Neal Schon was born in Midwest City, Oklahoma, on February 27, 1954 to Matthew and Barbara Schon. Neal dropped out of school when he was fifteen to join Carlos Santana’s rock group Santana. Four years later Carlos Santana and his band split up, so Neal and Gregg Rolie formed Journey. Journey released its self-titled debut album in 1975. Journey then released Look into The Future (1976) and Next in (1977). Records weren’t selling well and the band was told to get a lead singer so they brought in Steve Perry. With Steve they released the album Infinity in 1978. Infinity was followed up by Evolution (1979) and Departure (1980). Also released in 1980 was a compilation album of earlier works called In The Beginning. Also in 1980 the band went to Japan to record a soundtrack for the movie, “Dream After Dream.” In 1981 the live album Captured was released.
Greg Rolie left after the release of the album Departure so keyboardist Jonathan Cain was brought in for the 1981 release of Escape. Escape was Journey’s biggest record and the single “Open Arms” went to Number Two on the charts. Also in 1981 Neal teamed up with Jan Hammer for the album Untold Passion. Again in 1982 Neal teamed up with Jan Hammer for an album called Here to Stay. In 1983 Frontiers was released and Journey was named the most popular rock group in America.
After Frontiers, the band split for a while. Neal formed HSAS with Sammy Hagar and in 1984 they released an album called Through the Fire. In 1986 Journey, without bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith, and released the album Raised on Radio. In 1988 Neal helped form the group Bad English. Bad English released their self-titled debut album in 1989. Neal also released his album Late Nite in 1989. In 1991 Bad English released their second album, Backlash. In 1992 Neal joined Hardline for the album Double Eclipse. Neal released his solo album, Beyond the Thunder, in 1995. A Journey reunion of band members Schon, Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry, Ross Valory, and Steve Smith happened for the 1996 album Trial By Fire. In 1997 Neal released his album Electric World. In 1998 Steve Perry was replaced with Steve Augeri as Journey’s new lead singer after the band waited almost two years for him to fix his hip. Steve Perry and Journey debuted together on the “Armageddon”(1998) soundtrack with the song “Remember Me.” In 1999 Neal released his album Pirhana Blues. Journey released Arrival and Neal’s solo album, Voice, a cover album of different songs he likes to play.
Produced by, and featuring, Schon on all guitars and bass, The Calling (2012) reunites Schon with former Journey band mate, Steve Smith, who lends his virtuoso drum talents to all twelve tracks on the new album and Grammy Award-winning special guest Jan Hammer (Jeff Beck, Mahavishnu Orchestra) recorded Moog synthesizer solos on two tracks – “Fifty Six” and “Tumbleweeds.” Igor Len, an accomplished classical, jazz and film composer who had previously collaborated with Schon, is featured on acoustic piano throughout The Calling album.
Recorded at Berkeley’s famed Fantasy Studios during a break from Journey’s busy touring schedule, Neal recorded the album completely from scratch in just four days. Neal once again teamed up with Dan Barnett (Journey: Live In Manila) to produce the video for the first single and title track from The Calling, filmed entirely in San Francisco and Marin County. The long-form video is available now at iTunes.
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.