Neal Schon Says Steve Perry Forced Journey To Sign Partnership Contract

By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta

October 10, 2022

Photo: Getty Images North America

Journey founder Neal Schon says the partnership agreement at the center of his and Jonathan Cain's most recent dispute with former frontman Steve Perry was foisted upon the band minutes before a concert.

Perry recently sued Journey over an attempt by the band to register 20 trademarks for use on merchandise, arguing the patents violate a partnership agreement stating that such a decision must be made with "prior written unanimous consent of all partners in each instance."

In the comments of a recent Instagram post from Q104.3 New York, Schon recalled being caught off guard by the agreement and feeling like he had little choice but to sign it.

He says manager Herbie Herbert brought the contract to the band "10 minutes before we were to go on in Hawaii at a string of five sold-out shows. We had played the first two, then our [manager] came to us, stating Steve Perry was not going to go on without us signing. Herbie claimed he didn't know what else to do, so he suggested we sign. We did sign, but I will say under duress and not having any time for any other legal to look at it."

Ultimately, the agreement allowed Perry and other Journey principals (including Herbert, who passed away last year) to retain voting rights in the Journey's business affairs after leaving the band.

The partnership itself became news in early-2020 when at a board meeting then-bassist Ross Valory and then-drummer Steve Smith launched what Schon and Cain described as a "corporate coup d'état" to take control of the band's production company.

Perry reportedly sided with Valory and Smith in the vote, which resulted in the rhythm section being fired from the band and sued. (The lawsuit was settled out of court the following year.)

Schon asserted in his comment to Q104.3 that for decades no one, including Journey's various managers, accountants and attorneys, had been paying attention to how secure the band's legacy was. He added that the band name, Journey, was not protected by a trademark until he realized the error himself in 2005.

The band lists 20 Journey songs in its latest patent application, including "Separate Ways," "Wheel in the Sky," "Anyway You Want It," "Don't Stop Believin'" and more than a dozen others.

In September, Schon explained that the trademarks for merchandising was a means to stop a "giant corrupted ring" of people skimming profits from Journey merchandise. He noted that "songwriting and copyrights have nothing to do with trademarks," which is why the band needed to take action to protect itself.

JourneySteve PerryNeal Schon
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