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REVOLUTION SAINTS: Jack Blades On His Career And Latest Music Endeavor!

REVOLUTION SAINTS: Jack Blades On His Career And Latest Music Endeavor!

revolution-Saints-2015-2

There is a new force rumbling across the rock ‘n’ roll landscape. It began when rock titans Deen Castronovo, Jack Blades and Doug Aldrich have combined their musical powers to form an exciting new hard rock/melodic rock supergroup — Revolution Saints! You can tell by the name – and the names involved – that this isn’t your average rock ‘n roll band. Their new album brings back the classic melodic rock style to where it should be: inspiring, uplifting vocals, soaring melodies and musicianship to die for. It’s completely badass.

Superbly handling drums and lead vocals is Deen Castronovo. Already renowned for his drum talents and backing vocals in Journey, Bad English and more, Deen’s excellent vocal talents are in the spotlight on this release. On bass, and co-lead vocals on a few tracks,Jack Blades is well known for his melodic, yet hard rocking approach to songwriting and playing via multiple classic albums by his main band Night Ranger, as well as with the Damn Yankees and the Shaw/Blades releases. On guitar, Doug Aldrich was excited to lend his fiery blues guitar attack to such a unique and melodic band. Doug, who just left Whitesnake after a fruitful 12 year run (including co-writing 2010s critically acclaimed “Forevermore” release) and also of Burning Rain and formerly of DIO, has a deep pedigree and is one of today’s most respected guitarists.

The project is the vision of Frontiers’ President Serafino Perugino, who for years had hoped to work on a project where Deen would be the lead vocalist. Having previously worked with all three artists on different projects on Frontiers, having Deen, Jack and Doug on board together was a dream come true for Perugino. With production overseen by in-house Frontiers man, Alessandro Del Vecchio (who also contributed to the songwriting and played keyboards on the album), the recording process took place in Portland, Oregon during the summer of 2014.

Revolution Saints’ music is played with a heart and soul and that highlights the passion and the enthusiasm of three of the best rock and all-around musicians in the game today! Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Jack Blades to discuss his amazing career, longevity in the business, the musical magic captured by Revolution Saints and much more!

I wanted to start by asking you about your early years. When did music first have an impact on you as a kid?

Jack Blades

Jack Blades

When I first heard the Beatles, it was like, “Oh, my gosh!” I was about 10 years old. I heard them and my dad, of course, said, “You won’t hear anything more about these guys in six months.” I thought that was pretty hilarious. From that moment on, all I wanted to be was a musician and I was always in bands or doing things musically. I had an illness where my left leg was up in a sling for four years. Second grade through fifth grade I wasn’t able to run around or play baseball or football, you know, all the things that kids do growing up. My parents gave me this dollar ukulele when I was about 8 years old, so I had been sitting in my room and playing with that and it really became my passion. My guitar was my go-to when I was anywhere from 8 to 10 years old. When I heard the Beatles, it blew my mind. I started singing and playing even more. In high school, I played in bands like everybody does. When I was 13, it seemed there were tons of rhythm guitar players and no bass players. I said, “OK! I’ll play bass.” My parents sprung for the bass amp and bass guitar. By default, I ended up being the bass player in the band when I was 13 years old. I continued through high school and college. When I was in college, I left in my fourth year at San Diego State University to move to San Francisco to join a rock band because I really wanted to give it a run. I was convinced I could do it and really it was who I was. I was young enough and I felt if I didn’t give it a shot, then I would never know! “I coulda been a contender!” [laughs] I didn’t want to be one of those guys who would always wonder what could have been.

You have been very successful in your career. What do you consider the key to your longevity?

I have always had a certain stick-to-itiveness. That is the whole thing! FIrst, you have to believe. When everyone said, “Oh, you can’t do that. It’s a million to one!” I was like, “If that’s the way you want it. I will be the one in a million then!” Constantly pushing and sticking to it has been the secret for me. Here we have all of the success we had with Night Ranger and the band had been passed on by every record company twice between 1980 and 1982. Finally, one cat decided to say, “I will take a chance with these guys.” We knew we could do it. I knew with songs like “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” that people would love this stuff and we could be a good band that contributes. In the end, it just took one guy taking a chance. After Night Ranger broke up, we formed the Damn Yankees with Ted Nugent, Tommy Shaw and myself. It was the same thing! Guys were like “Eh, this stuff will never get played on the radio.” How many times do you have to prove yourself?! [laughs] It’s pretty funny!

