Takara – ‘Taste of Heaven’ (1995) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

When we reviewed Takara’s ‘Eternal Faith’ album a few weeks back, we mentioned that Jeff Scott Soto said he wasn’t a member of Takara and did it as a favor. Well, a couple years later we are back with the second Takara album and who is singing? It is a Mr. Jeff Scott Soto, of course. After the band had such success in Japan with ‘Eternal Faith’, the Japanese record company wanted another album and would only do it with Jeff on vocals. Jeff didn’t want to let his good friend, Neal Grusky, down and be the reason his buddy lost his record contract, so Jeff being the man he is agreed to do vocal duties again as well as Produced, Engineered and Mixed the album. When Jeff says he’s going to help out, there is no half-assing it for him.

The band had more money to produce this record then the measly $2,500 for the last so we do get better production quality…plus Jeff was getting better at it. The biggest difference is that Jeff’s friend Greg Schutt was no longer on bass. Duties were handled by Carl DeMarco. There were two songs that the bass was done by Bob Daisley from Ozzy and Rainbow fame which is pretty cool, but Carl was the now official band member. On drums, we still had Robert Duda and Neal Grusky on guitar as expected. There are also some keyboard elements done by none other than Jeff’s then girlfriend Julie Greaux, of course!

The album was released on May 24, 1995 in Japan and went to #96 on their national charts, so not bad at all. The version I have is the Canadian Release from 1995 but the CD has 1993. That isn’t the only mistake the CD has as it also called the last song “Lonely Sade of Blue” omitting the “h” in Shade. Oops! Good quality control goes a long way. Let’s get to the music, shall we!

Continue reading “Takara – ‘Taste of Heaven’ (1995) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)”

Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Made in Germany (Live)’ (1995) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

Axel Rudi Pell has had four solo albums so a live album was long over due. As a result, during two shows on February 4th & 5th of 1995, they were recorded so a live album could be released. They were recorded in Markthalle, Hamburg and Zeche, Bochum. There were three songs from the Markthalle show and five from Zeche. The band was of course Axel Rudi Pell on guitar, Jeff Scott Soto on vocals, Jorg Michael on drums, Volker Krawczak on bass and Julie Greaux on keyboards. It was the same band that recorded the previous album ‘Between the Walls’ for which they were now touring for that album, and it is a great, solid band.

1994 was an extremely busy year for Jeff Scott Soto and by the looks of it, 1995 was not going to be any different as we have 3 releases for this year and this being the first. For this album, Jeff felt the biggest fault was it was too short and he would’ve liked to have included a few more of the older tracks. With that being said, if that is the only fault, then we are in for a real treat. The show captures how much Jeff enjoyed working with Axel and it shows in his performance and everyone’s performance for that matter. The album came out around May 22, 1995 and is a great time capsule of a great period of Axel Rudi Pell.

The show kicks off with some riffing by Axel and then they go straight in to “Talk of The Guns” off their most recent album ‘Between the Walls’. Here is the song is sped up even faster and a lot heavier. It seems faster than speed metal here. The drums are pounding and relentless and Pell’s solo is pure Axel. Jeff does a great job keeping up with that pace and not losing his breath, but it was close.

Continue reading “Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Made in Germany (Live)’ (1995) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)”

The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike & John – Interview with Jason Bieler!!

Episode 112 – Jason Bieler (Saigon Kick, Super TransAtlantic, The Baron Von Bielski Orchestra)

We are so excited to talk with JASON BIELER of Saigon Kick fame to discuss his newest project The Baron Von Bielski Orchestra, new tune “Sic Riff”, upcoming Soto/Bieler shows and his past as well.   Known as one of the funniest and nicest guys in rock, Bieler is a multi-talented singer, songwriter, guitarist, comedian and even owner of a Record Label.  His brand of rock runs the gamut from progressive to mainstream.  His collaborations with artists such as Bumblefoot and Jeff Scott Soto are highly praised.  This is a chat that we are looking forward to big time!  “What You Say”?  Take the pain to far and distant places, and if you ask of Jason, he’ll tell you all the stories of life!

Do not miss this one — we will try and ask your viewer questions live!

Friday June 17, 7:00 PM E.S.T.  on YouTube, Facebook and also Facebook!

Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Love Parade’ (1994) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

For the 10 years prior to this release, Jeff Scott Soto has been singing for other people and other bands. This time around it was all for himself. ‘Love Parade’ is Jeff’s first solo album and the first chance for people to see a side of Jeff they’ve never seen. That can be a good thing or a bad thing and for a lot of Jeff’s metal fans this album was a strange departure. It was because this was not a metal album or even a hard rock. It is more a funk, R&B and a rock album all rolled in to one. His influences are worn on his sleeves with this one.

The songs he compiled for this album were mostly old demos he had that never amounted to anything prior. He felt they truly represented who he was outside of the metal/rock world. There were several songs from his band Slam that never released anything. He had a couple songs from his girlfriend, Julie Greaux, that he was co-producer on. He took them, re-worked them and then sang on them.

Musicians on the album were some friends including Gary Schutt, who Jeff sang for on Gary’s debut solo album, played bass and guitar. His girlfriend, Julie Greaux did background vocals and keyboards. George Bernhardt played drums, bass and guitar as well. And Jeff played a little of everything as well including the singing. The album was released sometime in 1994/1995 on Long Island Records but the year depends on who you ask. The album didn’t make any major waves, but thankfully in 2002, Jeff signed with Frontiers Records and they re-released it and by this time it made bigger waves as he was more famous.

Continue reading “Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Love Parade’ (1994) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)”

Gary Schutt – ‘Sentimetal’ (1994) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

We have seen Gary Schutt before in the Jeff Scott Soto Series and that was with the review of the Takara album ‘Eternal Faith’ from 1993. Gary Schutt was the bass played. However, here is the not only the bass player, but he is also the guitar player, the keyboardist, the drum programmer. The only thing he doesn’t do on here is sing as that is left up to his good friend, Jeff Scott Soto. The two were spending a lot of time together because at the same time Gary was making his debut solo album, so was Jeff and we will get to his for the next review.

The album was recorded over a two week period in May of 1994 as both Gary and Jeff were renting a house in Delray Beach, Florida. The album was released on August, 31, 1994 in Japan and sometime in 1995 in Europe. It did get a reissue in 2005 that has 3 Bonus Tracks, but we are going to review the original album with the basic 11 tracks. And what we get is a cross between hard rock, melodic rock, aor and a little prog thrown in. Let’s check it out

The album kicks off with “Warpaint” and immediately you are sucked in to some great guitar playing as Gary rips some massive riffs. His bass is thunderous and powerful. The drum sound is the only negative because they are programmed sounding. To me it feels like an Extreme song a la ‘III Sides to Every Story’. The guitar has Nuno fill along with the bass and Jeff sings with a hint of Cherone and there is nothing wrong with that. An explosive opener and a sign of things to come.

Continue reading “Gary Schutt – ‘Sentimetal’ (1994) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)”

Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Between the Walls’ (1994) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

While Jeff Scott Soto was touring with Talisman in Europe, Axel Rudi Pell was ready to make another album. After the mixed reaction from the fans on ‘The Ballad’ album, Axel was going to go to his roots and make a pure metal album…a German Metal Album as he has stated. He contacted Jeff and arranged for him to come in and work on the album while his other band was touring. Jeff was happy to do so as he really enjoyed working with Axel since it wasn’t a dictatorship like other bands he had worked in. Jeff and Axel work well together and Soto co-wrote 4 of the 10 tracks.

Most of the band was back from the last studio album, ‘Eternal Prisoner’. There was obviously Axel and Jeff, but Jorg Michael was back on drums and Volker Krawczak on bass. Keyboardist Kai Raglewski was out and in his place was Julie Greaux who has worked with Billy Idol and happened to be Soto’s girlfriend. That’s convenient wouldn’t you say!! What I would say is that this was a solid line-up and had me interested to hear what they had put together this time around. It is definitely more fantasy and mystical lyrics and it is truly metal for sure! One more thing, in the liner notes, it lists out what instrument each band member plays with and for Jeff…it says he plays with Julie….”Oh Heffe, Oh Oh Ooh”…Let me just say…Wow!! Okay, hold on tight and let’s get to the music.

