The aboriginal allotment of our account with Journey guitarist Neal Schon focused on his accessible actualization at the first-ever ‘How To Be A Reality Star’ event, accident in El Paso, Texas on June 23.
But there was additionally a lot of new music to allocution about. Schon is afterwards all, by his own admission, not a “reality star.” Aboriginal and foremost, Schon is a artisan and he had affluence of music-related bowl to clue us in on, including some thoughts on accessible new music from Journey forth with some best belief from his bright past.
Wow, that’s a continued time ago! I still adulation that little EP. I anticipate that complete wise, if we’d spent added time on it and got absolute drums, as against to little synth drums [it could accept been better]. But I listened to it about a ages ago and I was like, “Wow, progressive,” you know? [It’s a] little on the breeze side, but I like it!
Well you apperceive what, the way I attending at it is: okay, I anticipate there’s actual little radio left. Thank God for you guys and anybody that you’re affiliated with that gets actuality out there. So I feel like why not? Why not amplitude things out and accomplish them a little added musical. Because its giving the adviser article added than a three and bisected minute song than they apprehend on the AC station, which is appealing abundant the ascendant affair on radio anymore.
I had a absolutely abundant gig aftermost night, we did a accolade to Ronnie Montrose. It was a account for him and I got to comedy with Steve Smith, Ed Rock, Ronnie’s old keyboard amateur and [Styx bassist] Ricky Phillips, who additionally played with Ronnie on bass and who I was in Bad English with. It was a absolutely air-conditioned night. We kicked off the actualization and the admirers aloof went off. I beggarly like OFF, off. We were absolutely beating some accelerating admixture rock.
We did do ‘Town Afterwards Pity,’ which was Ronnie’s big hit and the abode came unglued. But afore that, I aloof anticipation it was appropriate, I capital to comedy article of my own, because I anticipation it was article I capital to do a accolade to Ronnie with. It was a song I did off one of my abandoned annal alleged ‘Prayer for Peace’ and I anticipation it was absolutely appropriate. Bodies were aggravating to allocution me out of it, that they alone capital Ronnie Montrose songs and so I said ‘Okay, okay, I won’t do it,’ [but] aback I got on stage, I did it. Bodies were aloof bugged by it.
It acquainted so great, aloof to accept everybody in the approach of my duke with article that they didn’t absolutely know. And afresh we went into ‘Open Fire,’ which was an active that Ronnie and Steve Smith did on a bout that we were all on calm in 1978. It was Van Halen, their actual aboriginal tour, Ronnie Montrose with Steve Smith and afresh Journey, was the bill. So Ronnie opened [his set] with ‘Open Fire’ every night with Steve Smith. I abstruse that the added day and afresh put my own exhausted on it and added a few sections to it and they aloof ate it up. We awash like monsters aftermost night.
The abode aloof affectionate of came unglued. I anticipation it would go bottomward well, but I didn’t anticipate it would go bottomward as able-bodied as it did, so I’m absolutely blessed that I got complex in the accomplished event. They filmed it and they recorded it, so maybe it’s article for everybody to attending advanced to.
Yeah, Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, all of the acceptable accompany of mine, in this little tiny building, the Regency Center. It’s an old theater, it’s a little bit abate than the Fillmore. It’s like an old amphitheater – it looked absolutely air-conditioned in there and it was airtight to the max with people. I anticipate it awash out in a brace of minutes. They could accept calmly confused to a bigger venue, but it was nice, it was quaint. They absolutely got it. I was so afraid how they absolutely got it.
I was initially declared to comedy in the average of the actualization about and afresh Sam capital to comedy in the average of the actualization area I was playing. So I was either gonna accept to comedy at the end of the evening, which I anticipation you apperceive what, everybody’s activity to be tired, they will accept had a lot of Montrose songs by then, Gamma songs with vocals. And I said, “We’ll comedy an instrumental.” So I aloof absitively I’ll accessible and it was the adapted choice, because we took the admirers by storm and definitely, they’re not activity to balloon that.
It was a acceptable affair to do and I apperceive Ronnie was smiling, so I acquainted absolutely acceptable about it.
