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Journey drummer Deen Castronovo is living the dream
by Christina Fuoco Karasinski -
August 01, 2011

A veteran of acts such as Ozzy Osbourne, Social Distortion, Paul Rodgers and Bad English, drummer Deen Castronovo said joining Journey in the late 1990s was part of a lifelong dream.

"There were two bands I wanted to play with when I was young: KISS and Journey," Castronovo told The Flint Journal via telephone. "I've gotten one and I'm happy. One of those is great. I'm a happy man."

Castronovo will be on stage with Journey when the band performs at DTE Energy Music Theatre with special guests Foreigner and Night Ranger on Sunday.

"You'll hear all the hits - 'The Dirty Dozen' is what we call them - all the classic Journey songs , 'Separate Ways,' 'Don't Stop Believin',' 'Open Arms,' 'Who's Crying Now.' You're going to hear all those songs and then, of course, you're going to hear the new stuff. We do around three to four of the new songs in the set."

Journey is using the triple bill to push its new collection "Eclipse," the second with Filipino lead singer Arnel Pineda, who uncannily sounds like the band's longtime frontman Steve Perry.

"We really like it and we're really proud of it," Castronovo said about "Eclipse." "I think it's a lot more similar to the early Journey records, around (1980s) 'Departure' and stuff like that. It's a little more guitar oriented. It's still Journey, no matter what way you look at it, it's Journey."

Penned by guitarist Neal Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain with contributions from Pineda, "Eclipse" is loved by the band as much as its musical predecessors.

"But it's always nice to have something fresh to go up and slam," he said. "I enjoy all of it, though. I was a Journey fan before I was in the band. To me, they're the greatest songwriters of my generation, in my opinion. I grew up with Journey as a kid. When I was 11 years old I was playing these songs in cover bands. It was pretty darn cool. I'm pretty darn fortunate. I'm very, very fortunate.

"I love the songs. They're the soundtrack to my teen years and my childhood, really. Playing with Neal and Jonathan and Ross (Valory, bassist) - it's a dream come true. They're great players. That's what was so great about Journey and is so great. Not only are they great songwriters, the musicianship in this band is stellar. I've never played with better musicians. They're incredible."

Castronovo was recruited by Journey through his association with Cain and Schon, with whom he played in Bad English.

"My very first band - big successful band - was Bad English in 1989," Castronovo said. "I was a little kid. I was 22 or 23. I've been with Neal for 24 years on and off, Jonathan as well. I was very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. When Neal said they were reforming the band and they needed a drummer, it was awesome. It took me two and a half mega tiny nanoseconds to say yes. It was incredible. I always wanted to be in Journey, even as a kid."

It's a legacy he wishes he was more a part of. Since its formation in 1973, Journey has earned 19 Top 40 singles and 25 gold and platinum albums. The band's "Greatest Hits" album is certified 15 times platinum, bringing Journey into the elite club of Diamond-certified album holders. The group also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005.

"I really didn't have any part of the Journey legacy, with the exception of I bought every damn record and was at every show they played in Portland, Ore. So I helped them buy their cars and their houses. That's how I look at it."

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