Jeff Scott Soto – ‘JSS: Live at the Gods 2002’ (2003) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

2002 was a big year for Jeff Scott Soto. It was the year of his coming out as a solo artist. Yes, he released a solo album back in 1994, but the intent was not to tour and showcase as a solo artist. He had signed with Frontiers Records and was getting ready to release his 2nd solo album ‘Prism’, but before that Frontiers’ promotional crew were in high gear. With press releases and having Jeff involved in the 10th Anniversary of The Gods Festival. The festival consists of artists/bands from the Frontiers Records label as well as Now & Then label.

The festival occurred on June 2, 2002 and was to be released as a live album and a DVD. I only have the live album, I need to get the DVD still. The line-up was pretty impressive as it had Eric Martin, Hardline, Harem Scarem, Honeymoon Suite, Ten, Soto and several other bands. It took place at Pennington’s in Bradford, England and what I’ve read, it was a helluva show by all.

Jeff’s band that night consisted of some old familiar friends including Alex Papa on drums, Gary Schutt on bass & acoustic guitar (did an album review of his for this series) and on guitar, Howie Simon. JSS is listed as “Top Dog” and he is right. It is his show, his songs, his voice everyone came to hear. He proved that when he came out on stage, alone, dressed all in black and did “2 Your Heart” a cappella. The song is from the debut Human Clay album. Jeff proved that voice is for real. The band comes in full force as the race through the Queen cover “Let Me Entertain You” which is appropriate because Soto does just that.

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Human Clay – ‘Human Clay’ (1996) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Series)

After the disappointment of the last Talisman album ‘Life’, Talisman went on an indefinite hiatus. They technically weren’t broken up, just doing separate things…sort of. Guitarist extraordinaire, Frederik Akesson, did leave the band to pursue something more heavy with a band called Eyeball. Jeff Scott Soto and Marcel Jacobs thought stuck together. They wanted to put something out that would hold over the Talisman fans until they could decide what was going to happen with Talisman.

Out of that came the band Human Clay. You would ask, why not continue Talisman. The answer was simple. Jeff was needing a steady income and reforming Talisman at the time was not a viable option as he had committed to doing his 70’s tribute band Boogie Knights. This wouldn’t allow for touring. So, they stuck with the Human Clay idea and recorded between December 18th, 1995 and January 10th, 1996. They decided to grab a bunch of old material that they never released with Talisman and put together an album. They didn’t have a drummer so they used a drum machine instead (which I don’t usually like) and then Marcel handled all the other instruments with some minor exceptions. The production on the debut album is not that great as they didn’t have much of a budget, but I will try to focus on the songs and not the production value…much.

If you are curious as to how they got the name Human Clay, well, I will tell you what I know. They liked the name Human as part of the band name as Jeff’s a fan of Human League and they tried a bunch of different combinations and each one seemed to already be used by another band. Soto says he also liked Andrew Dice Clay so they took the clay part. The Human Clay name wasn’t being used by another band so they went with it. Not very exciting of a story and I am not sure how much of it is true or just the Soto trying to be funny.

Continue reading “Human Clay – ‘Human Clay’ (1996) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Series)”