Interview: Revolution Saints

It must be good to be king. If you’re Serafino Peregino, president of Frontiers Records, and you fancy putting together a rock supergroup, you just throw together Night Ranger bassist Jack Blades, former Whitesnake and Dio axe-man Doug Aldrich and Journey’s beat-master Deen Castronovo. The end result is Revolution Saints, a power trio whose eponymous debut – produced by songwriter/producer Alessandro Del Vecchio — is a masterclass in modern melodic rock. The album puts Castronovo front and centre, laying down the groove and handling lead vocals like a boss.

Do you and Jack Blades go back a long way?

“I’ve known Jack since I was seventeen, eighteen-years-old. I was in a metal band called Wild Dogs at the time and our manager was the lighting director for Journey and Night Ranger. That’s how I got to know all these guys and how I got into the loop. I’ve always looked up to Jack and Kelly [Keagy, Night Ranger drummer and singer], it’s one of my favourite bands. Jack, he’s like a big brother, he’s awesome.”

**Your Journey band-mates Arnel Pineda and Neal Schon pop up on the album! **

“That was huge, man. I remember asking Arnel to do it and he’s just such a brilliant vocalist. He’s the real deal. I heard back the mixes and I was just floored, but he always has floored me. And then Neal comes in and does his thing and as soon as you hear his guitar, you know it’s him. That’s the cool thing about Neal, his sound is so signature.”

Given that everyone has other commitments, will Revolution Saints play live?

“Well, we’ve been talking about that. Journey is off the road at the beginning of August so we’re going to try to book some club dates. I’m going to be playing drums and singing. I’d like to be up front but I think it would scare the hell out of me, so I think I’m going to sit behind the drum kit and do a Phil Collins, maybe come out once in a while and have another drummer play a couple of songs. I’d like to be up front but I’d like to take it slowly.”

What’s the latest with Journey?

“We start rehearsals in February and then we’ve got some dates with Steve Miller in Florida and Texas, I think twelve or thirteen shows. We come home for a little bit and then we’ve got a couple of shows with Santana in Mexico and then we do a residency in Las Vegas from April 19th until the middle of May. Then home again, some Canadian dates and then we’re finished. Right now we’re a touring band and that’s what we do. If we feel like it’s time to do another record, we’ll do it. Our last one was Eclipse and we’ve been supporting that for the last couple of years. I think we’ll take 2017 off and then decide if we’re going to do another record.”

**Do you rotate out the set list? There must be songs you have to play or people will riot? **

“Totally! We call them The Dirty Dozen, we have to play those or the crowd will kill us if we don’t. Then we mix and match from other records. We do change it up, we’ve got over a hundred songs to choose from, so it’s daunting but after seventeen years we know what people want to hear and we know what people don’t want to hear. There are songs we look at and go, ‘I’d love to play that live,’ and we’ll look at Jonathan and Neal, and they’re like, ‘That one won’t work. We just know it.’ So we’ll give it a try and yep, it farted, so we start over.”

Since Glee used Don’t Stop Believing, has a new generation of fans embraced the band?

“Oh yeah. In the past seventeen years our demographic changed from people my age, in their forties and fifties and sixties, to kids that are like six, seven, eight. Their parents are bringing them. You’ve got grandparents, parents and kids now. It’s amazing. That song is timeless, it really is.”

Were you surprised to see the videos of Steve Perry performing with Eels?

“He’s my favourite singer of all time and in my book he can do no wrong. It’s as simple as that. I was glad to see him come back and do something because, bottom line, I miss the man. He is, in my opinion, one of the greatest songwriters and singers of my generation. He was always my favourite singer and I was in metal bands, dude. That’s why I’ve taken a lot from him, just like I’ve taken a lot from Steve Smith as a drummer. It was neat to see him come back, it really was.”

David West

After starting his writing career covering the unforgiving world of MMA, David moved into music journalism at Rhythm magazine, interviewing legends of the drum kit including Ginger Baker and Neil Peart. A regular contributor to Prog, he’s written for Metal Hammer, The Blues, Country Music Magazine and more. The author of Chasing Dragons: An Introduction To The Martial Arts Film, David shares his thoughts on kung fu movies in essays and videos for 88 Films, Arrow Films, and Eureka Entertainment. He firmly believes Steely Dan’s Reelin’ In The Years is the tuniest tune ever tuned.