Chuck Shute Podcast

Deen Castronovo (Journey, Revolution Saints, ex Ozzy Osbourne)

February 02, 2024 Deen Castronovo Season 5 Episode 410
Chuck Shute Podcast
Deen Castronovo (Journey, Revolution Saints, ex Ozzy Osbourne)
Show Notes Transcript

Deen Castronovo is a drummer and singer best known for being a member of Journey. He has also been a member of Ozzy Osbourne’s band and Bad English, as well as playing with Steve Vai & Paul Rodgers.  He is also currently drumming and singing with Revolution Saints, whose new record “Against the Winds” will be released on February 9th. We discuss that record along with an update on Journey, almost joining KISS, Deen’s time with Ozzy & Hardline, playing at the recent NFC Championship game, his future plans to help people with addiction issues and more! 

00:00 - Intro
00:13 - Welcome Deen!
01:14 - Playing the NFC Championship
02:15 - Oregon, Jamie St. James & Wild Dogs
03:05 - Shrapnel Records
04:30 - Rock n Roll Dreams
06:05 - Possibly Joining Kiss
06:50 - Hardline & Johnny Gioeli
09:25 - Deen's Singing Style & Smoking
12:20 - Joining Journey & Jeff Scott Soto
13:20 - Arnel & Other Singer Who Auditioned
15:13 - Deen's Relationship with Neal Schon
17:15 - Mending Fences Within Journey 
18:45 - Upcoming Journey Tour
20:27 - Ozzy Osbourne & Zakk Wylde
23:43 - Neal Schon on Dimebag & Slipknot & Style
27:00 - Revolution Saints
29:05 - Other Styles of Music & Drumming Style
31:05 - Working with Producer Michael Beinhorn
32:35 - Making an Impression & Producer's Vision 
34:15 - Deen's Bucket List
35:55 - Work with Prisoners & Comeback
39:50 - Future Plans with Revolution Saints
41:11 - Outro

Journey website:
https://journeymusic.com

Chuck Shute Linktree:
https://linktr.ee/chuck_shute


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Thanks for Listening & Shute for the Moon!

Deen Castronovo:

How are you?

Chuck Shute:

Okay, great. How are you?

Deen Castronovo:

Fantastic man doing interviews all day and, and doing great doing really great. Okay, yeah, I was a little worried there because like, you didn't show up last time and I was like, I just like bots, third sir, going through my head with everything I start to get worried like, oh, you know, I was I was talking to a guy from South America and he kept going and going, which is great and I didn't really I wasn't keeping track of the time. And it got to be like 544 And oh my god, okay. All right, and he kept going. I didn't enter 552 I'm like, so I told Martinez, please let him know. We'll reschedule Oh, man, I'm there. I just got you know, kind of tied up with him. But I'm here now. Okay, that's great. Yeah. Do you have an hour? You? You got to get off for another one. Not till after this one, too. No, I think this is the last one until eight o'clock. So I'm good, man. Take your time and fill it up. Okay, awesome. Well, first thing I was gonna ask you is this most recent thing you guys just played at the NFC Championship Game journey did with a hose out? Unbelievable, dude. I mean, just, you know. I mean, we're 40 Niners fans by proxy. I mean, Nealon those guys are from San Francisco. I'm an Oregonian. There's no football teams, the Seahawks not so good this year. So we had to be 40 United fans and man, they they pulled it out. We didn't I didn't think they were gonna be able to pull it out. But man, quite a nail biter at the end there, man. I was pretty impressed. And yeah, you know, of course we take responsibility because it was our halftime performance that just round them all up.

Chuck Shute:

It didn't make it. Yeah, it was the second half where they came back. I think I was hurting for the Lions just because I'm a Seahawks fan. So I'm against the 40 Niners division plus lions. You just feel so bad for him. But good game.

Deen Castronovo:

Totally. I mean, a 30 year drought in the team come back that hard and that heavy and then to lose it just on a few mistakes. You know, nothing major, but you know, still he was, you know, vital, you know, pretty heavy. But yeah,

Chuck Shute:

yeah, that's cool. Like, I don't know if people know that that you grew up in Oregon. And that you were you were in a band with the guys from black and blue, right?

Deen Castronovo:

Yeah. Well, one of the guys Kimi St. James, the lead singer, was actually the drummer for wild dogs, which is a metal band out of Portland. And Jamie, you know, moved to LA to do black and blue and the wild dogs were looking for a drummer and I was 16 at the time playing in a club in Portland and Matt came the lead singer came down said pretty good. So they they hired me and but the guitarist Jeff who I love, he's a brother. He's like, Well, he plays too loud. And he plays a lot. He's really busy. And he doesn't look right. And you know, because I support Harris Duff, and it's like, they gave me a shot. He had a 16 and recorded my first record with him at 17. It was pretty cool.

