Former Journey lead singer Steve Perry filed a legal action against the band’s founder, Neal Schon, and the band’s longtime pianist and songwriter Jonathan Cain, according to Billboard and Rolling Stone. Below is the Rolling Stone story and Neal Schon’s response.
Rolling Stone Story
Jason Newman — September 20, 2022
Ex-Journey Singer Steve Perry Battles Former Bandmates Over Trademarks
Journey have existed in one form or another for nearly 50 years, with members Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain leading the arena rock group through various iterations over the decades. Though the band is nearly as (in)famous for their squabbles and legal battles as their many, many classic rock radio and karaoke staples.
Good news: Steve Perry, the golden throat heard on “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Any Way You Want It” and “Wheel in the Sky,” among many others, is ready to reunite with his old band. Bad news: It’s only because he’s filed legal papers against Schon and Cain over the trademarks to 20 of the group’s biggest songs.
As reported by Billboard, Schon and Cain, through their company Freedom JN LLC, own the trademark registrations to many of the band’s hits, which, as Billboard notes, “cover the use of the names on T-shirts, hoodies and other forms of apparel, making it easier for the band to sue someone selling those items.”
Perry claims the trio had an agreement that required unanimous consent for any business decision related to the trademarks and that he had not authorized said consent. He goes on to accuse the duo of “fraud on the trademark office” by what he claims is inaccurate information about the trademark.
According to the petition, via Billboard, “no partner may authorize, approve or disapprove any use or exploitation, or grant or license any rights in or to any group compositions, in whole or in part, (including, without limitation, the titles thereof) in connection with any product or otherwise, without the prior, written, unanimous consent of all of the partners.”
Reps for Perry and Schon did not immediately reply to requests for comment. Attempts to reach Cain were not immediately successful.
Perry was a member of the group from 1977 to 1987 and returned to the band from 1995 to 1998. Cain joined the group in 1980 alongside founding member Schon, who co-founded the group in 1973. In 2020, Schon and Cain fired members Ross Valory and Steve Smith after accusing them of trying to fund their retirement by wresting control of the band’s name.
The suit alleged that Smith and Valory tried to launch “a coup to assume control of one of the band’s corporate entities” and claimed the duo incorrectly believed that controlling the entity would allow them to gain control of the Journey mark, thus providing them “windfall payments in the millions of dollars… after their retirement.”
Valory filed a counter-claim against the duo, with his lawyer noting to Rolling Stone at the time that “Ross is shocked and devastated by the conduct of his lifelong bandmates (Schon and Cain) and is disappointed that there was never any attempt to sit down and discuss what is most likely a misunderstanding and something that easily could have been worked out.”
The group reached an “amicable settlement” a year later in 2021, though terms were not revealed. Perry released his latest album, the Christmas-themed The Season last year, while the band released Freedom, their fifteenth album, in July.
Neal Schon’s Response
September 21, 2022
“Steve Perry Sues…
Here’s how it goes friends.
Jonathan Cain calls a board of directors meeting out of nowhere – then before I found out about the meeting Jonathan came to me and said he didn’t like what they ( Ross Smith Perry and Herbie ) were planning.
On that meeting Steve Perry -Ross – Smith and Herbie voted myself and Cain off the board of directors , Steve and all – voted Ross in my place and Smith in Jonathan’s.
They all knew at this time I’d been investigating our Trade marks for years trying to get to the bottom of all corruption as we found ( my wife and I ) that nothing had ever been Trade Marked besides our music.
They all went for a take over and it didn’t work. Quite simple.
So my wife (Michaele Schon) found a legitimate Trade Mark attorney that wasn’t in the corrupt musical circles and we were then
Successful in attaining it￼ to Protect everything we built.
We had been getting ripped off since the beginning until I shut it down.
So the question is – Why did no one else’s attorneys “Steve Perry’s” who was actually who was actually hired to be our Band attorney by our accountant Tim Jorstad at one time also and individual band attorneys and other so called trade mark attorneys help us do this ?
It was a giant corrupted ring of people that either Managnent or accountants hired to work for us cashing in on all our merchandise till now , all along knowing there was No Trade Mark on our merch.
At this point I decided to protect￼ and go for All album titles as well as song titles as no one else had in 49 years of so called professional business￼ .
The more we got educated on how Song Writing and Copy rights have NOTHING to do with Trade Marks.
You haven’t heard the last of this friends. We are going to peel back the onion.”
Neal Schon Journey Lead Guitarist – Founder – Manager
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.