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Your latest project is Revolution Saints. How did you get involved with the project and what has you excited about it?

Deen [Castronovo] called me up and said, “Hey, I’m doing this record and I want you to be involved.” The whole brainchild for this was Serafino Perugino, the owner of Frontiers Records. He said he always wanted to have Deen be the lead singer on a record. Deen kind of played around with that a little bit on one of Neal Schon’s solo albums. On “So U,” he sang a bunch of the songs on the record and, coincidentally, I co-wrote a lot of the songs on that record with Neal. I have been friends with Neal since he was in The Wild Dogs in 1983 or 1984. Night Ranger’s manager was the manager of The Wild Dogs back in 1984, so I have really known Deen forever! I have played with him a lot, we’ve done projects together and recorded together. We know each other really well, so I said, “Sure man! I’ll sign on! I would love to be involved!” Then they got Doug Aldrich to do it and I couldn’t have been more excited because I have always loved the way Doug plays. I think he is a tremendous guitar player. I have been so fortunate that I have been able to play with people like Ted Nugent, Tommy Shaw, Brad Gillis, Jeff Lawson, all great, great guitar players! Neal Schon is another one! I have played on records and we have written Journey songs together with Neal. Doug just knows how to lay it down! We said, “Let’s do this!” And with that you have Revolution Saints!

Revolution Saints

Revolution Saints

Did you have particular goals or expectations in mind for this project from the start?

Yeah, we wanted to kick some serious ass! [laughs] The aspirations were to have Deen to be the killer lead vocalist that everyone knows he is but hadn’t had the shot to do it yet. In addition, Doug had just gotten out of Whitesnake, so I wanted him to just be blazing! I said to him, “Dude, do anything you want! This is your first statement out of Whitesnake, so make it a statement! Go for it!” That is exactly what he did.

What can you tell us about the writing process for Revolution Saints. How did it differ from what you have done in the past?

It was completely different. All of the songs were pulled together for Deen. Doug and I were getting together to write some stuff but we never had time because everything was so busy. Night Ranger was on the road and Deen was constantly on the road with Journey, so there was a lot going on. The songs were pulled together by Alessandro Del Vecchio, who produced the record. He is a great songwriter, producer and singer. I contributed on a couple of things but the majority of it was Alessandro.

To get a little off track for a moment, how do you typically go about putting a song together? What is your process?

Songs hit me wherever they hit me. Sometimes the music will hit me first or playing a riff or a big hook. It all depends and I am open to whatever flows into my mind at the time. It’s funny because it is like there is a song in my head all of the time. There is always something always going on in my head and sometimes that can be really irritating! [laughs] Like right now, the chorus from Revolution Saint’s “How To Mend A Broken Heart” is playing over and over and over in my brain. Sometimes, it’s like, “Wow! Get this thing out of here!” [laughs]

Revolution Saints

Revolution Saints

Speaking of the songs on the Revolution Saints album, what songs resonate with you the most right now?

I love “How To Mend A Broken Heart.” “Dream On” is another great one. I love the first track that we came out with, “Turn Back Time.” “Here Forever” is a great song. I have to say, it is difficult to choose just a few because there is a lot of great stuff on this record.

Looking back on the process of bringing this album to life, what stands out as the biggest challenges you faced?

The challenge was being in different places with everyone recording different things. That was not a challenge but an odd thing. If I had my druthers, I would rather have us all in one room to record and that is probably what we will do next.

That is cool to hear. With that said, I assume it is safe to say that Revolution Saints is more than just a one-off and you have plans for moving it forward in the future?

Yeah. We are hoping that the music will resonate with the fans and so far there has been a good reaction to it. That is a positive thing! People aren’t saying, “These dudes suck” or anything like that! [laughs] It’s a lot of fun. I think it is fun for the fans, it’s fun for us and it’s fun for the classic rock community. I think it is a good thing to shake the tree every once in a while and make people nervous. I think it is a really good thing.

As a fan, I think the album has a real energy to it and you really are enjoying the process of bringing this music to the fans. In turn, I think that is why the fans are responding to it so well.

