Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: November 2009
Stephanie Rademacher: Hello Jeff, my husband couldnít make the interview today because of his job so I was elected to conduct the interview.
Jeff Scott Soto: Thatís ok because he did the last interview with me anyway.
Stephanie Rademacher: He did give me questions to ask you, so here we go and thanks for taking our call during the TSO tour.
Howís the tour going so far?
Jeff Scott Soto: Itís going extremely well; we have some shows under our belt now and we have a total of sixty-nine shows in sixty-two days. Itís quite a workload here; days off are very treasured in these parts.
Stephanie Rademacher: Wow, I feel very honored to be talking to you because if it was me, I would be sleeping!
Jeff Scott Soto: (laughing) Luckily I can sleep on the tour bus. I have no problems sleeping on the bus. I get the same feeling when I was a kid when you sat on the dryer at home and the vibration put you to sleep, itís the same feeling being on the bus.
Stephanie Rademacher: Are there any special moments so far you can tell us about?
Jeff Scott Soto: Every night is special. Well itís seems we are the people who bring in the Christmas spirit; every year itís seem that happens earlier and earlier. It used to be the Christmas season started after Thanksgiving, now it seemed it happened after Halloween and thatís pretty much when TSO launches, because thereís so much to cover in the US and Canada. We basically start in November and it runs past Christmas. Every night is spectacular.
And weíre having a great time out here. Itís a little difficult (being) away from the family during the holiday season but you kinda pick up an extended family between members and the crew and everyone on the tour and the fans. My family knows this is what I do for a living and Iíll have my belated Christmas after the tour.
Stephanie Rademacher: What are some of the things TSO have on their tour rider?
Jeff Scott Soto: Weíre pretty simply. I hate to pop the bubble about rock stars and other bands but weíre pretty basic. We have our vegetarians and some people need their organic products but nothing outlandish on this rider. Everyoneís pretty easy going and from top to bottom everyone gets along well. There are no fights or attitude problems and personality conflicts. Itís great being on tour with TSO and we really donít have any problems that you might have with people not getting along with others in a regular band.
Stephanie Rademacher: Letís get onto the W.E.T. release. Comments I read have included Ďmasterpieceí, Ďstellarí, ĎJeffís singing is the best Iíve heardí, ĎJeff.ís vocals are out of this worldí (all these posts were on the Melodicrock.com notice board). What do you say in response to these posts?
Jeff Scott Soto: I knew when we started this project that it would be one of the more well received items Iíve done. A lot of fans latched onto me when I with my band TALISMAN back in 1990. That kinda had the classic AOR, cheesy hair band pop metal rock sound; I donít know how to categorize it anymore. It kind of had a sound my audiences love and thatís what I did back in the day, as most artists you want to grow and challenge yourself with different things and sometimes that donít work with some of your audiences that loved your music back in the day. So doing this I kind of knew this was going to reach at least half that base. As I was knocking these songs out I was saying theyíre going love this and oh my god, theyíre going to love this one too. I didnít think it would get as big as a response as it is. Itís a lot bigger release than I could have ever expected and Iím overwhelmed.
Stephanie Rademacher: Yeah I know what you mean. When we started RockEyez back in 2004 it was only a hobby, maybe we got twelve hits a day. Now we couldnít stop if we wanted to, getting over a million hits a month.
Jeff Scott Soto: Thatís awesome; itís a good feeling right? Itís keeps you busy sometimes more than you actually want it to.
Stephanie Rademacher: Itís work. Itís not easy but its funÖ sometimes. So tell me how this project started and a little about the recording process?
Jeff Scott Soto: The project started with a brainstorm of the president of Frontiers Records. I have been pretty much always with Frontiers ever since 2001 as a solo artists, SOUL SIRKUS, TALISMAN and been with them ever since they started as a label. It was Serafino that came up with the idea; actually, he came up with this when I was released by JOURNEY. He wanted to do this as a follow up album as I was released from the band. He thought this was the best way to back up my audience with a new release once I left. I was anti that because I didnít want to ride the coattails of something that at that point in my life was a negative. I insisted that I wanted to finish my project "Beautiful Mess" which was a complete departure from that sound. I wanted to do something that left my own message. I didnít want to sound like the band that just let me go.
Serafino eventually talked me into it and we started working on it mid 2008. But obviously, with the release of "Beautiful Mess" we couldnít have two releases crossing over each other so Serafino had to wait until after the promotion of "Beautiful Mess." The other two main members of W.E.T., Robert Sšll from WORK OF ART and Erik MŚrtensson of ECLIPSE are Swedish and are the main songwriters in their bands. Serafino asked those two guys to write some songs and send them to me to see how my voice fit with the songs. Myself being from TALISMAN thatís how the name W.E.T came about and when I got the first two songs I knew we had something special here. As each song we did I kept feeling excitement and I treated it more than just a studio project. I just didnít want this album to be represented as a studio project because many times studio projects just get buried by the wayside and I didnít treat this album as a studio project. A lot of people donít really care about studio projects they want a real band where they know there will be a follow up album coming. I told these guys I just donít want this to be a one-off, I want to work on this as itís to be continued.
Stephanie Rademacher: Do you feel there will be a follow up release from W.E.T.?
Jeff Scott Soto: Yeah, in answering that question it all depends on public demand. Weíre not going to force this. We all have other things going on and we are not going to release an album because we enjoy it. But if the demand is there, yes we will work on another release. Itís up to the fans. Same with the live shows, if we have promoters out there that want us we will play live shows. We have already talked about continuing on, itís all about public demand.
Stephanie Rademacher: What song was the most challenging to sing on the CD?
Jeff Scott Soto: In the beginning, the songs have to be in a higher register than I have been singing in the past year. Actually, I got the high register back when I joined JOURNEY. The first two songs I did were "Brothers In Arms" and "One Day At A Time "and those songs had some high choruses with big notes on there. Once I realized the rest of the album was going to have a lot of this, I did my vocal lessons and put myself in that mind frame. When Iím with TSO I am more baritone than I am with my own material and with W.E.T I had to be on a higher level.
Stephanie Rademacher: You performed at the first Melodicrock.com Anniversary in Indiana in 2007. Is it possible W.E.T. might play at the second MelodicRock show in May of 2010? Itís on many fans wish list!
Jeff Scott Soto: At this point, itís one hundred per cent not possible and I say at this point because there are shows already booked for a TSO spring tour. The TSO thing got me locked in before the W.E.T. thing so I have to go by commitment. The TSO album that just came out was in the works for the last four years and they want to support that in the spring. Itís going to be the first none holiday tour TSO has ever done and they want me to be part of that.
Stephanie Rademacher: Do you think there will be any live shows with W.E.T. in 2010?
Jeff Scott Soto: That is a possibility but as I said that depends on interest of promoters and there are a lot of festivals over in Europe, where the other two members live, so unfortunately we might do just some festival dates but no club dates. But it has to do with timing because once Iím done with the TSO summer tour I will have a little time but I will be right back with TSO for the next holiday tour.
Stephanie Rademacher: Tell me about the new JSS DVD/CD "One Night in Madrid".
Jeff Scott Soto: That is something that has been a long time coming based on the first official solo show I started a tour on was in Madrid in 2003. The first solo show I did was at the Gods Festivals and a DVD did come out but I wouldnít consider that my first solo show on my own because there were a lot of people there to see other bands. As far as Iím concerned, the official solo show was Madrid, Spain and people came to see me and see what I was up to. I had no idea what to expect on a solo tour I didnít know if people would turn out. I didnít know how everything was going to go and it was quite scary because I was always leaning on a band and always having that security and now Iím on my own. I was the captain of the ship and I was petrified, and the first day and I canít tell you the overwhelming feeling when I found out the show was sold out and once I hit the stage, it was something I remember to this day. From that point anytime I went back with JOURNEY, SOUL SIRKUS, and TALISMAN every time was a memorable experience and I wondered why we never film anything. Now I have a whole new band, a whole new sound, and a whole vibe and Madrid was the stop I wanted filmed and we did it.
Stephanie Rademacher: Sounds like the Europeans like good music more than the Americans do?
Jeff Scott Soto: The thing is the U.S is such a big place and with so many that love this kind of music the U.S, it is so spread out and itís too spread out to make a living or make a run when youíre doing a tour. Itís so big that you need guarantees and more people at the gigs to make it worth your wild. My fan base has always been in Europe and itís easy to go from country to country in a few hours.
Itís really hard in the U.S., most of my fan base is in Europe. I did a tour in the US right before that Melodicrock fest in 2007 and it was a disaster; this is when I just left JOURNEY and they thought doing the tour you performed in front on millions of fans in JOURNEY and youíre going to have hordes of fans following you because you sang for JOURNEY. I was lucky to get 80 to 100 people coming to the show and for me to tour the U.S. I need to get more exposure or a name out here before anyone will touch me. If I go out on my own Iím going to lose my shirt and if I get a promoter, it really doesnít make any sense. Europe is my backbone where I can make a living in what I do.
Stephanie Rademacher: You also worked with Taka Minamino; can you give us any info on that project?
Jeff Scott Soto: I really donít know much more, heís a young guitar player from Japan and I actually thought he was another guitar player with a similar name when he approached me. Based on his name I thought he was this well known guitar player from Japan and when he asked me to do a track on his album, I said this is kind of cool. We structured the deal and he sent me the track. I sang on it and when I did more research I found it wasnít the guy I thought it was. This guy is basically unknown with his first solo album. I was thinking I was going to get much needed exposure in Japan and it turned out he thought he was going to get much exposure from my name (laughing). I really donít know much but heís a very talented guitarist and we communicated through e-mail. He asked me to write the lyrics and melodies and I sent him the mp3 and we havenít met to this day or havenít spoken on the phone.
Stephanie Rademacher: You work on so many different projects, what it is like when you finally go home. What are some of the things you do to relax?
Jeff Scott Soto: Iím a health fanatic. I love going to the gym, I love playing basketball. I really like to close down; Iím not for going out because I spend most of the time on the road. Itís like me de-toxing from life being on the road. That doesnít mean alcohol that means feeling normal, like my down time.
Stephanie Rademacher: Tell me about the family values of Jeff Scott Soto?
Jeff Scott Soto: Itís a difficult one; they do realize what it is like with the lack of communication being on the road. You know trying to make a call on your cell, and you hit a dead spot and the Internet is not working. Technology is not perfect. I try to keep everything in check as long as they know Iím safe and healthy vise-a-versa, everything is good. Between being on the road, on stage or doing interviews like this, I have to find a balance between everything that works for us all.
Stephanie Rademacher: After the TSO, tour which ends in January, what will the next project be you will be working on?
Jeff Scott Soto: Iím pretty slammed doing the TSO tour, I do have some make-up dates Iím doing with my solo band in Greece and weíre doing a UK show in January as a warm up show. I will be seeing the family in LA and going to the NAMM show which I have been doing for the past twenty years. I will be going to Stockholm for a memorial show for my recently departed bass player and best friend Marcel Jacob. I have a couple shows with the keyboard player from QUEEN and guitar player; they have a little side project, and then back to TSO.
Stephanie Rademacher: As the year ends what are your wishes for 2010?
Jeff Scott Soto: World domination (laughing). I work hard and world domination not in a negative way. I work hard to be a household name in what I do and how I do it. I just celebrated my forty-fourth birthday And I will keep banging the door down until I get to the level where Iím happy to be where Iím at. I still have a long way to go as an artist.
Stephanie Rademacher: Can you tell us more about NAMM?
Jeff Scott Soto: Itís a massive trade show. All the companies that sell equipment, stage gear, anything to do with music are there. Itís held at the Anaheim Convention Center which is massive. They have everything from drumsticks, to guitar picks, to strings, everything, even recording equipment is at this trade show and as an artist we get endorsements and get picked up by these companies. Itís a trade-off, they get to use our images and in return we get to use their product for free or a reduced cost that you couldnít get at a music store. As musicians we show our gratitude and show up and perform at their booth, make an appearance on their behalf or just networking with that endorsement companyís head people. I have been endorsed by Shure Microphones since 1990; weíre going on a twenty-year relationship. I go every year to pay my thanks for their endorsement. I go and meet different people and people I havenít seen in awhile. Itís a big gathering for networking of your career.
Stephanie Rademacher: Hey Jeff, it was good talking to you and we wish you the best. Would you like to say anything to the fans during the holiday season?
Jeff Scott Soto: I canít say anymore than I say every night on the TSO tour. It hasnít been a good time financially lately and even if itís for just a few hours that we can turn peoples sadness to joy and escape that. Even itís for the holidays or escaping through song. I hope everyone finds their escapism and finally overcomes this financial disaster that we all going through and its rock n roll in general, itís an important powerful tool and I thank people who follow my career and let me do what I love to do.