Legendary rockers JOURNEY will headline the 2021 edition of Lollapalooza's flagship event in Chicago.
The news of JOURNEY's participation in the festival was broken by guitarist Neal Schon during an appearance earlier today (Wednesday, December 30) on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk".
Speaking about JOURNEY's return to the road after more than a year of inactivity due to the coronavirus crisis, Neal said: "I'm dying to get on stage again. We have our first date booked for Lollapalooza, and we're headlining in Chicago. And that's supposedly in April. Hopefully that'll not get pushed back, because vaccine is finally here. And hopefully they start dispersing it very quickly so everybody can get back on their feet and can get out and hear music, 'cause that's what heals the world, I think."
When host Eddie Trunk pressed Neal about the fact JOURNEY is an odd choice for a headliner at an event that predominantly features a lot of alternative rock, hip-hop and electronic music artists, Schon said: "I have not seen the bill. Alls I know is we're headlining it. I can guarantee you that with the new blood in the band, when we get together for two weeks of rehearsal before that show, we will be the new alternative. [Laughs] We're gonna add a lot to the show. We're gonna bring some new dynamics and open things up a bit and show people what the musicianship is really like in this band."
According to Neal, Lollapalooza won't be the first time JOURNEY has shared stage with groups that are far removed from the classic rock he and his bandmates are known for.
"One year I remember we played in Europe somewhere, and it was a festival that we had never been on before," he said. "And it was a heavy metal festival, and it was with MARILYN MANSON. Because it was a really different type of gig for us, I decided to walk out on stage before we went out and take a look at the audience and try to sum it up of what I felt like should put in our set. And so I walk out there, and it was, like, 90 percent guys. They all had makeup on, and black, black, black, black. And I'm, like, 'Guys, I think we oughta play a lot of B-sides of our heaviest records, and forget about a lot of the ballads.' And so we did — we reconstructed our set, and it was the first time they saw us, but we killed it. And so we do have everything sitting there. That was proof for myself and the rest of the band that we can get added to any type of show and accommodate it with the many facets that the band is."
The city of Chicago canceled the 2020 edition of Lollapalooza because of the pandemic in June prior to the festival going on sale or announcing a lineup. The annual event, which was scheduled to take place at Grant Park in Chicago and which typically draws about 100,000 people each year, was replaced by Lolla2020, a free, four-night virtual festival July 30 through August 2 featuring fan-favorite sets from previous years, brand new live performances, special conversations and more.
Lollapalooza was created by JANE'S ADDICTION frontman Perry Farrell in 1991 as a farewell tour for his band. Since its dissolution as a touring festival in 1997, Lollapalooza has become one of the biggest destination festivals in the world.
Earlier in the month, Schon revealed that JOURNEY has recorded "six rockers" for its forthcoming studio album, which is due in 2021. The upcoming LP will be the band's first with its new lineup, featuring drummer/producer Narada Michael Walden and bassist Randy Jackson.
This past March, JOURNEY parted ways with bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith after the two allegedly attempted a "coup" in order to gain control of the JOURNEY trademark.
The new JOURNEY lineup performed a socially distanced version of "Don't Stop Believin'" for UNICEF USA's virtual event "UNICEF We Won't Stop", which aired in May on MSNBC.
JOURNEY was supposed to launch a North American tour with THE PRETENDERS in May, but canceled the trek amid the COVID-19 pandemic.