Veteran drummer Deen Castronovo (THE DEAD DAISIES, JOURNEY, REVOLUTION SAINTS) recently spoke with "The Blaring Out With Eric Blair Show". The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On working with John Waite in BAD ENGLISH:
Deen: "Professional, just very professional. He did what he was supposed to do. He sang his butt off every night. It was a joy to work with him. I was very honored to work with him. Very, very to the point — he always knows what he wants, and he delivers."
On his memories of the group:
Deen: "It was always teetering [on] exploding for some reason, but that's what made the band work. There was so much tension, but then we came together, and we brought that tension on stage or on the records, and it came out great."
On Ozzy Osbourne's 1995 album "Ozzmosis":
Deen: "For that, it was me, Geezer [Butler], Zakk [Wylde]. Rick [Wakeman], I never saw until later — he actually did the keyboards later. We were in the studio in Paris. It took us a month to get drum sounds, which is crazy in my book, but we got an amazing drum sound, and we nailed the songs. We got the stuff done pretty quickly. It was an amazing project. Working with Geezer and Zakk, Zakk's an animal — a monster player — and Geezer's one of the best bass players I've ever had the honor to work with. It was pretty cool, man. I think there's some great moments on that record, especially the stuff that Zakk wrote. The songs that Zakk wrote definitely, to me, they've got the most crunch to them. It's definitely Ozzy Osbourne when you hear Zakk playing those songs."
On SOCIAL DISTORTION's 1996 album "White Light, White Heat, White Trash":
Deen: "That record, I did as a favor to [producer] Michael [Beinhorn]. He was like, 'Man, I don't have a lot of money to do this. Would you do this? I'll make it up to you on another record.' I was like, 'Dude, I don't care — it's SOCIAL D. I would love to do it.' I went in; they played the demos for me; and I said, 'I can do this. It'd be no problem.' We did most of the songs in one or two takes, and I remember Mike Ness going, 'How were you able to adapt to our style, our sound?' I'm like, 'Dude, you guys are SOCIAL D — you just go in there, on your mark, get set, go.' It's just a great, great punk band. It was fantastic to work with them."
On what he learned from working with Geezer Butler and playing with GZR:
Deen: "I learned how to just go balls-out. It was great. When we did that record, the first song that recorded, we got it in one take. I think it was 'House Of Clouds'. We came downstairs with Paul Northfield, our producer, and Geezer's sitting there on a couch. I'm like, 'Oh God, he hates it. What are we going to do?' We go, 'Geez, is it alright?' He puts his hands up and he's smiling and he goes, 'It's amazing.' It was the greatest thing."
On how playing with JOURNEY changed him:
Deen: "I learned how to play for the song and to play as a team and remember that the song is the most important thing. I got to work with Jonathan [Cain] again and Neal [Schon], and it was like going home. I've known those guys since BAD ENGLISH, since I was 23. To be able to be 17 years in that band, it's a dream come true. I'd pinch myself. There'd be times I'd be walking with my drum tech in an arena and I'd just stop and go, 'Dude, I play for JOURNEY.' It was a cool thing, and I'm very, very grateful that they gave me that opportunity."
On singing two songs on JOURNEY's 2005 album "Generations":
Deen: "I listen back now and I cringe. I could have done better, you know – my first time singing on a record lead like that. It was kind of scary, but for me, I learned how to sing for the first time with a band as a lead singer. I'd never done that. I got more comfortable and got better as the time [passed] to where now, with REVOLUTION SAINTS... I'm definitely not Steve Perry. I'm definitely not Jeff Scott Soto or even Arnel Pineda, but I love what I do and I do the best I can. I'm a drummer that happens to sing. I'm not a lead singer. For me, drums are my most important thing. If I can sing — and I'm doing backgrounds with THE DEAD DAISIES — I love that. John [Corabi]'s such a great singer, he doesn't need any help. With JOURNEY, I was able to sing two or three songs [live] to be able to give Arnel a break. I would never want to be a frontman. I could never be a frontman. That's scary, dude. If I'm going to sing, I want those drums around me. I want that protection."
On whether he misses being in JOURNEY:
Deen: "Totally. I miss the music; I miss my brothers. Of course. The touring was amazing. The band, the music, was amazing. I'm just grateful to be back playing. I never thought I'd play again, so being back and playing again and in the trenches is a great thing. But I miss playing those songs. I will always miss it. It was a big, big opportunity for me."
On reconnecting with Schon for "Journey Through Time", a 2017 benefit concert for California wildfire victims:
Deen: "Incredible. When he called me to do it, I was, like, 'Of course I will.' Now we're talking about going out on the road next year doing it. JOURNEY's taking a year off, so Neal's, like, 'Let's go on the road with this band.' We're going to call it NEAL SCHON'S JOURNEY THROUGH TIME. We're going to do the older stuff, like the first four records, and the stuff that Gregg Rolie and Steve Perry used to do. I'll play drums and sing the stuff."
On REVOLUTION SAINTS, his project with Doug Aldrich and Jack Blades:
Deen: "The only thing I didn't like about that was the songs weren't written by us. That's the bummer. It was written by Alessandro [Del Vecchio], the producer, so we did what we were 'told to do' by the label. I'd never sung lead on an entire record before, so I had to have Alessandro help me — it's like, 'I don't know where to even start.' We've done two records now and we're talking about doing a third one. I'd like to tour, but who knows if we will? Jack's so busy with NIGHT RANGER, it's going to be tough. I think on this third record that we're talking about doing, we already kind of said, number one, Jack needs to sing more. I don't want to be the full lead singer. I think it should be a trade-off type of a thing. And we need to write — we need to write the songs. It's really important. As much as I love Alessandro's writing, it's great stuff, but it's not us. We need to put ourselves in it, and we didn't really get a chance to do that on both those records."
On religion and sobriety:
Deen: "I gave my life to Christ back in 1987. Getting sober again three and a half years ago, I just clung right back to Christ. That's the only way I could get through it. Thank God for my wife Deidre here, who helped me through it. She saved my life. I still serve God very heavily. I don't have the greatest mouth in the world — I can be a potty mouth — but you walk with love and respect and treat everybody with love and kindness. For me, that's the most important thing... Being in this industry, and being around the drugs and the alcohol that are prevalent, you've got to have something to hold onto. For me, that's a huge thing. I need that. I'm in my prayer closet doing my prayers... because if I don't, I'm going to fall again. I'll fall right on my butt."
THE DEAD DAISIES — whose fourth album, "Burn It Down", was released via Spitfire on April 6 — will kick off a five-week tour of Europe on November 10.
In addition to Castronovo, the band features Doug Aldrich (WHITESNAKE, DIO), John Corabi (MÖTLEY CRÜE, THE SCREAM), Marco Mendoza (WHITESNAKE, THIN LIZZY) and Australian businessman-turned-rocker David Lowy (RED PHOENIX, MINK).