JOURNEY guitarist Neal Schon told AZCentral.com in a new interview that he is thrilled to see his former bandmate, Steve Perry, returning to music with "Traces", the singer's first solo album in 24 years.
"I'm as happy as everybody else to hear his voice again," Schon said. "And I'm glad to see that he's found the passion again that he once had for music because everyone has clearly missed him. I know I have. Steve and Aretha Franklin have always been my favorite singers. There's a lot of other great singers in their own right. But once in a lifetime, I think, that you find someone that's able to do things like Aretha and Steve. So I'm glad to see him back and I'm hoping he stays with it as he sounds really excited about his career again."
As to whether he could see himself working with Perry again, Schon said: "I've made it really, really clear that I could. I'm not gonna press the issue anymore because I think ultimately it's gonna be up to him. But I will say that I know my fans and JOURNEY fans around the world are writing me, privately and openly, and just praying for that, because we definitely have a chemistry together that's undeniable. Will he have another chemistry with another guitar player? Sure. But we already have a legacy and a chemistry that's existing in everyone's hearts and souls. So hopefully, he'll think about that for a second."
Perry seemingly ruled out his return to JOURNEY during a recent interview, telling 106.7 Lite FM: "I think that we've gone on our separate ways and we're doing great. Arnel [Pineda] is a great singer and he's been in the band for 10 years, but yeah, I don't think that's where I'm at right now. It took forever for me to find the passion for music again because I felt it was kind of damaged. I thought I would never feel that love again for music, so I had to walk. Now that I've found that again — I have so many other songs ready to be recorded."
"Traces" will be released on October 5 via Fantasy Records (a division of Concord Records/UMG). The disc marks Perry's first solo album since 1994's "For The Love Of Strange Medicine".
Perry's final full concert with JOURNEY took place in early 1987. He later rejoined his bandmates for a brief performance in 1991 to honor late concert promoter Bill Graham. He also appeared with JOURNEY when they received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in 2005.
The singer was inducted, alongside his old band, at the 2017 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ceremony in Brooklyn, New York.
JOURNEY's 58-city tour with DEF LEPPAD kicked off on May 21 in Hartford, Connecticut and will run through October 7 in Los Angeles.
According to the music industry trade magazine Pollstar, the tour grossed $21.2 million over the course of its first six weeks, making it the 19 th most successful North American tour of the first half of the year.