His “Don’t Stop Believing” became an anthem for a generation, and now it looks like Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain has put it into practice because he has revived his childhood passion for a “real” Christianity.
Cain felt like early love for God got snuffed out when he prayed fruitlessly for the Almighty to spare the lives of 92 kids trapped upstairs by a fire at a Catholic school in Chicago where he was a third grader. Three nuns also died in the 1958 blaze.
“I was praying to hard that afternoon, ‘Please, let these children out,’ you know, and it wasn’t to be and they got trapped upstairs and 100 of them perished.’” Cain told The Blaze. “So I was a little disillusioned. How could God let that happen?”
Cain’s dad tried to help his son overcome the grief and despair by encouraging him towards his natural gifting for music. Cain abandoned his original desire to become a priest and began to pursue the dream of becoming a musician.
He learned the accordion, guitar, bass and harmonica. He moved to Nashville and then to Los Angeles. He was part of The Babies in 1979 but skyrocketed to stardom the next year when he became the keyboardist for Journey. His composition for “Don’t Stop Believing” wowed fans and critics everywhere. Allmusic called it “one of the best opening keyboard riffs in rock.” He went to pen the classic ballad “Faithfully.”
He played for Bad English, released 11 solo albums and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017 for his work with Journey.
He married Evangelist Paula White in April 2015 (the man who once wanted to be a priest married a preacher). He raised his three kids going to a Lutheran Church where he lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, but his commitment to Christ was irregular: “I felt my faith was on again off again.”
One day, Journey lead singer Steve Perry brought a Bible into the studio in 1996 as they worked on the album “Trial by Fire.” It piqued Cain’s curiosity and stirred him to explore renewing his relationship with God.
Jonathan released a new album “what God wants to hear,” the end of 2016. Along with other well-known session players in Nashville, Deen Castronovo was the drummer and back-up singer for the record.
Without rehashing what is now old and certainly unpleasant news, the end of 2015 Deen faced a series of charges that included physical abuse and harassment of his ex-fiancée. He was in jail for 15 days and spent his fifth tenure in rehab, this time for 75 days at the Hazelden Betty Ford Springbrook facility in Beaverton, Oregon. He was let go from Journey soon after. Then in October he received a four-year sentence of supervised probation with a promise of prison time if he breeched that commitment.
Deen doesn’t intend to breech that commitment. And he doesn’t want to dwell on the past. He knows it’s now part of his history and he’s on a mission to move mountains to write a happier future. Those close to him say he’s truly walking his walk to sustain the monumental changes he had to make to save his life.
“The great thing is that for first time I actually love who I am. I have never liked who I am. I immersed myself so much in being a drummer and singer. Journey was my identity for so many years. I’m finally coming to grips and realizing that I’m more than enough regardless of whether I’m in a band or will never play again. I wouldn’t change a thing about my life. It took a lot to knock me on my butt, receiving these consequences gave me a really strong reality check including getting back to being humble again.”
On a personal note, I have had the pleasure of knowing Cain and Castronova from back in the days with Bad English. Castranova grew up in my home town of Salem, OR, where we started our friendship back in the eighties. They have always been two of the most likable guys in the industry.
If you are interested getting a little more detail of Journey’s career, Jonathan has just released his new book “Journey: Don’t Stop Believin – The untold Story.” It’s a story filled not only with heartache, bitterness and behind-the-scenes squabbles, but also creativity, dedication, passion and drive.