A member of prog rock band Journey has served a fellow bandmate with a cease-and-desist order for performing their hit Don’t Stop Believin’ with several high-profile Republicans for Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago last month, calling the performance “harmful” to the band.
Keyboardist Jonathan Cain, guitarist Neal Schon and singer Steve Perry co-wrote the 1981 song, which returned to public consciousness 30 years later when it was used in the final episode of The Sopranos.
Cain, 71, is a member of Trump’s inner circle because his wife, the televangelist Paula White-Cain, is the former US president’s spiritual advisor.
In November, Cain performed Don’t Stop Believin’ with Republicans Marjorie Taylor Greene, Kimberly Guilfoyle and Kari Lake for Trump at his Florida resort. On Wednesday, it was revealed by Variety that Schon’s attorney had issued a cease-and-desist letter to Cain over the performance.
In the letter, Schon’s attorney noted: “Although Mr Cain is free to express his personal beliefs and associations, when he does that on behalf of Journey or for the band, such conduct is extremely deleterious to the Journey brand as it polarizes the band’s fans and outreach. Journey is not, and should not be, political.
“Mr Cain’s unauthorized affiliation of Journey with the politics of Donald Trump has the band’s fans up in arms, as is demonstrated by a sample of the attached emails and Twitter comments. This has caused, and continues to cause, irreparable harm to the Journey brand, its fan base and earning potential, especially in the light of the forthcoming tour.
“Mr Cain has no right to use Journey for politics … he should not be capitalizing on Journey’s brand to promote his personal political or religious agenda to the detriment of the band,” the letter continued, calling the performance a “harmful use of the brand ”.
The letter also states that Schon’s move does not intend to “further add to the animosity that is currently plaguing the band and the relationship between Mr Schon and Mr Cain”.
The two men are currently fighting over access to the band’s finances, with Schon’s lawyers claiming last month that he had been denied access to the band’s financial records and use of its American Express card. Cain’s lawyers responded by alleging Schon was denied access to the card after he used it on “improper personal expenses” worth more than US$1m.
Schon has not responded to Cain’s counterclaim, writing that he will “be following my attorney’s advice and not speak until we are in court where I’ll not have a problem at all. It is what it is.”
The Guardian has contacted Cain about the cease-and-desist. In response to the claims, a spokesman for Cain told Variety on Wednesday: “Schon is just frustrated that he keeps losing in court and is now falsely claiming the song has been used at political rallies.”
Schon and Perry have previously voiced their displeasure about Don’t Stop Believin’ being played at Trump’s campaign rallies, joining a long list of individuals and bands who have spoken out against their music being used by Trump that includes Neil Young, REM, Queen, Earth, Wind and Fire, the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Tom Petty and the widow of Luciano Pavarotti,
In 2017, Schon posted several furious tweets after three members of the group visited the White House and posed for pictures with the then-president.
“I’ve stated how I felt about mixing religion and politics and how our music is not of one religion — Democratic or Republican. This is and has been an issue with myself, Mr Cain and his wife,” Schon wrote in a message he later deleted.
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