Perry filed a petition last month to cancel trademark registrations filed by his former bandmates for 20 Journey songs. He claimed that Schon and Jonathan Cain couldn’t move forward under the terms of a partnership contract that requires “prior, written unanimous consent of all partners in each instance.”
He says the partnership was “forced upon us all to sign … 10 minutes before we were to go on in Hawaii at a string of five sold-out shows. We had played the first two, then our manager [the late Herbie Herbert] came to us, stating Steve Perry was not going to go on without us signing. Herbie claimed he didn’t know what else to do, so he suggested we sign. We did sign, but I will say under duress and not having any time for any other legal to look at it.”
Perry later left the group, but retained voting rights through their management company. A subsequent lineup then imploded during a Journey board meeting in 2020, and Perry memorably sided against Schon.
Perry “was present at the board of directors meeting. No one thought I was there, but while being represented by my attorney, I was there listening on the line,” Schon now says. Perry’s “voice was heard by myself and all that attended, voting me off the board.” During the meeting, Schon said, then-drummer Steve Smith “voted himself in as president” while then-bassist Ross Valory “voted himself in as secretary, and they all threw myself under the bus as well as Jon.”
He noted that Perry had previously fired Smith and Valory, and also Herbert, although those events had taken place on different occasions.
“Bottom line, all these years have gone by, then I found out our music wasn’t even trademarked, nor the name until 2005 and I trademarked the rest of everything in 2020,” Schon continued, explaining the background to the actions Perry recently disputed. “So out of all the attorneys, accountants, manager[s] we’ve had, do you think just one of them could have taken care of business and protected the band?
“I’m going to take a wild guess and say that they all knew the differences between songwriting, copyright and ultimately the trademarks to everything,” Schon added. “Just a little something to think about, friends.”
He signed off as “Neal Schon, founder and now manager of the band Journey.”
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