That’s the whole thing, man! This thing wasn’t something we had to do. This is a project that we really wanted to do. It is one of those rare occasions where you don’t feel like you are obligated to do something. The three of us really want to do this. We wanted to do this album and now we want to play live and have fun. It is all about having fun and hanging out with people you like at this stage in the game. Otherwise, why do it?

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What are you looking at in terms of touring? I imagine there are quite a few moving pieces to contend with at this point.

It’s funny you should ask. We are getting everyone together in the next few days with conference calls to discuss how to attack this beast. We are getting offers from all parts of the globe to play shows with this thing. We have offers from Japan to the UK to Europe to the USA. We have to figure out how to put all of these parts together because I think it would be a real shame if we didn’t play live. I think the fans would really love it.

You have been a part of so many great projects through the years. Looking back, what is your biggest evolution as an artist and player?

Wow. That is a good question. Wow, I think that is one of those questions after 60 million interviews I haven’t gotten. That is a good one. Good for you! Ya know what? I think the biggest evolution of my whole thing was when we formed Damn Yankees. I came out of Night Ranger wondering about everything and questioning everything. I was questioning music and everything else. I got together with Tommy [Shaw] and we really hit it off. We started writing up a storm and then we linked up with Ted [Nugent]. Ted came in and was the way he is, just so straight ahead. They really broke the mold when they made The Nuge! He is his own unique character. The way he plays, the way he attacks music and carries everything is pretty rockin, dude. That really taught me a lot of lessons and was a big step in the evolution of me.

Revolution Saints

Revolution Saints

Where do you see yourself headed musically in the future? Is there still ground you are eager to explore?

I think that the world is always a wide open place to experience so many things. There are so many different directions that one can go into nowadays. There are so many opportunities and there is so much going on. Yeah, man! I feel like I am only mid-way through this journey. That is what I’m thinking!

I wanted to ask you quickly about one of my favorite projects from your career — Shaw Blades. “Influence” came out in 2007. Do you see yourself revisiting that project in the near future?

Yeah, that is a great record. Actually, we are about three quarters of the way through another one at the moment. If Tommy and I ever get our shit together to sit down and actually finish this thing up, it would be another two weeks and we would have another record done! [laughs] We are just trying to find a time we can actually do that!

One more question for you, Jack. You have seen so much in your time in the music industry. What is the best piece of advice you can offer to aspiring musicians looking to make their career in music in today’s climate?

I think persistence is the key. Keep your eye on the ball and never take no for an answer. By the time a person says no for the fourth time, you never know, they might say yes the fifth time. For me, it is all about persistence and stick-to-itiveness. That is what I have done all of my life, what I will continue to do and the lesson I have imparted upon my sons. That is what this life is all about, man!

Great advice, Jack! With wisdom like that, is there a chance we might get some type of autobiography out of you in the future?

Yeah, ya know what? Several people have asked about that. I think a great way to look at that would not just be a book about music but about the life lessons I have learned along the way! That is what this whole thing has been. It’s been about music, learning life and life’s lessons. Trust me! There have been so many lessons I have learned over the years! Rock ‘n’ roll is a good teacher! It’s just that a lot of people don’t listen! [laughs] That is when you get into trouble!

Thanks so much for your time today, Jack! I hope to catch you and Revolution Saints on the road in the near future!

Thanks so much, Jason! Great talking to you!

Get the latest information on Revolution Saints via their official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RevolutionSaints. Be sure to check out all the new releases at Frontiers Records!

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Revolution Saints Release Video For “Turn Back Time,” Album To Drop February 24th!

Revolution Saints Release Video For “Turn Back Time,” Album To Drop February 24th!

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Three icons of rock music are combining their talents for the creation of one of the most anticipated new projects of 2015. Revolution Saints is the newest power trio to arrive on the scene and features guitar skills by Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake), bass and co-lead vocals by Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees, Shaw/Blades) and drums and lead vocals by Deen Castronovo (Journey, Bad English). The band has just released the video for the song “Turn Back Time” from their self-titled debut that is being released in North America on February 24th via Frontiers Music SRL. The video was directed by Devin DeHaven known for his work with Rick Ross, Whitesnake, Kiss and R. Kelly. The video can be seen below!

