By Andrew Catania
Jeff Scott Soto! If this name does not ring bells in your heart, then don’t call yourself a real fan of heavy metal and rock music. In case you’re a devotee of melodic hard rock, there’s an extraordinary chance you’re all around familiar with the work of Jeff Scott Soto. The 50-year-old’s discography is a thick one, including his lead vocal work on records by such specialists as Talisman, Redlist, Kryst the Conqueror, Eyes, Axel Rudi Pell, Humanimal, Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, and Soul SirkUS. Classic rock fans may likewise know Soto from his spell fronting Journey in the ’00s.
He is the real legend in the heavy metal and rock music world. His voice was the primary motivation and reason behind many bands in the rock world. Jeff Scott Soto was born on November 4, 1965, in Puerto Rican descent. He has a steady drip from hard rock to power metal, being influenced by classic soul singers like Sam Cooke as well as Journey’s Steve Perry, and Freddie Mercury of Queen.
No person has been a star from the beginning of his career. People struggle and give their best, and then after a long time effort only a few get the desired results and achieve their goals. Same happened with Jeff Scott Soto, but he was born to shine like a star in the sky of rock music, and here he is now. He is one of the greatest rock singers.
He came into notice of worldwide audience by his performance in first two Yngwie Malmsteen’s records. Some of his background vocals on the albums of famous singers have also been appreciated.
Soto performed at the 2000 yearly OIQFC ‘Freddie Mercury Birthday Party‘ at Reading in the UK, where he performed “Dragon Attack” with Brian May. Since that was initially meeting, Soto and May have moved toward becoming companions.
In 2006, Soto replaced Steve Augeri in Journey after Augeri left the tour because of an intense throat infection. On December 19, Soto was affirmed as the official lead vocalist for Journey, and a public statement was posted on the band’s legitimate site. On June 12, 2007, it was reported on a similar site that Journey had released Soto as their lead vocalist. Soto tended to the issue by saying “I was anticipating a long, prosperous future with these folks however it appears they needed something else that I conveyed to the table. No love lost. However, they comprehend what’s best for the preservation of their inheritance. I want them to enjoy all that life has to offer yet now it’s an ideal opportunity to keep taking a shot at my way once more.”
Since leaving Journey, he continued his performances on his accounts. When in 2011, an Italian band released the single “The Last” featuring Soto and this single was placed in the top 100 selling singles. In 2012, Soto’s single”Damage Control” also proved to be a successful release.
He’s now coming back to his old metallic roots with Soto, the band. SOTO, shaped in 2014, is the fantasy band made when Jeff Scott Soto acknowledged how much he missed the “heavier side” of his career after fronting artists like Talisman, and Journey, and even his particular solo collections. The band would like to proceed with its part as a primary impetus in the present current hard rock and metal scene.
Sons of Apollo is an American progressive metal supergroup formed in 2017 and made out of Mike Portnoy, Billy Sheehan, Derek Sherinian, Jeff Scott Soto and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal.
Psychotic Symphony was composed by the dynamic production duo of Portnoy and Sherinian, also affectionately known as “The Del Fuvio Brothers,” the nickname was given to them over 20 years ago during their time together in Dream Theater.
Alongside recording the SOA make a significant appearance, Soto composed, recorded and mixed his sixth studio solo collection, Retribution, remembering 15 years with Frontiers Records. And there is a long list of his successful releases. This album has also been a super hit.
I spoke with Jeff about his new solo album, Retribution.
Were Frontiers interested in signing SOTO or were they only interested in your solo material?
JSS: Well, it’s Frontier’s and rightly so. They spent a lot of years, money and time building me as a particular artist with a specific sound. But on the other hand I have more to offer as an artist than just that sound I feel if I’m doing that and W.E.T. and other things within that realm I’m just repeating myself or even worse competing with myself if I’m doing an album like this and doing a more melodic rock album with SOTO. What’s the point in doing both when or they just choose one? SOTO is an avenue that I can take it to a heavier side.
Frontiers weren’t interested in now trying to re-establish my career my life at that point. That’s why one of the main reasons that they didn’t want to part with it and they still don’t they’re happy when I come up with an album like Retribution for them because this is more in the wheelhouse of what they do as a label and what they’ve done for me as an artist.
How would you describe the sound of Retribution vers your past solo albums?
JSS: Their portions that are heavier than I’ve done with my Frontiers releases. But then again all I’m up for on the heavier side of things I’m more or less revisiting the Talisman side of things, and yet another hole in my life has been missing for quite a few years since especially since we were supposed to do a final talisman album back in 2009. But apparently, we didn’t get to that when Marcel Jacob took his life. Having somebody like Howie who writes the very European sounding type of song and plays more of a European sounding as far as his guitar playing.
I knew we could tap into that side of things and give it that good sprinkle into my solo career because if Talisman was active in doing that there’s no way I would release an album like Retribution because that would count both.
Did you write all of the lyrics to Retribution?
JSS: Yes, I did All these was sent to me is basically from soup to nuts. They were pretty much-completed items. That’s where Howie gets a big nod as far as production is concerned because he co-produced. He made all the music. He was there to kind of ring lead the recordings of everything.
Whereas my department was making sure the lyrics, melodies and the hooks were all there, and together we mixed the album. So I preferred doing just that side of things because of that when you give me a piece of music, I know exactly what to do with it. That’s where it becomes a struggle and can take me a lot of time. I like to hone in on my forte which is melodies and lyrics, and that is where I’m able to write the entire record in the course of seven weeks from writing, recording, mixing, and turning it into the label is a testament to the level of Howies writing as a music writer, composer and mine as an author from the lyrics and melody side.
Did you and Howie play all of the instruments on Retribution?
JSS: To be honest, the majority of the entire album myself and Howie play the bass, keys, and guitar as my drummer from SOTO did the drums for me because I didn’t want to an outside guy.
Did you do anything different for Retribution than your other solo records?
JSS: For starters, this wasn’t the mixed bag of tricks that I usually do with my solo records where I have so many different people involved and a lot of people that I’ve always wanted to work with, etc. It was more natural and more contained by just doing the majority of it with Howie. So for the first time, I could just hone in with one person on the majority and the bulk of the album as opposed to going out and sending the feelers out to everybody else I was working with and making sure the parts were there and made sure everybody was in coordination with the project. That’s probably why it didn’t take six months to do as opposed to six weeks. The other process was again it was so contained we could knock out a song a day with ease just because Howie was just down the street, a phone call away and we just went with his work everything so quickly and so fluidly.
Are you going to be doing any touring in support of Retribution or are your other projects going to prevent you too?
JSS: At this point, it’s doubtful that I’ll have time to do any touring with JSS, SOTO or anything else and that’s mainly because I care too much about my voice. I would love to do it. I’d like to if we have three weeks off in between legs be able to go out and do a week and a half of my dates. But the central plan that I’ve seen so far looks pretty demanding, and I’m going to use that time to rest and recharge and make sure that when we go out every night is going to be as unique as the last because I don’t want to compromise my voice. I don’t want to do it only for the sake of I have an extra week or two to do it. I want to make sure that everything is at a quality level and the only way to do that is to use that time to rest instead of going out there and singing more. So at this point, it’s implausible I’ll be able to find the time to squeeze in JSS dates. I guess that’s a good thing because hopefully that will cause more of a demand and then I can follow up any time with it because that will always be there waiting for me.
Are you doing any Trans-Siberian Orchestra dates this year?
JSS: I leave in exactly five days for rehearsals. Yes, the tour starts on the 16th and I leave in five days for rehearsals and getting charged up and ready for it. When you think I’ve just done three albums back to back to back. I’ve done eight videos in the past three months for the three different entities, and I had to get them all done just before leaving for TSO because now the next two months are going to be consumed with touring.
It has been a lot and it goes precisely to what I was just saying about my voice and making sure I take care of number one because I know at the end of the TSO tour I’m going to be a bit fried and I need to take all of January to get ready for the rest of 2018. That’s exactly how I’m going to jump into it I’m going to make sure that everything is at a level of quality.
I asked Bumblefoot in a previous interview if SOA is going to tour or if this was the typical supergroup that forms and never does. He said you guys are.
JSS: I’ll elaborate on Bumblefoot. Yeah, I think we’re going to tour and be out there. I’ve seen the plan and itinerary. It’s not absolute concrete, but just by looking at it I’m already exhausted.
Is SOTO on hiatus for 2018?
JSS: It is on hiatus, and we agreed that we would put it on ice before we lost Dave. So I told the guys after the last tour we can be writing and getting ready for the next chapter. But there will not be any touring in 2018 anything exactly. I’m still sticking to that even though we’ve lost Dave and we’re not jumping immediately to who and how we’re going to replace him. We are going to be chartering into adventuring into a new album and all of 2018 while I’m on the road with Sons of Apollo.
Retribution will be available on November 10th, 2017. You can order here
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Official Website: http://jeffscottsoto.com/news/