JOURNEY drummer Deen Castronovo was unable to join his bandmates for their performance at of "Any Way You Want It" and "Don't Stop Believin'" in New York City's Times Square for "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest" after testing positive for COVID-19. Filling in for him was his longtime tech Steve Toomey.
Asked by a fan on Instagram why Deen didn't play with JOURNEY at last night's event, guitarist Neal Schon responded: "Covid".
Castronovo appeared to be looking forward to playing with JOURNEY in New York. On Thursday (December 30),he shared an Instagram photo of him behind his kit and added the following caption: "Hope you all had an AWESOME Holiday ! Off to NYC🗽to perform with @journeymusicofficial for @rockineve! Who will be ringing in 2022 with us?!"
Castronovo returned to JOURNEY in July and has been performing with the band ever since, initially sharing the drum duties in the group with Narada Michael Walden. Walden, bassist Randy Jackson and keyboardist/backing singer Jason Derlatka all joined JOURNEY in 2020 following the band's acrimonious split with drummer Steve Smith and bassist Ross Valory. Jackson — who previously played with JOURNEY during the mid-1980s — was forced to miss all the recent gigs because he is reportedly recovering from back surgery.
Filling in on bass for JOURNEY for the band's recent Las Vegas residency at The Theater at Virgin Hotels was Todd Jensen, a veteran musician who has played for various artists, including the bands SEQUEL, HARDLINE and HARLOW, as well as David Lee Roth, Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Perry, Alice Cooper and Paul Rodgers.
Prior to the residency, Jackson had been replaced at JOURNEY's 2021 shows by Marco Mendoza, who had played several shows in 2019 with Castronovo and JOURNEY guitarist Neal Schon under the "Neal Schon's Journey Through Time" banner.
In March 2021, Castronovo revealed that he was on opiates for over a year while waiting to get his back surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 57-year-old musician, who had been sober for nearly five years after being fired from JOURNEY, shared his ordeal in an Instagram post. He wrote: "Opiates are evil and the withdrawals are murder."
Deen was dismissed from JOURNEY in 2015 following years of alcohol and drug abuse that led to him being sentenced to four years' probation for a variety of charges involving his now-wife.