March 5, 2020

An attorney for JOURNEY guitarist Neal Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain says that they "don't want to have anything to do with" the band's former drummer Steve Smith and bassist Ross Valory anymore.

This past Tuesday, Schon and Cain filed a lawsuit against Smith and Valory, who have been members of JOURNEY on and off since the band formed in 1973, claiming the two attempted a "coup" in order to gain control of the JOURNEY trademark.

The suit, which seeks more than $10 million in damages, accuses Smith and Valory of holding an "improper" shareholder and board of directors meetings last month during which they ousted Cain and Schon from leadership posts at Nightmare Productions under the "incorrect" assumption that the company held the rights to the JOURNEY name.

"Given Smith and Valory's greed, self-dealing and breaches of their fiduciary obligations, Cain and Schon expelled Smith and Valory from JOURNEY," the lawsuit, which was filed by Los Angeles-based firm Miller Barondess, said.

Skip Miller, a lawyer for Schon and Cain, told Rolling Stone: "The contracts are clear on their face. The JOURNEY name is controlled by Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain. And for very good cause, they don't want to perform with Smith or Valory anymore, they don't want to have anything to do with them, and that's their right. They're going to go on with JOURNEY, continue with the great success of the past and these two guys are going to get replaced."

In 1985, Schon, Cain and then-JOURNEY singer Steve Perry entered into an agreement via the corporate entity Nightmare Productions providing the trio with an "exclusive, irrevocable license" over the JOURNEY trademark. In 1998, after Perry's decision to leave the band, Perry, Cain and Schon entered into another agreement, which authorized Cain and Schon to control the use of the JOURNEY name going forward and expressly authorized them to perform together as JOURNEY, with or without anyone else.

The only other remaining member of JOURNEY is singer Arnel Pineda, who joined the group in 2007.

JOURNEY still plans to embark on its previously announced spring/summer 2020 tour with PRETENDERS, which kicks off in mid-May. Smith and Valory "will be replaced with other very talented musicians," the lawsuit says.

Photo credit: Erik Kabik

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