There’s a agglomeration of them! [Laughs] Really, I accept to acquaint you [regarding Eddie Van Halen], I bethink sitting in my old abode in ‘78 up on the acropolis in Mill Valley with an old almanac amateur and I accept their little red EP on with ‘Eruption,’ right? And I’m sitting in the bedchamber with a guitar and I’m aggravating to bulk out what the hell he’s doing, you know? I’d never apparent the borer thing, you know, with the adapted hand. I saw Harvey Mandel do it maybe a brace of times, but I’d never apparent it done with triplets.
So I wasn’t acquainted of it and I was affairs my beard out aggravating to bulk it out. Usually, I could anatomize about annihilation I listened to and I wasn’t hip to that technique. So until I met Ed and afresh he showed me that, I was like “Wow, you would accept befuddled me for a loop.” I didn’t apperceive what that was. Afresh he showed it to me and of advance afterwards you see it, it’s accessible to emulate. There were so abounding guys that did it afterwards that, I approved to break abroad from it. But yeah, it was a aggressive guitar bill. And all I can acquaint you is that at that time, Eddie was red hot, but I was jamming hard, Ronnie was jamming hard, we were all jamming hard, you know? [We were] captivation assimilate our own, but I was animated I wasn’t advancing afterwards Van Halen at that point, that’s all I can acquaint you.
Because they were aloof advancing out of larboard acreage and it was cast new and Ed was the new kid on the block, a gunslinger. Van Halen would do their set and afresh by the time Ronnie came on, they’d be trashing a bathrobe room, throwing the aliment around, accomplishing the archetypal bedrock brilliant stuff! [Laughs] Accepting drunk…it was a agrarian tour!
No….well, it didn’t abide in our tour. They did affluence of it! [Laughs]
I did a brace of abandoned annal adapted afterwards the Journey almanac [‘Eclipse’] was completed. I backward over in the studio, because we had that year off and I proceeded to do addition record, a abandoned almanac with Steve Smith and Igor Len and afresh Jan Hammer did a bedfellow actualization on two songs. I’m accepting accessible to absolution that. But adapted now, you can go to SchonMusic.com and there’s a chargeless download of the arch track, ‘The Calling,’ on there.
You know, Joe Satriani told me aftermost night, I ran into him and I wrote him and I said, “Hey, analysis this out. You let me apperceive what you think,” and he told me he admired it. He said [it’s got] abundant guitar accent and I dig the track, air-conditioned playing. I’m appreciative of the record, but I affectionate of active it. I absolved in and I didn’t accept annihilation able at all. I aloof had an accessible slate with a agglomeration of paintbrushes, guitars and amplifiers. Smith would appear in and he’d do a little eight-bar bend for me of what affectionate of bounce we’re talking about, of what I appetite to comedy off of. And afresh I’d say, “Can you go accept cafeteria or article for bisected an hour and afresh appear aback and I’ll be done.”
So I’d map it out and put a accent guitar down, align the affair the way I heard it in my arch and afresh Steve would appear aback and he’d accept to it. He’d address bottomward my adjustment and afresh he’d go out and epitomize the drums to my new adjustment to a bang and comedy it like it was a abounding bandage playing. He’s aloof amazing like that. And afresh I went aback and I replayed some of the accent guitar [parts], some of them I kept. And afresh I’d alpha arena solos, alike afterwards bass, aloof freelance soloing and afresh I played the bass on it to go with the solos, so it came about in a altered affectionate of way, but aback you accept to it, it sounds like a absolutely affiliated leash with keys actuality and there.
I had Igor Len on the almanac too that I did, ‘I On U,’ which I did before, and ‘Electric World.’ He’s affectionate of like a Jan Hammer blazon keyboard amateur with classical and applesauce background. So I had him comedy a lot of acoustic piano applesauce solos on it. It’s a absolutely absorbing mix, the accomplished record, it has a lot of altered flavors and colors in the almanac area actually, I’m alert to it now aing to a year afterwards and I’m starting to like it added and more. You know, usually I abhorrence myself. [Laughs]
It’s rockin’, man. The almanac is absolutely rockin.’ It’s one of the best rockin’ annal I’ve anytime made. I’ve fabricated a lot of adapted abandoned annal and some softer ones, because I was on that new age label, Higher Octave, for a while. This now, I had some money and absitively that I was activity to absorb money this time on a almanac rather than try to do it in my bedchamber with Pro-Tools and a Roland V kit on drums. I capital a absolute flat and alloyed in a absolute flat and spent a lot of time mixing. The almanac sounds really, absolutely good.
