An Interview with Jeff Scott Soto

Recently, we caught up with veteran rock and metal frontman, Jeff Scott Soto. Among other things, we touch on how he’s been kicking off 2022, his latest record, Complicated, his songwriting process, his tour plans, the latest on Sons of Apollo, WET, and a whole lot more.

If you would like to learn more about Jeff Scott Soto, the link to his webpage is here. Once you’ve checked that out, dig into this interview with Jeff. Cheers.

Andrew:
Jeff, thanks for taking the time to dig in with us again. How have you been holding up over the last year or so since we dug in regarding Wide Awake (In My Dreamland)?

Jeff:
I have remained as busy as I became during the lockdowns. Thankfully, this includes the live stage again, as I am very behind on gigs! I also completed many releases, mine, and collabs with and for others, mainly under the Frontiers moniker — my Duets album, WET, Spektra, Zadra, and a new project with David Ellefson called simply Ellefson-Soto.

Andrew:
You’ve just announced your newest solo effort, Complicated. You’ve been relatively prolific over the last few years. Dig into the genesis of the new album for us.

Jeff:
I love titling my albums in ways that describe me and/or my musical adventures. Complicated personifies my musical influences and me as an artist. The title is in reference to whenever someone asks, “Describe your music for someone who has never heard of Jeff Scott Soto. How would you sell yourself musically?”

Andrew:
You chose “Love Is The Revolution” as the first single. Specifically, what went into that choice?

Jeff:
From the second I heard the intro with the sitar, I knew this song was gonna be special. I put a lot of effort into it because musically it was the single for me. I had to make sure melodically and lyrically it would match, and reinforce the music end of things.

Andrew:
From a songwriting perspective, what’s the progression from your last record to this one? What themes are you exploring lyrically?

Jeff:
To be honest, it feels more like an extension to Wide Awake. Alessandro [Del Vecchio] and I didn’t try to expand or experiment as much as build on what we did together previously. This is also the reason I kept the same lineup musically. Everyone truly slayed on Ale’s music parts, but overall, we wanted something that showED continuation more so than a departure from the last effort.

Andrew:
You’ve been in the business for a long time, as such, I am sure you’ve made a lot of friends along the way. Are any old friends guesting on Complicated?

Jeff:
Not this time. I have done so many releases with friends, and guests, but for this album, I wanted the songs to be the focus more than guests. I’ll have many more in the future featuring my famous, and talented friends.

Andrew:
How has your personal and musical journey brought you to this point today? As a stand-alone piece, at this point in your career, what does Complicated represent for you?

Jeff:
My solo albums are, for the most part, collections of who I am as an artist. In a band or project, you are tapping into things that might be outside your own box. This is great for growing and expanding musically, so with my own albums, I like culminating all of the collective influences from the things I do with others. I mainly try not to repeat myself from the other bands, or projects in my solo stuff because it softens the impact of what I am doing with them if I am doing it on my own as well.

Andrew:
I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch on your 2021 effort, The Duets Collection, Vol. 1. Give us the rundown on that project.

Jeff:
With the lockdowns and uncertainty of when artists would be able to resume their live aspects, the label and I discussed ideas we could do in the meantime. From a covers album, we trickled in the idea of doing Jeff Scott Soto legacy covers with guests. To me, this was more exciting than simply redoing my old songs again.

Andrew:
On the Sons of Apollo front, there are rumblings that the band is hard at work on its follow-up to 2020’s MMXX. Is there any truth that, if so, what more can you tell us?

Jeff:
“Hard at work” should be more like “hardly working at.” [Laughs]. There are no plans or songs being crafted right now. We have some dates in August of 2022 that we are finally making up, but there is absolutely nothing going on with Sons of Apollo right now. I know we’re all following up with our outside projects but hope to be continuing on soon.

Andrew:
Last we spoke, we covered WET’s 2021 effort, Retransmission. Where do things stand with WET?

Jeff:
The same goes for WET. We’re dormant. I’m very busy with my solo and Eclipse albums, and tours, so at the moment, we are not planning a new album as of yet.

Andrew:
Jeff, I have to say, in an era where many of your contemporaries are struggling to maintain their vocal range, your voice remains wholly intact. What’s your secret?

Jeff:
Well, one secret I shouldn’t reveal but it’s not really a secret is you’re judging my voice based on a controlled environment, which is taking one’s time in recording songs. Point in case, Freddie Mercury, who was one the greatest of all time, he could sing anything, literally. In the studio, he pushed himself to extreme and exceptional levels, but live, you would hear him bluffing through a lot of what he did in a controlled environment. He would change notes, skip some and find ways to give you the live experience, which is very hard to replicate. In the live setting, one day the voice cooperates and does everything you push it to. Another day, you’re sick, tired, emotional, etc., and the voice decides what it will allow you to deliver. That’s pretty much it. I am not verbatim live to the studio versions, but I still don’t let this limit my creativity.

Image credit: Yiannis Dolas

Andrew:
Circling back to Complicated now. Do we have an official release date for the record, and have you decided on what your next single will be?

Jeff:
Yes, the press release is just out as of March 3rd. May 5, 2022, is the release date. There will be another single and video out before that.

Andrew:
You’ve been something of a musical nomad in your career, still, you’ve managed to maintain a steady solo career. This said, what are the biggest differences for you in regards to working within the confines of a band, as opposed to your solo work? Ultimately, which do you prefer?

Jeff:
In a band, you have to please, observe and respect others you’re creating with, while solo you’re doing anything you want folks to see you as that you haven’t necessarily done with others, it’s more personal. I prefer a nice balance of both. When I am solo, there is pressure and weight on my shoulders, but it is gratifying when the results are fruitful. With a band, you share the pressure with others, but you also find other musical paths that may not have come up on your own. From there, I find a nice balance of sharing my education built between both facets.

Andrew:
You perpetually push your music forward, which is nothing short of refreshing. How do you, as an artist, push yourself to keep from stagnating?
Beyond this album, what’s next for you?

Jeff:
By not thinking about it, by simply doing and not thinking too hard. At this stage, and at my age, I have nothing to prove anymore. I am not chasing a direction or career path. I am simply following my heart, and doing things I feel are of the utmost quality, and respect to those who have been on the ride with me for nearly forty years.

As for what’s next, I’ve got live dates galore — not touring — more so making up the dates and events that have been postponed for two years.

Interested in learning more about Jeff Scott Soto? Hit the link below:

Be sure to check out the full catalog of VWMusic Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interviews

About Post Author

Andrew Daly

With an immense passion for music, a disposition for writing, and an eagerness to teach and share both, Andrew decided to found VWMusic in 2019 as a freelance column under the column Idle Chatter. Over time, the column grew into a website that now features contributors who further the cause of sharing both a love of music and the art of journalism with the world through articles and interviews. While Andrew enjoys running the website, his real passion lies in teaching and facilitating others to do what they do best, and giving them the opportunity to explore their passions in the process. Some of Andrew’s favorite artists include KISS, Oasis, ACϟDC, Elvis Presley, Ace Frehley, The Rolling Stones, Rush, The Pretenders, Led Zeppelin, The Gaslight Anthem, Iron Maiden, John Lennon, The Melvins, Noel Gallagher, Regina Spektor, Rory Gallagher, The Stone Roses, The Strokes, Thin Lizzy, Elvis Costello, Van Halen, Neil Young, Blur, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and many more.
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