Journey will be playing a lot of shows this year and has plans to make a lot of music -- most definitely with current frontman Arnel Pineda, according to guitarist Neal Schon.
Though rumors about a reunion with Steve Perry circulated earlier this year after Perry made some positive remarks to reporters at a music industry event, Schon was quick to set the record straight during a conference call to advance Journey's upcoming summer tour with the Steve Miller Band and Tower of Power.
"I think when Steve mentioned that, when somebody put him on the spot and asked him, we had been (communicating) with email, just saying, 'Hello, I hope you're well,' all that," Schon told Billboard. "But there was never anything about playing live. He opened the door and shut the door. It wasn't anybody but him that created all that media for a second, and so we do want to reassure the fans that no, Arnel has not gone anywhere. He's still right here with us."
Schon and Pineda have, in fact, recorded a new version of the Police's "Synchronicity II" for an upcoming album of Police and Sting covers to raise awareness of and money to combat the global child slavery issue. Schon says Stevie Wonder, Justin Timberlake, Slash, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Fergie are also contributing tracks, and a concert has been broached for September in the U.K.
"All these different versions of their songs will be on the album and hopefully a live show that will probably be filmed for the benefit," Schon says. "Arnel sounds amazing (on 'Synchronicity II')...and it sounds like it was jsut jamming. We absolutely messed with the arrangement a bit in the middle, so I had some space to play and I had some fun with it. This is for a very good cause, and all I can tell you is a lot of people are involved in it. All kinds of artists are on this record." More details about the project are expected to be announced soon.
Meanwhile, some full-scale Journey recording is also on the docket after the summer tour, which starts May 14 in Chula Vista, Calif., wraps up Aug. 1 in Las Vegas, hopefully yielding the group's first studio album since 2011's "Eclipse."
"We've been talking since we've been in rehearsal and we are gonna commence, we're gonna get back together, I believe, after this tour is over, and we're gonna finish up some new records," said Schon, who releases a new solo album, "So U," this month and is also part of a Santana reunion that will yield a new release and a tour in 2015. "I don't know exactly what it'll be at this time. I know that we are talking about, of re-doing some songs -- not stuff that we did with Steve Perry but other stuff that we had done before in the past that just never kinda saw the light and redoing it, rearranging it, maybe adding some new sections to it, and writing some new stuff, too. So we've got a lot of stuff sitting started playing some stuff in rehearsal and it really sounded great. When you start doing that and you get the juices flowing, there's always gonna be new songs to come out of nowhere, and usually those are the best ones."
Bandmate Jonathan Cain added that some of that older material may become "Rival," an album Journey recorded in 2000 but ultimately scrapped.
"We were gonna go back and look at some of that music and add it 'cause we just felt that it never got recorded right and we had another singer at the time and don't think they got it right," says Cain, who hopes Journey will record at the new studio he's constructed in Nashville. "When you listen to it now, it's frustrating to hear good songs that aren't quite making it right. So we're thinking of going and possibly revisiting that album and adding some new tunes to that."
Schon, who previously toured with Miller as part of Paul Rodgers' band during 1993, says he hopes the three groups will collaborate on stage during the coming tour. Miller, meanwhile, chimed in at the end of the call, telling Schon that, "I hope we get some time to jam and have some fun. I've got some great new songs I want to drop on you," to which Schon responded, "that's awesome. You're welcome to come up and jam with us, too. We'll just pull out a blues jam and you just come up and grab it, bro!" "Well, it's really gonna be fun," Miller added.