“We’re, like, deep in, and it’s sounding really, really great, man,” Schon told Cleveland.com. “It still sounds like Journey, but there is definitely a different strut in the rhythm section. It’s bombastic. It’s rocking. It’s majestic, and it’s soulful. We have 21 songs in the works right now and there’s still more coming in. We’ll end up picking the cream of the crop and put out a killer album.”
Back in October, Schon revealed that Journey were recording remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic. At the time, they had “13 new tracks in the can” for which Arnel Pineda was in the process of recording vocals. Schon compared the diversity of the new material to the band’s classic 1981 LP Escape.
Now, he said, he’s hoping to have the first single, complete with a video, out at some point next month. It will be the band’s first record since 2011’s Eclipse and will come after a shakeup in which original bassist Ross Valory and classic-era drummer Steve Smith were ousted and replaced by bassist Randy Jackson, keyboardist Jason Derlatka and drummer, songwriter and producer Narada Michael Walden. (Jackson also replaced Valory in the mid-’80s.) More importantly, Schon wants to incorporate the new songs into the band’s set lists once touring is able to resume.
“I felt like it was really important to not just go out and play the same show,” he noted. “We’re always gonna have our hits to play, but I believe we have new hits now. As hard as that is to imagine, these [new songs] sound like bona fide hits to me, and they’re rockin’. There’s no lack of guitar.”
Schon concluded: “I’m just all about moving forward right now. I’m making so much music and there are so many positive things happening. I’ve bought a lot of new guitars and I’m having a blast playing. We’ll get all this other [stuff] taken care of and behind us, and then it’s just full speed ahead. I can’t wait.”