K-FOX 104.9, San Jose, CA Interview
May 27, 1998
Transcribed by Scott Cannon, HTML by Steven Lake


GK = Greg Kihn
JC = Jonathan Cain
RV = Ross Valory
DC = Deen Castronovo
SA = Steve Augeri
NS = Neal Schon
AK = Robert Allen Craft, Jr. (Engineer for Neal Schon's Electric World CD)

GK: 104.9 KFOX. I'm Greg Kihn and I spoke with Jonathan Cain about two weeks ago. He gave me a call down here at the station and we had talked on the phone a little bit and he said, well I want to wait until the band is all together and in the studio because we got a lot of information that we want to put out. And I got them on the phone right now from their recording studio up in Oakland. Hello?

JC: Greg?

GK: Ya.

JC: Your on.

GK: Who there?

JC: (On speaker phone) Hey Greg its Jonathan Cain and Ross Valory, own new drummer Deen Castronovo, and our new lead singer Steve Augeri.

GK: Great!

JC: Neal is coming, I think he's - he had to change his rubbers. (It was raining that day) All laugh.

JC: He had to wash his pogo stick. More laughter.

GK: Alright!

JC: Are you still there?

GK: I'm still here and enjoying every minute of it.

RV: OK, we want to make sure you didn't faint or something

GK: No, No, No.

JC: I think he left his galoshes at home or something.

GK: So what are you guys doing over there?

JC: We're getting ready to go to Japan. We've been writing. After I talked to you, the writing paid off for us because Steve Perry signed off and Steve Augeri had the presence of mind to come out and sing for us, some demos and stuff, and then we had something in the can I played for John Kalander. The next thing I know were doing Armageddon. We have a song in the Armageddon movie and we'll be the second track, the second single. It will be played in the trailer of the new Bruce Willis blockbuster.

GK: Oh excellent man! Well its interesting. First of all, I wanted to comment that Deen and Steve - you guys have got to be the happiest guys in town.

DC: (Laughs) That goes without saying Greg!

SA: Life's been good so far I must admit, this is Steve, Greg. It's a pleasure to meet you. Ya things are good and enjoying every minute of it.

GK: I know that Deen, you worked with Bad English. Steve where did you come from? What band?

SA: I worked in a band by the name of Tall Stories on EPIC a few years back.

GK: OK. Now do you think the sound of the band is going to change?

JC: Ah, it still sounds like Journey, what the people expect us to sound like. Were not going to be an alternative band Greg ya know.

RV: I guess the favorite expression is we still have the signature. There's no doubt about that.

JC: You know, we're singing American songs about love and romance and middle age. All Laugh

GK: You know, it sounds kind of boxy - we're on the speaker phone right now guys, right?

JC: Right, we're just saying hello. If you want to talk to individuals we can pick up the phone.

GK: Ya, lets do that just for a couple of minutes a piece, if that's OK.

JC: Alright, who do you want to start with?

GK: I don't know, how about Ross?

JC: Here Ross.

RV: (Off speaker phone) Hey!

GK: How ya doing Ross?

RV: I'm doing pretty good man. How are you?

GK: Are you digging the new Journey stuff?

RV: I just got to tell you I am not having any fun what so ever, OK. These guys are boring, they're tedious, and it's no fun. No actually I really got a good analogy for what's going on. Like many other of San Francisco's treasured institutions, this band has been retrofitted for earthquake safety!

GK: That's excellent.

RV: That means we're not going to fall in the bay. That means we're not going to go away. Ha, Ha, Ha, Haw! Have I made myself perfectly clear? I think so! Thank you. (I think he was trying to imitate Jim Carrey)

GK: That was beautiful. God bless you sir. God bless you.

RV: Ya, that's about it. You know, no Deen's a lot of fun man. We're having a great time.

GK: So you know when you guys were kinda putting this thing back together again I know that you were kicking around Gregg Rolie's name a little bit. What happened with Gregg?

RV: With Gregg, ah, I guess it's somewhere between the record company, whatever, it was decided to go with…

GK: There was a little politics involved in that?

