January 5, 2023
In the replies, Schon posted a meme that read, “Narcissists act out with frustration, sulking, resentment and rate when things don’t go their way.”
Schon and Rolie’s history goes back more than five decades. Rolie was a founding member of Santana; he was the keyboardist and lead singer on classics like “Evil Ways,” “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va.” Schon joined the band for their third album, 1971’s III. He stayed through their jazz-influenced fourth album, 1972’s Caravanserai. After that album, both Schon and Rolie quit the band. The pair later formed the group that would become Journey, releasing their self-titled debut in 1975. The band also included Ross Valory on bass, Geroge Tickner on guitar and Aynsley Dunbar on drums. Singer Steve Perry didn’t join the band until their fourth album, 1978’s Infinity.
Rolie left the band after their sixth album, 1980’s Departure, and suggested that Jonathan Cain be his replacement. Cain joined the band for 1981’s Escape. He co-wrote hits including “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Open Arms” and “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart).” He also wrote “Faithfully” on his own.
In recent years, Rolie (one of the few musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice) has been playing with different iterations of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band. Schon and Rolie both briefly rejoined Santana for the 2016 Santana IV album. Schon and Rolie also reunited for a few small shows in 2019.
There’s no word on what Schon’s intention is, in regard to Rolie. It’s doubtful that he could replace Cain with Rolie, especially if Cain is an equal partner in the band, business-wise. Could Journey just move to a lineup with two keyboardists? Possibly. Or Rolie could join the band for a few songs each show, including ones where he sang lead vocals, like on “Feeling That Way/Anytime.”
In much less controversial Journey news, Chris Daughtry has just released a new cover of “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” featuring Lzzy Hale of Halestorm. Check it out below.