The members of long-running rock band Journey have long had fractious relations, but an inter-band cease-and-desist order is a new peak: Keyboardist Jonathan Cain, who performed “Don’t Stop Believin’” for Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago last month with a backing “chorus” including Marjorie Taylor Greene, Kimberly Guilfoyle and Kari Lake, was served with a cease-and-desist order from an attorney for bandmate Neal Schon for that performance.
Cain, Schon and estranged singer Steve Perry are the writers of the 1981 hit, which attained a second life when nearly 30 years later when it was featured in the final episode of the HBO hit series “The Sopranos.”
Cain, 71, has long been a member of the former president’s inner circle. His wife of eight years, Paula White, is a televangelist and Donald Trump’s spiritual advisor.
The letter, obtained by Variety, reads in part: “Although Mr. Cain is free to express his personal beliefs and associations, when he does that on behalf of Journey or for the band, such conduct is extremely deleterious to the Journey brand as it polarizes the band’s fans and outreach. Journey is not, and should not be, political.
“Mr. Cain has no right to use Journey for politics,” the letter continues. “His politics should be his own personal business. He should not be capitalizing on Journey’s brand to promote his personal political or religious agenda to the detriment of the band,” calling it a “harmful use of the brand.”
In response, a rep for Cain initially said on Wednesday, “Schon is just frustrated that he keeps losing in court and is now falsely claiming the song has been used at political rallies,” but Cain himself went further on Thursday. “Neal Schon should look in the mirror when he accuses me of causing harm to the Journey brand. I have watched him damage our brand for years and am a victim of both his — and his wife’s — bizarre behavior,” he wrote, referring to the guitarist’s wife, former “Real Housewives” star Michaele Salahi Schon. “Neal sued Live Nation twice, losing both times, and damaging our ability to ever work with them again; Neal outrageously tried to take away trademarks from Steve Perry; Neal and his wife continually insult the professionalism of numerous accountants, road managers, and management firms with endless legal threats and their bullying, toxic, and incoherent emails; Neal argues online with fans who don’t see eye to eye with him; and Neal and his wife recklessly spend Journey’s money until there is none left for operating costs. If anyone is destroying the Journey brand, it is Neal — and Neal alone.”
Schon’s statement added that it did not intend to “further add to the animosity that is currently plaguing the band and the relationship between Mr. Schon and Mr. Cain,” which has been acrimonious for some time.
“The two haven’t been getting along for a while now,” says an inside source. “This just brings it all to the surface.”
Indeed, the two squared off legally earlier in the fall, with Schon contending that he’s being denied access to the group’s American Express card and its records. Meanwhile, Cain’s lawyer says that Schon’s access to the corporate account needed to have a lid put on it after he allegedly put more than $1 million in “improper personal expenses” on the card.
Schon and Perry previously expressed their displeasure over Trump using the song during his campaign rallies over his earlier election campaigns, as have artists ranging from the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith to Tom Petty. However, since such airings are considered public performances, there is little an artist can tangibly do except publicly distance themselves from the association.
Schon said in 2020, “I’ve stated how I felt about mixing religion and politics and how our music is not of one religion — Democratic or Republican. This is and has been an issue with myself, Mr. Cain and his wife. I’ve had to fight this whole time to protect the brand I built with Steve Perry, way before Gregg [Rolie] and I picked Cain to replace himself when he wanted to retire from the road back then. Well frankly, I’m tired of having to defend all by myself.”
The Mar-A-Lago performance was met with chagrin by many fans on social media. “That just ruined the song and the band for me,” one wrote, while another tweeted, “Goodbye Journey… you’re dead to me now.”