RV: Oh I'm sure, I'm sure. But ya it was pretty much the record companies decision to go with those members that represented the Escape/Frontiers personnel of the band. Greg, it was great doing that bit with you with the corn chips so long ago at the Bammies.

GK: You know, I still got a tape of that. I got a tape of that. I should give you a tape.

RV: Well a lot of people heard it.

GK: You ate those corn chips with such vigor.

RV: With such finesse. I should have done a commercial.

GK: And the difficulty rating of like 10 because you were talking, eating, talking, eating, going back and forth - showing real range there man.

RV: So anyhow pal.

GK: Is Neal there?

RV: Neal's here.

GK: OK, let me talk to Neal.

RV: OK. Take care Greg.

GK: Thanks man. Hello Neal?

NS: Hello Greg.

GK: Hey Neal, how ya doing?

NS: I'm doing great man, how about you?

GK: Well I'm real glad to hear you guys are back and kick'in butt again.

NS: Ya, man its been like too long and I feel like I should have done this, made this move like 12 years ago.

GK: Well I know your kind of a workaholic anyway and it must have been driving you crazy, huh?

NS: Yea, I mean I've been stuck in the studio, I've been making you know, records and recording but I've been in the studio for the last three years and I really need to get out and play live in front of people, you know what that's like.

GK: Oh absolutely, I think that's probably the most fun is when the band is cookin' live.

NS: Exactly, and we've got a slamin' rock band now.

GK: Yea now, let's talk about what it's like to play with the new guys, is it a whole new world?

NS: It's like a whole new world, it's definitely rocking harder. I mean all the new material we've written so far it seems that, the new Steve, this new singer Augeri is more of a rocker. You know, even though he can cover the old material, it's like when I come up with the harder stuff he knows what to do with it immediately which is really great for me because that's where I've been wanting to go.

GK: Yea, when you come up with new tunes do you start out with a riff or you come up with a lyric idea or how does that work?

NS: You know Jon and I have been writing all this stuff you know, together and you know it starts out with a riff but then we come up with a lot of melodies this time and lyrics. We really just like you know went to it and really didn't work every day. We like started working just a couple days a week, but we started knocking out a couple tunes a day, ya know, and ah we come back and listen to them know and they sound really fresh and their happening.

GK: Yea ya know for me like as a song writer I keep like a note book full of lyrics right, you know just in life you always have one. Now for a guitar player like you, you keep like a mental notebook of riffs?

NS: Their all in my head, yea you know I don't really record. Some times I demo up songs, if a song come to me like the whole total song, I'll demo it up really fast.

GK: But other wise you just kind of remember the riff?

NS: Yea, and I figure when they pop out it's for a good cause, you know what I mean? Or um you know like if somebody brings in another riff and I say well man I got this other thing that would go good that and we sort a just lob them together.

GK: And how's it feel working a different Steve now man?

NS: Its great man, I got to tell you it's a breath of fresh air.

GK: Ya I can hear it, well that must have been a big weight off your shoulders when Steve Perry just signed off, it was just like OK now the futures back in my hands again.

NS: Exactly, I mean just I felt like the reins were so tight around me for so many years, you know what I mean he was just ah very much of a control freak, you know.

GK: Well you know Journey's always been to my knowledge Neal, its always been your band.

NS: Well I mean I started it, so everybody started realizing that and you know what I mean you know I've heard some, there's been a lot of controversy on the radio since ah Perry split ya know, or we got rid of him, that's more like it. But ah you know I've been hearing on the radio, their going well how can they call it Journey without Perry and what a lot of people don't know is that ah we were Journey way before Perry, before he even joined the band.

GK: Oh yea, Journey's been through three or four major changes over the years and this is just another change man. You think it is changing the sound of the band?

NS: I think it is. I think its changing the sound but to a good place man. I mean this new single that we just did for this Bruce Willis movie that is coming out, Armageddon.

GK: Is that a rocker?

NS: It's a rocker.

GK: (Laughs)

NS: It rocks and I'm telling ya what, Steve the new Steve sounds amazing on it and our new drummer Deen Castronovo, I don't know if you know him.

GK: Oh he was from Bad English, right?

NS: Right, he is just slamin', and he knows all of Smith's stuff, I mean its like the old material has got new life to it actually.

GK: Yea, I think that's key because your going to have to go out, you know that the fans are going to demand to hear that stuff but you want to do it in such a way that its still fun for you and its got a new wrinkle.

NS: Exactly, just bring it up to date a little bit, you know with some young energy. I think the new blood is really good for this band right now.

GK: Yea, so what are you doing today, you over there doing guitar bits?

NS: Were rehearsing.

GK: Oh rehearsing for your live…

NS: Were rehearsing for this Japanese Tour.

GK: Yea man your going to have so much fun over there.

NS: I want to start playing in some small places just around here because, I'll tell you it's been so long since we've played in San Francisco and ah you know Perry never wanted to tour, never wanted to do anything, so I mean I feel like we really need to reinstate ourselves as a San Francisco band because we are.

GK: Yea, yea well I'm sure that this coming up season your going to be working your butt off man, I know you, you're a workaholic anyway.

NS: Yea, well I've really missed the touring like I said and we're going to like tour this thing everywhere, which is really cool now that we have a couple of guys that want to work.

GK: Yea, well see the band chemistry, now your going to have fun on the road and it not going to be like a arm and a leg. It's going to be like your enjoying it.

NS: Exactly.

GK: Yea, ya know having a band, have everybody in the band being friends and hanging together on the road, I mean a lot of people don't realize but that is the backbone of the band.

NS: I've got to tell you man the vibe in here now is radically different. I mean it's so much more relaxed. We come in here and we get tuned and we get things done, but it's just fun, you know what I mean? Its not like one person just sitting there with a frown on his face all day, like looking at you like what's wrong.

GK: Yea, I hear ya.

NS: It like everybody's having a good time and everything is like gelling and everything is cool.

GK: That's beautiful.

NS: Yea.

GK: Well thanks for talking to me this morning Neal.

NS: Would you like to talk to Deen?

GK: I would love to talk to Deen.

NS: Ok Greg.

GK: Alright thanks man.

NS: I'll see ya soon man.

GK: Ok.

NS: Bubbye.

DC: Greg?

GK: Deen.

DC: How are you man?

GK: You have taken the mantle as the new drummer man, it's going to be, ah I guess the test of fire. You go right off on the road.

DC: I know it's going to be scary man, but it's going to be incredible. Steve (Smith) was one of my biggest influences, so it's kind of cool.

GK: Yea, you got a lot of responsibility man, you stepped into a hell of a gig.

DC: I know Bro. It still to this day, ah I'm pinching myself, the first song I ever learned I was 11 years old, I learned La Do Da, I mean that was my very first tune off of Infinity. So it's kind of funky, I'm coming back - I'm going my god man this is wild!

GK: Yea man, well you gotta be, you sound like your super happy.

DC: Oh man you know this is funny but I just got a divorce like…

GK: I love it.

DC: …four month ago, now listen to this. Three days after it was final Neal calls me to do this thing.

GK: Yes!

DC: Talk about low and then high. This is like wonderful.

GK: Yea, you know what, a lot of guys around the country are smiling right now because you said that. Because I've been through that myself and ah there's nothing like a new lease on life, huh?

DC: Oh bro you would not believe, yea. Like from going to hell and being pulled up again, basically, thank God.

GK: Alright, well thanks Deen.

DC: Alright.

GK: We're talking with the new Journey, ah Jonathan Cain, ah Neal Schon of course.

AK: Hey Greg?

GK: Yo.

AK: Allen Kraft here.

GK: Hey Allen. Oh my God Allen Kraft! Ha, Ha, Oh my God my old crusty roadie!

AK: That's right buddy!

GK: What are you doing over there?

AK: I've been working for Neal for five years Bro.

GK: Oh my God.

AK: I engineered a couple of albums.

GK: Hey you didn't tell them any of the stuff we used to do, did you?

AK: Oh no no no no no your secrets are safe bro.

GK: Ok, because you know that was ah, you know you and I we're pretty legendary there for a while.

AK: Yes we were, ha, ha here's Jon.

GK: Alright.

AK: Later bud.

GK: Thanks.

JC: So.

GK: So Jonathan.

JC: Yea man.

GK: So you gotta be real happy, I mean this sounds like a real nice bunch of guys.

