ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Neal Schon is ready to make some changes – all in a good way.
“We’re going back to our roots,” he says during a recent interview. “The songs that we play on tour are going to sound a lot like the original records.”
Schon is the guitarist for Journey, which is on tour this summer with the Steve Miller Band and Tower of Power. Schon says while the bill is a bit unconventional, it’s one that made sense.
“We’ve already toured with so many other bands,” he says. “I’ve always wanted to tour with Steven (Miller) and he finally said yes. It’s something different for us. We’re out there every summer touring and doing our thing. It’s nice to keep it fresh.”
Schon says the tour also will act as a reunion of sorts because many of the longtime members of each band have played together at some point.
“I played with some of the guys when I was in Santana,” he says. “It’ll be nice to get out there with them.”
Schon says he doesn’t know what will come of the tour and what collaborations will take place on stage.
“Maybe Steve (Miller) will come on to play with us,” he says. “Maybe the guys in Tower will come out. It all depends if they want to stay out that late with us.”
Schon says that each band has a huge catalog of music and that will make for a great concert.
“Steve has more hits than a lot of us realize,” he says. “It’s going to be a night of remembering where you were when you first heard the songs.”
Before the tour started on May 15, Schon and lead singer Arnel Pineda were in the studio working on “Synchronicity” by the Police for charity.
“It was an opportunity to involve ourselves with this charity event,” he says. “They are talking about a concert and album later this year. We will see how it all shakes out.”
Journey began as a band in 1973 in San Francisco. It has carved out a place for itself with massive singles over the course of its career. With songs like “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart),” “Wheel in the Sky,” “Open Arms,” “Any Way You Want It,” “Faithfully” and “Don’t Stop Believin’,” the band found success in the late ’70s and ’80s.
Schon says shows and movies using the band’s songs in soundtracks have helped Journey find a new audience. One of the most successful covers of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” was when the cast of “Glee” covered it.
“That song helped introduce us to a new audience,” he says. “I look out at the crowd at our shows and I can see four different generations. It’s really great to keep our music going and we’re able to give it to new generations.”
Steve Miller says it will be a great reunion for the bands because they all got their start in San Francisco in the 1970s.
Miller had a string of hits that include “The Joker” as well as 1977 and 1978 albums “Fly Like an Eagle” and “Book of Dreams.”
“I can’t think of a better way for ‘The Joker’ to celebrate his 40th and the Steve Miller Band to enjoy next summer than playing all our hits for all of our fans as we tour the entire (country) with our brother San Francisco bands, Journey and the Tower Of Power,” Miller says. “This is going to be a not-to-be-missed trifecta of the best of soul, greatest hits and arena rock by three of the greatest bands to come out of San Francisco, clearly a once-in-a-lifetime event. We can’t wait to get started!”