Chuck Shute:

Is that how you ended up getting to the attention of the shrapnel records guy? Yes,

Deen Castronovo:

yeah, Jeff Mark was on the the US metal Volume Two, I think it was just all those shredder guys. Derek Frigo was on a Josh Ramos, Marty Friedman, all these monster players. And Jeff had it with the song called The Tonight Show. And Jeff, believe it or not, was doing the Eddie stuff. Before Eddie was doing that, but he was up in Portland. I mean, he was doing all that stuff. Because, you know, the dogs were together from like, 7778 that Van Halen came out was like, he plays like Jeff. Yeah, it was it was crazy, you know, but I'm not the same obviously. But you know, he had the same those the triple piggy you know, the the finger picking thing down. They were doing that. So Jeff got the call from Mike varney. And then Mike Varney saw me play and said you don't you're pretty good. Would you like to do some some records for me as like a studio drummer? I'm like yes. So I literally did records for Mike like Marty Friedman's dragons kiss and cacophony and joy to for you. James Murphy. All these guys are like really cheap. Like you know 150 bucks a record Well, you know, because Mike didn't have a big a big budget but yeah, it was such a great experience for me man to to play with all these great players man and now they're most of those guys are freaking massive, you know?

Chuck Shute:

Yeah. Did so did you when you were young at a young age did you like I don't know what the term is like envision or did you try to like, have like a vision board or like manifest these like future things of playing with Germany and Ozzy and stuff, or did it just happen from hard work and and continuing to practice?

Deen Castronovo:

Well, dude, I was what you call a Ritalin kid. You know, they gave kids that were really at add. They gave him Ritalin to speed you know, they give them Ritalin to calm them down. And my mom, you know, I was on it for maybe, I don't know, three weeks to a month and I was a zombie. I went from being an old striper to like a dead man. And she was like, I don't like this. I didn't like it. She took me off of them. And she she and my dad bought me a drum set. And I never looked back, dude. I wanted to be in one or two bands either kissed, or Van Halen. And since I look crappy and spandex or dirty, I'm sorry. He's been dirty. And since I look crappy in spandex, I got the journey gang. So it was I knew what I was going to do to young age, man, and nobody could stop me. My father was like, You need to have a plan B. I'm like, there is no plan B down. I'm going to do this. And how are you going to make it out of Salem, Oregon? I mean, how are you going to do this? I don't know. But that's what I'm doing. And wild dogs was my calling card, Mike Vardy. You know, Matt McCourt? And then of course, Neil, you know, Neil discovered me in a rehearsal studio playing with Tony MacAlpine and took me under his wing and bad English was born, you know, and he's taken me ever since everywhere he went with the exception of my three years with Ozzy, I was with Neil. Yeah,

Chuck Shute:

did you so you never got a chance with kiss like they never you never tried to throw your hat in the ring until audition for that band, because they have

Deen Castronovo:

this close dude, when Eric Garner God rest his soul, monster drummer, when he passed, I got the call from Gene Simmons, Mike Varney actually sent them my, my bio, and I talked to Gene and to Bob Ezrin. And it was just before revenge and Mike, I guess, called, you know, maybe a month later and asked what the status was. They said, Well, he's not the right. Look. He's too heavy. Cuz that was a big, big kid back then. So they're like, yeah, he's just not the right look. So they got Eric, which was the perfect choice. binominal. So that worked out but yeah, it was I was as close to but yeah, they would have put you know, Spanx and stuff all over me. Some big good.

Chuck Shute:

Yeah. Well, what about that band? I don't think a lot of people probably ask you about this. But you were in that band hard line. I love that band. Personally. You guys had a little bit of success. You had songs in the Brandon Lee movie and on an episode of Baywatch you toured with then you do some shows with Van Halen and extreme? Yep,

Deen Castronovo:

we did. Van Halen extreme. And Mr. Big. Those are our three big tours, you know, and do what a great band Johnny G. Well, who's still a wonderful friend of mine. Still sounds just like he did back that young vocalist start to lose it after a while. He says the same. He's still got all the power. He's just an amazing frontman. And actually he produced my vocals on the last the last two revolutions days records. They're very fortunate to have him as a brother and a producer. Just amazing. So yeah, hardline was we did pretty good. I believe in there five years earlier, like maybe 87 We probably would have been big Yogi's, it was around the time of Bon Jovi and Johnny chatted very similar to John Yeah, kirpan huge bro could have been huge

Chuck Shute:

Yeah, if people go go out I think they could still check out that album like rhythm from a red car life's a bitch those two songs are like they're so good to me like I think they fit right in with the Bon Jovi stuff. You're right.

Deen Castronovo:

I think so. You got Neil who's a shredder and a half man, you know, a blue Shredder. It was killer, just a great band, but just a little too. Too late.

Chuck Shute:

Yeah, so he So Johnny produced your vocals, I thought oh, Sondra will produce the album or you

Deen Castronovo:

have to produce the record but But Alex Hunter was busy doing the basics with another band. So they asked if Johnny would do it. And, you know, all of a sudden is a fantastic songwriter, and he's busy all the time. So they were like, well, let's have Johnny do it. I was in Portland. And we did it zoom like this, you know, we had a screen up and a camera. And you know, he helped me through every line, you know, just helped me work through it realize he will try it with this kind of feeling and, you know, get into the character of it. And he taught me a lot bro because, you know, I'm not I'm still learning how to be a lead singer. You know, I've been in Germany and I've sang lead, you know, journey a few times and stuff, but it's different trying to be your own guy, you know, and I'm not that I'm still learning who I am as a vocalist. So I mean, drumming out the always keep my day job. That's, that's where I'm the happiest. But, you know, so I'm still learning and growing. But Johnny pulls a lot out of me and all this other was well pulls a lot out of me. They're really good at knowing my vocal potential, what I can do what I can't do, and they work with me. And it's, it's, it's been great. Just fantastic.

