Revolution Saints may have started as an idea, but it’s become a band — as evidenced by the new video for “Back on My Trail,” a track from the all-star group’s self-titled debut album, which Billboard is exclusively premiering below. The clip shows the first time all three members — Journey drummer Deen Castronovo, who doubles as Revolution Saints’ lead singer, Night Ranger bassist Jack Blades and former Whitesnake/Dio guitarist Doug Aldrich — actually got in the same room after cutting tracks for the set’s 12 songs separately.
“The album wasn’t finished when we shot the videos,” Blades tells Billboard. “We were still singing vocals. Doug was still cutting guitar parts. I think we did that video with the sort of, like, scratch guitars Doug had laid down on the track itself, not the finished vocals and stuff like that. It’s not my favorite way to make a record. I’d much rather be in a room just getting together. But that’s how it all started and I think it worked out well in the end.”
Revolution Saints actually came to life as a project for Castronovo, championed by Frontier Records chief Serafino Perugino. “He’s wanted me to do a solo record for, like, forever,” Castronovo says. “I’m always like, ‘Hmm, I’m not ready. I don’t want to do that. I dunno,’ one of those things. When It came up they’re like, ‘You’re gonna play drums on this record and we’re gonna get a couple guys.’ I didn’t realize I was gonna sing on the record. I thought I was just playing drums. I wasn’t sure what that was all about.” The combination of Blades and Aldrich was “a no-brainer” for the drummer, and Revolution Saints quietly became a band concern rather than a solo project.
“It just kind of morphed into that,” says Blades, who’s known Castronovo for more than 30 years and worked with him on Journey guitarist Neal Schon’s 2014 solo album So U. “Really, I thought I was getting on board on a Deen Castronovo solo record, and then it when we got the opportunity to have Doug Aldrich play, it sort of took on a life of its own and became Revolution Saints.”
Castronovo’s Journey mates Schon and Arnel Pineda both make appearances on the Revolution Saints album, but the album is the drummer’s showpiece as a vocalist and frontman — a role he’s still getting used to even though he was briefly considered for the same spot in Journey before the group found Pineda. Serafino Perugino “It was really kind of scary,” Castronovo confesses. “I’ve done a couple songs in Journey, but it’s behind the drum kit. To actually be singing lead on an entire record, it was surreal almost. It was something I always wanted to do, but I just didn’t have the confidence to do it. Thank God (Blades) and Alessandro (Del Vecchio, the album’s producer) were there. They walked me through the whole vocal thing.”
Revolution Saints’ next step is playing live, which Castronovo and Blades say is being discussed. Fall seems the most likely time frame; both Journey and Night Ranger currently has dates announced through early August. But a second drummer — Castronovo’s tech Steve Toomey — has been determined to allow him to sing out front for “a few songs,” and Blades says there’s plenty of material to draw from beyond Revolution Saints’ 12 tracks.
“We have thought about that, and actually we’re having conversations now about how we’d go about doing things and what we would play and all that kind of stuff,” he says. “There’s a wealth of material we could forge. There’s stuff Doug has written when he was in Whitesnake, that he wrote with (David) Coverdale, that we could switch around and play. There’s songs on my solo records. There’s songs from the Damn Yankees. There’s so much music we can play, I don’t think that’ll be a problem.”