If you think that being immortalized in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is "just another honor" for some renowned musicians, it certainly was nothing of the sort for Neal Schon as he stepped to the microphone to speak during Journey's big moment during the Rock Hall's 32nd annual induction ceremony at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York, on April 7.
The guitarist found himself overwhelmed by emotion, and wasn't able to deliver the complete content of the speech he had written for his band's induction.
"There were so many emotions, and I was first to speak, so It was actually a bit surreal for me," explains Schon. "I choked up seeing everyone. I had seen Steve back stage, and I got a great feeling from him that our friendship, respect, and love was still there. So when we walked up to be inducted, he came up to me and we exchanged a hug. Then, I was trying to get my composure back, and I decided I couldn't read my speech — even though I did like what I had written."
Happily, in an exclusive treat for Guitar Player readers, Schon is sharing the entire transcript of the speech he meant to give at the induction ceremony:
"I'm honored, grateful, and happy tonight to receive this award. I'd like to first thank my mother and father for allowing me to follow my dream. My father also co-wrote some beautiful, timeless music with us. Classical songs like, 'Mother Father,' 'Winds of March,' and 'Good Morning Girl.' These songs helped mold us musically into a multi-dimensional band.
"Gregg came to see me play when I was very young in a club in the Bay Area. And then, shortly after, he would pick me up from high school at the age of 15. Then, later, I met Carlos Santana and the rest of the band, and we hung in the studio. About three weeks after that, I met Eric Clapton. We played, and I was asked to join Derek and the Dominoes by Eric and move to England. The band Santana asked me join them the next day....
"Kind of mind f**ked at this point as a kid.
"Herbie Herbert, who I had met multitasking for Santana and guitar teching for Carlos and then myself. He approached me to manage myself, and wrap a band around my guitar playing. That was the beginning of Journey.
"And without Santana, there would have been no Journey. Thank you, Carlos. I love you, brother.
"I truly don't believe we would have achieved this timeless legacy without you. Thank you, my friend. I have great gratitude, respect, and love for you. We have become the musical soundtrack to so many people's lives.
"Thank you Irving Azoff and John Baruck for being a part our legacy, and looking forward to stadium shows coming up with Journey, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, and Doobie Brothers.
"And to our fans...
"Without you, we Wouldn't be Standing here. Thank you for your love, dedication, and voting for us. Wow! You definitely kicked some serious f**king ass!
"I am so grateful to all Journey members past, present, and future ...
"I know my Journey will never be over ...
"To my beautiful wife, Michaele. We share the beauty of love and life together. You are my rock. Thank you for being so patient and understanding, always. She has never left my side on tour for the past seven years. I love you.
"To my children: Miles, Lizzy, Sarah, Aja, and Sophie, LadyM, and I love you.
"Thank you, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for this prestigious honor and award."
"This is an amazing pic that Steve Perry's friends sent us," says Schon. "[My wife] Michaele and I are wrapping him in love."
Watch! Journey's Rock Hall Induction Speeches and Performance