From the opening notes of “Back On My Trail” to the piano outro on the album-closer “In The Name Of The Father (Fernando’s Song),” it is clear Revolution Saints is a musical force to be reckoned with. Songs “Locked Out Of Paradise,” “Dream On” and “Here Forever” showcase the diversity that permeates throughout the entire album. Deen’s band mates from Journey also make an appearance on the album with guitarist Neal Schon showing up on “Way To The Sun” and vocalist Arnel Pineda singing on “You’re Not Alone.” The album’s 80’s vibe is reminiscent of some of the biggest hard rock tracks of the day, butwith a modern feel, backed by top-level musicianship. The album is available for pre-order at Amazon in standard CD at http://geni.us/RevSaintsAMZReg and deluxe edition with bonus DVD at http://geni.us/RevSaintsAMZDlx. Fans who order the album digitally via iTunes at http://geni.us/RevSaintsiTunes will receive an automatic download of “Turn Back Time.”

“It’s a fun record. It’s not safe. It is a musician’s record,” states Castronovo.

Revolution Saints have released an EPK discussing the new project that can be seen here: http://youtu.be/xOKjuLhUkKs.

Alessandro Del Vecchio produced the album.

The track listing for Revolution Saints is:

  1. Back On My Trail
  2. Turn Back Time
  3. You’re Not Alone (Feat. Arnel Pineda)
  4. Locked Out Of Paradise
  5. Way To The Sun (Feat. Neal Schon)
  6. Dream On
  7. Don’t Walk Away
  8. Here Forever
  9. Strangers To This Life
  10. Better World
  11. How To Mend A Broken Heart
  12. In The Name Of The Father (Fernando’s Song)

 

https://www.facebook.com/RevolutionSaints

http://www.frontiers.it

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REVOLUTION SAINTS: Deen Castronovo, Jack Blades and Doug Aldrich For New Supergroup!

REVOLUTION SAINTS: Deen Castronovo, Jack Blades and Doug Aldrich For New Supergroup!

revolution-saints-2014-1

Deen CastronovoJack Blades and Doug Aldrich. Put these three rock titans together in a band and you have the exciting new hard rock/melodic rock supergroup REVOLUTION SAINTS.

Superbly handling drums and lead vocals is Deen Castronovo. Already renowned for his drum talents and backing vocals in Journey,Bad English and more, Deen’s excellent vocal talents are in the spotlight on this release. On bass, and co-lead vocals on a few tracks,Jack Blades is well known for his melodic, yet hard rocking approach to songwriting and playing via multiple classic albums by his main band Night Ranger, as well as with the Damn Yankees and the Shaw/Blades releases. On guitar, Doug Aldrich was excited to lend his fiery blues guitar attack to such a unique and melodic band. Doug, who just left Whitesnake after a fruitful 12 year run (including co-writing 2010s critically acclaimed “Forevermore” release) and also of Burning Rain and formerly of DIO, has a deep pedigree and is one of today’s most respected guitarists.

Revolution Saints

Revolution Saints

You can tell by the name – and the names involved – that REVOLUTION SAINTS isn’t your average rock ‘n roll band. The new album brings back the classic melodic rock style to where it should be: inspiring, uplifting vocals, soaring melodies and musicianship to die for. It’s completely badass.

The project is the vision of Frontiers’ President Serafino Perugino, who for years had hoped to work on a project where Deen would be the lead vocalist. Having previously worked with all three artists on different projects on Frontiers, having Deen, Jack and Doug on board together was a dream come true for Perugino.

With production overseen by in-house Frontiers man, Alessandro Del Vecchio (who also contributed to the songwriting and played keyboards on the album), the recording process took place in Portland, Oregon during the summer of 2014.

REVOLUTION SAINTS’ music is played with a heart and soul and that highlights the passion and the enthusiasm of three of the best rock and all-around musicians in the game today. Truly, this will be a release that you cannot afford to miss. Lovers of melodic rock will fall in love all over again with REVOLUTION SAINTS.

