The big news this weekend concerns the arena rock band Journey. The veteran musicians are keeping things fresh with new line up changes due to an alleged coup attempt by their former bassist and drummer. As a result, they are now welcoming former American Idol judge Randy Jackson back into their band as well as Grammy winning drummer Narada Michael Walden.
The drama started back in May when then bassist and drummer, Ross Valory and Steve Smith (respectively) attempted to orchestrate a “malicious and very ill-conceived” coup to try to wrestle control of the band’s copyright away from founding members, guitarist Neil Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain. Reportedly they were holding improper shareholder and board of director meetings behind the other member’s backs.
As a result, the musicians become involved in a legal battle in which Valory and Smith ended up countersuing Schon and Cain accusing them of breach of contract and emotional distress. The battle rages on. However, ultimately the two musicians hired into the band were dismissed from their duties.
The band’s lawyer released the following statement regarding the matter.
“The Journey name is controlled by Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain, and for very good cause. They don’t want to perform with Smith or Valory anymore, they don’t want to have anything to do with them, and that’s their right. They’re going to go on with Journey, continue with the great success of the past and these two guys are going to get replaced.”
This would be the second time Valory was fired from the band. He played with Journey previously in the mid-80’s. Ironically, at that time, he was also replaced by Randy Jackson. Jackson went on to play with the band and made an appearance on the 1986 Raised on the Radio LP.
Schon announced news of Jackson rejoining the band with much excitement. He took to social media with the following statement. “Ok Friends word is out! @randyjackson RJ the Big Dawg is our new Bass player again.”
Schon also made mention that Walden would be taking over drummer duties releasing a separate post which stated “Word is out! @officialnarada Narada Michael Walden is our new Drummer! Multi talented song writer Producer / Mahavishnu orchestra The J Boyz will have a new Strut thank you for your love and help my LadyM,”
The band then made it official debuting their new line up with a socially distanced performance of ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ which was part of the UNICEF Won’t Stop fundraiser concert.
Currently, like so many bands, Journey is on hiatus from live shows due to the pandemic. Their summer tour with The Pretenders was canceled and there is no word on whether that will be rescheduled to a future date. For now, fans will just have to wait to see Jackson play with the band for a full, onstage production, but at least we will have something else to look forward to when all this is over.