Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Journey fire bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith

Journey have fired bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith over the pair’s alleged efforts to take control over the band’s name.

According to a press release issued by Los Angeles-based law firm Miller Barondess, LLP, Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain – the remaining principal members of Journey – filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court this week after an attempted corporate coup d'état by Valory and Smith.

Based on a 1985 agreement, one of the band’s corporate entities, Nightmare Productions, Inc., provided an exclusive, irrevocable license of the Journey trademark to Schon, Cain and singer Steve Perry, who signed over his rights to the guitarist and keyboardist after leaving the lineup in 1997.

The lawsuit alleges that Valory and Smith began a campaign to take control of Nightmare Productions in December 2019 by conspiring to oust Schon and Cain from power, culminating in a February 13, 2020 meeting when the rhythm section “held improper shareholder and Board of Directors meetings” that saw the defendants and their allies voted to give Smith and Valory control of the Board, removing Cain as President and replacing him with Smith, and removing Schon as Secretary and replacing him with Valory.

Schon and Cain claim the duo used Nightmare Productions “as a tool to destroy the fabric of the band”, and that their actions “have destroyed the chemistry, cohesion and rapport necessary for the band to play together.”

As a result, Schon and Cain removed Smith and Valory from Journey by letter dated March 3, 2020.

With Schon and Cain holding the exclusive license to the Journey Mark, including the Journey name, Smith and Valory have absolutely no rights to the Journey Mark and cannot perform using the name Journey.

Journey will continue on with Schon, Cain, long-time vocalist Arnel Pineda with a new rhythm section undertaking a sixty plus city tour of North America in May.

Journey – who are seeking damages in excess of $10 million – will announce their new bassist and drummer imminently.

“This is not an action that Neal and Jon wanted to bring against two men that they once considered their brothers, but the devious and truculent behavior of Steve and Ross left them reluctantly with no choice but to act decisively,” says lead counsel Skip Miller of Miller Barondess, LLP. “Journey will continue on with great success by ridding the band of disruptive members and replacing them with top musicians; and most importantly, by keeping its essential members — Schon, Cain and Pineda — fully intact.”

Journey were named the No. 3 Rock Artist Of The Year while also delivering the No. 5 Rock News Story Of The Year as part of the 2019 hennemusic Rock News Awards.
See also:

Rock News Artist Of The Year No. 3: JOURNEY
Rock News Story Of The Year No. 3: STEVE PERRY
Rock News Story Of The Year No. 5: JOURNEY
Rock News Artist Of The Year No. 7: STEVE PERRY
Steve Perry releases Silver Bells video
Search Journey at hennemusic
Search Steve Perry at hennemusic