– Hi Mr. Jeff Scott Soto and thanks for your attention and time. We can start with the questions if you agree. This month you will release with your solo band your fifth album, entitled “Damage Control”. First off, how are you feeling with your solo career? How were the first steps like?
It’s a great feeling to have this additional part of my life that I can celebrate more music with, I truly enjoy being the ‘boss’ from time to time but I’m not a hard boss, my band and I have the best time ever and it really has a ‘band’ feeling. DC to me is a great album, not only as a solo album but more as an overall representation of my career.
– I can notice you have been through some musical changes throughout your solo career since you released your first “Love Parade” back in 1994. For instance, the majestic sound on “Beautiful Mess” is really different to the sound on this “Damage Control”. Is there any concrete reason behind this? How could you explain this sound evolution or changes between your solo albums?
I try to use my solo career as an open canvas musically, a chance to flex my musical muscles without having to do only one style. For me, I do my solo albums based on how I am feeling at that moment and I had the feeling like I wanted to ROCK again!
– Anyway your musical career didn’t start with your solo career. You started singing back in the early 80’s. I read several times
during these last years you supposedly collaborated with PANTHER but, if you want, I give you the chance of explaining the real history to our audience to help you demystify the legend. And why do you think this “legend” arose?
There is a book coming out this year that chronicles my entire career from beginning to current, it is not an autobiography more than it is a listing of all the demos, albums, soundtracks, bands, etc., I have been involved with including details of them all, this would be the best way to get all this info (or online) as it is not so easy to break it down in a few sentences. But yes, Panther was only me helping out some friends with a recording, I hate that with everything I have done in my career, this lower profile album is always brought up like it was an important piece to my life.
– We could say your professional career started with your cooperation with virtuous guitar player Yngwie Malmsteen, concretely on that masterpiece named “Rising Force”, released in 1984. Is this true? What are your memories from that collaboration and what are your feelings when you hear your voice on that album? Do you want to have a good relationship with Malmsteen?
Yes, indeed it started then, it was almost 28 years ago so essentially, that was half a lifetime since it all began! I was only 18 so for me those memories were mostly about learning & experiencing life not only as a professional musician but as an adult. I cant listen to my voice very fondly, it was so young and inexperienced, but clearly I knew I had the tools to do what I wanted it to do. Yngwie and I don’t have regular contact but we have remained intact with our friendship.
– Anyway your career started to get a huge success and recognition during the 90’s, when you started to record albums with different projects, collaborations and with your solo career. During that decade you became the lead singer for Axel Rudi Pell’s band. I must confess that “Magic” is one of my favourite albums by AXEL RUDI PELL since I was a child. What are your thoughts on his music and your four albums with the German guitarist (including “Magic”)? I think that you and Axel Rudi Pell remain friends, don’t you?
Axel and I are the same as Yngwie and many others in my past, we speak fondly of each other and if within the same parameters of each other will make the effort to say hello but we’re not in regular contact. Axel’s music was never something I found passionate, it was more that I enjoyed playing with him and the guys but musically, it was never really my thing, clearly he was in the driver’s seat there. I’m not putting his music down, it just wasn’t something I would normally listen to but it was great fun to do while I was working with him.
– But during the 90’s the best project you undertook was TALISMAN. I think this project lived up to its name; it was an amazing band, both due to the artists behind it and due to its wonderful music. But TALISMAN died with the master Marcel Jacob, who formed this band and was TALISMAN’s soul. What’s your favourite TALISMAN album and why? Could you tell us your best memories during the TALISMAN’s existence (recording process, tours,…)?
Humanimal was my favorite Talisman album as well as the last one we did, 7. I miss my friend as much as I miss my band but in some ways it was heading that way anyway, that Talisman would have an end. The years were getting more and more between albums/tours and everyone was so scattered doing so many other musical things that it became a true chore putting us together again. My favorite memories of this band were all of them, I would need to write a book to detail therefore its best I summarize it that way.
– I realized you have recorded just a few duets throughout your vast career. Lately the duo albums into the Rock and Metal world seem to be quite fashionable, and most of this kind of albums have been recorded via Frontiers Records with whom you are working right now. Some successful duos are Kimball/Jamison, Somerville/Kiske, Allen/Lande… Some of the best current Rock singers. Have you thought (or got any offers) about recording an album sharing vocal duties with some mate? And do you see the chance of recording some duo with some of the vocalists I’ve just named? Maybe Lande/Soto or Kiske/Soto? (Let me dream, please!)
I have not gotten any offers like this nor do I have the time really, my plate is over full, even my 2nd helping plate has too much on it….between TSO, JSS, WET and other things I am involved in at the moment, I couldn’t dream of squeezing in another project before end of 2013!
– Well, we would like to talk about your new album, “Damage Control”. Is a completely Melodic Rock record with beautiful songs. What are your favourite songs off this effort? What do you think it will be the favourite tune for live shows? And by the way, why “Damage Control”?
Damage control is a term for making a positive from a negative, after I wrote the lyrics to that song, I realized there was a bit of a theme on the album with the same kind of thoughts and concept, making right from wrong. I loved the way it sounded as a title and it fit the feeling of the album so I went with it. I definitely have my favorite songs and ones I will do live for sure but why share this now and give away everything before I even get there? I have to leave some mystique and anticipation in the mix, in this YouTube/Google/Internet world we live in, nothing is sacred or anticipated anymore, it’s all revealed to the world seconds after it’s conceived so I have to contain some things even to keep me excited about the future
– I noticed you use to write songs names with a personal style, like the TALISMAN track named “Colour my XTC” instead of “Color my ecstacy”. Just as curiosity; why?
Which of the 2 do you think looks cooler in print?
– Changing the topic, I know you are a huge basketball fan. My
neighbor Pau Gasol plays in Los Angeles Lakers and he’s lately in a difficult situation. What are your thoughts on him and on his possible departure? Do you think then the Lakers’ situation would get weakened even more after the Lamar Odom’s departure?
I’m a hug fan of Pau and his brother Mark, Pau is really stepping up and being the better person than Lamar did but I would probably react the way Lamar did myself! I think its sad the way they’re treating him but its business, it’s the way it is out there in the real world, believe me, I have experienced it a few years ago as many know! Pau is a great talent and to even dream of changing him is stupid, he came into the Lakers and helped Kobe pave those Championships, they need to surround those guys with stronger talent, not get rid of the strengths that will win them the ring! I am very passionate about my Lakers, I applaud Pau for being humble and just playing his game without trying to prove a point as well as Kobe for standing up for his colleague.
– Going back to the music stuff and to your new opus, “Damage Control”, I’ve had the chance of seeing you on stage several times and I can tell our readers that Jeff Scott Soto is a superb showman on stage. I guess you will be on the road soon to support this new “Damage Control”, won’t you? What could you tell us about your next tour? Any chance of coming back to Spain anytime soon? By the way, your latest live DVD was recorded in Madrid. I guess your fans from Barcelona would be starring your next live DVD, “One Night in Barcelona”, right?
Absolutely, I am planning a full tour later this year as I am involved with something else that will be touring the US this summer….this will give my audience a chance to live with and know the new songs as well, but I cant wait to tour again with my guys, especially in Spain, one of my favourite countries in the world to visit!
– I read you will be playing the annual Stars to the Rescue, a show that benefits the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF). What could you tell us about this? What are your thoughts on the people’s education toward animal rights? And what do you think about the sick bull fightings, unfortunately considered part of the Spanish folklore (though have been already banned in some parts of Spain)?
I am a hug activist on animal cruelty, people still have this mentality that we’re the superior being and animals below us have no feelings or pain…this is warped, old fashioned belief that has taken far too long to move on from. The ARF thing is run by some dear friends who use their celebrity to help animals and I hope to add as much as I can to do my part in that as well. The programs they offer in educating, especially our young, on the prejudices of animal rights is superb, I endorse them fully!
– I know you are also a QUEEN’s fan, specially the Mercury era. In fact you performed some of their songs several times, as you did on the “Live at Queen International Fan Club Convention” DVD, were you played some of the best tunes by QUEEN. A few days ago QUEEN announced Adam Lambert as their new singer. It was also rumoured Lady Gaga was going to be the best choice… As a fan, what do you think about him? Do you believe all this is just like some kind of freak show? Could you please elaborate a bit?
I think its important as a journalist and other media around the world to take the responsibility of knowing the facts before adding to them! Adam Lambert is performing TWO shows only in July with Queen, he is not their ‘new singer’, it is as plain as day on both the Queen and Lambert sites but the press take only the key words and blow them up into something it isn’t. I love Adam’s voice, I rooted for him to win on the season of Idol he was on, he wouldn’t be my 1st choice to be a permanent singer in Queen nor is he interested in this because at the moment his own solo career is massive and he has a new album coming out that he has to follow up with but I think it will be a great match and I would love to see the show. Lady Gaga too is great, as crazy as her image or clothing is, that girl is talented beyond words and I go to my grave saying she is the real deal. So either choice would be great for them to collaborate on live shows together. Now if they want a proper stand in for Freddie, they have my phone number haha.
– And talking about covers, I must thank you for make me discovering the amazing voice of another master, Seal, whom you showed your admiration for his music covering “Crazy”, and currently his music is quite different to the style of his beginnings. What do you think about him and his musical evolution? I think your voice is really similar to his, is just coincidence?
Seal is at the moment doing what Rod Stewart did with his career, I’m not sure I agree with it and see it as kind of an easy way out in not releasing albums no one is buying. It’s too Adult Contemporary for me, Seal and Rod were Rock/Pop artists who offered an edge and something different than other artists but once the original stuff stopped selling, they started releasing covers albums of material geared for older audiences. I do see it as a management decision more than an artistic one, you know, keep the money coming in. But I do love his voice and hope someday he can work with a great producer who can help him select material that will put him in the forefront again.
– If you had to pick one of the artists whom you have worked with; which one would you choose and why?
Marcel Jacob, no further explanation necessary!
– Finally, you were recording with WET (WORK OF ART + ECLIPSE + TALISMAN). Your first album together got a great success and I know you want to record a new album soon; what could you tell us about it? Do you already know when it will be released or how it will be entitled? And how is everything working with musicians as Robert Sall (WORK OF ART) and Erik Martensson (ECLIPSE)?
I have sung 6 songs already for the album so we’re half done, things are going great again for this new one, we know exactly what we have to do and where our target audience is…the guys are great, easy going and fun to be around so the process of making this new album is smooth!
– That’s all Mr. Jeff Scott Soto, thank you for your answers and for taking your time. If you now want to add something else, is your time.
It is my pleasure, thank you and all of the readers for keeping me in your minds, hearts and ears….rock on!
Alex M. Romero