Journey’s ace guitarist, original constant, and de facto CEO Neal Schon, has served a cease-and-desist letter to the band’s longtime keyboardist Jonathan Cain after the latter performed the band’s songs at events associated with former President Donald Trump.
The letter, dated Dec. 16 and provided to USA TODAY by Schon’s attorney Louis R. Miller, states that Cain’s attendance at Trump’s events and appearance in his videos suggests that Journey supports the former president.
“Mr. Cain is free to express his personal beliefs and associations; however, when he does so on behalf of Journey or the band, such behaviour is extremely damaging to the Journey brand because it polarises the band’s fans and outreach. It is not, and should not be, a political journey “The letter continues.
Schon’s lawyer attached a YouTube video of Cain performing “Don’t Stop Believin'” at an event at Trump’s Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago. Trump can be seen in the video cheering on Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, and Kimberly Guilfoyle as they sing onstage.
Schon responded to the tweet in November, writing, “For the record, I’ve stated for years now that any type of political statement should not be associated with our music that we wrote.”
The letter went on to say that Cain had “no right to use Journey for politics,” nor should he be able to capitalise on the band for his own religious or political agenda, and that doing so was and still is damaging to Journey’s public image.
Schon’s lawyer informed Cain and his counsel that if the keyboardist stops and agrees not to do anything that would “intentionally harm the Journey brand,” no further action will be taken.
Cain said in a statement to USA TODAY on Thursday that Schon “should look in the mirror when he accuses me of causing harm to the Journey brand,” and went on to list a number of alleged professional transgressions by Schon.
This isn’t the first time Journey has made headlines due to a feud between bandmates. The band has been plagued by changing lineups and squabbling among band members for decades.
According to court documents, Schon and Cain filed a lawsuit with the California Superior Court in 2020, claiming Steve Smith and Ross Valory attempted to launch a “coup” to gain control of the Journey trademark and oust the original band members.
They eventually settled for $10 million.