JC: This is a good camp man. Their like it's a real band and you know there are no ah, everybody's ah you know smiling I mean ah I guess you know we got the young guys you know in a band that's sort ah drive the thing forward and you know give it some hunger and some meaning and ah, you know.

GK: Yea, who is the oldest guy in the band now?

JC: Its Ross I guess.

GK: Oh man, so you know young blood is going to make you guys work, ah I think, inspire you to ah maybe hit new heights.

JC: Its been ten years for us, so well more than ten years, you know since we've actually you know been out there and playing this music and I guess the music you know has a life of its own. These songs have got, you know their I mean, they have got a life of their own and they you know, there is nobody else doing what we do and ah out there right now, so I guess its the main thing is you know to spread the word that you know the music is well and alive and when you own two thirds of a catalog, you hate to see it just go the way of a catalog, you know.

GK: No, I don't think you're ever going to have that problem Jonathan.

JC: You know, and it's really nice to breathe life back into the thing. I never thought I'd see you know them write Journey on a tape box again, you know. That's when it really hit me, when I was in New York, and ah…

GK: You saw that on the tape box?

JC: Well they wrote, I watched the guy write Journey…

GK: Yea, that's beautiful.

JC: …on the multi track tape and I, you know the hairs on my arms were standing up. I was kinda like, yea this is why we're doing this.

GK: I remember when I was back in Fantasy Studios back like around I don't know '83 or something, ah we you know we were working on an album, you guys were in the other studio working, I think you were in D working on what ever album that was that year. And ah, I remember when we went back to the tape vault, cause you know like it was like around one or two in the afternoon, we both were just starting out and ah they bring out the tapes to my office, it had three of those multi track tapes, right, maybe four, I don't know. Then the guy wheels this wheel, I go what's that, he goes this is the new Journey album man. It was like thirty or forty of them man, it was insane. And I said to myself, wow those guys are in the big leagues man. We're just the grunts down here.

JC: Well we spent, you know its funny, even though ah we did all that cutting ah we only spent $80,000 making Escape.

GK: Wow that was amazing.

JC: You know that's not that bad.

GK: Yea, you guys recorded a lot of stuff though.

JC: We did, we use to record twenty songs you know and pick the best ah out of that but ah.

GK: But that's always been your style, hasn't it?

JC: Yea, pretty much. I mean geez the last album there was thirty songs from Trial by Fire and we ended up, you know putting all these songs, we had fifteen songs on the album. It was like just, you know insane. You know, I've learned my lesson because you know we spent another, way more money that we need to ah just you know one album is just ten songs I mean that's, I think the next time we go in eh especially with our new producer, I want to try and make an album in six weeks, you know.

GK: Yea, like the old way.

JC: Yea, I want to do that again, because this band is capable of it. I mean we went in and recorded and Steve sang and everything in a day and he mixed it the next day and it was done. So that's you know what I'd like to see, I mean I guess so.

GK: Yea, well that's rock and roll man.

JC: Yea, that is rock and roll. You know your thinkin' your stinkin', I mean that's about it. So you know we're looking at that kind of scenario and you know if the songs have got the stuff then you know we're not going to have to reinvent the wheel here.

GK: Yea all right, well thanks for talking to me this morning Jonathan.

JC: Your welcome Greg.

GK: Best of luck and ah lets talk again when you guys hit the road.

JC: All right, well I appreciate it.

GK: All right, there you go talking to Journey, not only the originators but the new guys as well. Very revealing I thought what Neal Schon said about Steve Perry and you know I gotta be, if I was Steve Perry I gotta be weary, that you know here is Neal Schon. Really he has no ax to grind. He just wants to gig. He just wants to get out and play and he wants to be able to do it and have fun and I know what its like to be in a band were some of the guys are not into it and their constantly, like imagine what its like to be in my band now. They keep saying come on Greg lets go play, ah I don't want to. It's a bummer and when you get a new lease on life, you get some new blood in the band it really is a kick and I know because I've done it a couple of times in my own group. And ah Neal Schon like I said before and I said in the interview, he, Journey is his band and wither goest Neal goest Journey. And if he decides their going to go in this direction they go it that direction.