When musicians complain about political uses of their songs without permission, cease and desist letters are usually sent to politicians. In the case of Journey, it is one band member against another—a desire for the group to remain apolitical.
Last week, an attorney for Journey’s founding guitarist, Neil Schon, wrote to Jonathan Cain, the group’s keyboardist, demanding that he stop appearing at former President Donald J. Trump’s events “as Journey,” and performing Journey songs at those functions, saying appearances Mr. Kane has done “irreparable damage to the Journey brand”.
“Although Mr. Kane is free to express his personal beliefs and affiliations, when he does so on behalf of Journey or as a representative of the band, such conduct is extremely detrimental to the Journey brand because it polarizes the band’s fans and outreach,” says the letter, which was provided by representatives of Mr. Shawn copied it to The New York Times.
The letter adds that “the trip is not political nor should it be,” and points to the risk of reduced earning potential for her next tour, which is scheduled to begin in January.
The letter refers to Mr. Cain’s performance last month “Do not stop Believin ,” The band’s enduring power ballad, at the America First Experience Gala in Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s Florida home. Online video of the event shows Mr. Kane sitting at a keyboard, leading a one-on-one band with conservative political figures such as MP Marjorie Taylor-Green, Kimberly Guilfoyle and Carrie Lake on stage beside him. Mr. Trump was visible in the crowd with Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump Jr, and others.
Mr. Kane has long been associated with Mr. Trump’s inner circle. His wife, Paula White, was Mr. Trump’s spiritual advisor during his administration, and she delivered call up At Mr. Trump’s inauguration in 2017.
The existence of the message was reported for the first time before diverse.
In a statement, Mr Keene said: “Neil Schon should look in the mirror when he accuses me of causing damage to the Journey brand. I have watched him destroy our brand for years and I am a victim of his – and his wife – antics.”
Noting a number of controversies in the band’s history and what Mr. Sean and his wife called their “bullying, toxic, incoherent emails”, he added: “If anyone is destroying the Journey brand, it’s Neil – and Neil alone.”
Mr. Sean’s wife, Michael, a One time reality TV star who was in “The Real Housewives of DC”
“Don’t Stop Believing,” from Journey’s 1981 album “Escape,” was a Top 10 hit when it came out. She’s also had a very successful afterlife, appearing in The final episode of The Sopranos in 2007, also in the Broadway musical “The Rock of Ages.” Written by Mr. Kane, Mr. Sean and Steve Perry, the group’s former vocalist, the song has racked up over 1.4 billion streams on Spotify alone.
Musicians’ complaints about political use of their songs also often include accusations of copyright infringement, but since Mr. Cain is a co-author, that may be moot, and Mr. Schon’s letter makes no mention of copyright.
Instead, its focus is Journey’s desire to remain apolitical. The message is linked to a radio interview with the band, as the group was asked if they would accept an invitation to sing at Mr. Trump’s inauguration. Mr. Cain replied, “We are not political. We don’t get into politics. We try to stay in our neighborhood.” “The best place to stay is somewhere neutral, right in the middle,” added Mr. Sean.
Tensions within the band have always been part of the story of Journey, which emerged as a progressive rock group in the ’70s—Mr. Sean began his career as a teen in Santana—and found arena-filling success with dramatic ’80s pop-rock.
Recently, Mr. Sean and Mr. Cain, who joined the “Escape” group, had a fight about many things financial problemsand another letter sent to Mr. Cain this month — by a different attorney to Mr. Schoon, at a different firm — complained that Ms. White was inappropriately interfering in the band’s business affairs.
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