AKA Neal Joseph Schon
Birthplace: Midwest City, OK
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Journey
Already possessed of a considerable skill on the guitar by his early teens, Neal Schon became a professional musician at the age of 15 when he joined Santana, dropping out of school to become a full-time member of the band. In the subsequent three years he would contribute to some of its most enduring material, including the signature tune Black Magic Woman. With the departure of Gregg Rolie after Santana's 1972 release Caravanserai, Schon also turned in his notice -- the two of them forming what was initially just a backing band for other performers, but soon became a self-contained unit. This new band, Journey, would evolve from the primarily instrumental material represented on its 1975 self-titled debut release to the stadium-filling anthem rock of Infinity in 1978.
While still a member of Journey, Schon began a collaborative relationship with former Mahavishnu Orchestra keyboardist Jan Hammer. Together they released the jazz-rock album Untold Passion in 1981, followed by the more lightweight effort Here to Stay in 1982, for which the duo was augmented by several of Schon's Journey bandmates. After peaking with Frontiers in 1983, Journey went on hiatus for the next few years, only briefly reuniting to record Only The Young for the soundtrack to the film Vision Quest. During this interval, Schon formed H.S.A.S., a short-lived collaboration with Sammy Hagar that yielded the album Through the Fire (1984).
In 1986 Journey resumed activity and released Raised on Radio, but by 1988 the band had decided to split for good. The following year Schon began work on his first solo release Late Nite, and while in the final stages of recording was invited by former members of The Babys to join Bad English -- another arena rock outfit following the formula of the paricipants' previous work. Its self-titled first record was well-supported by the record-buying public, but poor response to its 1991 follow-up Backlash would spell the demise of the band.
In the early years of the 1990s, Schon reunited with Gregg Rolie to partcipate in his new group The Storm; he also briefly became a member of Hardline and released his second solo album, the acoustic Beyond the Thunder. The inevitable reunion of Journey took place in 1996, and, despite the unavailability of singer Steve Perry after 1998, the band has continued to be active since. Two further solo releases (1999's Pirhana Blues and 2001's Voice) have appeared concurrent with his band activity.
Father: Matthew Schon
Mother: Barbara Schon
Wife: Amber Kozan (m. 2001)
Santana Guitarist (1971-73)
Journey Guitarist (1973-88 and 1996-)
Bad English Guitarist (1989-91)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Woodstock '94 (1995) · Himself
Soul to Soul (18-Aug-1971) · Himself
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