Journey guitarist Neal Schon is suing bandmate Jonathan Cain over allegations that he’s blocking access to “critical” financial records — the latest in a string of legal clashes among members of the iconic ’80s rock band.
In a lawsuit filed last month in California state court, Schon accused Cain — the only other core band member remaining from Journey’s heyday — of refusing to give him access to records from an American Express account, through which he claims that “millions in Journey funds have flowed.”
As fifty-fifty co-owners of the band’s corporate entity, Schon says each of them has a right to inspect all financial records, but claims that Cain has “improperly restricted and blocked” him from seeing the Amex records for months.
“This action is brought to turn the lights on, so to speak, and obtain critical financial information Schon has been trying to obtain but has been denied,” his lawyers wrote in an Oct. 31 complaint. “Schon has tried to avoid legal action, repeatedly requesting that Cain grant him access to the AMEX account [but] Cain has not been forthcoming and cooperative, making this action necessary.”
In a response statement to Billboard, Cain called Schon’s accusations “malicious lies” and said the lawsuit had “absolutely no merit.” Cain said his bandmate had always had access to the Journey credit card, but had become angered when limits were placed on his spending.
“Neal has been under tremendous financial pressure as a result of his excessive spending and extravagant lifestyle, which led to him running up enormous personal charges on the band’s credit card account,” Cain wrote in the statement. “When efforts were made to limit his use of the card to legitimate band expenses, Neal unfortunately decided to attack me rather than trying to get his reckless spending under control.”
The case is hardly the first legal battle among Journey members.
Back in 2020, Schon and Cain filed a lawsuit against former drummer Steven Smith and former bassist Ross Valory, accusing them of engaging in an “attempted corporate coup d’état” to improperly use the Journey band name. That case ended last year with an “amicable settlement” that saw Smith and Valory depart the band.
And in September, former lead singer Steve Perry took legal action to stop Schon and Cain from registering federal trademarks on the names of many of the band’s biggest hits, including “Anyway You Want It” and “Wheel In The Sky.” Perry, who left Journey in 1998, says his ex-mates cannot unilaterally use the song names because the trio signed a partnership agreement requiring unanimous consent. The case remains pending.
Unlike the earlier cases, the new lawsuit over the Amex account pits Schon and Cain against one another. Schon says each of them should have “unfettered access” to all financial records, but that Cain “set up the account so that only he is authorized to access the records and information.”
And from the wording of the complaint, it sounds like Schon’s gripes potentially go deeper than a single credit card.
“Cain is interfering with Journey, refusing to respond to booking opportunities, blocking payment to band members, crew, and vendors, refusing to execute necessary operating documents, and in other ways as well,” Schon’s lawyers wrote. “Cain has further refused to deal with critical, time-sensitive touring contracts for Journey’s 2023 tour and ensure payment for band members and crew, who Cain contends are ‘non-essential.’ Schon believes those band and crew who are crucial to the band’s success should be paid. Cain’s conduct is inexplicable.”
But in his own statement, Cain’s attorney Alan Gutman told Billboard that it was Schon’s “reckless spending” on the Amex, including “more than $1 million of improper personal expenses,” that led to the current dispute.
“Schon’s complaint is the classic example of desperate people doing desperate things,” Gutman said. “It’s very unfortunate that Neal — and Neal alone — has created such difficulties for himself and his family through his profligate spending.”
Read the entire complaint here: