As many of you probably know, Jeff Scott Soto is right now on tour throughout Europe. RockUnited had the chance to catch him up on a short, two-days break while he and his band are in England, Just a few days before they play three dates in Spain and then the rest of Europe. So, here it's what he answered to Jorge's interrogatory: : Ok, first question is almost compulsory when talking to you. How many projects are you involved in right now and how do you find the time to do so many things at the same time? Do your days have more hours than those for the rest of us?
Jeff Scott Soto: Right now, I'm just concentrating on my solo project, but yes, sometimes I seem to get 25 hours a day which gives me that extra time most people don't have! This solo tour has been very difficult to plan as even though many know of me through my many projects & bands, most venues & promoters are hesitant to risk my show going solo...if it were Talisman being booked, this would have been done & much easier long ago.
Jorge: Your touring scheldule seems a little bit chaotic, with quite a few days off in between. Knowing you are quite restless and somewhat workaholic, how do you plan to fill in those blanks? Will you return to the States in the three weeks gap between the end of the Spanish leg of your tour and the beginning of the Belgian/German leg of the tour?
JSS: No, the dates posted were incomplete & only put up as to start promoting the shows we did have. There were many that kept being added as well, still being added as I write this. In the end, the shows will leave us with little time off.
Jorge: When can we expect your next solo album? Have you already some stuff written? If so, will it be as AORish/melodic as Prism?
JSS: I haven't even started. My original plan was to tour this past Spring & be recording my follow up album by now, but when my tour was postponed (because of a promo tour for Talisman & other commitments), I decided I should wait to start writing/recording close to the Christmas holiday.
Jorge: Talking about your solo career, I watched on your interview in the Gods DVD that your first album, Love Parade, was kinda protest statement against your status at the moment as a recording artist. You stated that you were disappointed back then about the fact that after so many years on the bizz, you were still mainly remembered and labeled as "former Yngwie singer". Do you feel, looking back upon it, that the Yngwie experience, yet necessary and useful, became a burden for you as far as fans were concerned? Is Love Parade an album you regret having done? Would you do it again provided you were in the same personal/professional situation?
JSS: I have mixed feelings about my time with Yngwie...as much as it helped get me noticed, it only helped me get noticed as 1 type of singer, 1 genre. If Yngwie's music were more versatile, my 'risks' wouldn't have been so experimental in most people's eyes. Love Parade was a statement I would never take back, it helped me show other colours & explore new territories without interruption from the industry. I would do it all again, except I might do it a bit more rock influenced. It's hard to answer these questions, it's like you looking at an old photo with a funny haircut & thinking 'How could I walk around looking like that?'. But at the time, you thought it was fine.
Jorge: Which of the many albums you've recorded/worked in as a hired gun is the one you wish you wouldn't have done? And which one is the one you are more proud of?
JSS: Panther...terrible! Rock Star...a lot of fun!
Jorge: Same question but this time with the albums in which you were an active part as a songwriter.
JSS: Talisman...closest to my heart!
Jorge: You seem to be lately much involved on the Queen issue. Being a huge Queen fan, how's been so far the experience? What are your feelings/sensations about that?
JSS: To me, the greatest band, the best singer/performer, the most influential teachers of my career. How could I not be excited with everything & anything to do with this band? I met Brian May about 4 years ago, sang a song or 2 with him, & things grew & lead to other things with them since. It's a dream to meet the people who influence you but even more a pleasure when they treat you with respect & dignity.
Jorge: Have you ever considered joining or forming a Queen tribute band? Let's push it a little bit further, has the idea of being Queen's next vocalist ever crossed your mind? Do you feel like all this late involvement with the Queen Convention and the band's members is kind of a test to see the fans reaction to a new vocalist?
JSS: No, I'm not about doing a tribute thing full time, but I am having fun doing the special Queen sets I have been booked for recently. I know all the songs so it's like paying tribute to them while enjoying singing the many songs that inspired me. I feel I have been accepted by a almost everyone doing their music but it is ultimately up to the band on whenever they decide to do whatever they're going to do. I would be honoured to sing their songs with them, but certainly not replace Mr. Mercury....no one could do that!
Jorge: I've noticed that your current European tour doesn't include any Scandinavian dates. It really caught my eye as Sweden is probably the place in Europe where you are known at a bigger scale, due to Talisman. Is it something deliberate, as if, so to say, you are trying to split the markets, i.e. Scandinavia and Japan for Talisman and the rest of Europe and other places for JSS?
JSS: I started the tour with some shows in Spain & built it from there. I'm not on a large scale/budget tour that allows for much expense so Scandinavia & Japan will have to be excluded for now. I wish I could tour the world, but again, I can only go where there is demand, maybe with this 1st tour, I can break enough ground that most won't be afraid to book me.
Jorge: Let's move now to Prism. On the Gods live DVD and CD you only played two songs out of it, as it was yet unreleased. Now that it is well known among the fans, will you feature more stuff from it on your live set, or will you give up on the pressure of what fans want to listen to, allegedly mostly classics?
JSS: Not really, I think only 1 more from it. I don't really want to emphasis my 1st solo tour as playing only solo material, I think they would be bored. I use the excuse of touring as well to do all songs from my past as it's more fun as well so we can all have a party at my shows. I would rather see & hear everyone singing to every song than see a few knowing only some.
Jorge: Is Prism the album you always wanted to make, or just the one you were in the mood of writing at that time? I mean, throughout your career you've worked in quite some different styles both within rock and even out of it. Is the melodic rock of Prism the musical direction you've always longed for as a songwritter, or for future releases we could expect some approaches to other styles, like going a bit further on the soul thing like in I Wanna Take You Higher or even going back to the funky grooves of Talisman's Humanimals albums?
JSS: It was an album that fit my ideas at the time, but by no means is the genre I will remain or am NOW into. I do have to be loyal to my fans especially when they say they love this style when I do it, but I also have to enjoy it. I have so many musical things still left to say & who knows what the next venture will be.
Jorge: Let's dream a bit, which other artists would you like to work with in the future? Being a devoted Prince fan, would you like to do something with him someday, like what you did with Glenn Hughes?
JSS: Absolutely, the list is endless on people I would love to collaborate with. I hope someday i will be famous enough they would come to me.
Jorge: If you wouldn't have budget restrictions, would you considering working with an external producer for future solo albums? Or do you prefer to have the total control on what you do?
JSS: Both, I always have to be a part of the producers say, but of course I would love to collaborate with certain producers as long as it didn't have to sell 500,000 copies just to recoup his fee.
Jorge: This is a personal complain/question/request by me as a fan. Cheyenne (Eyes) is a personal fave of mine. AFAIK, you use to play it on the acoustical part of your set, and that's somewhat a bit disappointing for me as that song works so well in electric format. I know your set is constrained to 2 hours long, and you do the medleys and acoustic stuff to be able to feature as much as you can from your career, but, would it be any chance you could do Cheyenne in electric version on your shows in Spain? [Attached to this interview you'll find a 100$ note... :-)]
JSS: Unfortunately not on this run...there are many songs I would love to do but are more involved & things have to be a certain way for me to say yes to. Maybe if your bribe....I mean, request would have come sooner, we could have worked it out.
Jorge: While we are at it, Windows of the Soul was released after Eyes s/t, but recorded previously. I for one always claimed WOTS to be much better than s/t. That would make sense if those albums were written and recorded in the same order as they were released, but being the other way round, it seems to me a bit of a step back musically speaking. Could you tell us a bit the story beneath the Eyes albums?
JSS: I thought WOTS was a bit too 'soft' & we were trying at the time, to compete with bands like Winger, Def Leppard & Extreme...I didn't want to compete with Foreigner, Survivor & Bryan Adams (I love all those artists, but I wanted a more heavy direction/audience). We did the s/t CD with the idea of being more hard rock than soft & obviously you can hear the difference.
Jorge: Now totally an off-topic question, being a huge Lakers fan, and after the disappointment of last season, how do you see the forthcoming one? Would you dare to give us any predictions? :-)
JSS: Come on, as long as we have Shaq & Kobe, we have every chance to bounce back, no problem, the dynasty is not over for a long time.
Jorge: Ok, your turn now to say anything you'd like to the fans out there, perhaps one reason why they should go to see you on your European tour, or whatever your ramblings are. :-)
JSS: Because my guitar player is 1 of the funniest looking people in the world! I think everyone who knows of me from 1 band to the next project will be satisfied with my set, I try not to put any fillers or things I think they don't want to hear so that's every reason why the should come out.
Jorge: Than you very much for being so kind as to answer our questions. We, the RockUnited staff, know you are quite busy now and just starting your European tour and appreciate the fact that you gave us a little bit of your always scarce (therefore precious) time. Me, for one will see you on your Spanish dates!