Alphonso Johnson Unable to Tour with Unitopia in September, Don Schiff to Join as Replacement

Alphonso Johnson Unable to Tour with Unitopia in September, Don Schiff to Join as Replacement

Alphonso Johnson Unable to Tour with Unitopia in September, Don Schiff to Join as Replacement


[June 5, 2023] – It is with regret that Unitopia announces that bassist Alphonso Johnson will no longer be able to join the band on their upcoming “Seven Chambers” tour in September due to unforeseen circumstances. The band, however, is thrilled to announce that acclaimed musician Don Schiff will be stepping in to fill the void left by Johnson’s absence.


In the wake of Johnson’s unavailability, Don Schiff emerges as the ideal candidate to take his place. Schiff is no stranger to the world of progressive rock, having carved out a remarkable career spanning several decades. His mastery of the Chapman Stick, an innovative and versatile instrument, has made him a sought-after collaborator and a revered figure in the genre.


Don Schiff’s progressive rock journey began in the early 1990s when he joined the legendary rock band Rocket Scientists. Since then, he has contributed his exceptional skills to numerous groundbreaking projects and has worked with an impressive roster of artists, including the likes of Eddie Jobson, Lana Lane, and Erik Norlander.


Schiff’s ability to blend complex melodies, captivating rhythms, and intricate textures with the Chapman Stick has made him an influential figure in the progressive rock scene. His distinctive sound and virtuosic performances have captivated audiences worldwide, earning him critical acclaim and a dedicated fanbase.


Don Schiff’s versatile musical journey extends beyond progressive rock, as he has also made notable contributions to the world of pop music, collaborating with renowned artists such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Sheryl Crow, Pat Benetar, Tina Turner and Elvis Presley, among others. His exceptional skills on the bass have enriched the soundscapes of their chart-topping hits, solidifying his reputation as a sought-after musician across genres. Schiff’s ability to seamlessly transition between progressive rock and pop showcases his remarkable versatility and underscores his status as a respected figure in the music industry.


Unitopia is thrilled to have Don Schiff joining them on their upcoming tour, and they are confident that his immense talent and passion for progressive rock will bring a fresh energy to their live performances. Audiences can expect an unforgettable musical experience as Schiff seamlessly integrates with the band, contributing his unique style and expertise to the beloved Unitopia repertoire.


Unitopia expresses their gratitude to Alphonso Johnson for his contributions and sends their warmest wishes for whatever lies ahead. They are grateful for the understanding and continued support of their fans as they embark on this new chapter with Don Schiff.


For more information about Unitopia’s upcoming tour and Don Schiff’s addition to the lineup, please visit the band’s official website.


About Unitopia:


UNITOPIA (yu-nih-to-pi-E): meaning living together as one in a place of ideal perfection especially in law, government and social conditions.


Unitopia endeavors to draw from the heart and soul of the listener thought provoking topics such as environmental awareness, political and social upheaval and the hectic pace of life and human relationships in a positive and uplifting light. Using progressive themes as a framework, Unitopia’s music includes elements of world, classical, jazz, heavy rock, and groove.

About Upcoming Release “Seven Chambers:


The current members of Unitopia have trodden varying paths where some have encountered serious heart disease, tumors, metabolic disorders, joint disease and psychological upheaval. The “Seven Chambers” is a concept album based on the band’s experiences of illness, a dark subject perhaps, but the simple fact that all four are still here and producing music bears witness to good outcomes and is cause for optimism and grounds for hope.


Media Contact:


Twitter: @EssentialProg

Facebook:’s Essentials is proud to present Planetary Overload, Part 2 – Hope, the brand-new studio album from environmentally-conscious progressive rock supergroup United Progressive Fraternity!’s Essentials is proud to present Planetary Overload, Part 2 – Hope, the brand-new studio album from environmentally-conscious progressive rock supergroup United Progressive Fraternity!

Heart, healing, and humanity have always been at the center of United Progressive Fraternity, with their goal of spreading connectedness and understanding across the world permeating everything they’ve done. Never before has their trademark synthesis of vibrantly sophisticated instrumentation and captivatingly meaningful songwriting felt as rewarding and resonant as on Planetary Overload, Part 2 – Hope, the spacious conclusion to the trilogy that began with 2014’s Fall in Love with the World and continued with 2019’s Planetary Overload, Part 1 – Loss.

Like its predecessors, the band explain, Hope “focuses on the problems we are already beginning to encounter on a troubled planet and expected to face with increasing severity in the future”; consequently, it encourages listeners to take “immediate positive action to mitigate those effects to ensure humanity’s survival. After all, Hope is a conscious choice. We are awake to the adversity we face (specifically regarding fair treatment of Earth and its inhabitants), yet we choose optimism over despair.”

Once again produced and led by vocalist/songwriter Mark Truey Trueack (Unitopia) and multiinstrumentalist/songwriter Steve Unruh, Hope further embraces the “Fraternity” in UPF by incorporating the talents of over three dozen of today’s most renowned and skilled progressive rock artists. From prior collaborators (such as Christophe Lebled, Nick Magnus, Charlie Cawood, Steve Hackett, Colin Edwin, Lisa Wetton, and Hasse Fröberg) to exciting newcomers (such as Rachel Flowers, Ryo Okumoto,  Jonas Reingold, Tommy Murray, and even Unitopia co-founder Sean Timms), the LP undoubtedly features UPF’s greatest line-up to date.

“We collated a list of superb, likeminded prog rock magicians for this final installment of the Love/Loss/Hope trilogy. We feel progressive rock is at its best when there’s a strong message,”’s Essentials’ Mark Monforti reflects.

On that note, celebrated visual artist Ed Unitsky (Unitopia, The Tangent, Manning, Jon Anderson) returns, too, ensuring that the artwork for Hope is just as colorful and inspirational as the music it represents. 

Clocking in at approx. two hours in length, Hope is also the group’s most dynamic, expansive, and profound creation thus far. From the rousing lyricism, hooky choruses, and majestically adventurous timbres of lead single “Love Never Leaves Us” to the Led Zeppelin-esque aggression of “Homosapien” and the divine splendor of penultimate gem “Hymn of Hope,” the record is a tour-de-force of exquisite musicianship, spellbinding melodies, and perhaps most importantly, life-affirming messages.

From start to finish, Hope signifies not only an exhilarating new chapter for UPF, but an essential experience for progressive rock aficionados and the world at large. As the band proudly proclaim, “the entire planet needs to hear this album!”

Planetary Overload, Part 2 – Hope releases on July 15th, 2023!. Pre-orders for the 3-LP vinyl edition and triple CD edition—the latter of which includes a bonus collection by Trueack, Unruh, and Lebled as The Romantechs—start on April 22nd, 2023 (Earth Day) via’s Essentials (

In the meantime, you can listen to “Love Never Leaves Us” on YouTube and Spotify. Lastly, follow United Progressive Fraternity online for in-depth song profiles!

For more information: 

Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial