Deen Castronovo took part of his morning to talk to Erich Morse of National Rock Review about Revolution Saints, life, and possible new sponsors.
NRR: How are things?
Deen Castronovo: Been good, dude. Just waking up, having coffee, having a cigarette, my usual morning routine (laughing).
NRR: That would definitely explain how the vocal chords got their very unique and distinguished sound, so I’ll keep that trade secret to ourselves.
Deen Castronovo:(Laughing) Please do, I don’t want anyone else to know that (laughing).
NRR: I have you for about another fifteen to twenty minutes, we’ll give you some questions …and we’ll try to not do too much harm to the reputation.
Deen Castronovo:(Laughing) Dude, it’s already harmed. It is what it is (laughing).
NRR:Okay, then. This isn’t going to do any damage. And that relieves a lot of stress off of my mind, so thank you.
Deen Castronovo: Dude, do what you got to do brother, I mean we’re basically …I know what it’s like (laughing).
NRR: Tell me about the record, self titled Revolution Saints, if the president of Frontier Records [Serafino Perugino] had to twist your arm to get you to be on the album?
Deen Castronovo: Okay, well yeah it was. It was the brainchild of Serafino, the president of Frontier. He called the [our] manager, we were on the road. We were actually in New Hampshire. “Say, look, Serafino wants you to do a record.” He said you might sing on a few… And then they started to getting musicians together. Serafino said, okay get Jack Blades. And I was like, he’s perfect. Jack’s perfect. I’ve known Jack since I was seventeen, he’s great. A great song writer, a great singer, great bassist… And then of course, they started to throwing stars’ names around and they brought Doug. Again, I was like are you kidding, I love Doug. He’s just ferocious. So, it worked out great and we ended up doing the thing just for fun. It wasn’t anything, like we’re going to do this and this is going to sell billions of records and we’re going to be huge. We never took it that way. Let’s go in just have fun, let’s just play. So, we got the drum tracks. They gave me the files. The songs were already written by Alessandro Del Vecchio. He sent the songs to me, I did my tracks, I just… it was fun. I wasn’t thinking about okay, I need to do this, and this, and this. We just played the songs. It ended up, you know, I did what I do. And they turned to Jack and Jack did what he did. And they setup with Doug. Doug made this thing just light up, you know? That’s basically how it happened. I didn’t except to be a lead singer, but I’m a drummer that happens to sing. To be the lead singer, it’s kind of freaky… just freaky.
NRR: Well, I’m glad you didn’t break into a rendition of a Phil Collins song half way through one of the tracks. I thank you for that.
Deen Castronovo: (laughing) I don’t think I’m going to. Phil Collins is a god. For what he does he’s amazing. My god.
NRR: With the album, is it going to be a strictly a studio album or do you know if you guys have any plans to tour in support of the album?
Deen Castronovo: Well, we were talking about doing some touring but the biggest issue is all three of our schedules. You know, I’ve got Journey, Jack’s got Night Ranger, and Doug’s got his, his project that’s he’s doing. So, it all really comes down to if we have the time individually to be able to do it. So, if we can, sure I think it’d great to do shows.
NRR: That does seem to be the one theme in all of the, and I hate the term but, “superbands”, where just getting everybody together to be able to support the album it seems to be the sticking point to a lot of guys.
Deen Castronovo: Yeah. You know, it would be something we’d love to do but you know, again. The “supergroup” thing, yeah that’s a little funky, but (laughing) I’m with you on that dude, trust me.
NRR: With the album, it sounds like with it having been almost a prefab album and I know that makes it sound a lot wonkier then what it is, was there anything to the album or was it just three guys having fun and that was it?
Deen Castronovo: It really was just something to have fun. I really wanted to do it with Jack and Doug. I thought it would be awesome. And, we really didn’t have any expectations on this. We didn’t think it was going to get the response that we got. I mean, I just kinda did it and put it in the back of my head. I really didn’t think it was going to do much. I had no idea. We didn’t know it was going to be pushed like this. All of us, they were like, let’s do this it’ll be a blast man.
NRR: I did get a chance to review the album for National Rock Review and my wife got a chuckle because my hook on the article was ‘not too hard, not too soft, Goldilocks would love this album.” You know…
Deen Castronovo: (Laughing) That’s great, dude! That’s awesome (laughing).
NRR: Because there are some good hooks, there are some good beats, there is energy. But also there’s the Journey influences, the rock ballad of a White Snake in its prime, the Night Ranger sound. Where it slows down but you’re never going to hear it at your local dentist office and it was nice to have that album where you don’t have the tags of post-hardcore-jazz-symphony-metal-core. You know, it’s a good rock album.
Deen Castronovo: (Laughing) Thank you. You know what? You said some really kind words. That’s cool.
NRR: Is there a favorite track on the album of yours?
Deen Castronovo: Gosh, you know, there’s just one that really stood out to me. And it was “Name of the Father”. And it was written for Serafino’s father who had passed away. I don’t know, there’s just something about that song that I can feel. My dad’s eighty-four and he’s still alive, but, and he’s doing great. But you hear that and it kind of puts those things into perspective. Life get’s short, you know, I’m fifty now and everybody is getting older. So that song, I don’t know why. Out of all tunes on the record, that one was the one I really… it was just beautiful. It kind of touched my in a way none of the other songs did. I love everything about each song. But, that one, just kind of, you know, shout out at me.
NRR: I think in my write up, I said “How to Mend a Broken Heart”, I believe that was the title of it, was the grown up version of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Poison. So, I wanted to thank you for that as well.
Deen Castronovo: (Laughing) Awesome! Thanks, man.