Chuck Shute:

Yeah. I mean, you mentioned the journey. I mean, there is some similarities. And I think you'd be the first admitted between you and Steve Perry on this new revolution saints, all the revolution saints stuff that you've done. There's definitely some similarities there.

Deen Castronovo:

Oh, yeah. Well, it's kind of hard not to Steve was my I had three vocal influences. I see Barry who's the biggest, Paul Stanley, and Ronnie dill. Those are my three favorites of all time. So you know, I can't help but you know, sound a lot like very because I'm doing the background and I was a huge journey fan. I mean, I was playing that stuff at 11 years old, with guys who were like 2425 years old. And so I had to learn this stuff. And since I hadn't hit puberty and I could hit these high notes, you know, they make me do it, you know, and that's how I learned to sing was listening to Steve. And of course, I'm not, you know, nobody's going to be close to him. I mean, close, but they'll never be him. And I'm, you know, I'm just grateful that I can do the songs the best that I can and the fans that accept it, because if they didn't, I would stop. I would be like, Yeah, I'm done. Because they're, they're tough. Dirty fans are tough. I mean, Steve Perry, Steve Berry, I mean, yeah. How do you get close to sound like that? Especially me being a smoker. Not the greatest thing in the world, but it's weird when I sing my vocal comes out nice and clear. I don't get it. And that

Chuck Shute:

is great. Yeah. So you're still smoking though?

Deen Castronovo:

He got my, my American spirits. Yeah, I got you know, I quit. About six months ago, I just woke up one morning said, you know, I'm done. And I had no cravings, no irritability, no withdrawals, none of that stuff. It just kind of went away. And then my, my daughter was having issues with with a pregnancy, they didn't think that she was going to make it. It was scary as hell. So instantly, I grabbed the cigarettes, man, and I'm chained smoking like a mother. You know, thank God, she came out of it. Babies. Great. She's great. But yeah, that date started up again. So I've been talking about two months. Now, again, though, I'm hopefully but I'm cutting down. I've done really well. I do maybe four or five cigarettes a day instead of, you know, a pack. So I'm doing better.

Chuck Shute:

What about does it make a difference with the vaping? They say that's better for you. Or have you tried that?

Deen Castronovo:

You know, I tried vaping I actually was on the dead daisies rose in the dead days even. Yeah, we were in Croatia. And it was two in the morning and I smelled something funny. I'm like, What the hell is that smell? So I turn the light on on my nightstand and there it is sitting on my nightstand, smoldering. That thing exploded and caught on fire. I'm like, okay, and I'm done. And that was it for me. No. Vaping again, it gave me cigarettes. And the European cigarettes are not that great. So I was toughing it out. But yeah, yeah, I won't vape

Chuck Shute:

forget were you in the diseases when karate was there? Or was it? Both?

Deen Castronovo:

Yeah, I was in both. I was there with grabbing for for a record and two tours. And then John decided to take a little hiatus. So they brought Glenn Hughes in, did the record with Glenn Hughes and then journey called and it was like, Well, I'm going, you know. Yeah,

Chuck Shute:

cuz Yeah, cuz How long have you been in journey? Now? It's been a while, right? Yeah,

Deen Castronovo:

I started in 9890. Yeah, yeah. 98 and took some time off to get myself better as a person. And rejoined in 2021. Yeah, a long time. Cuz you were there.

Chuck Shute:

Were you there when? Jeff Scott Soto was the singer like brief? i He was in the band. Right. Yeah.

Deen Castronovo:

2016. But Jerry was having issues, vocal issues. And so they had Jeff come in and fill him was was Steve, you know, mended his voice. And yeah, so he was in the band for for the whole rest of the Def Leppard tour, and some some one offs and stuff like that. And then Neil just thought, well, you know, we need to have that signature sound. And Jeff is unbelievable, undeniable frontman, unbelievable vocalist. And I thought he was fantastic with the band. But you know, Neil's the visionary and he, you know, so he started looking online, and came across Darnell. by happenstance. And the story is that he kept calling or knowing or no cup hanging up on him thinking it was a joke, you know, one of his buddies. Finally, let go do not hang up. This is really Neil Shawn from journey, don't hang up and tucked in and brought him out and he sang and it was undeniable. Just what a voice and what a person wouldn't amazing man, but boy, his vocals and his frontman, you know is from man to antics. I mean, he's a he's a badass. He really is.

Chuck Shute:

What was there another guy? I thought I heard you say there was two people you audition who was the other person? I don't know who that is.

Deen Castronovo:

The guy. His name was. Jeremy. I think it's a hunt on finger. He was in a tribute band. And it was eerie because not only did he sound identical, but even his his the way he looked. And the way he moved. It was like, wow, and I think Neil was kind of freaked out by it. Like that's, that's too close. That's too close. Wow. Yeah. So we ended up getting our nose and boy I mean, are now considering anything? He is thinking the phone book. The guy you tell him the thing that he called bro. The man can sound like Nat King Cole. It's amazing. He's like a chameleon. And the way he works the crowd he's just fantastic. He's amazing to watch. I mean, the first show we did was in Vina del Mar in in Santiago Chile. And I'm playing and literally like my head's going like this, like watching this guy run across the stage. Getting all the notes not missing, not out of breath running like a madman jumping up my rise. I'm like, All right, man. We got somebody that's that's, you know Have not only got the voice, but he can entertain. And he's the most humble, sweetest guy you'll ever meet.