You know, there’s about any arrive on it at all. The alone affair that I would say is that I was tempted, the guy I alloyed it with, David Kamulsky, who additionally did the aftermost Journey record, I was tempted to accept him adept and pump up the bass. You know, the low lows. But afresh absolutely what best bodies do is they bite in the loudness on on the radio or stereo adjustment and aback you do that, the affair aloof absolutely comes to activity and it gets monster. Afresh it’s time to crank it. The accomplished almanac sounds like that.
But afresh I did addition almanac adapted afterwards that, I backward in the flat for addition ages and I’m bond this one adapted now. It’s with Deen Castronovo on drums and Marco Mendoza on bass and this almanac angry out absolutely slammin’. Absolutely altered than the one I did with Smith. It’s a ability trio, absolutely tripped out like backward ‘60s/’70s, but avant-garde too in some areas, with all of us singing. I’m singing advance on some tracks, Deen is singing advance and Marco is singing leads. Jack Blades helped address about all of the lyrics on the almanac with myself, Marco and Deen.
It’s absolutely cool. Sometimes I adulation recording like this area I accept the time. I had the time off – I had a abounding year off from touring so I absitively to booty advantage of it and absolutely dive into what I adulation doing, [which is] creating in the studio. Basically, both of these new annal that are advancing out, I created out of nowhere. I consistently accept a bulk riffs active about in my arch and melodies and it’s consistently been like that for as abounding years as I’ve been playing. It’s not like I anytime accept a abridgement of ideas.
This is the one affair I anticipate that Pro-Tools is absolutely air-conditioned for that you can use to your advantage is in a artistic process. In the old canicule afore Pro-Tools was around, a lot of people, you’d go to bandage and you’d accept to rehearse absolutely able-bodied afore you go in. Because you’d usually appetite to get animate performances and animate achievement consistently gelled better, articulate bigger and acquainted better, but you charge to be able-bodied rehearsed.
When you don’t absolutely apperceive what you’re activity to play, afresh Pro-Tools absolutely comes in accessible because you go, “Okay, let me address this section. We’ve got this area and I’m activity to address addition section. I’m activity to address a B area and I’m activity to address a abandoned area and afresh I’ll appear aback and address addition arch over here” and you affectionate of lay it all in with a little boom bend and afresh everybody plays it for absolute afterwards that. And I adulation it for that.
Actually, I haven’t heard the latest latest adaptation of HD Pro-Tools – there’s a new one out that Jonathan Cain was aloof cogent me that he put in his studio. He’s got a slammin’ new flat in Nashville that he aloof congenital and I can’t delay to try it. He says that it’s a new adaptation of Pro Tools that’s aloof batty sounding. It sounds like old two-inch bandage and absolutely huge and I anticipation the HD adaptation of Pro Tools which I acclimated on these annal sounds actual abundant like old tape.
Yeah, you apperceive what? I get on a cycle aback I’m writing. Like aback we got off tour, aback we accomplished [the aftermost tour], I’ve had all of this anarchy and applesauce activity on with Michaele and I and ambidextrous with 10 billion attorneys and all kinds of crazy stuff, man. And so I absolutely didn’t blow the guitar for a continued time and I do that a lot aback I get off tour, I aloof don’t comedy for a while.
I’ve heard added guys allocution about it, like Jeff Beck and sometimes, I aloof like to get abroad from it and I acquisition aback I get abroad from it, it takes me like four or bristles canicule and a lot of practicing every day to get my chops aback up. And afresh I get into a cycle and afresh I get abounding again. You know, I’m a creator. I like to actualize and so the autograph aloof starts coming. Aback it comes, it comes in huge amounts. There’s absolutely so abounding ideas, that I accept to carve it bottomward and try to adjudge area I appetite to go.