Order the regular edition here: http://geni.us/RevSaintsAMZReg

And the deluxe edition here: http://geni.us/RevSaintsAMZDlx

REVOLUTION SAINTS
Deen Castronovo: lead vocals, drums
Jack Blades: bass, vocals on Turn Back Time and Way To The Sun
Doug Aldrich: guitars
SPECIAL GUESTS
Alessandro Del Vecchio: keyboards, backing vocals, vocals on Way To The Sun 
Arnel Pineda – co-lead vocals on You’re Not Alone
Neal Schon – guitar solo on Way To The Sun

Produced by Alessandro Del Vecchio

Check out the official Facebook page of the band at this location: facebook.com/revolutionsaints

ALBUM TRACKLISTING

  1. Back On My Trail
  2. Turn Back Time
  3. You’re Not Alone (Feat. Arnel Pineda)
  4. Locked Out Of Paradise
  5. Way To The Sun (Feat. Neal Schon)
  6. Dream On
  7. Don’t Walk Away
  8. Here Forever;
  9. Strangers To This Life
  10. Better World;
  11. How To Mend A Broken Heart
  12. In The Name Of The Father (Fernando’s Song)

 

Bonus Tracks (Deluxe Edition only)

  1. You Are Not Alone (Arnel Pineda version)
  2. Way To The Sun (Doug Aldrich version)
  3. You Are Not Alone (Deen Castronovo Version)


DVD Content (Deluxe Edition only)

  1. Making of the Album documentary
  2. Turn Back Time (promo video)
  3. Back On My Trail (promo video)
  4. Here Forever (promo video)
  5. Way to the Sun (lyric video) 


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Director Ramona S. Diaz Discusses ‘Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey’

Director Ramona S. Diaz Discusses ‘Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey’

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Sometimes real-life is more spectacular than anything one could dream up for a movie. ‘Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey’ follows the real life rock ‘n’ roll fairy tale of Filipino Arnel Pineda, who was plucked from YouTube to become the front man for iconic American rock band Journey. In this Cinderella story for the ages, Arnel, having overcome a lifetime’s worth of hardships, must now navigate the immense pressures of replacing a legendary singer and leading a world-renowned band on their most extensive world tour in years. Director Ramona S. Diaz and her dedicated were along for the ride and captured every moment of Arnel Pineda’s legendary rise to superstardom on film. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with Ramona Diaz to discuss her captivating documentary, the challenges involved in bringing it to life and much more!  

Director Ramona S. Diaz

Director Ramona S. Diaz

What was it about the world of filmmaking that initially intrigued you and ultimately made you pursue it as a career?

I think the thing that intrigues me about documentary filmmaking is the process. You never know what you are going to get with documentary filmmaking, it is very Zen! You are always living on the edge and have no idea what will unfold in front of the camera. I think that is really what attracted me to it. It is all about telling great stories and experiencing things that I would otherwise not experience because most of my films are immersive. I immerse myself in the lives of the people I am filming. For example, with Journey, I would have never in a million years toured with a band had I not made this film. I also became an expert on the band for the two years I filmed them and became an expert on public school education in Baltimore for the two years I spent with the kids in Baltimore for my previous film.

Who were some of your biggest directorial influences?

With documentary work, Errol Morris was certainly a big inspiration just because he broke down so many walls and opened up the genre for me. I also find Ross McElwee inspiring because his personal kind of filmmaking is unique and he has a very special voice. Chris Marker’s film “San Soleil” is a film that really drew me to documentary films because I then saw the possibilities of the different ways you could do it.

What was the catalyst which brought about the creation of “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey?”

I saw an email! I found out that Arnel had been invited to audition for the band and I thought, “Oh my goodness!” I didn’t know at the time if he got it. The email just related how he had gotten his visa to audition for the band in San Francisco. It was just such a fun e-mail and at the bottom it had a link. It was the very same link that Neal Schon clicked on and saw Arnel singing “Faithfully.” I clicked on the link and I got goosebumps! I thought, “Oh my goodness! Someone has got to make this film!” That was the start of it and then one thing led to another, managers spoke to other managers, lawyers got on it [laughs] and then we went on the road with them. I make it sound so easy but it wasn’t! [laughs] There was a lot of back and forth and convincing them that they had a story this year and not next year. At the end of the day, they gave us access. They gave us full access for the two years we were with them!

 

Arnel Pineda and Neal Schon

Arnel Pineda and Neal Schon

What were your expectations for the film going into the project? Obviously, this film could have turned out a lot of different ways.

