When we think of political musical acts who had their heyday in the ‘70s and ‘80s, the San Francisco rockers of Journey don’t even crack the top 50. It’s not their fault the GOP loves ”Don’t Stop Believin’,” too, even if the Republicans seem to be projecting their faith onto the 1981 hit and otherwise missing the point of how anyone—regardless of color, creed, or proximity—can make it in this country. (Now we’re the ones projecting, maybe.)
But the band, whose current iteration only features one founding member, Neal Schon, has mostly tried to stay out of politics, using time off for personal pursuits that don’t include running for office. Journey did play the Republican National Convention in 2012, but declined to perform at last year’s gathering, which had a decidedly different tenor. That’s by design, as Schon told The Tennessean (via USA Today) in 2016 that Journey is “a feel-good band” that’s all “about hope, joy, love and good things in life,” and not, say, executive orders that ban people based on religion or country of origin.
As it turns out, though, Schon has been flying solo in those endeavors; his bandmates Arnel Pineda (who took over for Steve Perry), keyboardist Jonathan Cain, bassist Ross Valory are apparently willing to hitch a ride aboard the Trump train. Cain, Pineda, and Valory all visited the White House last week, and for that, Schon put them on blast on Facebook.
Schon takes exception with headlines and references to Journey being in Washington, D.C. to meet with Trump, writing that without his presence, the band “was not there.” It seems less of a dig at the other members’ bona fides, and more of a distinction that Cain, Pineda, and Valory attended as private, non-Journey citizens. Or maybe not, because he follows that up with “this clearly shows no respect or Unity, just Divide.” Schon writes that all the other guys “know my position and the way we’ve always been until now,” which is in accordance that “the music we created is for Everyone.”
Schon and Cain have been fighting over wading into political waters for a while now—the keyboardist has a solo “faith music” career that probably suits his wife, Paula White-Cain, just fine. She is, after all, the president’s “spiritual advisor.”
For his part, Schon looks poised to ditch his bandmates, tweeting that he’s “done.”