And it’s affectionate of a air-conditioned affair aback you’re accomplishing a abandoned record, because aback I address for Journey, aggregate I’m autograph is really, I accept Journey in mind. And I don’t…we approved accomplishing the ‘Red 13’ affair with Journey and actuality absolutely beginning – alike admitting I didn’t anticipate it was so far out larboard field, a lot of added bodies did. And I’m already cerebration about area we’re activity to address and Jon and I accept already been talking about writing, area we’re activity to go with the aing Journey actual we appear out with.
I don’t apperceive if we’ll do a almanac or aloof go for a brace of singles and try to acreage it in a cine – I anticipate that’s apparently a acceptable abstraction at this point, because aback we go out man, everybody aloof wants to apprehend us comedy the greatest hits. There’s no way you can get abroad from that, no bulk what you appear out with on the new record. They appetite to apprehend the abstract and you accept to comedy them. I adulation arena them because the admirers loves them. So there’s no acumen to agreement in the studio. But you know, I anticipate I’d like to go aback into the Motown attitude that we were in, the abundant bedrock approach Motown ala like ‘Separate Ways,’ area the body association is there alloyed with the R&B bedrock dejection guitar.
Not really, you know? I accept to do what’s in my gut and chase my own intuitions. I accept to do what I like to do first. I can’t do what everybody abroad wants. That aloof would not be real, whether it’s amiss or right. I accept to do what’s in my heart.
You know, it absolutely has become….Jonathan wrote this song and brought it in and it was way, way afore Michaele fled to me. This was not a mapped out affair like some bodies are aggravating to say that we planned it for two years, that is absolute bullshit. We’ve consistently been acceptable accompany for like 15 years and it aloof happened. You know, things appear – I don’t apperceive why they happen, but it happened and it was a acceptable thing.
Jonathan brought in this song while we were accomplishing the ‘Eclipse’ almanac and I said to him, you apperceive there was a lot of ballads amphibian about and I said ‘Jon, you’ve got to accept a bedrock tune, like a ‘Separate Ways.’ Jonathan wrote ‘Separate Ways,’ so I said, “You accept to accept article like that” and he came in the aing day with that. And I went, “Wow, that’s great!” And we formed on it a little bit and confused some things about and afresh it turns out that aback Michaele did appear out to me, the adventure was actual abundant like our story, the way things panned out and so afresh I absitively I’d like to do a video.
I go, “We should do a video of this song.” It was like the aftermost day of the bout in Seattle, Washington and I assassin whatever blur aggregation I could acquisition – Nocturne [Journey’s assembly company] didn’t accept any HD cameras…I couldn’t acquisition any HD cameras, so I assassin a approved blur aggregation to appear out aloof to shoot approved film, some animate footage. Later, Michaele and I chip the actuality that we attempt in L.A. on the bank and chip it into that animate footage. And afresh later, the adaptation that is absolutely on iTunes now and accomplishing able-bodied – the distinct is absolutely woken up. I haven’t talked to our radio guy in a brace of weeks, but he said it was 31 with a ammo a brace weeks ago.
So that’s absolutely abundant news….I anticipate the song is a absolutely abundant song. And I anticipate the video is an accomplished video and I anticipate Michaele looks amazing [Laughs].
Yeah, you apperceive what? This is the one I’m talking to Jonathan, I don’t anticipate this almanac is done by any means. Anymore, the way radio and annal are these days, you can be out there for two or three years afore article catches and afresh it’s aloof a fluke. But I absolutely feel ‘She’s A Mystery,’ which is article that I had activity aback to the ‘90s, I wrote those guitar riffs and had the music appealing dialed in and afresh we formed on melody and lyrics and actuality with Jonathan and Arnel. But I absolutely feel that that is our AC distinct adapted there.
It would acutely accept to be chopped bottomward to like three-and-a-half minutes, which I anticipate you can do. Chop a lot out of the end, apparently achromatize on the bedrock area as it comes in so you won’t apprehend a lot of the bawl guitar stuff, but you apperceive what? AC radio, cipher cares about guitars [Laughs].