Chuck Shute:

are now as you're saying, yeah, oh, yeah, yeah, he

Deen Castronovo:

crushes man, really good heart.

Chuck Shute:

And when you have a really good relationship with Neil, because I mean, it goes back so far he's been so loyal to you taking him with bad English and hardline and then bringing you along with journey. How are you able to have that relationship with Him? Because then, you know, I just see headlines I've ever met met Neil, but I mean, there's a lot of bad press about Neil, he's about you know, he did this, he's that and being sued all the stuff, but you seem to be able to get along with him? Well, well,

Deen Castronovo:

you know, I know Neil were like brothers due to real I mean, he never had, he was an only child. And he took me under his wing and taught me how to play for a song and, and taught me how to lay into a pocket. I mean, he's, dude, it's, it's, it's musically, you know, he changed my life musically, and career wise. But I know the man and a lot of people don't know the man, they see the guy that is very protective of his child and journey is his baby, though you don't I mean, you can't fault him for you know, going off of people that try to kill it. You know, I would do that's my child. I'm going to defend it till the day I die. But I know Neil, and Neil is a softy. He's a teddy bear. You guys don't know that. But he is the sweetest man. And he's gone to bat for me. You know, when I had my issues, he called you know, he called and kept in touch, Jonathan as well kept in touch and and, you know, always was there for me and but you know, Neil, I Oh, in my career, dude. You know, Jesus Christ. And him. I gotta say, you know, he always kept me working always kept me busy. Always get me with him. And he's real, you know, he, there's no gray area with Neil. It's black or white. And I admire him for that, you know, it's playing speaks for itself. You know, it speaks for itself. But the man, if you knew who he was the man that he is, I know him really, really, really deeply. And I take bullets for that man, forever.

Chuck Shute:

That's awesome to hear are things better there with the journey exam? Because I know there's been some drama, but you also said like, as soon as you guys get on stage, all the drama goes away?

Deen Castronovo:

Yeah. Well, you know, that's what we did the last couple of years because there were some some issues, you know, between the Elton John, but that's what brothers do, man they fight. I mean, I have issues with my brothers, my blood brothers. So, you know, stuff happens, you know, miscommunications, things that are said wrong or taken the wrong way. But they mended fences this year. And actually, last year, just before this tour started, and everything is dude, it's like it was when we first started, when I read when I joined the band in 98. It was like all for one, one for all. Let's go out and slam it. And that's what we do. It's been great.

Chuck Shute:

You have any advice for other bands on how to mend those fences because there's other bands that I would love to see men the fences that have

Deen Castronovo:

tried to swallow your pride, get the ego out of the way and work with each other. Yo, don't you know, when one guy seeing some of the other guys seeing something that's going on social media and people are doing it in the press? Number one, keep it out in the press. Number two, talk you guys if you're creative like that, it's a spiritual thing. It really is. Art is very spiritual. And that's what I'd say. And that's what they had to do. They had to sit down in a room and just go okay, let's hash this out. Because this thing's bigger than the both of us. It really is. This music is bigger than than one or two guys in a band. So that's what I'd say, man, get rid of the egos you know, get get that out of the way. Swallow your pride. I mean, even if you feel you're right, you know what, look at the other guy's point of view, and try and understand before you are understood. You want to get advice.

Chuck Shute:

Yeah, I love it. And you guys have an awesome I'm really excited for this tour that's coming up this summer. It's Def Leppard journey. Steve Miller Band heart and cheap trick. Oh, yeah, dude, how long are you each doing a set for me? I don't know if I can stay though. I am old now. 20

Deen Castronovo:

minutes east bro. And then we just had fireworks in place. Well, I think you know, I think everybody's it's gonna be a long day but I mean, yeah, yeah, but you know, I I'm going to be be there for the whole thing because I'm a huge, massive Cheap Trick fan. And I love heart. I've always had a big soft spot my heart for him was what a voice man. Have you ever met? Me?

Chuck Shute:

Oh, nice. Dude.

Deen Castronovo:

Good. 2012 We did a tour and that's when I first met her and they're so humble. But man, that girl That girl can can rip your face off. Her voice is wicked, wicked and great every night. She don't suck ever. I mean he's one of those girls, one of those artists that can just go out there and smoke it you know voice can be rough or whatever but it's she's still Nelson. And it's it's such admiration for both those ladies amazing. Groundbreaking.

Chuck Shute:

That's exact you nailed that she's so humble. Like she's so down to earth you think with that level that you would just be like cocky and like think that other people are below you and she is not like that. All right, I think we're equal, which was amazing.

Deen Castronovo:

Exactly, bro. I mean, that's, I think that's because, you know, they were in a, you know, women in a man's world, and they had to they had something to prove, but they always I believe that very grateful, you know, they still are very grateful for not only what they get to do still what they've done and the legacy that they built. I mean, that's massive, bro. You know? Yeah,

Chuck Shute:

you got a pretty good legacy of your own going here. I mean, we talk journey. We talked a little Hardline. But tell me a little bit about I had a question about your time with Ozzy, because I thought I heard you say, and then I was like, Oh, maybe I misheard you, but I looked it up. So you guys did do some Songwriting with Bob Daisley. Did his make the record or because then I didn't see that. They were credited. I was confused. Yeah, I

Deen Castronovo:

you know, he was there when we were. We were writing stuff. It was myself, Ozzie, Steve I and Bob Paisley. And we were in New York writing stuff. We're just writing writing songs. Bob was there. And then they ended up letting Steve I go and kept Bob and I there and then brought in some outside writers, you know, and then they realized, you know what, we just need to get Zach back. And so they brought that back in. And Bob left. So I don't know what he had contribution wise. I know. He wrote some lyrics. He did some some, some writing in that regard. But it was geezer that came in and with myself and Zach and dude, I remember Bob Thompson, who is Aziz longtime tour manager from from Blizzard of us. And he made a comment was it really hit us all he's like, you know, this is probably the best badass he's had since Blizzard boss, which was just humbling, you know, to hear that. So, you know, I don't know what Bob had to do with the writing part of it. i All I know is that they kept me on I was grateful with for my tenure there. You know, I got to work with them for three years doing a record and South American tour and off to better things and bigger things. So, you know,

Chuck Shute:

songs that you guys did with Bob, did you remember if those made the record? Or like, is there a recording of those? Like, what the ones with Steve Vai? Like, I just be curious to hear that, like, that sounds?

Deen Castronovo:

I don't know if Bob stuff made the record or not, because I wasn't really privy to who was writing and what was writing at that time. I mean, we were all just coming in to here's a demo. Let's work it up and play it but you know, the stuff that viral was killer. I mean, just just amazing. I you know, I just I don't think that that it was really all of these things but visor genius. You know, I mean, it's it's undeniable there too, is a guy's a genius, so can't put anything past that guy for what he contributed at that time. But I think you know, as he was he wasn't used to a certain thing. And a set they enable us to Zach. I think that Zach is like like I am the journey. Zach's the perfect guy for Aussie, you know, after Randy rose. I think there are a lot of great guitars. But Zach put his stamp on that thing and and made a huge, you know, yeah,

Chuck Shute:

what do you think about him and Pantera? Like, I mean, I think that's like a great replacement for Diamond. You can never replace time. But if you're gonna try to do those songs, he's the guy that you would get, dude,

Deen Castronovo:

totally. I mean, I've only heard snippets, you know, online and stuff on YouTube and stuff. I haven't seen the concerts or anything but oh, yeah, exactly did those guys are they're all brothers. You know, they all kind of do, they did their stuff that I don't know, Panthera and Ozzy did shows together. But there's always that guitar circle, you know, every all the guitars know each other. And they're all you know, admiration for mutual admiration, respect society, you know, they all love each other. And I think you know, Dak is the perfect fit for that. I mean, you know, they're going out on the road. They're doing stuff but I mean, who can replace a dime? Not very many man dime even meals that dime was a freaking monster. So you know. Oh,

Chuck Shute:

really? Neil talks about that's interesting. Oh, yeah.

Deen Castronovo:

You don't you? You know I've asked Neil about a lot of guys. I actually took Neil to Slipknot show. Why, you know, he's like, I don't want to see this stuff, man. I'm not into that kind of music, bro. Just come with me. You'll get it. Your music and you'll get it. And he wants to show he's like, damn, these guys throw down the new bars. A lot of guys that you wouldn't think he does. But Neil's an artist, he's a musician. It's like telling Picasso, you'll remember to tell it because your paintings suck. You know what I mean? It's hard to do that. It's art. It's their expression. And Neil gets it. You know, and I think Tim root and Mick Thompson love Neil. So, you know, it was you saying I'm a huge fan of Joey Jordison I got arrested. So he became a really sweet friend of mine and and, you know, mutual admiration society we would check together and stuff. You know, I'm, you know, huge fan of his work. I mean, to me, there was a lot

Chuck Shute:

of those kinds of things where a lot of people those heavier bands are huge fans of Neil rock. I haven't had a guy that was a thrash guitar player. And he said he said one festival with Neil shinies telling some story about security. He's like, who are you? And they're like, he's like, this is Neil Shaw. Like

Deen Castronovo:

that's the thing Neil never got his do. I really don't believe that because As of journey, you know, journey was a band. And Neil even though he created the most amazing solos on the planet and melodies on the planet, people never recognized him for the shredder that he really was. He was a blue shredder he wasn't that was one of those, you know, refeed frickin you know, whatever those scales, were there, you know, they're doing sweeps and all that that wasn't his style. But I'm telling you, he burned it. When he played bluesy to me he was the fastest burn and blues player ever next to bottom often. And Lucas are those guys are the kings of that. And Neil was the pioneer of it. In my opinion, he was a pioneer.

Chuck Shute:

Well, and isn't too it's a motion, right? Like you can you can feel the emotion. It's not just because I mean, no offense, like Malmsteen or those kinds of guys, but some of that just seems like, you know, it's like technical, but I'm not really feeling the emotion from that. Whereas with with Sean and like slash and those kinds of guys, it just feels like there's more emotion involved.

