Neal Joseph Schon is an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist. It is interesting to note that he has been a member of multiple bands over the course of his career. For example, Schon is a member of Journey. Similarly, Schon was a member of Bad English. Currently, he remains very involved with the music industry. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Neal Schon:
1. Born at Tinker Air Force Base, OK
Schon was born at the Tinker Air Force Base in the state of Oklahoma. The place is named for Major General Clarence L. Tinker, who is best-remembered for being the first Native American person to ever reach that rank. Unfortunately, said individual was killed when his plane plunged into the sea while he was leading a force of LB-30s in the Battle of Midway.
2. Both of His Parents Were Musical
It is normal for children to be influenced by their parents. As a result, a lot of musicians have parents with either an interest in music or some other connection with music. In Schon’s case, both of his parents were musical. His father was a big band musician who taught reed instruments. Meanwhile, his mother was a big band singer. Thanks to this, Schon started playing the guitar when he was still at the age of 10.
3. Invited to Derek and the Dominos
Apparently, when Schon was still a teenage, he was invited to Derek and the Dominos. For those who are unfamiliar, that was a blues-rock band that was around from 1970 to 1971. However, Derek and the Dominos is remembered for a couple of reasons. One, its line-up includes some very well-known names – Eric Clapton, Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle, Jim Gordon, Dave Mason, and Duane Allman. Two, its one release was very well-received by the critics, though it took some time for it to receive the same kind of reception from the consumers. Regardless, while Schon was invited, he took up a different opportunity instead.
4. Was a Member of Santana
To be exact, Schon became a member of Santana, which is a rock band that remains active in the present time even though it was founded in 1966. Generally speaking, said band is best-known because of Carlos Santana who has been its one constant member over the course of its multi-decade existence. Schon was a part of Santana from 1971 to 1972. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that he was around for a reunion from 2014 to 2016 as well.
5. Played for Azteca As Well
Apparently, Schon has played for Azteca as well. This was a Latin rock band formed by the two Escovedo brothers who had just finished their stints with Santana in 1972. Azteca wasn’t around for too long. However, it is nonetheless interesting because of the large-scale nature of its music. For context, the band had between 15 and 25 members playing a wide range of instruments on the stage, thus making it very unusual and thus very memorable.
6. Co-Founded Journey
Schon was one of the co-founders of Journey in 1973. Originally, the band formed for the purpose of being a backup band for their better-established counterparts in the San Francisco Bay Area. However, it wasn’t too long before Journey abandoned the idea of being a backup band before developing their own distinctive kind of music. There was a radio contest to name the band that didn’t work out. Instead, Journey became Journey because of the suggestion of a roadie named John Villanueva.
7. Key Member of Journey
Role-wise, Schon isn’t the lead vocalist. Instead, he is the lead guitarist who provides backing vocals as well. However, there can be no doubt about the fact that Schon is a key member of Journey. After all, he has been a member of Journey in every single year in which the band has been active. Something that no one else can claim.
8. Was a Member of Bad English
Speaking of which, Schon was a member of Bad English as well. This was a supergroup formed from both American and English members. In total, there were five members. First, there was Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain. Second and third, there were Cain’s former bandmates from The Babys – the singer John Waite and the Ricky Phillips. Fourth, there was Schon. Fifth, there was the drummer Deen Castronovo. Music-wise, Bad English was glam metal, which is perhaps unsurprising when it was formed in the late 1980s. As for how the band winded up with its name, well, chances are good that interested individuals wouldn’t be able to guess unless they have a fondness for pool. In short, the band members were playing pool when Waite missed a shot, which prompted Cain to comment on how bad his “english” was, referring to the spin placed upon the cue ball.
9. Was a Member of Hardline
Later, Schon was one of the original five members of Hardline as well. Said band formed in 1991 with five members consisting of the two Gioeli brothers, Schon, Todd Jensen, and Deen Castronovo. Nowadays, Hardline is still around. However, there is just one of the original five band members remaining, who would be Johnny Gioeli. Schon himself wasn’t around for too long, having been a member of Hardline from just 1991 to 1992. Something that was prompted by the band losing its record deal.
10. Has Tinnitus
Schon has tinnitus, which is when someone hears sound even when there is no sound. Generally speaking, this isn’t a huge issue. In fact, it is normal for most people to experience some tinnitus when they are in a 100 percent quiet room. However, there are some people who have a case of tinnitus so serious that it interferes with their normal hearing. Something that can be particularly problematic when combined with other issues. In any case, tinnitus isn’t uncommon for musicians who have spent a lot of time touring, which is a category that Schon certainly falls into.