Settle with Sony? Former Journey producer Roy Thomas Baker isn't feeling that way

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Photograph by Tere Baker

Former Journey producer Roy Thomas Baker is not only refusing to settle as part of an on-going class-action lawsuit over royalties with Sony, he’s filed a separate suit — to the tune of $1 million.

Baker produced Journey’s first three albums with Steve Perry, from 1978’s Infinity through 1979’s Evolution and 1980’s Departure — a period that saw the band achieve its first chart successes.

His new 18-page lawsuit, according to Courthouse News Service, details allegations that Sony underreported his royalties by more than $475,000 for 21 songs that later ended up on a greatest-hits album which sold more than 80 million copies. Baker also claims to be owed more than $500,000 in additional royalties relating to the Departure album, Journey’s 2003 greatest hits DVD, and for music and ringtones downloaded through digital music providers.

Baker, who also produced Queen, the Cars, Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Cheap Trick and Foreigner over the years, opted out of a recent class-action lawsuit that made similar claims against Sony from a variety of other artists for downloaded music, because he didn’t feel the proposed March settlement was fair. He now says Sony is stonewalling, refusing to release other documents that might uncover additional monies owed since an audit first revealed the inconsistencies.

During Baker’s time with Journey, the group scored a number of embryonic chart and radio hits, including “Anytime,” “Any Way You Want It,” “Feeling That Way,” “Just the Same Way,” “Lights,” “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin'” and “Wheel in the Sky.” Those early successes helped pave the way for Journey’s platinum era in the 1980s.

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Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Journey. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

SOMETHING ELSE! SNEAK PEEK: NEAL SCHON – THE CALLING (2012): Schon reunites with former Journey drummer Steve Smith, and they recapture much of the sound and feel of the band’s platinum era — mixing in arena-rattling tracks like “Carnival Jazz” and “Back Smash” with the soaring pop-balladry of “Six String Waltz” and “True Emotion.” “Blue Rainbow Sky” emerges from a Jimi Hendrix-style riff into something that sounds like a newly unearthed track from the Escape sessions. But there’s also a cool jazz-rock underpinning, something that allows Schon to explore further out along the edges of his craft in a way that his main band’s brand of mainstream rock almost never does anymore.

ONE TRACK MIND: JOURNEY, “FEELING THAT WAY/ ANYTIME” (1978; 2011 reissue): A new Greatest Hits Vol. 2 was, in some ways, more interesting than Journey’s initial best-of compilation — if only because its songs haven’t necessarily become ear-wormingly familiar. Perhaps the most potent examples are these twin 1978 gems from Infinity, Journey’s first project with Steve Perry. His appearance would immediately transform an interesting, if often unfocused jam band — co-led by Santana alums Gregg Rolie and Neal Schon — into a hit-making juggernaut. This album easily became the band’s biggest seller to date, as Journey moved toward a tighter focus on songcraft.

JOURNEY – ECLIPSE (2011): In many ways, the initial cuts on Eclipse recall the wide-open heavy fusion of the the band’s original Gregg Rolie-era records, a period when guitarist Neal Schon pulled and stretched his muse. At the same time, singer Arnel Pineda possesses a second-act Steve Perry-sounding penchant for soaring expectancy. For age-old fans, that often makes this album the best of both worlds, a musically dense recording in the style of the band’s underrated 1977?s Next, and a loud one, but at the same time one that doesn’t completely abandon the visceral mainstream pop sensibilities that defined the band’s subsequent hitmaking period in the 1980s.

SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: GREGG ROLIE, FOUNDING MEMBER OF SANTANA AND JOURNEY: Gregg Rolie, a 1998 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, has learned a lot about himself since taking fame’s exit ramp to start a family almost 30 years ago. He’s put into perspective the work done as a founding member of Santana, a stint that saw Rolie co-produce the group’s first four albums beginning in 1969. The bluesy B-3 stylist then added to an overstuffed resume that already included an appearance at Woodstock, leaving with Neal Schon to launch Journey. There, he helped craft a series of 1970s recordings that set the stage for that band’s arena-rock supernova moment in the 1980s.

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