Deen Castronovo:

It's from the heart. Do you that's what I love about Neil. I mean, I've played with all those. The Shredder guys, I've worked with a lot of them. And they're all amazing in their own right, but you've just got this thing, man and it's a gift from God. It really is, man. I mean, when he throws down, he throws down, but it's got passion. It's got fire. It's not just I'm gonna put riffs and for riff sake, I'm gonna rip this thing for rip and sake. There's a there's a, there's a method behind the madness. You know, I'm saying and he praised it. When you hear him play. It's undeniable. It's like you have that steel, Shawn. Yeah, I can tell you play, you know, a bunch of blues guitars that got that same feel like oh, yeah, that's Neil. I've worked with him for so long, you know, but he's just got something that nobody else has, and never will have. Yeah, he's never got his do and that, in some ways that pisses me off because he should have, you know, when those trailer guys came out, they rule the world, man. They rolled the Sunset Strip, but it was guys like Neil that, you know, paved the way and then playing those blues riffs at warp speed dude, and they're clean and they're precise. And they got soul. Amman, nobody touches it. No,

Chuck Shute:

absolutely. Well, I mean, we got to talk about more about this new revolution saints record. I mean, you've got quite a couple of good players in this band too. Jeff pilson, Joel Hoekstra. And Alexandria, we mentioned what is it like playing with those guys and now you get to be kind of the frontman. And you're doing the drums and the singing and so it's your It's basically your project, right? Like you call the shots?

Deen Castronovo:

Well, I you know, I Serafina really and Alessandro kind of call the shots, they write the music. I mean, Serafino is the president of frontiers. So he put he put Jeff and Joel in when Doug and Jack decided to leave. And, you know, I'm a big thing about chemistry and the chemistry has to be right. And that was what I was kind of concerned about was like, Well, what, whoever we get, you know, I gotta be able to get along with them and they gotta have a vibe, a good vibe. And man, Jeff and Joel were no brainers because I've worked with them before in foreigner with journey, and Whitesnake with journey so I had relationships with them. So when they came in, dude, it was like, Yeah, I love it. And the plane dude speaks for itself. I mean, Jeff is a prolific songwriter, great singer, monster bassist, and then Joel man. Ah, dude, he's like John Sykes on steroids to me, but he's just got that thing. You know, just like Doug. Doug has that thing. You know, that, that raunchy guitars they were Joel is a little bit more smooth. You know, he's got more of the smooth, he's got those straighter riffs. But he's got a lot of stone as well. So you know, working with all of these guys, dude was just, it's a dream come true. He can't find better players. And I wouldn't want to play with better players than what Doug and Jack brought and what Jeff and Joel bring to the table. They're monsters. You know, I'm fortunate. You know, I'm like the guy. That's the least the least. What's the word I'm looking for? accomplished at their instrument? I mean, I'm drumming one thing I can I know I play drums. You know, I do that. Really? Well. I'll keep my day job. But thing and dude. I need my forte. I'm still learning. Still growing as a vocalist. I I sound like Perry because I've been in Germany for so damn long. And Steve Perry was my favorite singer. But it's like, I'm trying to come into my own and I'm starting to, but I'm still a novice compared to those guys that they're at their instruments. Yeah,

Chuck Shute:

well, so do you want it? Would you want to branch out and try to sing something just totally different? Like, would you or even play drums or something totally different, like do like a jazz record or like something totally like that? What

Deen Castronovo:

for me, Jasmine. I swing like a break. I don't got that thing. I mean, Steve Smith is my all time favorite drummer. I mean, of all time. You know, I have a lot of great influences. But Steve really touched me and his playing. I mean, in Germany, it's undeniable. He's a frickin animal. God, if you hear him plays jazz stuff. It's like, I can't do that. That's not what you know. I was born a rock drummer. And I get like a break. I'm just like, Dang Dang. Dang. Dang, dang, I don't got any soul in that. That's just not what I do. But you give me a rock track and I'll tear it to shreds.

Chuck Shute:

Yeah, how do you pick? I'm not a drummer. So how do you do? The drum fills like the song. Oh, will I see you again? On the new record. How did you decide? That's a cool drum for Oh, like, how did you decide how to do that? Like, is it just a feel? Or is it more of like a strategy like, Okay, we got to do it this way or the producer helping you choose that? No, dude,

Deen Castronovo:

you know what it is? It's usually one. The first take is the one we get. And I just go, I don't think about what I'm going to do I play whatever comes out comes out. And that's the beauty of art, man. I mean, I never plan things out. I know, Neil period, used to tediously work on every drum part. And you can tell they're frickin masterpieces. For me. I just fly by the seat of my pants, bro. And if it works, oh, man, I listen back. I'll never be able to play that again. You know what I mean? It's like, it's a one time thing, and I'll have to learn what I did. So I've always been that way. I've never really thought about what I'm going to do. I mean, there might be you know, there's drum beats, obviously. And certain films you do, but like when I go for a big film and stuff, I just go and if it comes out great. And if it does, like, okay, take to punch me in. You know what I mean? Yeah, you if you think about it, you've

