Best known as founding member and lead guitarist of Journey, NEAL SCHON has enjoyed a remarkable career as one of rock n’ roll’s top virtuosos, with a hand in creating some of the most popular songs of all time. His story began more than 35 years ago in the San Francisco Bay Area, when a 15-year-old Schon left home to join Santana as a teenage prodigy. As a member of that classic rock band during their early ‘70s peak, Schon recorded on 1971’s No. 1 album, Santana III, which features Schon playing lead guitar for the hit song, “Everybody’s Everything,” and 1972’s Caravanserai, which reached the Top 10 of Billboard’s Top 200 chart.
But bigger things were in store, and Schon moved on in 1973 to form Journey. Schon has earned 19 Top 40 singles and 25 gold and platinum albums, was awarded the prestigious “Legend Of Live Award” at the 2011 Billboard Touring Awards, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005. As the only member to record on all of Journey’s albums, Schon continues to lead the band today in its latest incarnation. With new lead singer Arnel Pineda in the fold, the group released 2008’s Revelation, which marked the band’s biggest first-week sales in more than a decade, debuting at #5 on Billboard’s Top 200 and earning the band their 11th Platinum album certification to date. 2011’s Eclipse soon followed, which became the band’s second straight Top 20 Billboard album with Pineda, hit the Top 40 internationally, and launched one of the band’s most successful tours ever, drawing nearly one million fans worldwide.
In addition to his five solo albums and 14 studio albums with Journey, Schon has also performed with Joe Cocker, Sammy Hagar, Paul Rodgers, Larry Graham, Betty Davis, Michael Bolton, fusion legend Jan Hammer and supergroup Bad English, as well as a variety of side projects. In demand as one of the leading guitarists of his generation, Schon also worked with Gibson to manufacture his own limited edition “Neal Schon Signature Model Custom Les Paul” guitar, but now uses custom PRS Neal Schon LTD Private Stock guitars, made especially for Neal by Paul Reed Smith.
Taking a detour from his main job, the multi-talented Schon just released his latest solo album, The Calling. Produced by and featuring Schon on all guitars and bass, the 2012 album also marks a reunion with former Journey member and current in-demand drummer Steve Smith, who lends his virtuoso talents to all 12 tracks on The Calling. Schon set up shop at Berkeley’s famed Fantasy Studios during a break from Journey’s busy touring schedule, and started recording completely from scratch to finish the entire album’s worth of tracks in just four days. After overdubbing multiple guitar and bass parts, Schon recruited two keyboard masters to flesh out the music. Igor Len, an accomplished classical, jazz and film composer who had previously collaborated with Schon, is featured on acoustic piano throughout The Calling; while GRAMMY Award-winning special guest Jan Hammer (Jeff Beck, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Miami Vice soundtrack) recorded Moog synthesizer solos on two tracks. Recently, Schon teamed up with Dan Barnett (Journey: Live In Manila) to produce the video for the first single and title track from The Calling.
While celebrating the release of The Calling, Schon will be back on the road with JOURNEY this year, as the band’s 2012 tour begins on July 21 in San Bernardino, California at the San Manuel Amphitheatre. Concerts are scheduled through December, with most dates featuring special guests Pat Benatar featuring Neil Giraldo and Loverboy. Check www.journeymusic.com for updated tour details.