NRR: Time for some fun questions. What was your first band? How old were you were you, do you remember?
Deen Castronovo: My very first band ever was a band called Stratit. And I was in the eighth grade. (Laughing) I was eleven I think, eleven or twelve. We just jammed. We didn’t, you know, wasn’t like we had songs or anything. But we got chicks laid and we were really cool. I ended up going from there to a band called the Enemy. That’s were I started learning Journey songs. At eleven and twelve years old I started learning Journey stuff. So that was my two first major bands.
NRR: With all the bands, all of the musicians, all the touring, is there a Spinal Tap moment that you’re willing to share that sticks out of your head that makes you chuckle every time it gets brought up?
Deen Castronovo: Hold on just a second. Let me, give a second to think about it. God, I have to say we were in Ireland. It was with Journey. And we had Jeff Scott Soto at the time. And he had some peddle on the floor that he using when he was singing. I don’t know what it was. It was just this big peddle. And just before we went stage it wasn’t working. He was freaking out, he was actually on stage trying to like get this thing fixed along our monitor guy. It just kept going. I think it was like fifteen minutes they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. “We gotta go! Let’s just go!” That’s one of the ones that kinda [stuck] out for me.
NRR: Are there any plans for Journey that you’d like to share or is all that still hush hush and not allowed to be talked about yet?
Deen Castronovo: You know, we’re touring that’s the thing. Journey is a touring band right now. And I would imagine that Neal and Jonathon that will get a wild hair and want to record again here soon, but there’s nothing in the works so far. Nothing that I know of. Then again I’m the mushroom in the band, dude. I’m kept in the dark and fed manure (laughing). They don’t tell me nothing. It’s on a need to know basis and I don’t need to know! (laughing)
NRR: I think you’ve just had every drummer that will read this interview shake their head and feel sympathy for what you just said.
Deen Castronovo: (Laughing) Every drummer, dude! It’s drummer’s luck. We know.
NRR: Since you have been with some pretty high profile bands and you are touring with Journey, just from a musicians standpoint is there advice you’d give to all those drummers that are still shaking their head being mad at the lead singer because of what you just said? Is there something that you wish somebody would have told you when first started out?
Deen Castronovo: Well you know, my son is going through this right now. He works with a band, called.. a lead singer, a singer called Wednesday 13 and he’s out on the road with them right now. And it’s not easy. He’s used to seeing us in nice buses and private jets. He’s slumming it. (Laughing) So it’s like Cat’s in the Cradle almost if you like, it’s pretty funny. I guess the best thing to do is do everything. Play every style, tour with whoever can… that was my thing. And that’s what’s kept my career going is I’ve been able to adapt to other styles of music and different kind of playing. That’s a huge thing. That’s the thing I would tell people. Is just learn every style and people whoever the hell you can all the time! And then… save your money (laughing).
NRR: It’s sad that you have to say that, but it’s probably a brand new idea to some of these guys.
Deen Castronovo: Totally, dude. It’s a brand new idea for me. I used to just go have a blast. Just buy this and buy that. And absolutely, I need to retire I’m fifty (laughing). It’s getting tough as fuck, it’s getting tough.
NRR: So, I take it when the tour started to be sponsored by Metamucil instead of Rockstar it kind of made you think a little more?
Deen Castronovo: Oh you hit me, now backstage our riders are Ensure and coffee (laughing). There’s no parties in this band anymore. We’re all too damn old and it’s like we love what we do. Before it was just seat of your pants go out and play but now we’re all in 50s and 60s. Maybe we shouldn’t do that anymore (laughing).
NRR: So, I guess there are more numbers of stock brokers and the really good delis of certain cities in the cell phone then unknown numbers now?
Deen Castronovo: Yes, sir! This is one of the best interviews I’ve done so far. This is just freaking awesome (laughing).
NRR: I’m sure everyone will appreciate this interview, especially my managing director.
Deen Castronovo: Dude, I love it. I love that you’re so damn honest. This is great (laughing)!
NRR: With all the touring and time you’ve been out on the road, what do you do in between gigs to break up the boredom?
Deen Castronovo: You know it’s funny, for a long time I just used to sit in my room and just relax. To me, even though you have a day off, you know the next day is a show day. I try to prepare. There is a lot energy and I have to bring my A game every night. I try to just lay low. Everybody in Journey has their own things that they do. And mine is being with my family as much as possible.
NRR: If you could go out on tour with somebody that would be fun for Revolution Saints, who would you want?
Deen Castronovo: Journey (laughing). I loved to go with Journey, it’d be fun, but that’ll never happen. I’d be good on it. That’s kind of the music where we’re at. That would be fun. Even opening for Night Ranger, if we could get a couple shows with Night Ranger would be awesome! You know ride the coat tails of the guys we’re working with (laughing).
NRR: So, you’re basically looking for two paychecks or a sponsorship from Wheaties to be able to double duty that whole night?
Deen Castronovo: (Laughing) Yes! Wheaties and Ensure.
NRR: I can see it now, Centrum Silver presents Revolution Saints Tour 2015
Deen Castronovo: (Laughing) Works for me. Wherever the money comes from I’ll be happy (laughing).
NRR: Out of curiosity, you’ve seen the rear ends of a lot of musicians in your time. Who is the wildest or most interesting person you’ve had the pleasure of playing with?
Deen Castronovo: The most interesting would have to be Ozzy. I mean he was just… He’s a legend, he’s iconic. To see how he does his thing, how he transforms into what he does live, is incredible. And Geezer Butler as well. Being able to work with Geezer, those guys were they were fun.
Photo credit ~ Tena Lucarelli