Journey's Deen Castronovo On His Journey Back To Sanity And Sobriety

By Paul Gaita 11/19/15

The veteran drummer is making a determined effort to get his life back in order.

Deen Castronovo
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Veteran rock drummer Deen Castronovo ended a 17-year tenure with legendary rockers Journey, earlier this year when the band fired him after his June 2015 arrest for a variety of charges involving a former fiancée, including physical abuse, coercion, and unlawful use of a weapon.

After spending 15 days in jail and a 75-day stint at the Hazelden Betty Ford Springbrook facility, the 51-year-old musician was given four years supervised probation with the promise of five years in prison if he violates the terms of his sentence.

Castronovo blamed his long battle with substance abuse, including alcohol, cocaine, pain medication and meth, for his actions in this case and other incidents, including the dissolution of his 2009 marriage. Now out of rehab, and in court-ordered drug abuse and domestic violence counseling, Castronovo is again trying to set his life in order.

He readily admits that while drugs and alcohol fueled the actions that contributed to his recent charges, “I did learn that domestic violence is a choice. Being the perpetrator, the batterer—I was emotionally abusive, verbally, mentally and physically—for me to experience that now has made my goal to learn as much as I can and grow as a man. I just want to be a great father (to his two sons) and someday be a great husband.”

Castronovo reports that while he is sober today, that status is not a given. “I know I’ll never be able to use again, [but] I know ‘never say never.’ I’m not afraid of my disease, but I have a very healthy respect for it. It’s real life or death.”

As for the future, Castronovo is ready to accept the fact that his well-being does not hinge on playing in a famous band like Journey or any of his previous work with Ozzy Osbourne, Bad English, Steve Vai, and countless other acts.

“I immersed myself so much in being a drummer and singer,” he said. “Journey was my identify for so many years. I’m finally coming to grips and realizing that I’m more than enough, regardless of whether I’m in a band or will never play again. I have never liked who I am, [but] for the first time, I actually love who I am.”

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.