Journey’s new album for 2011 was highly-anticipated by their millions of fans around the world which band leader Neal Schon promised they will launch early this year. Schon said it will be a new concept and more of a rock album. But latest reports hinted that divisiveness among band members engulfs the final production stage of the new album. Hints that lead guitarist Neal Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain at odds on how to go about it.
In an interview by Musicradar to Journey producer Kevin Shirley, he reported that the recording sessions were “divisive.” He also said that it is a “good record” but was “difficult to make.” “There’s people who want to be in a heavy rock band, and there’s people who want to have hit ballads. It’s just a matter of who stamps their feet the loudest,” he continued.
We can assume that it is Neal Schon who is for the rock thing for he’s been telling everyone in one interview last year that the new album will rock and there will be no more of those radio-friendly ballads.
Jonathan Cain who wrote the band’s big hit ballads “Faithfully” and “Open Arms” in collaboration with former singer Steve Perry, is the one more fond of these emotional mellow tunes. Their latest album, “Revelation”, featured their new hit ballad “After All These Years” which was sung by their new lead singer Arnel Pineda. It was the most requested song on the radio from that album.
Conflict like this is not new to the group. It has been told that Schon had initially rejected Cain’s ballad “Open Arms”. When Steve Perry heard it, he loved it and worked with Cain for its improvement but Schon is strongly against recording it. But Perry insisted, and the rest is history.
We can assume that Cain’s insistence of including ballad songs in their new album is to ensure its success and to cater with and satisfy their many sentimentalist fans while Schon wants an artistic new and pure rock album.
Kevin Shirley is a veteran rock producer and a master sound mixer who collaborated and worked with top rock bands like Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Journey and many others. Shirley did the mixing in the Revelation album but now he reported that he had discontinued mixing the new album and had assigned another engineer to finish it.
Shirley said late last year in his diary that “the new Journey album is almost finished – we have a few lead vocals to do. Neal wants to do a few segues and we’ll get to those and the mix in November, and I think that should wrap up for an early 2011 release. Recording of the new album is going along very well – 11 tracks recorded – 4 are complete minus backing vocals, and there are lead vocals and a guitar solo to go on the rest – a little percussion here and there, a bass fix, etc.”
Shirley described the album as “the same deal, recording-wise, the difference is in the details. The new songs are very, very creative and rocking.” He also said that he like the band’s creativity but also hinted on the presence of “internal rubs.” Shirley said the theme of the entire album is “very sexy” and “very rocking.”
We can only say that when geniuses work on a project, expect frictions and conflicts along the way. But one thing is sure – when the project is finally finished, it is going to be a masterpiece and one for the ages. Journey fans around the world eagerly await the fruit of labor of their favorite band – the legendary Journey.