Journey guitarist Neal Schon has stopped lobbying for a reunion with the band's former lead singer Steve Perry, but he still hopes to rekindle their friendship one day.
Schon told Eddie Trunk in a recent interview that he was surprised Perry didn't support his latest solo album, Traces, with any live performances or touring.
"I am as clueless as you are," Schon said. "I thought for sure there was hope he would be out there singing, and I was excited for him."
Perry never entirely ruled out the prospect of performing live again — he even publicly discussed what might be in his setlist — but live dates never materialized.
Schon says he was a big fan of the Traces album, which was Perry's first solo effort in 24 years. He emphasized that his support for his former songwriting partner comes with no strings attached.
"Somehow, things always get twisted to where I'm trying to take advantage of somebody, and it's really not the issues at all. I am a true friend of his, whether he knows it or not," Schon said. "And I get the feeling, when I'm trying to talk to him, that he thinks that I just want something. I don't want anything. I just wanna support him, to show him respect for all the great years that we had. And that's it — simply, that is it."
Schon repeatedly urged Perry to reunite with Journey for the band's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2017. While Perry declined the offer, he warmly hugged his former band mates and conversed with them during the awards ceremony. He happily posed for photos and was complimentary of current Journey singer Arnel Pineda.
Perry often ignored Schon's overtures before the Hall of Fame and Schon concedes that that didn't change afterwards. What was confusing, however, was how fondly Perry talked about their mutual history in his initial round of interviews in support of Traces.
"And then things dramatically changed, whether it was edited out by higher-ups or whatever, but it went from completely one way to another," Schon said of a perceived change in Perry's tune during his press tour. "I was like, 'Wow! That's just too bad.' Because he was being honest, and he was telling everybody how he felt. And then it seemed like somebody had clamped down on him and said, 'Don't talk about it.' Which I've seen a lot in all the years that I've been in this industry, and I just know what goes on behind the doors, and there's a lot of politics."
Perry was one of the most in-demand interviews in all of music when he reemerged to promote Traces. The singer was asked constantly about Journey and spared few details discussing his severe physical and mental exhaustion after so many years of touring and recording with the band.
In one interview with Rolling Stone, Perry explained that he has avoided contact with Schon for so long because to be seen with his former bandmates would only reignite reunion rumors, no matter the context. And Perry does not want to be back in Journey.
"Please listen to me. I left the band  f---ing years ago, my friend," Perry said at the time. "You can still love someone, but not want to work with him. And if they only love you because they want to work with you, that doesn't feel good to me."
If Perry's feelings ever change, Schon says his "door is open, always."
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