Steve Perry’s departure from the iconic band Journey has been a subject of speculation and rumors for years. While some attributed it to a hip injury that hindered his ability to tour and perform, others pointed fingers at Neal Schon, the band’s lead guitarist, as the cause. In a candid interview in 2003, Neal Schon shed light on the true reason behind Steve Perry’s decision to leave the band.
Neal Schon’s Side of the Story: Dispelling Misconceptions
Neal Schon, the talented guitarist of Journey, addressed the longstanding rumors surrounding Steve Perry’s exit from the band. Contrary to what many believed, Schon revealed that Perry’s departure was not influenced by any personal competition or animosity between the two musicians. He clarified:
“Everybody blames me for him not being in this band, but I just got to laugh at it because it really wasn’t my decision for him not to be in this band.” Schon emphasized that Perry made the decision himself and had no desire to continue with Journey.
“He did not want to do it, and there have been a lot of people that have speculated and said, well, it’s because I couldn’t stand a competition with Perry and this and that and all this bullshit, but we have just traveled to different places.”
Musical Differences: The Catalyst for Perry’s Departure
Beyond personal reasons, Neal Schon highlighted the importance of musical preferences as a contributing factor to Steve Perry’s decision. The guitarist explained that Perry wasn’t as enthusiastic about performing rock music, and as the band progressed, the musical direction became softer, which wasn’t in line with Perry’s preferences. Schon expressed his love for rocking out on stage, but Perry’s inclinations leaned differently. This disparity in musical vision ultimately played a significant role in Steve Perry’s decision to part ways with Journey.
“He never really liked to play that much rock n’ roll, even when we did our double live record ‘Captured’ in Detroit; that’s probably the hardest this band has rocked, even if I think it sounds dated when I listen to it now. Progressively we got softer and softer, and great music is great music, but I still like to rock, and it was very hard to get it going,” Schon revealed.
Legal Battles and Post-Departure Tensions
Steve Perry’s exit from Journey wasn’t without its share of legal complications and tensions among the band members. Perry took legal action against Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain, seeking to prevent them from filing trademarks for numerous Journey songs. This legal strife created headlines and fueled disagreements among the former bandmates. However, despite the post-departure tensions, Schon made it clear that he and his wife were focused on protecting their merch and were not attempting to exploit Steve Perry’s legacy.
So much for JC trying to throw me under the bus as he claimed I was blatantly trying to rip off SP while collecting the checks for the very diligent work my wife and I did to protect our Merch. Time for coffee 👍🏽 pic.twitter.com/xsGQBr0wob
— NEAL SCHON MUSIC (@NealSchonMusic) January 7, 2023