When Steve Perry Hated Neal Schon

Musical differences may fuel a band’s creative process, while, on the other hand, they can also end up causing severe disagreements among the band members. They eventually need to find common ground that will best benefit the band when it comes to producing collaboratively. In the end, it is all teamwork. So, it cannot depend on the decision of a single person.

Yet, the band members usually do not hesitate to state their opinions if they have any objections during their creative processes. Journey also went through a similar situation when the band’s guitarist Neal Schon disliked one of their songs. However, what drove Journey singer Steve Perry crazy was Schon’s changing attitude towards the track after the fans’ reactions.

What Caused Steve Perry To Hate Neal Schon?

The song that caused friction between Steve Perry and Neal Schon was Journey’s 1981 release, ‘Open Arms,’ from the band’s seventh studio album, ‘Escape.’ It is a power ballad co-written by Perry and Journey’s keyboardist Jonathan Cain. The song stands out with its distinctive poetic lyrics and ability to touch everyone’s heart.

It eventually turned into one of the band’s most popular songs, holding the top spots in the charts for weeks. However, the making process of the hit track was, so to say, full of chaos. When Jonathan Cain and Steve Perry finally finished ‘Open Arms’ during the writing sessions of ‘Escape,’ Neal Schon’s initial reaction to it was pretty negative. The band’s drummer Steve Smith later said that Schon didn’t like the song because he thought it didn’t carry their sound.

The guitarist was so insistent on his own opinion that he made the recording sessions quite challenging for everyone in the band. While they were in the studio, Neal Schon tried to provoke Perry and Cain with some insulting remarks. So, the recording of ‘Open Arms’ was painful for all of them. However, they finished it somehow and were ready to perform it for the first time during their Escape Tour in 1981.

The audience’s first reaction was incredibly positive. They quickly embraced the track, contrary to what Schon expected. Following the performance, the guitarist said to his band members that the song killed it on the stage, as shown in the Journey part of VH1’s ‘Behind the Music.’ Yet, Steve Perry hated Schon at that exact moment due to his hypocritical attitude.

Here is how Neal Schon reacted after the audience’s reaction to ‘Open Arms’:

“Man, that song really kicked ass!”

Steve Perry’s anger towards Schon:

“I looked at him, and I wanted to kill him.”

It seems like Steve Perry was pretty bothered by Neal Schon’s suddenly changing attitude toward the famous track. Although the guitarist disliked the song initially, he immediately changed his mind when the audience was thunderstruck. Perry thought that Neal was a hypocrite and was so mad at him that he wanted to kill him.

You can listen to Journey’s ‘Open Arms’ below.