They aloof appetite to apprehend the tune. I anticipate it’s one of Arnel’s best vocals on the record, for real. I like the little hip-hop blazon exhausted that the guitar is arena to – it’s article altered for us and I anticipate the actuality that it’s different, I anticipate bodies will listen.
‘To Whom It May Concern,’ a acquaintance of abundance who I am authoritative guitars with and has been a absolutely abundant acquaintance and now I’m in business with again, Paul Reed Smith. He was on the buzz bygone agitated to me about ‘To Whom It May Concern.’ He capital me to accelerate him the book because he has new accomplishments vocals that he wants to put in and he wants to remix it with this acquaintance of his, who he said is a monster. He said the guitars are not loud abundant and the allurement boom is too loud and I appetite to put the accomplishments vocals [on] and so he’s activity off on me about that one, you know? And a lot of bodies accept admired that one too.
‘Tantra’ is addition ability carol on there, I anticipate the almanac is appealing deep. I don’t anticipate anybody knows about it yet, but I anticipate anytime it is a design in a atramentous mine.
Me? Nooooo. [Laughs]
That’s what I said too. My altercation with Kevin Shirley and Jonathan at the time….and we had big arguments on this record, because I absolutely had it in my head, I capital to accomplish this account with this record, behindhand of whether I was right, wrong, indifferent, whatever, I aloof acquainted like I had to do it. My altercation with them was that we consistently accept ballad-heavy records, okay? Yes, it is a ability of the band, yes we do do them great. But I’m adage at the aforementioned token, I said, ‘When we comedy live, we accept our ballads.’
We accept ‘Faithfully,’ we’ve got ‘Open Arms,’ we’ve got ‘Who’s Crying Now,’ – we’ve got all of these hits that we accept to play. You can’t do a set abounding of ballads, okay? Unless you’re arena a three-hour show. So I said, ‘I don’t accept the abstraction of consistently advancing with ballad-heavy annal aback we’re not activity to comedy any of them.’
On ‘Revelation,’ we had a No. 1 hit with the carol that Jon brought on that and that was a adventure and that got absolutely acceptable acknowledgment aback we played it, but still we accept to comedy the added ones and still we alone comedy for a assertive bulk of time every night. So my thing, what I was aggravating to accomplish everybody accept area I was advancing from, was that I like to feel the activity on date and I like to rock. I don’t apperception arena the ballads, but I don’t appetite to accept a abeyance in the set that’s absolutely bottomward for a continued time.
I anticipate so, I absolutely do. It shows that the band….do I anticipate we could accomplish a hit almanac with annihilation but all ballads, I do. But I anticipate that some bodies would additionally attending at it and go ‘oh, these guys are accepting sleepy.’ And I’m absolutely not activity asleep as a guitar player. If anything, I’m activity added animate these days.
I’ve consistently looked at guys like Jeff Beck and B.B. King who still accept it. Jeff Beck keeps ambitious to get bigger and bigger and so do I. I appetite to accumulate the activity up – I’m aloof not into…..even admitting you’re accepting earlier age wise, I’m activity adolescent admiral and my spirit is young. I appetite to comedy adolescent – I appetite to comedy like what I feel like.
Um, my abstraction adapted now is that it’s so adamantine to get anybody’s attention. So the accomplished affair that I did with ‘Resonate’ was my abstraction about award altered means to get the almanac out there and now with all of these belief in the media. You know, I talked to some of these journalists about cheating in a articulation of ‘Resonate’ that would be a two-minute articulation area they can get a glimpse of the video and accept to the song and afresh it goes anon to iTunes. I anticipate that was a air-conditioned abstraction and I’m cerebration of accomplishing the aforementioned affair with ‘The Calling’ and afresh absolution the record.
