Journey Guitarist Hits Keyboardist With Cease & Desist Over Trump Gala Gig

Written by on December 22, 2022

Just last month, Journey guitarist Neal Schon sued bandmate Jonathan Cain, accusing him of blocking access to “critical” financial records. Now, adding to the band’s myriad legal battles, Schon has hit Cain with a cease-and-desist order over a gig Cain performed at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago last month. According to Variety, Cain performed Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” at a Trump gala with a backing “chorus” including far-right conspiracy theorist and Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, right-wing personality Kimberly Guilfoyle, and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake.

Cain has long been connected to Trump’s inner circle; his wife, Paula White, is a televangelist and “spiritual advisor” to the former president. In a cease-and-desist letter obtained by Variety, Schon’s team writes:

“Although Mr. Cain is free to express his personal beliefs and associations, when he does that on behalf of Journey or for the band, such conduct is extremely deleterious to the Journey brand as it polarizes the band’s fans and outreach. Journey is not, and should not be, political.

“Mr. Cain has no right to use Journey for politics,” the letter continues. “His politics should be his own personal business. He should not be capitalizing on Journey’s brand to promote his personal political or religious agenda to the detriment of the band.” The letter also called the performance a “harmful use of the brand.”

The letter likewise states that Schon does not intend to “further add to the animosity that is currently plaguing the band and the relationship between Mr. Schon and Mr. Cain.”

Schon and estranged singer Steve Perry have previously expressed their anger over Trump using “Don’t Stop Believin’” during campaign rallies; other artists who have spoken out against their music being used in the same capacity include Neil Young, R.E.M., Queen, Tom Petty, Earth, Wind And Fire, The Rolling Stones, and Aerosmith, just to name a few.

In 2017, Schon posted several (now-deleted) tweets after three members of Journey visited the White House and posed for pictures with the then-president. “I’ve stated how I felt about mixing religion and politics and how our music is not of one religion — Democratic or Republican. This is and has been an issue with myself, Mr. Cain and his wife,” Schon wrote at the time.

A spokesman for Cain responded to the letter: “Schon is just frustrated that he keeps losing in court and is now falsely claiming the song has been used at political rallies.”

Yesterday, Schon responded on Twitter: “Now he’s claiming I keep loosing in court ?!? Infuckingsane. Get off the kool-Aid. Wow lies after lies. I’ve won 1 case in court with Cain and the residing one has not been heard yet.Was trying to get in spooner then the court date. Judge did not feel it was an emergency.0 ruling”

Schon also shared a radio interview with Journey from about five years ago, pointing out a moment where “Jonathan Cain himself talking about politics and religion [sic] not a good idea with our music. One word -hypocrite-.”

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