Neal Schon teases forthcoming Journey album: "Guitar players are going to love this record, because I'm just unleashing on it"

Neal Schon
(Image credit: Steve Rose)

Neal Schon has offered an update on Journey’s upcoming studio record, teasing there will be plenty of tasty electric guitar parts for us to sink our teeth into when the “ballistic” effort is finally released.

Speaking to both WMSC and WNUW, Schon also revealed that he and his bandmates have written over 30 new songs for the album, saying that the studio sessions have given him the opportunity to “unleash” his powers on the six-string.

Schon has also boldly claimed the album will match up with the band’s seminal 1981 album, Escape – the record that first gave the world tracks such as Don’t Stop Believin’, Who’s Crying Now and Open Arms.

"It's ballistic, man,” he began (via Blabbermouth (opens in new tab)). “And there's no lack of guitar on this record. So I'm excited about it getting out there. 

“I think any guitar player out there is gonna love this record, because I'm just kind of unleashing on this record – like I do a lot live, but sometimes hold back in the studio.

“I usually have a pretty good gut instinct about it, and I feel like the late '60s, the time and era of early Jeff Beck with Rod Stewart and [Led] Zeppelin, when they first came out, Jimi Hendrix, the Cream with [Eric] Clapton and Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, that whole era, there's a lot of younger kids out there, younger generation, that never got to experience that era. 

“So I'm feeling like that is the era that I grew up in and that's the type of music I love playing, so I'm going more there and I'm writing for that, to be able to do that on stage. 

“And I think it's really gonna trip some people out, when we finally do get this album out there and can combine it with all the hits that we do have.”

Though no official release date has been confirmed, Schon went on to say that if it doesn’t drop later this year, fans can expect a slew of singles to keep the anticipation high for a 2022 release date.

“But the whole album,” Schon continued to tease, “there's not a filler on the record; that's what I can tell you. I'm listening to it now, and many others that have known our music for a long time have said, 'Look, this is the modern-day-and-age Escape. I think this could be the next Escape for you guys.' And I think that's a bold statement, but honest to God, I feel like it's that good.”

Journey have already teased their guitar-heavy new effort in the form of The Way We Used To Be – the band’s first single in over a decade, which, unsurprisingly, features an abundance of killer high-gain lead lines.

Though Schon and co may have Escape 2.0 in store for us, it won’t be performed using the album’s most iconic guitar – the 1977 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe, made famous for its role in recording and performing Don’t Stop Believin’.

That guitar, along with a whole host of others from Schon’s personal collection, recently hit the auction block, and sold for $250,000.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.