Journey’s Neal Schon announced a pair of lineup changes — including the return of bassist and American Idol judge Randy Jackson — Saturday following an alleged coup attempt by the band’s now-former bassist and drummer.
“Ok Friends word is out! @randyjackson RJ the Big Dawg is our new Bass player again,” Schon wrote on social media, adding that Grammy-winning drummer Narada Michael Walden had also joined the latest Journey incarnation.
Jackson previously served as Journey’s bassist in the mid-Eighties, appearing on the band’s 1986 LP Raised on Radio. The new lineup made their debut Saturday with a socially distanced performance of “Don’t Stop Believin’” as part of the UNICEF Won’t Stop fundraiser concert.
“Journey is an ever-changing unstoppable force,” Schon added on Twitter. “This is a completely new chapter for us and can’t wait to get to it!”
Fans will have to wait a little longer to see Journey’s new lineup in action after the band canceled their summer tour with the Pretenders due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In March, Journey fired their longtime bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith after the two allegedly attempted to orchestrate a “malicious and very ill-conceived” coup attempt to wrestle control of the Rock Hall-inducted group’s copyright away from Schon and Jonathan Cain; Valory and Smith later countersued their former band mates.
“The Journey name is controlled by Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain,” a lawyer for Cain and Schon told Rolling Stone at the time. “And for very good cause, they don’t want to perform with Smith or Valory anymore, they don’t want to have anything to do with them, and that’s their right. They’re going to go on with Journey, continue with the great success of the past and these two guys are going to get replaced.”
Valory, a co-founding member of Journey, was previously fired by the band in 1985; at that time, he was also replaced by Jackson.