Journey have shared a music video for “The Way We Used To Be,” which is their first new music since their 2011 LP Eclipse. It’s also the debut of Journey’s new lineup, which now features Narada Michael Walden on drums, Randy Jackson on bass, and Jason Derlatka on keyboards and backing vocals in addition to returning members Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, and Arnel Pineda.
“[This song] came out of one of the many loops I’d written while the long downtime continued with the pandemic we all had to deal with,” Schon said in a statement. “So utilizing my time and trying to keep fans in touch I started posting many jams and loops I created very quickly most every day. On ‘The Way We Used To Be’ I laid down the keyboard loop with over-dubbed rhythm and a little blues lead guitar and sent to Jonathan. He sent it back very shortly after with demo vocals and lyrics and I said to myself with a smile, ‘We’ve still got it!'”
“I felt Jonathan nailed the lyrics and melody with haunting chorus ‘got to get back’ – ‘to the way we used to be,’” he continues. “So this was the complete new beginning chapter for Journey – many more follow the same sequence with all of us collectively writing and working together. We now have over 26 songs that we’ve written and whittling it down to 10 or 12. We are very excited by all the new musical endeavors we’ve created together looking forward to getting back on the road to you.”
Earlier this year, Schon spoke to Rolling Stone about the difficulty of creating a new Journey album while the band was spread all over the world and in lockdown. “Narada and I have been working nonstop,” he said. “Jonathan [Cain] is also working from his houses in Florida and Nashville. Arnel is working from Manila. Randy Jackson is working mostly from L.A. And it’s one of those Zoom sessions and it sounds phenomenal. It sounds like we’re all playing in the room at the same time.”
There’s no release date for the new album, but Schon said he hoped it would come out before the end of the year. In the meantime, Journey are playing their first post-pandemic show at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom on July 29th. Two days later, they are headlining Lollapalooza. Their only other live date is an appearance at the IHeartMusic Festival in Las Vegas on September 18th.
Since the last time they played in public in late 2019, Journey went through a messy breakup with bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith stemming from a legal battle over the group’s copyright. They resolved the matter outside of court in April. When he spoke to Rolling Stone, Schon said he wasn’t willing to rule out playing with them again at some future point.
“Who knows?” he said. “I’ve known these guys for a long time. I didn’t agree with the way they went about business. I had been in a situation in the band with management and some of them for a long time where I felt like they were trying to make me leave. I was catching on to a lot of things that I’m getting to the bottom of now, business-wise.”
Also on the Journey horizon is a biopic about Arnel Pineda. Crazy Rich Asians director Jon Chu and Joker screenwriter Scott Silver have both signed onto the project.
“I’ve been implying it to [Scott Silver] that we should end everything [at my first Journey concert] in Chile,” Pineda told Rolling Stone earlier this year. “And I remember when my wife decided to join me on tour in 2011. We were playing to a 30,000 crowd that night. I was telling my wife, ‘Remember Hard Rock Cafe when there were only three tables? Now it’s 30,000 people.’ It was just unbelievable. It doesn’t get old to me. It’s still so surreal and bizarre.”