Drummer Steve Smith says he is excited about his return to Journey after many years away from the San Francisco band.
Smith has rejoined the group for a newly-announced 2016 tour with The Doobie Brothers and guest Dave Mason, and will be in the lineup for the next two years.
The drummer’s return follows the summer 2015 firing of Deen Castronovo after domestic violence charges stemming from a pair of arrests earlier this year in Salem, Oregon.
“I have been invited to tour with Journey for the 2016-2017 touring season and I have agreed to play drums for the group during this period!,” says Smith in a lengthy Facebook statement. “I’ve enjoyed working with Journey guitarist Neal Schon for many years and playing on his solo albums, including The Calling and his latest release Vortex. In fact, Neal and I still share the creative chemistry we had when I was a member of Journey. When we work in the studio on his music, it's essentially just the two of us, jamming, writing, arranging and recording.
“Over the years, he has mentioned that he'd like to have me tour with Journey again. The invitation has always been appreciated but with my busy schedule always being booked at least a year in advance, the timing was never right. Some changes within the band have once again brought me the invitation to tour and this time we were able to plan in advance and work a Journey tour into my schedule.”
“Like an actor capable of playing a wide variety of roles, I'm a musician who enjoys, and is comfortable performing, diverse genres of music,” he continues. “My group Vital Information, as well as the other great jazz and world music artists that I tour and record with, remain a musical priority. I will also be performing with them during the next two years and by 2018 will resume my career full-time as a touring and recording jazz musician.”
“My decision to tour with Journey in 2016-2017 is based on many factors: My relationship with Neal is strong and we enjoy playing together. I've been in touch with Jonathan Cain and Ross Valory and we have a good rapport both personally and musically. All four of us share a common history and have created some enduring music together. I've met and spent time with Arnel Pineda and have great respect for him both as a person and vocalist.”
Smith says his return also provides a personal opportunity for his family to see him perform with his former band.
“I am excited to revisit a role that was a formative part of my career, performing music that has touched many people for more than 30 years,” he explains. “My kids Ian, Elizabeth, Kasia and Zac have not seen me play with the group (Ian has but he was too young to remember), it will be fun to have them see me perform with the band. Finally, I can say 'yes' to the many fans who have asked if I would tour with Journey again.
“My hope is that Journey fans will appreciate a new line-up similar to the Escape and Frontiers era - and will want to revisit this timeless music with me. By bringing my musical experience to the table along with the years that the members of Journey have spent touring, I'm sure this new incarnation of Journey will develop its own special magic. It's going to be amazing. I look forward to seeing all the fans on the road!”
Smith played with Journey during their commercial peak from 1978 to 1985, and returned a decade later for a second stint from 1995-98.
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