Neal Schon of Journey
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Neal Schon of Journey Biography

Early Childhood:
Neal Joseph Schon was born on February 27, 1954 at Tinker Air Force Base near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His parents, Barb and Matthew Schon, were both musicians. Neal picked up his first instrument around the age of five, and was constantly surrounded by jazz and the blues. Neal practiced the Oboe, Keys, and of course Guitar. When he was still very young, his family moved to San Francisco, where Neal has lived for most of his life.

Teenage Years:
By the time Neal was in high school, he was already an accomplished guitarist, spending his nights playing in clubs with local bands. Neal's early influences included Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, among others. At the age of fifteen, Neal met Carlos Santana, and they became friends. Carlos asked Neal to join the Santana Band at the age of fifteen. Oddly enough, in the same week, Eric Clapton also asked Neal to join his band, Derek and the Dominoes. Neal chose to join Santana, and recorded three studio albums with Santana, and Neal was touring the world as a pro-guitarist at the age of fifteen. Schon and Santana trade solos throughout on tunes including "Everything's Coming Our Way", "Jungle Strut", "Toussaint L'Overture", and "Taboo". Many of these now-classic solos are incorrectly attributed to Carlos, including Schon's impressive lead on "Everybody's Everything". At the age of nineteen, the Santana Band split ways, and Neal began the next stage of his musical journey...

The Beginning of Journey:
After leaving the Santana Band at the age of nineteen, Neal was approached by legendary rock manager Herbie Herbert and asked to front a new band. Neal got together with keyboardist Gregg Rolie, bassist Ross Valory, guitarist George Tickner, and drummer Prarie Prince to form the new band known as 'The Golden Gate Rhythm Section'. Their initial plan was to be a ready-made studio band for anyone wanting to cut a record in San Francisco. While waiting for a job to come along, they started playing and recording original material. The Golden Gate name didn't stick for long, as the new name 'Journey' was adopted.

The Journey Begins:
Journey was signed by Columbia records and released three albums between 1975 and 1977 - The self titled 'Journey' album, 'Look into the Future', and 'Next'. After the release of 'Next', Journey brought on Steve Perry as lead vocalist. Neal and Steve quickly penned several songs together, including "Patiently", "Lights", and "Wheel in the Sky". The release of the 1978 album 'Infinity' was a huge commercial success for Journey, and paved the way for a series of albums with widespread appeal. In 1979, 'Evolution' was released, following in 1980 with 'Departure'.

A New Chapter for Neal and Journey:
After extensive touring in 1978 through 1980, Gregg Rolie left the band, and was replaced by Jonathan Cain on keyboards. The addition of Cain brought a fresh energy to the band and the release of 'Escape' was a huge commercial success. 'Escape' climbed to #1 on the album charts and would go on to become Journey's top selling album (nine times platinum). The hits "Who's Crying Now", "Don't Stop Believin'", and "Open Arms" all reached the Top 10 as singles.

In 1981 and 1982, Neal also collaborated with keyboardist Jan Hammer to release two albums featuring the progressive jazz-rock influenced style of Hammer on keys, with the melodic lyrical overdrive of Neal's guitar.

In 1983, Journey released 'Frontiers' and continued the commercial success, with "Faithfully" and "Separate Ways" reaching #12 and #8 on the charts, respectively. In 1986, Journey released 'Raised on Radio'. After touring from this album, the band separated ways.

In 1997, Journey reunited for the album 'Trial by Fire'. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, they were unable to follow the album up with a tour. Singer Steve Perry left the band, and Neal, Jon, and Ross Valory had the task of replacing him, as well as drummer Steve Smith. The three recruited Deen Castronovo for drums and vocalist Steve Augeri to continue Journey. That lineup made its debut on the 'Armageddon' movie soundtrack, and since then has recorded the albums 'Arrival', 'Red13', and 'Generations'.

Other Musical Projects for Neal
Neal's other projects include HSAS (Hagar, Schon, Aaronson, Shrieve), Bad English, Abraxis Pool, Hardline, Planet Us, and Soul SirkUS. His solo albums are Late Nite, Beyond The Thunder, Electric World, Piranha Blues, the Grammy Nominated album called Voice and his latest solo album, "i on U" .

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