Continue reading “Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Between the Walls’ (1994) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)”

May 2022 Purchases – Vinyl & CD’s

Another month down and therefore it is time to review the purchases made this month at 2 Loud 2 Old Music. And I think it was a pretty good haul. We bought some stuff online, we hit a local record store and we had a record show this month. And we will kick it off with the brand new album by Jeff Scott Soto which came out on May 6th. It is called ‘Complicated’ and we won’t be getting to review this one for a long time as we are only 20+ albums into the 70 album series. For now, take a peek…

Then I have some research I need to do for a friend of Jeff Scott Soto. I have a lot of homework to do on Jason Bieler of Saigon Kick (notice the three Rock Candy Editions) and his new band Jason Bieler and the Baron Von Bielski Orchestra plus others. Hmmm…now why would I be doing homework…I guess you will soon find out…

Continue reading “May 2022 Purchases – Vinyl & CD’s”

Talisman – ‘Humanimal’ (1994) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

1994 has been a real busy year for Jeff Scott Soto as you can see from all the 1994 reviews. His band Slam was pretty much done so all his time was now focused on Talisman. Marcel Jacob and Jeff Scott Soto would end up writing a ton of songs for the next studio album. Talisman was now a full band. They had Jamie Borger on drums and Fredrik Akesson on guitar and with them coming off the last tour, the band was tight and hitting on all cylinders.

The band recorded the album in Sound Trade Studios and when they finished, they had 22 songs in can which coincidentally only took 22 days to record and mix. They wanted to do a double album and each disc would have a separate theme. One would be songs with human characteristics and the second disc with animal characteristics. However, the songs actually would all fit on a single CD, so they decided they wanted to only release a single CD.

So, the band picked their favorite 14 songs for the album and it was released in Europe . It was to be released in Japan, but they wanted a different set of songs so the Japan label picked the songs for their version of the album. The albums came out on May 25, 1994. And then a funny thing happened. The European version was out selling the Japanese version…in Japan. Yes, the import of the European version was way more popular. As a result, they ended up releasing the European version in Japan. And if that wasn’t enough, they released a part 2 version with all the outtakes on October 19, 1994.

Continue reading “Talisman – ‘Humanimal’ (1994) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)”

Talisman – ‘Five Out Of Five (Live in Japan)’ (1994) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

As we already know, 1993 was a very busy year for Jeff Scott Soto. He jumped from the Talisman ‘Genesis’ recordings straight in to the Axel Rudi Pell’s ‘The Ballads’ recordings and then had to fly to Japan to do a set of shows for Talisman. Not to mention the Takara album and even the Biker Mice from Mars soundtrack. It was a whirlwind. And then around February of 1994, an album of the Japanese gigs was released called ‘Five Out of Five (Live in Japan)’.

The original release of this album was called ‘Five out of Five’. The reissue I have from 2004 is a double CD that includes their album ‘Life’ (which we will review soon) and this one now titled ‘5 Out of 5’. It is strange the album is called ‘5 out of 5’ because there are only 4 members in the band at this time. So, what is with the ‘5’? Easy, Marcel Jacobs thought it would be funny. At first you think, how is that funny, but if you read Kerrang magazine, that is how they do their ratings ‘5 out of 5’ or ‘4 out of 5’, you get the idea. Marcel thought if it ended up being mentioned or reviewed in Kerrang, it would already read Talisman ‘5 out of 5’. Pretty clever!! Thanks to Frnak Tunny and Ronny Hahn’s Jeff Scott Soto Biography for that little nugget.

Continue reading “Talisman – ‘Five Out Of Five (Live in Japan)’ (1994) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)”

Takara – ‘Eternal Faith’ (1993) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

The story of Jeff Scott Soto and Takara starts way back in 1985 when Jeff met Neal Grusky who is a founding member of Takara. They quickly became friends through their mutual love of music. Neal started Takara in 1987, but it wasn’t until November 1988 that Jeff really got involved. He agreed to help produce a set of demos for the band. When current lead sing, Mark Del Papa, couldn’t do the vocals due to drug issues, Jeff jumped in and sang on the demos as well. The demos were strictly to help the band find a lead singer. Now, where have we heard that before??? Oh yeah, Panther.

Jeff’s job was to produce and do the scratch vocals. They would bring in other singers to sing as well and Jeff would help produce and mix those. This went on for a number of years and they had done demos from 1987 to 1991. There was no intention to release these, it was strictly to get the band moving forward. Also, Jeff had never produced or mixed before so it was a trial by fire process.

Somehow, the tapes wound up with EMI/Toshiba in Japan and the label really liked them and showed interest in the band. But there was a catch…isn’t there always. They didn’t want to release an album with the other singers, they only liked Jeff’s versions and would only release it with Soto as the singer. Neal went back to his friend and Jeff being the good friend he was, agreed to let that happen as he didn’t want his friend to lose the label deal.

Continue reading “Takara – ‘Eternal Faith’ (1993) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)”