An Interview with
'Jeff Scott Soto'
that took place in January, 2003
Interviewed By Glenn Milligan.
Glenn: Who are you referring to on the opening track of the Humanimal album when you sing 'Are you for real'? and what inspired the song?
Jeff: I have no clue, Marcel wrote the lyrics. I have a really good idea who it is about, although I've never asked. Could be a former 'viking' mate.
Glenn: How come it has a simple album cover?
Jeff: I've mentioned it in the past, my involvement with Humanimal was more on a 'for hire' basis. I did my vocals, got paid (the only 1 apparently) and walked away from it until it's release. It ended up being a nightmare situation for those 'involved', therefore I was fortunate in my decision to not be a participating member.
Glenn: Was the Yngwie Malmsteen style of the album intended or not?
Jeff: Is it really Yngwie-styled? I don't hear that at all. Hmm, but then again, I've been told I sound like Ozzy and Paul Stanley so I guess some people hear things differently than others.
Glenn: How was the Z-Rock gig in the UK?
Jeff: The Z-Rock gig was a complete disaster for me & most of us attending. I was extremely angry about some personal issues before even arriving and it only became more aggravated as the day went on. I put on my best professional face until the actual show, which was ruined by poor sound and lack of organization.
The Gods show on the other hand was a complete blast & success for me, especially since I got the chance to step forward as a solo artist for the 1st time. I never imagined I would be received so well and the whole event was amazing I wish we could have played more! Great bands, sound, production & vibe!
Glenn: Why did you decide to break the band up?
Jeff: Again, it was never really a 'band' more so than it was a project. For obvious reasons, we decided to concentrate on the original version of these projects, Talisman, which eventually Humanimal & recent Talisman guitarist Pontus Norgren, departed. We are now working with Fredrik Åkesson again & the new/old lineup is more kickin' than ever.
Glenn: Why did you switch from Z Records (in Humanimal) to Frontiers/Now and Then for your solo album 'Prism'?
Jeff: Now that a lot of press is revealing the sad truth about Z Records, I can go on the record by saying there was a big problem with the label & their ethics. Let's just say not only were promises not met but contractual obligations were breached. I won't go into details, but anyone knowing the recent allegations against Z know what I'm talking about. Frontiers approached me at a time I was walking from my deal with Z & they showed me the respect & honour I was looking for. So far, it has been a very smooth road & my decision to move on was 1 of the best in my career.
Glenn: What made you decide to title the album 'Prism'?
Jeff: It came about from my engineer's studio in Boston, which is Prism Sound, that I liked because it personified the many lights and images my career/influences project. My musical goals have always been very prismatic therefore it was a solid word that evaluates it all.
Glenn: Which would you say is your favourite material on 'Prism' and why?
Jeff: It's really hard to say because I get different things from different songs. My overall favourite track is 'Till The End Of Time' because it takes every emotion to a climax from the beginning to end.
Glenn: How did the duet with Glenn Hughes come about?
Jeff: Glenn & I had discussed for many years doing a duet or something together, I just got tired of waiting! 1 day while driving, the song popped on the radio and it dawned on me what a cool song to cover, then came the idea of covering it on my album, next was confirming Glenn is a huge fan of Sly & The Family Stone, then asking him to do it. He agreed immediately and it was a painless, thrilling experience. It's very difficult to share a track with that man, I felt like I should just listen & enjoy instead of soaring the way he does he's the master!
Glenn: Did you record any other songs with Glenn?
Jeff: No, just the 1.
Glenn: What made you choose 'I want to take you Higher'? Are you a big 'Sly and the Family Stone' fan?
Jeff: I guess I already answered that 1 .huge fan!
Glenn: When are you planning to get Talisman back together and will you be touring in the near future? If so, where?
Jeff: The new album, Cats & Dogs, will be released in May 2003 and we will be doing some promo shows, including the next Gods Festival. There are other appearances throughout Europe we are now booking which will double as record release parties at the same time. I'm excited as hell!
Glenn: What made you decide to cover Madonna's 'Frozen'?
Jeff: Why not? Great song, cool challenge for us & fun making someone else's song ours.
Glenn: What would you say are the best and also not so good bands you've fronted and why?
Jeff: I'm not at liberty to downgrade or take blasts at anyone, but the obvious bands I've stuck with through all the years are the ones I still work with. I am proud of a good majority of my career and the great people I've worked with through the years.
Glenn: What's it like trying to make a living in the Music Business?
Jeff: It's complete sh*t .a sea of liars and sharks, the constant evolvement of taste amongst fans & the low return on income. I don't recommend this biz for the weak at heart!
Glenn: What would you say is your favourite all-time material and why?
Jeff: That's a really difficult question to answer because I get off on so many styles of music depending on the mood or vibe I'm in. Sometimes I want it heavy, sometimes slow & easy, sometimes funky & soulful. I'm never on just 1 musical planet, I like to travel the solar system of jams at all times.
Glenn: What is your favourite Malmsteen material that you were involved in?
Jeff: Well, I only did 1 1/2 albums with him & 3 songs on an all covers album so the only answer would be everything I did with him.
Glenn: What was your relationship like between yourself, Yngwie and the rest of the Rising Force band?
Jeff: It was forced (no pun intended) & very disrespectful. We were treated as hired hands & replaceable entities, which became obvious throughout his career. I was only 18 when I joined him, the others were not much older, so it was easy to take advantage of us & our generosity. At the time, all I could think of was I'd jump ship at my 1st opportunity & I did.
Glenn: Do you get on well these days and keep in touch?
Jeff: Yes and no we get on really well, probably better than any past associates, but we don't see or speak to each other much at all. Actually, about the only time I hear from him is when he needs a new singer or when he's performing somewhere near me, I'll contact him.
Glenn: What would you say have been the best moments in your career?
Jeff: Probably the here and now. It's been a long, long road and now I'm finally starting to enjoy the rewards of notoriety and respect I've worked for all these years. I'm still waiting for the financial end to kick in though till then, I keep working.
Glenn: What's the key in keeping your voice in perfect condition?
Jeff: There's no key, I just knock on wood every time and I hope it works!
Glenn: What are your favourite Groupie and Road stories involving yourself of course?
Jeff: Unfortunately, I don't have a whole hell of a lot of touring under my belt to report about anything that every other band hasn't already experienced. You have to remember, I sang with an artist that attracted an 80% majority of male audiences yelling at the top of their lungs 'YNGWIE!!!!'.
Jeff: The girls who would have attended were either with their boyfriends at the show or could be mistaken for some of the guys out there!
Glenn: What do you like to do to relax?
Jeff: I never relax, I hate relaxing. I always have to be on the go, especially until I finally become a household name and I do mean it when I say 'finally become'!
Glenn: What's the average week involve for you?
Jeff: About 5-7 hours a day working at some form of my career or another, a few hours with the family and at least 2 hours a day working out/playing basketball that's my entire life!
Glenn: Who would you say are your personal favourite vocalists and how have they inspired you?
Jeff: Freddie Mercury, Steve Perry, Terence Trent D'Arby, Sam Cooke and Prince. They all offer emotion, attitude, passion and class to what they do.
Glenn: What keeps you inspired to keep in the music biz?
Jeff: The fact that I'd have to get a real job if I gave up!
A Big Thank-You to Jeff Scott Soto for taking the time out to do this and Mark Ashton at Now and Then for setting it up.