Journey have fired bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith. The band made the move after the duo allegedly tried to go through with an “ill-conceived corporate coup d’état” to take control of the band’s name.
According to a press release that Los Angeles-based law firm Miller Barondess, LLP issued through Business Wire, Valory and Smith were trying to take over one of the group’s business entities, Nightmare Productions, which they thought controlled the Journey name and trademark. A lawsuit has since been filed.
The press release said the following:
“In 1998, [Neal] Schon, [Jonathan] Cain and [Steve] Perry entered into a written agreement providing Schon and Cain the sole, exclusive, irrevocable right to control the Journey Mark, including the Journey name. They are, therefore, authorized to perform together as Journey, with or without anyone else.
Defendants Smith and Valory were members of Journey at various times during the band’s history. Collectively, they only have a very few song credits on Journey albums. Nevertheless, they were compensated generously for many years.
Recently, however, defendants attempted to launch an ill-conceived corporate coup d’état to assume control of Nightmare Productions because they incorrectly believe that Nightmare Productions controls the Journey name and Mark. They hope that, by taking over Nightmare Productions, they can hold the Journey name hostage and set themselves up with a guaranteed income stream after they stop performing. Smith and Valory began their campaign to take control of Nightmare Productions in December 2019 by conspiring to oust Schon and Cain from control.”
In addition to firing Valory and Smith, Journey are also seeking damages “in excess of $10 million.” Lead counsel Skip Miller says “this is not an action that Neal and Jon wanted to bring against two men that they once considered their brothers, but the devious and truculent behavior of Steve and Ross left them reluctantly with no choice but to act decisively.” The band will now be moving forward with replacements that are said to be “top musicians.”