This Is The Only Original Member That Never Quit Journey

There's this old thought experiment called the Ship of Theseus. If some guy, let's call him Theseus, has a ship, and over time, he removes and replaces every part of said watercraft, is it still the same ship? If you put a new head on your mop, and then put a new handle on the head, is that still your mop? How much of Darth Vader can be replaced with robot bits before he's just another Boston Dynamics robot with a grudge against the living?

The same paradox applies to bands. As the classic rock generation continues to age out of their once stage-ready bodies and be replaced by guys thirty years their junior that can still fit into leather pants, these bands just don't sound the same. For all of his many gifts, Ronnie James Dio couldn't fill the hole left in Black Sabbath by Ozzy's departure, and no matter how expertly they program the stolen Hall of Presidents animatronic currently touring under the Gene Simmons persona, KISS just doesn't sound the same as it did in the '70s.

And few bands have been gutted and parts-ed out quite as hard as Journey, the power ballad success machine that even today dominates bachelorette party karaoke nights. Out of its original five members, only one has never stopped believing, having now held onto that feeling for nearly fifty years.

Schon and on and on and on and on

Look through the liner notes on your old Journey albums and you'll only see one man credited on every single one: Neal Schon, the lead guitarist.

Schon has been with Journey since day one, joining in 1973, back when the group was still called the Golden Gate Rhythm Section. Yes, Neal Schon has been with Journey since before Journey was Journey. The only point in the history of Journey when Schon wasn't playing with Journey was when there wasn't any Journey to play with, during the group's eight year hiatus from 1987 to 1995. On top of all that, he's played with Santanna, Michael Bolton, Joe Cocker, and Sammy Haegar, according to his website.

The road to becoming the only remaining member of Journey hasn't always been smooth, as the bandmates have famously spent years knocking each other out of rotation like musical Highlanders. As recently as March of 2020, Business Wire reported that Schon and fellow Journeyman Jon Cain were actively embroiled in a legal dispute with the band's former drummer and bassist, Steven Smith and Ross Valory, over the rights to the Journey brand.