Classic rock band Journey are now in an ongoing legal battle which pits the band’s founder Neal Schon and longtime member Jonathan Cain against the band’s founding bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith. As a result of this lawsuit, Valory and Smith have been fired from the band, and are accused of attempting a ““corporate coup d’état” for control of the group’s brand.
Lawyers on behalf of Schon and Cain claim that the two attempted to “hold the Journey name hostage and set themselves up with a guaranteed income stream after they stop performing.” They allege that the two attempted to take over Nightmare Productions, an events entity created by former Journey manager Walter Herbert, since December of last year.
They allege that the two believe that the band’s name and trademark were under the Nightmare Productions banner, however the band’s former lead singer Steve Perry had set up a deal with Schon and Cain in 1998, which gave them the sole, exclusive, irrevocable right to control the Journey Mark, including the Journey name.”
Their lawyers are seeking damages in excess of $10 million as a result of this lawsuit. They also state that their alleged attempt to take over the brand name “destroyed the chemistry, cohesion and rapport necessary for the band to play together… The actions taken by Smith and Valory shattered that trust… Schon and Cain have lost confidence in both of them and are not willing to perform with them again.”
Valory has played on each of Journey’s releases, with the exception of 1986’s Raised on Radio, while Smith joined before the release of the band’s 1979 album Evolution. The two left the group over creative differences in 1985, but reunited with the band a decade later, although Smith would leave again in 1998. Smith finally rejoined the bandin 2016 before this firing.
Photo Credit: Mauricio Alvarado