Chuck Shute:

had some definitely have you had difficult producers. Like I know, it wasn't the Ozzy, the producer. That was kind of giving you a hard time and that's when he stuck out for you. Yeah,

Deen Castronovo:

you know, Michael Beinhart who's a dear friend of mine, I mean, very different. He taught me a lot, dude, he actually, he was gonna get rid of me and get Jack irons play on the record. And it was I was playing with the band. I was nervous. I'm playing with Ozzy sitting there. You know, you got Zach, you got geezer, and I'm the new guy. Oh my god, god. So I got nervous. So MicroFit you know what, send the bed home. And I said, Mikey, give me a chance. I'm just last month, I said, I said, Give me a chance. I know the songs by heart. Okay, give me the click track, turn it on, I'll find that I'll find where I'm at. And I'll turn it off. And we'll just go. And I did six songs in one take without the band there, which is my memory. And Michael was like, there it is proud. There it is. There it is. So I was having red light fever, just having Ozzy Osbourne in the frickin room, you know, but after that, I mean, Michael hired me for a whole he hired me for a band called foam. I did social distortion with him. So I did a lot of stuff. I was like his new guy. And you know, Jack irons was his guy for a long, long time. And then I kind of did what Jack did and Michael took me to those records. And he's a dear friend. And now his son Marius is a drummer, I gave him his son a drum set at like, six, and the kid is ripping it to shreds. He's a badass. He's like, eight now. And he's just he's tearing it up. No lessons, just by heart. It's in him, though. You know, Michael and I are very close. But yeah, he was hard on me. And it was good for me. And it's helped me a lot. Yeah.

Chuck Shute:

Yeah. So like, what is your advice for that? Like, how do you make an impression with these people, and continue to get the gigs? Like I said, like, Neil, Sean is so loyal to you? And you know, working with these people is it just continue to try to improve when work with them and not get let the ego get involved? Because you could have said, Screw you. I'm a great drummer and walked out of there too, right?

Deen Castronovo:

You know what it was for me, bro. It's like, whatever the producer says, goes. It's their vision, even though it's our songs. The producer has the vision. And you've got to give this guy his vision, you've got to realize his vision, or it's not going to work. And that's what I tried to do. I tried to get into Michael's head and okay, what are you looking for, bro? What do you want here? And he's like, you know, I need the bass drum to be a little a little behind. Right? And I want you to pop the snare a little harder. I wanted to feel like that, like a rocking horse. Almost. He taught me a ton bro. So always advice, play what the producer was there was a drag on a journey record that we were having a hard time at Neil had a vision for it. He's like, Man, I'm here on the drums doing this. And John was like, Nah, man, I'm thinking Dino should do this. And I just went Geister. heaven, heaven, surely producers? What do you want? He goes, we'll play something. So I played a beat. He goes, that's what I want. Lay that. And that was it. Do what the producer realize the producers vision or you'll be there all day long. And you'll waste a ton of time and money.

Chuck Shute:

Right? Let's get it. That's great advice. Unless you unless you're the producer, you're self producing, then you can do whatever you want. But exactly.

Deen Castronovo:

I always have just worked with producers they do. What do you want? I'm your right hand guy. Tell me what you want. I will give you what you want. But you just got to tell me I'm not a mind reader. So.

Chuck Shute:

Right? So all the great people you worked with and what is your bucket list like Cory Taylor. Oh, John Paul McCartney and James Taylor. Those who have eluded you?

Deen Castronovo:

Yeah, dude, I mean, I you know, Elton John has Nigel Lawson, who's a, an icon and one of the greatest drummers of all time, people don't know it. They don't I mean, if you really analyze Nigel's stuff on like, someone saved my life tonight or goodbye yellow brick road. I mean, his playing is phenomenal, and it's got a lot of color. I'd love to work with Elton John. Paul McCartney. Of course, man. He's a Beatle all day long if I could, but you know, they got Abe Laboriel Jr, who again, is the drummer mustard drummer mustard vocalist, James Taylor. I just is near to near and dear to me because when I was a little kid, I can remember walking around with a little am radios with the one year Plug, you know, the little head headphone thing. And I listened to fire and rain on the radio all the time. It was one of my favorite songs as a kid. And Corey Taylor. Just a genius man. I mean, in my opinion, spoken word stuff, the books, he writes the lyrics and I was, I would have loved to been in stone sour, because that's my wheelhouse do heavy, heavy music with Melanie, you know, and I would love to work with him. Maybe someday I'll be able to deal with any of those guys.

Chuck Shute:

he's got. Corey Taylor has a solo band. Right? Yeah,

Deen Castronovo:

Corey M and F and Taylor. Which is great. But you know, he's got his band. And you know, I'm older than him. You know, I'm I think I'm like 10 years older than he is. So it'd be like, hiring grandpa to plan his record. I don't think he wants to go there. But dude, I do it. I do it for free. I pay him.

Chuck Shute:

Wow. Okay. That's it. We'll put that on the universe. Yeah. I'll let you get going in a minute. But I did want to talk about this, because I thought this was so cool. Tell me about this work you're doing with the prison population? Because I think there's a really important issue that's so often ignored. And I think there are two schools of thought. There's some people who say, lock them up and throw away the key. And there's another school of thought that says, let's let everyone out prisons are terrible. And I don't think either one of those strategies work. So what are you doing when you go into the prisons? What kinds of things are you talking about?

