Journey guitarist Neal Schon is giving fans an early earful of his next solo album, Vortex, by streaming the 18-song set via Britain's TeamRock.com a week before its June 23 release.
The two-disc set features former Journey drummer Steve Smith as well as keyboardist Jann Hammer, Schon's early 80s collaborator who also played on his 2011 album Eclipse.
Schon tells us that Vortex -- the title comes from a nickname Carlos Santana bestowed upon him -- had a loose and energetic creative process:
"Well, y'know, I've been staying very active in the studio when I have time off, and so every time I got a break I try to correlate with Steve Smith and make sure he has some time free and then...nab a week here, couple days here, and got all the basic tracks and wrote everything...We wing it...There were a couple ideas that were a little bit further along, but for the most part made it up on the spot and was just spontaneous, which was a cool thing for me."
Following a residency at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Journey hits the road on Saturday (June 20) for a short summer tour.
Meanwhile, Schon has also been recording with the reunited early 70s Santana lineup, which plans to release an album later this year or next and tour to support it. He's also hoping to play some live shows to support Vortex but has none on the books yet.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.