The long wait is over for Journey fans with the release today (July 8th) of Freedom. The new album marks the band's first new studio set since Eclipse was released in May 2011. The Walmart exclusive debuted on the Billboard 200 album chart at Number 13 and was the band's second to feature current frontman Arnel Pineda.
While promoting the new set, leader Neal Schon revealed that he and former-frontman, the iconic Steve Perry, have reconnected as friends, with Schon telling Vulture, “We were very, very tight. We’re talking and getting to know each other again — though not trying to get together musically again, but he’s learning who I am now, through a portion of our business that I’m kind of controlling now. I’m talking about a Journey trademark that I’ve obtained, as we’ve never owned our own trademark. All these years, many people lied to us. My wife and I finally got to the bottom of it after investigating for years. We were fought hard by everybody, but we managed to obtain the trademark. So we’re talking about that and figuring out the future of that, but we’re talking.”
Schon went on to say, “He was a really funny guy. I saw a fraction of a moment of it when we got together before the Rock Hall of Fame induction (in 2017). I managed to get into his room, which was locked down like Fort Knox. We had a good hang in there. I felt like I still knew this guy and we were still really great friends.”
Neal Schon told us that the same exact thing that alienated the rock press back in the day, was what was driving Journey's album sales and concert attendance: “I've always felt, that Journey, y'know, has been a special band — even from the very get go — and that we were bringing something different from the table. And even at the height with Steve Perry in the '80s, that we were getting panned all the time by every writer, I never paid any attention to it, because I almost felt that the band was so musical and musically diverse; there really wasn't any type of music that we couldn't play. So, I think that a lot of writers got a little frustrated with it, 'cause they couldn't put us in a box with other bands and compare us. We came from so many different musical angles. I thought it was something that set us apart.”
Keyboardist Jonathan Cain, who composed the Freedom album with Neal Schon, co-wrote such classics as “Don't Stop Believin',” “Open Arms,” “Stone In Love,” “Who's Crying Now,” “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” — as well as writing “Faithfully” all on his own. Cain, who is a born again Christian, told us that faith plays a tremendous part in his songwriting: “It's like pin the tail on a donkey a lot of the times, you're like. . . you're like, you're blindfolded. And you're given this music and now it's time to breathe a lyric into it, y'know? And you have to put yourself into it and I think it's a big Holy Spirit moment, y'know? He, He guides you there where you're supposed to go. Probably the hardest Journey song for me was 'Only The Young.' Two months sitting on my kitchen table, my kitchen table was the cassette player with that song in it. And every morning I'd wake up with my coffee going 'What is this?' I was patient. (Laughs) I sat with it. It's a struggle.”