Journey continues to celebrate their 50th anniversary during ongoing dates with Toto, followed by a mammoth summer stadium tour featuring Def Leppard and Steve Miller Band. They're doing so with a renewed brotherly bond between co-founding guitarist Neal Schon and longtime keyboardist Jonathan Cain.

As drummer Deen Castronovo tells UCR, Journey's main songwriters found a way to "mend the fences" thanks to "communication" which allowed the pair to sort out festering differences for the greater good of the band and their continuing legacy.

Castronovo spoke about this turn of events during a Zoom conversation from Philadelphia on an off-day. He also discussed the upcoming shows with Def Leppard and the recent release of Against the Winds, the newest album from his band Revolution Saints.

The current Journey tour with Toto seems like it's been really fun.
Oh dude, of course they’ve been incredible. Neal told me yesterday that out of all of the shows, there’s only three that aren’t full sellouts, there are like maybe 30 or 40 tickets left in those three arenas. So we’re doing great, man. The tour’s going great, Toto is amazing. It’s just been incredible. We’re sounding great and the band’s getting along amazing again. We’re having a good time. You can see it on stage. We’re having a blast.

That's really great to hear. I don't know what turned the tide, but it's good that things have changed.
You know, Jon and Neal, I think it was all about just communication. Having those guys sit down. You know, with Michaele [Schon] and Paula [White-Cain], actually the wives helped a lot. It was bringing them in and just going, “Guys, talk this out.” This is too big, too beautiful and too great to see it flushed down the toilet. Mend the fences. Now, we’ve got Michaele – and Paula, Jon’s wife, it’s all four of them, co-managing this band and it’s working. They’re getting along and they’re working together. It’s one jet again instead of two. They’re running it like a business. That’s what it should have been. There was a lot of turmoil in both camps and nobody was talking. That was the problem. Now, they’re all talking and communicating and it’s working great. You know, Paula’s a great businesswoman. She’s smart. Smart with money. Michaele is a people person and she’s got the gift of gab. We just do our jobs. We go out and play and it works! Man, it’s great. I’ve got to give all four of them credit.

READ MORE: How Did Journey Survive Their 50th Anniversary Tour?

Journey has done a good amount of shows with Toto at this point. It seems like there's a good bond there.
Musically, the package fits. The musicianship in both bands is stellar. Watching Luke [Steve Lukather] every night, it’s unbelievable. Then, I get to play with Neal, another unbelievable player. You know, it’s the greatest players in the [same] area. It’s a dream come true. It’s a really great package and there’s not a lot of them out there. So it’s pretty cool to see two bands that have that pedigree and resume going out and doing what we’re doing together. It’s been great.

I've always been impressed with how you honor the different drumming eras of Journey with your playing.
I knew Aynsley [Dunbar]'s stuff from the earlier records, but I didn’t get into him until later on, really. Infinity is when I heard him play, but I didn’t know the stuff before. Once I heard Infinity, I went back and got the three earlier records with Aynsley really tearing it up. It’s just amazing. He’s a British drummer and he’s got that British feel. Great backbeat and an amazing player. Then, of course [Steve] Smith, he’s a god to me. I knew him on the records, but then I heard Captured and went, “Oh-oh-oh-ohhhh!” This is all new information that I’d never heard before! I just picked right up on that, because I was a Neil Peart and Peter Criss fan. So I heard Smith, then I heard [Terry] Bozzio. I was seeing where those guys all got their stuff and that changed my whole drumming perspective. Even Mike Baird, when he played with them for [the] Raised on Radio [tour], it was just the biggest, widest pocket on the planet. He’d lay it down. Him and Randy Jackson? Unbelievable. What a great duo those guys were.

