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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Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Prism’ (2002) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

Rumors were flying that Jeff Scott Soto was going to leave The Boogie Knights and start concentrating on his solo career. Those rumors turned out true. Jeff started working with his Talisman bandmates on a side project called ‘Humanimal’ which was singed to Z-Records. Jeff was negotiating with Z-Records for a solo album and when things looked good and ready to go, Jeff and Z-Records split. Luckily, it wasn’t on bad terms as he continued with Humanimal until they had issues with Z-Records and that band was done.

Meanwhile, back on January 25, 2002, Frontiers Records had a press release that talked about them signing Jeff for his new solo album and if that was enough, they gained the rights to his debut solo album, ‘Love Parade’ and re-issued it as well. The new solo album was to be called ‘The Calm B4 The Storm’ and as Jeff has said, his earlier career was the Calm and what was coming after is The Storm. If Calm is being apart of 30+ albums over almost 20 years, I can’t wait to see what The Storm brings. However, that name was changed to Prism in parts due to where it was recorded, Prism Studios, and Jeff stating that is about a person that reflects many different lights. The album was released in December 4, 2002, I believe as I found the date on Discogs.

The new album was going to be done in the style of say Journey and Survivor which means it is power ballad heavy and not in a bad way. The songs were mostly done over the past few years for various projects that they didn’t quite fit so were never used and some new and all but one written by Soto. Jeff played most of the instruments and sang, but he was worried the label might not like that fact so he credited numerous fake people on the album. First is someone by the name of Michael Scott which is just Jeff’s middle name and his son’s middle name put together. He also credited two names that appeared in Jerky Boy’s episodes, Sam Isanogud and Mikos Scarbacci. There was also Jay Michael another reference to his son as well as Anthony Papa who is real, but didn’t actually play. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other musicians on the album because we do get Gary Schutt, Glenn Hughes and numerous Soto friends.

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