‘Feeling rejuvenated and inspired’: Journey’s Neal Schon at work on new music with Chickenfoot, Jan Hammer

Guitarist Neal Schon is returning to some familiar 1980s-era musical associations — though neither of them are Journey. Instead, he’s rekindling associations from the days of HSAS, and Schon and Hammer.

He’s just finished recording with Sammy Hagar of Chickenfoot — with whom Schon was a member of HSAS. Their 1984 album Through the Fire, which included a memorable cover of “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum, featured Kenny Aaronson on bass and Schon’s former Santana bandmate Michael Shrieve on drums.

Schon has confirmed that the Chickenfoot rhythm section of Chad Smith and Michael Anthony also participated in these “awesome” new sessions. Schon added that he’s “feeling rejuvenated and inspired.”

Meanwhile, Schon is also making new music with Jan Hammer, with whom the guitarist put out two albums in 1981-82 — Untold Passion and Here to Stay.

Drummer Steve Smith, who originally joined other members of Journey on Here to Stay, confirmed that Schon and Hammer were at work on a new track for a forthcoming box set. “It will be a new tune for him and Jan,” said Smith, a member of Journey from 1978-85 and then again in 1996, told us during an exclusive talk. “Should be cool.”

Smith reunited with Schon last year for the first major project since their days in Journey, on Schon’s molten solo effort The Calling.

Every one in the early-1980s edition of Journey, in fact, contributed to Here to Stay, with Ross Valory adding bass and Steve Perry singing lead vocals on “Self Defense,” a song written by Schon, Perry and keyboardist Jonathan Cain. That track was later reworked as “In Self Defense” for Journey’s 2005 studio effort Generation.

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