But I appetite to do addition video and of advance I appetite to do it with Michaele, because she’s with me 24/7. [Laughs] This time I appetite to stick about the motorcycle, maybe activity over the arch and I’ve got some absolutely air-conditioned account in my head. I’ve been talking to a video director, a acquaintance of abundance called Dan Barnett that did our ‘Live in Manila’ video. And he absolutely concluded up acclimation the blur allotment of the ‘Resonate’ video, appointment it to HD and refiltering it, so now it looks really, absolutely good, the accomplished thing, alike admitting it wasn’t all attempt in HD.
I’m activity to shoot this one, I anticipate I appetite to do it in the aing brace of weeks. The acclimate has been nice and I’ve got some air-conditioned account in my arch about accomplishing the video and I appetite to get some absorption with the video and afresh stick out the record. I don’t accept a almanac characterization that I’m cerebration about or anything. I don’t absolutely know…we were at Wal-Mart…and now Wal-Mart is now I heard closing their music division. So inevitably, you accept to appear up with a way that you can get your actuality out there. The actualization that I told you that I’m animate on, I can acquaint you that I’m animate on actuality that is activity to advice everybody get their music out there.
Wow, that’s amazing!
You know, it was abundant like that accomplished almanac was put together. I had a flat aback in the ‘80s, over in the East Bay that I took over from Larry Graham, the bass amateur from Sly and the Family Stone and that became Journey’s call place. We wrote aggregate there calm and Jonathan, I bethink he absolved in and he had the chorus, like “Don’t stop believin’.” And afresh he had the ballad chord. So he started arena the ballad ambit and afresh I bethink I was messing about with the bass line.
I came up with a little B section, “strangers waiting” and I said ‘why don’t we break on the ballad and do the choir with the aforementioned chords but do it with ‘don’t stop believin’. in it’ It all affectionate of came calm with the three of us cutting off account on anniversary other. It had the little guitar breakdown in the middle, you know, she took the midnight train. I capital to accord a eyes of a alternation activity by or starting up and so that’s area that came from.
It was an abnormal adjustment for the song. A lot of bodies go, ‘what is that guitar song in the middle,’ but afresh if you booty it out, it doesn’t complete right! So we messed about with it, but it was appealing abundant done in a brace of days, from what I recall.
You know, you absolutely do appear up with those affectionate of things aback you’re arena calm as a band, aback you’ve got a acceptable bandage area everybody plays their role in the bandage and this being brings this and this. He would accompany this, Jon would accompany this and I would accompany this and afresh all of the abrupt BAM, there you go!
You apperceive what, I don’t know. We don’t usually rehearse that much, to acquaint you the truth. We’ll apparently rehearse for a anniversary or so afore we go out, two weeks at the best and that’s a lot for us. Sometimes we rehearse four days. We get on the buzz and we allocution to anniversary added and we go ‘I’m cerebration about this, this and this.’ And it array of sticks the songs in everybody’s active and everybody does their appointment and affectionate of goes aback and remembers what they wrote. In that case like me, I accept to go aback and accept to actuality and go ‘I don’t bethink what the hell I did.’ I get complex in all of these added annal and it’s like too abundant information. You advance out some of the academician beef to let new ones in, you know? But I absolutely don’t accept a clue what we’re activity to do. We haven’t gotten that far, but I’m abiding we’re activity to alpha talking soon.
You apperceive what, Jonathan and Perry wrote that aural a brace of canicule as we were on bout in the ‘80s. Jonathan had that accomplished affair laid out and afresh Steve was singing it and afresh I aloof came in, Jon had the melody, I abstruse to comedy the melody and afresh I aloof soloed off the melody. Jon a lot of times comes in….like with ‘Faithfully,’ he brought that in the 11th hour that we were authoritative a almanac and at the time Kevin Elson and Mike Stone said ‘I anticipate you charge a big ability ballad’ and Jonathan came in with that the aing day and afore you knew it, I wrote bottomward my own archive and we played through it like already in the flat and that was the take. [Laughs]
It was crazy. There was no rehearsal. We listened to it a brace of times and I orrated some of the genitalia area I heard chart and Jon put some of the orrated genitalia that I did on guitar, afresh he added keyboards to it and we affectionate of congenital it off that. But a lot of times, things aloof abatement into abode out of boilerplate like that.
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