Journey principal members Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain have fired drummer Steve Smith and bassist Ross Valory, and in a lawsuit filing, Schon and Cain are accusing Smith and Valory of an “attempted corporate coup d’état.”
The lawsuit can be read in its entirety in a press release via BussinessWire.com. The press release says that Smith and Valory attempted a Board of Directors takeover at Nightmare Productions, Inc., one of Journey’s corporate entities, and claims that Smith and Valory thought Nightmare Productions had control over the Journey trademark. However, Schon and Cain have the “sole, exclusive, irrevocable right to control the Journey Mark, including the Journey name.”
Per the press release, “As detailed in the Complaint, their campaign culminated on February 13, 2020, when Smith and Valory held improper shareholder and Board of Directors meetings of Nightmare Productions. During those meetings, the defendants and their allies voted to give Smith and Valory control of the Board, removing Cain as President and replacing him with Smith, and removing Schon as Secretary and replacing him with Valory.
With control of Nightmare Productions, per the Complaint, Smith and Valory incorrectly believe they can seize control of the Journey name and force Schon, Cain and Nightmare Productions to provide them with wind-fall payments after their retirement; they want to be paid a share of Journey touring revenue in perpetuity under the guise of a licensing fee while they perform absolutely no work for the band.
The very purpose of Nightmare Productions was to facilitate Journey. Smith and Valory instead used Nightmare Productions ‘as a tool to destroy the fabric of the band, undermining the very reason for Nightmare Productions’ existence.'”
The press release continued, “As a result, Schon and Cain removed Smith and Valory from Journey. By letter dated March 3, 2020, Schon and Cain provided notice to Smith and Valory that they are no longer members of Journey; and that Schon and Cain have lost confidence in both of them and are not willing to perform with them again.”
Smith and Valory have yet to comment on the lawsuit.