Returned Journey drummer Steve Smith is planning to remain with the band for two years, he’s said.
He was confirmed this week as replacement for Deen Castronovo, who was fired after a drug-fuelled domestic violence incident resulted in a four-year probation sentence.
Smith’s third stint with the band – and his first appearance with them since 1998 – will commence with their North American tour in May next year.
He says: “I’ve enjoyed working with Journey guitarist Neal Schon for many years, and playing on his solo albums, including The Calling and his latest release Vortex.
“Over the years he has mentioned that he’d like to have me tour with Journey again. The invitation has always been appreciated – but with my busy schedule always being booked at least a year in advance, the timing was never right.
“Some changes within the band have once again brought me the invitation to tour and this time we were able to plan in advance and work a Journey tour into my schedule.”
He reports that his relationships with keyboardist Jonathan Cain and bassist Ross Valory include a “good rapport” and adds of frontman Arnel Pineda: “I have great respect for him as a person and vocalist.”
Smith aims to return to his jazz work by 2018. In the meantime he hopes Journey will “develop its own special magic.”
He adds: “I am excited to revisit a role that was a formative part of my career. Finally I can say ‘yes’ to the many fans who have asked if I would tour with Journey again.”
The band tour with the Doobie Brothers and Dave Mason from May until August next year. Smith takes part in Schon’s solo tour of Japan in February.