Few artists can boast of the career that Jeff Scott Soto has. More than 35 years into his career he is still putting out incredible records with multiple bands. On November 6 he will release his latest solo record, Wide Awake (In My Dreamland), which could be his best yet. He recently took some time to walk through the record and talk about the Lakers, Eddie Van Halen, and much more.
Please press the PLAY icon below for the MisplacedStraws Conversation with Jeff Scott Soto –
On working with Alessandro DelVecchio on the record – This is the first (record we did) together. I’ve known Alessandro for 15 years now. I met him on tour when I was with the JSS band doing a European tour and we had a day off going into Milan and Marcelle Jacob from Talisman was producing Alessandro’s band, a band called Edge of Forever. Knowing I had a day off, he asked me, “Would you mind coming into the studio and dropping a few backing vocals?” I’m like, “Oh, God, my day off, the last thing I want to do is sing”. But I would do anything for my brother, and I’m glad I did it because this is where I first met Alessandro and began a very strong and lengthy friendship with him. This being said, I’ve watched in the past years, the past, I’m gonna say, 5 – 6 years, he truly has grown tremendously in terms of a producer, writer, a singer, everything, even an engineer. He’s doing all the work in the studio, he’s just a jack of all trades. And so when Frontiers brought the idea of us working together finally, after knowing him for so long and always talking about, we gotta work together. It was a no brainer. I wanted to bring him on board. 3:19
On the layered vocal sound on the track “Without You” – Well, it’s no surprise. Anybody who’s even heard me in interviews for a year, much less the past 35, knows how important a band like Queen, the influence that they have with me and pretty much everything I listened to and love growing up. I’m a champion of things that have a lot of vocals and a lot of backing vocals and structure when it comes to layers and layers of singing. I’ve tried to strip it down a little more. For all intents and purposes that ideal can lead to sounding dated. I don’t think it’s dated in terms of the idea behind it, of just making things very choral and choir-esk, I love that. I don’t think that’s the dated part more so than the actual, just because if it’s behind classic rock, people are just gonna label it. Well, that sounds like, you know, it sounds like it’s back in the day, but I still love that world. I still try to incorporate that world and a song like Without You, which was very clean oriented in terms of what he wrote it. As I said earlier, I was trying to dig into the things he loved about my career in my voice, but one of the other things he wanted to happen to is one of my biggest influences, that queen. So in giving me that song, he knew I was gonna turn that into my own kind of epic majestic queen moment, so to speak. 6:33
On the theme of the record in the tracks “Living In a Dream” and “Wide Awake” – We were experiencing, as in pretty much throughout history, we were experiencing worldwide the divisions, the political separations, the social challenges, even the gender war, so to speak, and trying to find that equality This has been going on for so many years, even before this historic year, that we’ve experienced it so much in the U. S. So it was really leaning, especially the lyrics and the title is leaning more towards that, what we’ve seen in the past few years, more so than what we’ve seen in the past few decades or centuries. But I would have never imagined (the title) would have taken even a bigger and broader coincidence that it has. But you know what? Being wide awake in a dreamland, it’s what we’re experiencing now is certainly like a big dream, like a big nightmare but we’re wide awake and experiencing it, it’s real. It’s a real thing and not going away anytime soon. And so album absolutely reflected at the time already what we were going through before Pandemic hit, and now we have taken on a whole new meaning, I might have altered some of the lyrics to kind of fit this moment, but I guess that’s gonna be reflective on the other stuff that I’m writing for the future. 13:00
On the loss of Eddie Van Halen – I can’t even put into words what Eddie meant to me as much as what he meant to the world. My peers my colleagues, fans of mine. In general, he left more than just a game-changing legacy to all of us. And it’s weird because when someone like that, when somebody that important to us personally, whether it’s somebody that everybody knows or agrees with or feels for, when somebody like that that that’s so personal to you passes there are a lot of people that don’t understand why, for instance, why I could be so affected by it? I don’t know. I didn’t have a personal relationship or working relationship. So why am I so affected? That music and everything that Eddie gave us in terms of influencing in Van Halen and then some is a part of us When that person passes, a part of us passes, a part of us dies, too. Even though we have these, we have these childhood memories, we have these things to draw from these experiences and influences. We lose a little something when we lose that person. And that’s what Eddie meant to me and means to so many people. We all felt that loss like we lost a little bit of ourselves. 16:09