Journey Hires Def Leppard Manager Amid Inter-Band Turmoil

Journey‘s new manager, Mike Kobayashi, confirmed late Tuesday he was “just hired,” taking over from player-managers Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain after a roller-coaster year.

The classic-rock fixture sold 296,000 tickets and grossed $31.9 million on its 2022 arena tour, according to Billboard Boxscore, doubling the revenue pace of its previous headlining tour, in 2017, which grossed $31.7 million over 67 shows.

But the band ended 2022 with an internal squabble over an American Express card: Lead guitarist Schon sued keyboardist Cain last month for refusing to give Cain access to an account representing “millions in Journey funds”; Cain responded that Schon was “running up enormous personal charges” on the account.


The lawsuit, pending in California Superior Court, is one of several legal disputes involving Cain and Schon, one of the band’s founders, and other Journey members in recent years. In 2020, the two musicians sued drummer Steve Smith and bassist Ross Valory, accusing them of improperly trying to take control of the band name; Valory filed a counter-complaint, and the lawsuit ended with a 2021 settlement in which Smith and Valory left the band.

And after Schon and Cain trademarked names of many of the band’s hits, such as “Wheel In the Sky,” former frontman Steve Perry filed an action in U.S. Trademark Court in September to stop the process. Perry cited a long-running band partnership agreement that requires Schon and Cain to get his permission to make these kinds of trademark moves.

Kobayashi, who also manages fellow road warriors Def Leppard, did not respond to requests for further comment on his new position with Journey.

Journey hasn’t had a new hit in decades, but the band remains a top-tier touring act and occasionally scores high-profile synchs in shows like The Sopranos and, last spring, Stranger Things, the Netflix series that revived Kate Bush‘s “Running Up That Hill” on the charts.

Marc Schneider