My wish was that I would get access in order to follow the unfolding story in an intimate way. To achieve that, we needed access to Arnel. After that, all expectations were out the window because you never know what is going to happen. As a Filipino American, I wished Arnel would succeed because there is a special bond there. I wished he would succeed because it was his dream. At the same time, I was also cognizant that he may not make it and he may lose his voice, chicken out or the pressure would get to him. I was very aware of that and had that happened, of course, this would have been a very different film but a film nonetheless. I don’t think I would have stopped filming had he failed but it would have been a different film. I think I had no real expectations aside from access because access was key. Beyond that, I was good — just as long as they gave me the keys to the kingdom, I am happy! [laughs]

Arnel is the focal point of this documentary. What do you remember about your first meeting and the impression he made on you?

I remember it well. It was in Northern California when I was in the process of trying to convince the band they had a story. They agreed to me coming out with a crew to film for one day with the band as they rehearsed before going on tour. At that point, I still hadn’t met Arnel. We flew out to film. The first time I met Arnel, he was just open. When you turn on the camera and see him through the lens, the camera obviously loves him, there is a chemistry and he loves it back. He loves it back because he is able to be very open and accessible. That is when I knew I had to make the film. Before that, although it sounded like a great story and something deep down I knew had to be made, I didn’t know if it was going to be a long story. It could have been a very short story and not all that compelling, right? I also needed to know that he was completely onboard in making this film because I didn’t want to get in the way of the biggest gig of his life. If it would have been a burden to him to have cameras around, I wouldn’t have done it. That was too much responsibility. I didn’t want him to feel pressured. When I met him for the first time, he seemed so comfortable in front of a camera and I thought, “Oh my gosh! I think this is really going to work!” Then I knew there was something really special there.

As you mentioned, the band gave you full access. Did anyone voice any reservations about bringing this story to a film form for the whole world to see?

I think even though they did give us access and allowed us to come onboard it was a new process for them. The band, on a whole, were not used to cameras constantly being in their faces. It can be a pain, right? [laughs] As a filmmaker, I can just imagine! Even though they are veteran rockstars, they weren’t used to cameras in the dressing rooms, buses, hotel rooms and hotel lobbies. This film was a process of back and forth. I think you have to build trust and respect. I think they needed to trust that I wasn’t out to get them and it wasn’t about discovering the gotcha moment and exposing that on film. It wasn’t about that. It was about a longer story and a profound examination of what happens to this man as he gains faith. Once they understood that and after the weeks and months we filmed them and became comfortable with it, everything was fine. There were moments like, “Really? You are still here? You are filming us again!” [laughs] I would say, “Yes, yes! That was the deal!” They would say, “We thought you guys would be flies on the wall!” We would reply with, “That’s a metaphor! You are still going to see us!” [laughs] It was a lot of back and forth! They eventually got used to us, which is the whole point — you then blend with the furniture!

arnel-pineda-2013

You mentioned your films being very immersive. What was it like for you to be on tour with one of today’s biggest working rock bands?

Oh my gosh! When people in the music business are interviewed and say it is not glamorous at all, I was always skeptical. Now I know it is not glamorous! [laughs] It is tough, especially for us because we were independently financed. What we had to do, with very little resources, was keep up with a very big, well oiled machine. They were in their big touring buses and we were in a small minivan trying to keep up with them. We would drive all night and sing Journey songs to keep awake to make it to the next city, sleep for two hours, get up and do it all over again! The glamour that audiences are exposed to during those two hours those guys are on stage is contained in those moments. Everything around that is not glamorous but leads to those two hours being magical and it is a lot of work! I would never exchange the experience for anything. Now it is something I have been able to check off my bucket list: Tour with a big band! Check!

There are many unique elements when it comes to this film. As the director, what was the biggest challenge?

I think the stamina to go the distance with the band was a big challenge. Also, keeping a crew onboard for that long was challenging. As I said, this film was not financed by the band, nor did we get any big financing along the way. The film was basically made by my producer putting it all on her credit cards and when that ran out I borrowed money from my family and found a few small investors here and there. That was a big challenge, to really run the marathon with the band.

 

Arnel Pineda

Arnel Pineda

Did you take a different approach to this film in any way as opposed to your previous work?

