Steve Perry’s Accusation Against Neal Schon That Splits Journey Fans
Steve Perry released his first solo album ‘Street Talk’ in 1984 however before that Neal Schon had already released two studio albums outside of Journey. Schon worked with drummer Jan Hammer on the ‘Untold Passion,’ and ‘Here to Stay’ albums that were released back in 1981 and 1982.
Even though Neal had moved on to separate projects outside of Journey several years before Steve did, people assumed that if Perry hadn’t given his solo career a start then Journey wouldn’t have split at the time. So when the singer was asked in a 2008 interview with GQ, if his solo career was the the beginning of the end for Journey, Perry replied:
“No. I think the beginning of the end was when Neal started his solo career. Neal did a solo album way before I was thinking about it, with Jan Hammer. And I said to Herbie, the manager, ‘I think this is a bad idea’—that it would fracture the band on some level. And he said ‘No, he’s gotta do what he’s gotta do. I’ve tried to talk him out of it, but he wants to do it.'”
After ‘Here to Stay’ was released, that’s when Steve started considering working on a solo album. He added:
“Then he did his second one, and I said ‘OK, look, if he does a second one, I’m probably going to end up doing one.’ Then [drummer] Steve Smith wanted to do a jazz record.”
After Neal’s second album came out, Steve went on to work on a solo album of his own. The singer explained:
“So after Neal did his second solo album, I went to LA, and in about three weeks, I wrote ‘Street Talk,’ which was a bit of a nod to the earlier band, and to the bass player who’d passed, and with some great studio musicians and cowriters, we just knocked the record out and we released it.”
Although Steve and Neal worked on their visions separate from Journey, Perry shared that he always thought they would still come back to the band and continue where they left off. The rocker continued:
“And the theory coming from Steve, and I kind of understood it, was that everybody’ll go out and be able to express themselves musically in some other areas, and then when we reconvene, perhaps we will have discovered or found things that we can bring to the group to help the group evolve. And so I thought that was okay.”
Journey did stick together for another decade before Steve decided to officially split from the band in 1998. He fully embarked on his solo career and in a 2019 interview with Classic Rock, Perry finally revealed why he didn’t return to Journey. He said:
“I think the band is doing really well… And I’m enjoying what I’m doing. I love my new music… Isn’t it better for the soul to keep reaching for the things that you’re afraid to do, not the things that are safe to do?… Why go back? Throwing yourself into the abyss of the unknown, and trying to figure that out, is thrilling to me.”
You can read Steve Perry’s 2008 interview with GQ here and listen to ‘Untold Passion,’ ‘Here to Stay’, as well as ‘Street Talk’ below.