Neal Schon is on tour with Journey, recording with Carlos Santana and getting ready to release his solo album, “Vortex” June 23. The 2-CD all-instrumental album sets a new standard for the legendary guitarist and is dedicated to the love of his life, Michaele Schon (former Real Housewives personality, Michaele Salahi). Michaele accompanies her husband on tour and is his constant support, best friend and inspiration. Two songs on the album were directly written for Michaele or ‘Lady M’ as he affectionately refers to his wife of almost 18 months. Both “Lady M” and “Triumph of Love” share the instrumental story of their love and commitment. Schon played a very moving performance of “Triumph of Love” for his bride at their lavish wedding in December 2013. Neal shared, “This is an evolutionary album for me. I’ve always aspired to be a better player and push musical boundaries. This album is really me — all based on my guitar, which is my ‘voice.’ It’s bold. There’s love, and there’s definitely fire and an element of danger.”
Schon recorded Vortex at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, which Neal says is “his home away from home”, and where he’s been recording with Journey since 1981. The album reunites Schon with, former Journey drummer, Steve Smith. Along with Smith, the collaborative dream team includes Grammy-winning keyboardists Jan Hammer and Igor Len, both of which appeared on Schon’s 2012 solo release album, The Calling. Fans from his early days with Santana and then the foundational years with Journey will embrace the brilliant and crystal cut familiarity of the legendary guitarist’s signature style. With the release of “Vortex,” a new generation of rock enthusiasts can now experience the iconic timeless and boundary breaking genius of Neal Schon of 2015.
When Schon was just 15 years old, Carlos Santana invited him to join his band. Schon’s recording debut was on the classic 1971 album Santana III. He played the solo on the LP’s hit single “Everybody’s Everything.” Recently Schon has been working with Carlos Santana on a new album, co-writing songs and playing key performances including homecoming Santana concerts in Guadalajara and Mexico City that included Journey as the opening band.
Schon formed Journey in 1973 and has led the band through its astonishing 42-year history. Neal Schon co-wrote the timeless hit “Don’t Stop Believin,'” which now holds the title as the most digitally downloaded song in history. Seventeen additional Journey singles were Top 40 hits. Schon has received multiple Grammy award nominations for both his work with Journey and his solo recordings, and Journey has been nominated for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
The intensity of energy and timeless creativity by Schon on “Vortex” indicates that he is only getting better and not slowing down any time soon. Schon states, “I feel more aware and alive now than I’ve ever been.” Truly, Schon’s inspiration, as he so often gives credit, is from his wife and best friend, ‘Lady M’ who has toured ‘Faithfully’ with Schon for four years now.
The entire album comes out June 23rd via Mascot Label Group’s Music Theories Recordings. A sampling from one of the tracks, “El Matador” is available courtesy of Billboard.