Will Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain Go Their ‘Separate Ways’?
Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain have been the foundation of Journey for decades, but they could be at risk of falling apart following a lawsuit over a credit card.
Cain joined Journey in 1980, following the departure of co-founder Gregg Rolie. He and Schon soon started songwriting together, and the band quickly reached its commercial peak with 1981's Escape. Schon and Cain helped create many of Journey’s most iconic hits along with singer Steve Perry, including "Don't Stop Believin,'” "Only the Young” and "Be Good to Yourself.”
Schon and Cain also teamed up in the supergroup Bad English when Journey went on hiatus in 1987, before returning for various reunited lineups of their main band. By 1998, Schon and Cain became 50/50 partners in Nomota, a limited-liability corporation that handles band business.
An American Express card associated with Nomota is now at the heart of a dispute. Schon filed a lawsuit claiming that Cain “improperly restricted” the guitarist's access to the account and its documents. Cain then pointed a finger back at Schon, citing his “excessive spending and extravagant lifestyle, which led to him running up enormous personal charges on the band’s credit card.”
This is not the first time the two have exchanged a war of words. Schon openly bristled in 2016 when Cain began expressing more outward Christian beliefs. The two went through a more public fallout a year later after Cain and two other band members posed for a photo with President Donald Trump.
"Wow, this is not the Journey I started in 1972 and have been fighting to protect since the beginning," Schon wrote at that time. "I've discussed this many times with management and counsel, and they both agreed that there should never be anything to do with religious beliefs or politics with Journey."
Ironically, another legal matter involving other members of Journey brought Schon and Cain back together. They fired Ross Valory and Steve Smith from the group in 2020, accusing them of an "ill-conceived corporate coup d'etat."
Schon and Cain had seemed to find a comfortable new balance, releasing Journey's first new album in more than a decade with 2022's Freedom. There was shared respect for one another musically, despite their inherent differences.
“In the end, he needs me as much as I need him,” Cain said earlier this year. “You don’t like me or you don’t like my religion or my politics, fine. But in the end, we come together to play music. That’s what it’s about.”
Schon agreed, describing their relationship as “more of a musical one. Jon and I have a great chemistry musically. When we get together, we always come up with something that’s happening.”
The credit card-related lawsuit may have tipped the scales, however, as they are now poised to air their dirty laundry in court. Schon has already accused Cain of “interfering with Journey, refusing to respond to booking opportunities, blocking payment to band members, crew and vendors." Meanwhile, Cain claimed Schon is “under tremendous financial pressure as a result of his excessive spending and extravagant lifestyle, which led to him running up enormous personal charges on the band’s credit card.”
They remain bandmates for now, despite the ongoing legal battle. A court date is scheduled for March 3, a month after the first in a series of dates commemorating the band's fifth decade. "So sounds like the 50th-anniversary tour is dead then?" a fan asked on Twitter a day after Cain's first response to the new lawsuit. Schon's reply: "Not for me."
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