Jonathan Cain Calls Feud With Neal Schon a ‘Bump in the Road’
Journey keyboardist and guitarist Jonathan Cain said his 2017 feud with guitarist Neal Schon was one of many “bumps in the road” they’ve experienced during a near-40-year relationship.
The disagreement, which played out in public, was fueled by Cain’s visit to the White House with bandmates Arnel Pineda and Ross Valory, and arranged by Cain’s wife, Paula White, who acts as spiritual adviser to President Donald Trump. Schon objected to what he felt appeared to be an endorsement of Trump by Journey, and at one point suggested he was maybe ready to form a new lineup of the band.
“For me, it was a historical chance to go, and it wasn't political,” Cain told Rolling Stone in a new interview. “I’m a history buff and was dying to see where all this history took place. I know Arnel wanted to meet the Filipino lady [Cristeta Comerford] that has worked as a chef there for 20-something years. And Neal and I weren't on speaking terms during that time. He was bashing me, so I didn't think he would want to come. That's all.
“It was just an offer to take a tour. It wasn't an endorsement. Not at all,” he continued. “And Ross decided to come and see the building that Eisenhower bowled in. I was like, ‘A bowling alley? How cool!’ We got to see the loft where they make the cookies. The kitchen was so tiny. We saw all the little nooks and crannies, and were like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is amazing.’”
Cain dismissed the public dispute that rose from the visit as "just something that happened." "We've had a tremendous relationship for 38 years," he noted. "Any relationship that goes on that long, there's bound to be bumps in the road. But I think the band and our fans are bigger than all of this stuff. When you read my book, you'll see the mountains and the struggles that we had to overcome together. … Neal and I brought this thing, along with the rest of the guys, back to where it belonged. I'll always be grateful for that. We're brothers. I'm proud of that.”
Adding that it wasn’t difficult to continue working with Schon, Cain compared their spat to "kind of like if you have a fight with your wife. You live in the same house. You have to weather it and overcome it. For the fans, the music is all that matters. We all have our private life and then we have Journey. You go through these things and you gotta get out the steam. … Let's hit reset and make great music.”
The subject of music had also caused disagreement in the past, with Cain thought to be the main objector to making a new album. “That's not necessarily true,” he pointed out. “I think there's timing for everything. I just felt like the last couple of years wasn’t the time for new music. There has to be a time where it feels right, not only for the marketplace, but for us as a band.”
Cain explained that he felt there was a small market for new music these days. “I’ve certainly been writing," he said. "I've got some killer new ideas, so maybe it'll happen. I'm looking forward. If it's going to happen, we have to all come together. And it has to feel like the right time.”
Journey will tour the U.S. with Def Leppard later this year. Cain’s memoir, Don’t Stop Believin’, comes out on May 1.