Listen to Journey's 'La Do Da' From 'Captured'

What songs were challenging initially when you first joined the band in the '90s?
It’s funny, it was “Don’t Stop Believin’.” I thought Smith was playing it like this [Castronovo demonstrates the drumming technique]. I had no idea about anything open-handed! I said, “Well, I need to know ‘Don’t Stop Believin’” and he starts giggling. He’s like, “It’s open-handed. The high hat’s here and you’re doing all of this stuff here.” It took me a little while. There’s three different parts to that. It’s not just the same thing. The first part is just the toms, then the tom with the ride cymbal and then the tom with a different ride cymbal pattern on the toms. I had to learn it. It was great because I knew most of the other stuff, but it was his feel and just his emotion when he plays. He’s got such a swing to his playing. For me, you know, I was a rock guy. I was like, “Okay, I swing like a brick!” [Laughs] So I had to learn that feel and I learned all of that from Smith, just listening to Steve.

READ MORE: Why Journey Never Accepted the 'Corporate Rock' Tag

I sat there for maybe an hour, working on two or three songs and then we were trading fours and he was just wiping the floor up with me. It was unbelievable. I’m like, “What are you doing there with that cymbal thing?” He took some lessons from a guy named Freddie Gruber. Neil Peart took lessons from him as well. It’s all about motion and not playing through a drum, but instead, bringing the sound out of a drum. You know, pulling it out instead of pushing it in. So I learned a lot. But he was doing this stuff and he’s like, “Well, can you do that? Let me go slow.” He’d show it to me and I’d be like, “I can’t do that.” [Laughs] I guess if I took enough time and really studied it – like, sat down with Smith for six months every day, for six hours a day, I could play that kind of stuff. But he’s just so amazing, man. He’s still my all-time favorite drummer. There’s nobody that touches him in my book. There really isn’t.

These current shows with Toto will be good fuel for the summer stadium tour with Def Leppard.
Oh dude, it’s gonna be great. For me, this is my first stadium tour with Journey. We’ve done stadiums before, but not an entire tour. The last time I did an entire tour of stadiums was with Vasco Rossi in Italy, doing venues like San Siro – sold out three nights in a row, 100,000 seats a night. That was the last time and that was ’96, ’97. So this is going to be really cool. And I haven’t been with the Def Leppard guys since 2006, that’s when I toured with them – and that was great as well. You know, they’re great guys and they’re funny. Joe Elliott is a kick in the pants, man. He’s hilarious. Very dry British humor and you’ve got to have thick skin! [Laughs] But he’s hilarious – totally awesome. Then, you’ve got Rick Allen, who I really respect and admire as a person. Not just as a player, but as a person. He’s a really spiritually sound guy. I love the man. Good person.

READ MORE: When Journey Stopped Making Videos

I haven't spoken with you about Revolution Saints since you got Jeff Pilson and Joel Hoekstra into the band. Now you're two albums in and on the way to three with those guys.
You know, I was nervous, obviously, eecause Doug [Aldrich], Jack [Blades] and I had a wonderful chemistry [for the first three albums]. Jack was our fearless leader and it felt great. The camaraderie was so beautiful. So when they left, I’m like, “Okay, who are we going to get with that camaraderie, that feel and that chemistry? That’s going to be tough.” You can get the greatest players in the world, but if there’s no chemistry, it’s kind of pointless. But I’ve known Jeff from our tours with Foreigner and Journey. I knew Joel from the tours with Night Ranger and Journey. So we had that friendship. It was like, “Great, I know these guys are wonderful people.”

Their playing speaks for itself. They’re great players. I mean, they throw down. Doug has a raw, John Sykes kind of vibe. Joel is a little more smooth, but he’s still got that vibe. He throws down. It’s two different guitarists, but they’re very similar. Joel fits really well. Jeff, of course, he’s so prolific – great songwriter, great vocalist. He’s got that thing. We lock in really well. We haven’t played any shows live and I’m really curious to see what that’s going to be like, because I want to, but it’s the schedules, man. You know how that is. I’m with Journey. We’re gone until November. Chances are, we’ll be back out again in January, like we usually do. This is how we keep food on the table. I’m hoping that there will be some time for Revolution Saints to play live. But again, Jeff’s out with Foreigner and Joel’s got his projects – Whitesnake and all of that stuff. It’s going to be tough, but I’m sure someday, it’s going to happen. It can’t not, because I’m going to make it happen.

Listen to Revolution Saints' 'Fall on My Knees'

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