FARGO - In the 1980s, few American acts were bigger than Journey, scoring classic rock tunes like "Don't Stop Believin'," "Faithfully," "Any Way You Want It" and a handful more.
The group hadn't landed on radio with new music since 1996's "When You Love a Woman," but last August, the group made waves for a different reason.
Founding guitarist Neal Schon released his own hits on bandmates keyboardist Jonathan Cain, vocalist Arnel Pineda and bassist Ross Valory after the three were photographed with President Donald Trump during a White House visit.
Schon blasted the visit in a series of tweets, saying it was a longtime understanding to never mix politics or religion with the band at the risk of alienating fans.
"Everybody's entitled to like and believe what they want but when we've had this discussion many, many times it was always a no WH. All know," wrote Schon, the only constant member of the group he formed in 1973. "Arranged photo op against what we've all stood for up until 2 years ago (when) Jon changed radically... And then on top of it the stories that have stemmed from their visit say JOURNEY was there. Like I don't exist. I brought all these guys in."
The lines between music, religion and politics may be hard not to cross for Cain, who has said he brings God on stage with him every night. His wife, Paula White, leads a Pentecostal megachurch in Florida but is better known as one of Trump's main spiritual advisers.
Cain and Schon appear to have reconciled - if not with open arms, at least open to working together again. They, Pineda, Valory and drummer Steve Smith - four-fifths of the prime lineup that recorded most of the group's hits, minus vocalist Steve Perry - will return to the Fargodome on Saturday night, July 28, when they open for Def Leppard.
'Gift of music'
Journey last played the Fargodome 17 months ago, before the White House kerfuffle.
"It was a misunderstanding, really. I'm sorry it happened," Cain told The Forum earlier this month when asked how things were going with Schon. "You never want to see that. Every relationship has bumps in the road. I've known the guy for 40 years. We had a bad patch and I think we're over it now."
"I was very ticked off at the time. And since then, we've gone around and around," Schon told the Detroit Free Press earlier this month.
"It made things a little better for us right now. And so far, so good," he says. "I'm getting along a lot better with Jonathan and the rest of the guys, and have just sort of pushed it aside for right now for the sake of the tour, the fans and my own head, too."
While Journey is Schon's band, Cain helped the group transform from a jam band to a stadium act, as the sole writer of "Faithfully" and having a hand in every hit since joining the group in 1980, including "Don't Stop Believin'." Schon came in with the opening bass line and Cain came up with the chords and chorus.
"It just seemed like a Journey song," Cain said.
Not only did it seem like a Journey song, it seemed like a great title for his autobiography, "'Don't Stop Believin': The Man, the Band, and the Song that Inspired Generations." The book is less a rock 'n' roll tell-all and more the story of Cain's personal journey, from growing up in Chicago to being in one of the biggest bands in the world. It also details his survival of the 1958 fire at Our Lady of the Angels School that killed 92 students and three nuns.
"What the Lord did for me was give me the gift of music through my father," Cain says. "Sometimes a tragedy can catapult you into a new arena. For me it was a whole new world and I was sure blessed to have it."
"It's about perseverance to try to encourage and inspire people that have a dream," Cain says of the book. "Don't believe what they say about you because you're not always who they say you are. You're unique. My father kept pounding that ... I wrote it to encourage and inspire. And it's never too late to return to the Lord."
If you go
What: Journey and Def Leppard
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, July 28
Where: Fargodome, 1800 N. University Drive
Info: Tickets range from $49.50 to $149.50; fargodome.com or 701-241-9100