No. Not really. There are two things I always try to keep in mind. Those are that I need to stay true to the story and capture the truth of it and leave myself open to whatever happens. You have to do that as a documentary filmmaker. If you are making fiction, you are more in control of the story and you know how it is going to end. It is really about being open to whatever happens in front of the camera.

One of the most interesting parts of the film is how the Filipino community embraces Arnel. Did that surprise you?

Absolutely! I think it was a surprise to everyone, including Arnel. The band was very surprised by it, especially Neal. There is a point in the film where he comments on all of the Filipinos coming out to support him. We saw it over the summer and watched it grow! The power of social media! People were talking about it, twittering about it and posting it to Facebook. They then came out and watched him perform. Arnel owes a lot to the internet! [laughs]

Did music rights ever threaten to pose an issue for this film?

It is always difficult and so complicated. That is one thing that really made me think twice about if I wanted to go down this road. I have cleared music before for my other films but I hadn’t cleared one of the most difficult catalogs in pop music! [laughs] Or so I have been told! There were no issues but there was a lot of back and forth. It is very involved and so many people have a piece of the pie. Even though the film was about Journey and they were on board with it, there is still the matter of publishing rights. Luckily, the stars really aligned for us and after much negotiation, everything turned out fine!

What is your relationship with Arnel and the band now you wrapped filming and are releasing the film?

It is still great! It is fantastic! I am still in touch with all of them, especially Arnel, because they like the film! [laughs] We screened it for them right before we showed it at Tribeca last year. It was the first time they had seen a single form of what we shot. It was nerve-racking but they loved it! When the lights came up after the screening they were like, “Wow!” I think by then they had given up on us because it took so long. When they decided to record an album, it takes them six or eight months and it is done. Documentary films just take a long time. It is over a period of years, it’s immersive and editing takes forever. I think at some point they were like, “Oh, this film is never going to happen.” They were pleasantly surprised when they saw it on screen!

In Theaters March 8th!

In Theaters March 8th!

Looking back at your body of work, how have you evolved as a director?

I think I am more confident that content is king. I am more trusting of my instincts, I think, when I am out there. I think as a new director, you always second guess yourself. Now, I am more trusting of the story. I trust at the end of the process, the thing that first attracted me to it will still be there at the end and, no matter what, there will be something compelling to tell!

What is the best piece of advice you can pass along to aspiring filmmakers?

You have to really want it. If there is something else you would rather be doing, then do that! If you wake up every day and say, “This is what I really want to do,” you really have to be sure. It is really not a sprint, it is a marathon. In order to stay the course, you really have to want it. There is nothing else you can do but that. The other piece of advice is to meet a lot of people. You have to go out and network and meet people.

What do you have in store for your next project?

I am actually writing a screenplay! I am going to try my hand at narrative filmmaking. I want more control next time! I am writing a political thriller, a historical piece. I am also off doing another documentary film on reproductive justice. It couldn’t be more different than rock ‘n’ roll! [laughs] I try to mix it up a little bit!

Thank you so much for your time today, Ramona. The film really is fantastic and will be enjoyed by Journey fans, music fans and film fans. You did a terrific job capturing the story!

Thank you so much! I appreciate it!

‘Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey’ hits theaters on March 8th. For more information, venues and show times, visit www.everymansjourney.com. To learn more about the fascinating life of Arnel Pineda, visit his official website at www.arnelpinedarocks.com.

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Official Trailer For “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey” Unveiled

Official Trailer For “Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey” Unveiled

journey_group

Journey

The official trailer for Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey has been released! The documentary follows the real life rock-n-roll fairy tale story of Filipino Arnel Pineda, who was plucked from Youtube to become the front man for iconic American rock band, Journey, thereby becoming the latest performer to go from the Internet to real life celebrity.

Having already overcome a life full of painful obstacles and now saddled with the immense pressures of leading a world renowned band and replacing a legendary singer, the film follows Arnel on this personal journey.

Directed by Ramona S. Diaz, and featuring band members, lead singer Arnel Pineda and original Journey members Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, Ross Valory & Deen Castronovo.

‘Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey’ opens in Theaters March 8, 2013 Available VOD Everywhere March 9, 2013.

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