Deen Castronovo:

Well, we haven't started it yet. We're gonna start in, in June, when I have my time off before the Def Leppard tour, but basically go in there and play some songs, you know, with my beat drum kit thing, you know, you know, two tracks. My my story, bro. I mean, you know, because, you know, I had a long, long issue with drugs for years and years. So it just kind of telling me that there's hope you know, that God can restore you. You know, I mean, who in a million years thought that after getting fired from journey. After six years, they'd bring me back, you know, and it was just like, you know, I had to focus on staying clean, and I had my screw ups, I'd relapse and screw up, in and out. But, you know, I got it today. And I'm grateful. And that's just it just a man, there's hope. You know, there's hope in Christ in my you know, that's, that's how I got through it was through Jesus Christ. I mean, I couldn't do it any other way. I really had to just lean on God. And, you know, here I am. And that's all I'm saying is that, you know, there's okay, there's three thoughts on this, you get jailed, institutions or death, okay, I hit jail. I didn't hit the institutions yet, not the mental places. But I was close to death, bro. So it was one or two, one or two, either jail or die. So, you know, thank God, I didn't die. Because I was doing drugs, it would have killed an elephant. I was doing some serious amounts of drugs. I had a lot of money on my hand and my hands and a lot of time. So that is just going into and giving them hope that you know, when you're out, don't go back, you know, and try and better your life because I lost it all do. I was I was making bajillions I was doing great. I was a partner in the band. I was doing really well. I lost it all. But I think,

Chuck Shute:

ya know, the hope I think is because, for me personally, like when something bad happens, I try to use that as fuel to motivate me, whereas I feel like some people and yourself, including myself in the past, where you use that as a tailspin to go deeper and further down. But if you can use that to go you know what, I'm going to use this as a motivation to get back on track. Exactly,

Deen Castronovo:

bro, I'm gonna come back. I'm grateful every day do you don't know what to see what you what you've got till it's gone. You know, the old, Cinderella. And it's true, man. I mean, I lost it all. And to come back with open arms had to say that. My separate ways. Not grateful dude, every day, I don't get the smile off my face. To get a second lease on this, you know, not just on life. But with the band, you know, and life. You know, just, I, you know, my wife, and I've never been better. Yeah, we have arguments, but they're not drug fueled anymore. You know what I mean? So it's a great thing, got my kids who respect me, oh, my, my grandkids. And I found out who my friends were definitely found out who my friends are when that happened, because 90% of them scattered. A lot of them, you know, just, you know, I don't want to talk to me. So I was grateful that I had a good support system and great people around me. So, I mean, that's all I'm gonna do is just, you know, tell him my story. And if my story changes somebody's life, then that's, you know, I did my job. I got to give back then. I mean, I'm good at two things, being a musician and using drugs, you know, sadly, so if I can use my experience rating, and hope to get people off them or to curb them from it, and to see that man, you can do it, you can come back from nothing. And from rags to riches, you know, you know what I'm saying? To rags to riches again, it's like huge, bro. Yeah.

Chuck Shute:

Yeah, I love it. Well, we got the journey tour this summer. The Revolution saints. A couple of songs are out right now. When does the I forget when the full record comes out?

Deen Castronovo:

I gosh, I think it's February 9 The day we start our tour. Okay, we started Biloxi, Mississippi, and we're going until April 29. So yeah. That's when the new record is coming out to you guys. And

Chuck Shute:

you still have not done a lot of live shows with revolution saints. Would that ever be in the cards?

Deen Castronovo:

Yes, dude. I mean, the thing that's always to turn us into toward us with Jack and Doug, are our schedules. We were just too damn busy. I mean, dead daisies work, man. They don't play those guys work hard. Night Rangers. Well, I mean, that's Jack's baby. He's not gonna walk away from that. That's his. That's his baby. And I've you know, my bread and butters journey, you know, and I'm my, my loyalty is to Neil, you know, and John and the band, so it gives us permit God we all want to play. I mean, I would love to do what I'm saying. If I could be a frontman, I'm gonna give it one shot, dude. We give it one shot. And if I suck at it, at least I said, You know what? I gave it a shot, and I suck. But at least I took off my day job, I guess no play drums all day long. That's it. That's all I'm gonna give.

Chuck Shute:

You sing Amazing. I think you tell it. I think it's definitely way above average. So I don't think you'd have credit but people can get on here, the songs for themselves. A couple of songs that are right now and then the back catalogue is available

Deen Castronovo:

to of course. Awesome, bro. Thank you, man. Thanks so much.

Chuck Shute:

Nice to meet you. Bye. Thank you for taking the time to listen to the full podcast episode. Please help support our guests by following them on social media and purchasing their products whether it be a book, album, film, or other thing. And if you have a few extra dollars, please consider donating it to their favorite charity. If you want to support the show, you can like share and comment on this episode on social media and YouTube. And if you want to go the extra mile, you can give us a rating and review on Spotify, Apple podcasts or Google podcasts. Finally, make sure you're subscribed to the Show on YouTube for the video versions and other exclusive content. We appreciate your support. Have a great rest of your day and shoot for the moon.