Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the tag “Journey”

Neal Schon Releases Holiday EP

Neal Schon, lead guitarist and founder of Journey, just released his holiday EP, Ave Maria, featuring guitar by the man himself and orchestration by Gary Cirimelli. It’s available to buy and stream, and I highly recommend you do so, as the music contained within is beautifully done. In addition to the title track, which is a masterpiece, Schon included instrumental versions of two Journey classics – “Open Arms” and “Faithfully.” And he rounded out this holiday offering with a gorgeous version of “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” which was originally made famous by Elvis. I played this last track for my wife, as it was the song she walked down the aisle to at our wedding in September. Stephanie liked Neal’s version so much that she asked me to play it again, which is a testament to the quality of the music on Ave Maria.

Catching Up With Drummer Deen Castronovo

Just a few days after I interviewed him, it was announced that my friend Deen Castronovo is the new drummer for the fantastic rock band The Dead Daises. Deen and the guys are currently in Nashville working on a new studio album, and I couldn’t be happier for Deen or The Dead Daises. I’m sure what they produce will be phenomenal and I can’t wait to hear it.

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Hugs, Kisses & Warm Meals

This past Wednesday night, my family’s shore house in Ocean City, NJ, burnt down. The house was built 50 years ago when my Grandfather purchased the land and, since then, it’s been a place for four generations of family members to come together. While a bigger and better house will rise from its ashes, having it taken away from us in such a horrific and involuntary way is shocking and upsetting.

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Journey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

15626576_10154357521614107_3083341465376598448_oCongratulations Journey! Today it was announced that the iconic rock band will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. As a fan of the band and a friend of Neal Schon’s, I couldn’t be happier or more proud of them. In their heyday, Journey created fantastic music that the critics tore apart, despite the undying support of the fans. And the fans’ unwavering dedication to this classic rock band is what led to Journey being the top choice in the recent fan poll conducted by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for who should be inducted in 2017. This is a testament to the staying power of Journey’s music and its ability to resonate with millions of people worldwide.

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A Conversation With Dennis DeYoung, Former STYX Vocalist

dennis-deyoungI had the pleasure of interviewing one of my favorite singers and one of the greatest voices in the history of music: Dennis DeYoung, lead vocalist of STYX hits “Come Sail Away,” “Babe,” “Mr. Roboto,” “The Best of Times,” “Don’t Let It End,” “Show Me The Way,” and “Lady.”

Our discussion lasted for more than an hour and we covered a myriad of topics, including Barry Manilow, Journey, what DeYoung misses most about being in STYX, the state of the music industry, politicians using music without the permission of the artists, and much more. DeYoung was funny, charming, smart, and easily one of the most enjoyable interviews I’ve ever conducted.

Make sure to visit DeYoung’s website for the latest tour dates. He has two performances in the Philadelphia/New Jersey/New York area coming up in October. I’m attending his show on October 8 at The Keswick Theatre in Glenside, Pa. For those of you closer to New York, DeYoung has an October 21 performance scheduled at the St. George Theatre in Staten Island, with special guest Steve Augeri, former lead vocalist of Journey.

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Journey Celebrates the 35th Anniversary of Escape in NJ

IMG_7566With the 35th anniversary of the Journey album Escape, which spawned numerous chart-topping hits, right around the corner, the band is back on the road. This time they are joined by The Doobie Brothers and Dave Mason. And Steve Smith is behind the drum kit, stepping in for the band’s former drummer Deen Castronovo. For those keeping count, this is the classic Journey lineup, minus one member: Steve Perry. I’m happy to say this was one of the best Journey concerts I’ve attended (this was my fifth), and my my pre-show meet and greet with Neal Schon exceeded my expectations. Read on for all of the details.

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A Conversation With Neal “Vortex” Schon

303Neal Schon is my favorite guitarist and, in my opinion, the greatest melodic rock guitarist of all time. He’s written classic songs, played legendary riffs and had a prolific solo career that is unparalleled in the music industry.

On the heels of the release of his latest solo album, Vortex, which is terrific, Neal took the time to grant me an interview. Speaking with him was an absolute honor, and we covered a lot of ground in our discussion. We spoke about everything, including his thoughts on working with Steve Perry, John Waite and Deen Castronovo, as well as how his latest masterpiece, Vortex, came to fruition.

I hope you enjoy the interview. And don’t forget to pick up a copy of Vortex. If you’re a classic rock fan, or just someone who appreciates inspired instrumental music, you’ll love it.

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The Babys Go Head First In PA

036Last weekend I had the pleasure of seeing one of my favorite classic rock bands perform live: The Babys. No, this lineup doesn’t include John Waite, Jonathan Cain or Ricky Phillips, but that’s OK. All of these former members of The Babys are flourishing in their musical journeys and the current lineup of The Babys is doing the same. With Tony Brock on the drums, Wally Stocker and Joey Sykes on guitar and John Bisaha on lead vocals and bass, The Babys’ know how to bring it live.

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What I’m Listening To: Revolution Saints

Revolution Saints’ eponymous debut album is the greatest melodic rock record I’ve heard in nearly 15 years. Not since Journey’s Arrival in 2001 have I heard such an infectious, inspired and memorable collection of rock music. It’s an all-killer-no-filler record that grabs the listener by the collar and doesn’t let go until the vestiges of the final chords dissipate.

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A Conversation With Deen Castronovo

Revolution Saints: Doug Aldrich (left), Deen Castronovo (center) and Jack Blades (right).

Revolution Saints: Doug Aldrich (left), Deen Castronovo (center) and Jack Blades (right).

Today, I interviewed one of my all-time favorite drummers, Deen Castronovo of Revolution Saints, Journey and formerly Bad English. Deen was a pleasure to speak with and we covered a lot of ground, everything from his drumming as a child to his current project with Revolution Saints. Speaking of which, make sure you pick up a copy of their debut album when it’s released on February 24. It’s the greatest melodic rock album I’ve heard in years – stay tuned for my review of it. Until then, enjoy my interview with Deen.

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