Former JOURNEY Drummer DEEN CASTRONOVO Says He Was Fired In August

November 3, 2015

Former JOURNEY drummer Deen Castronovo says that he was kicked out of the band in early August — two months after he was charged with domestic abuse.

The 51-year-old musician, who replaced Steve Smith as JOURNEY's drummer in 1998, was arrested last June after an altercation at his Salem, Oregon home. It was later revealed that, upon Castronovo's arrest on June 14, he was first taken to Salem Hospital because he had overdosed on methamphetamine.

Speaking to Ultimate Classic Rock, Castronovo stated about his status in JOURNEY: "I was fired on August 10th. I was terminated. They haven't released an official announcement, but, yeah, I was fired. I was in treatment at the time and I'm grateful that I was in treatment to be able to process that, because that was heartbreaking. But then again, you know, JOURNEY has a stellar legacy and I've tarnished that, and they did the right thing. They did what they needed to do. Not because they were punishing me, because it wasn't about punishing me or wrecking my life. They didn't do anything of the sort. They did this because they loved me and they wanted to see me alive. That's the beauty of it. It wasn't about, 'Oh, let's just kick him out because he's a loser and he's just a drug addict.' They knew that I wouldn't be able to fix this if I was touring or if I was working with the band, or if I was being pulled back and forth. I needed to have solid recovery and to put this first, and they did the right thing. I mean, it was horrible and it's heartbreaking, because they're brothers, but they did the right thing, man. They knew I needed a lot more than just a few months or six months or three months or whatever it was to get this stuff right — because this is not a quick fix."

Asked what the communication has been like between him and his former bandmates, Deen said: "They had an opportunity. They had the phone number to call me and leave messages at Hazelden [drug treatment center]. But I never heard from them, and I think they were just giving me the space I needed to keep myself focused. You know, I don't think it was a personal thing. I've gotten a few texts from Neal [Schon] lately, and I got a couple of texts from Jonathan [Cain], but that's about it. I actually had to call John Baruck, the manager, and ask on August 10th if I was still in the band and he said, 'Well, we've decided to terminate you.' And you know, I understand, dude. You know what? My best thinking got me here. Bottom line. My actions and choices have destroyed everything. So, it's now time to rebuild and, for the first time in my life, I actually like who I am — and I've never liked who I am."

In the same interview, Castronovo admitted that he has "been on and off the wagon for years." He added: "It's been a struggle and the band has given me a bajillion chances and I kept screwing those chances up. Finally, it came to a head this year, you know. There's been a lot of emotional, verbal and physical abuse with [my ex-fiancée] and myself, and it came to a head after this last tour. I hit lower than bottom, and it's something that I'm going to have to fight the rest of my life."

After being released on $20,000 bail on June 15, Castronovo called the victim 35 times and sent her 122 text messages, despite being under a court order to have no contact with her. He was arrested again on June 29 on a grand jury indictment which charged him with five counts of fourth-degree assault, one count of first-degree rape, two counts of menacing, one count of unlawful use of a weapon, one count of second-degree assault, one count of second-degree sex abuse, one count of coercion, one count of second-degree criminal mischief, and three counts of contempt of court.

At a July 1 bail hearing, Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Gardiner said that Castronovo threw the woman into a wall 14 times, pulled her hair and forced her to have sex with him.

JOURNEY hired drummer Omar Hakim to sit behind the kit for the band's summer tour of North America. He made his live debut with the group at their June 20 concert at the Hollywood Bowl.


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