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.
Sometime during 1996, Jeff Scott Soto and Marcel Jacob were completely thrown for a loop when a best of album was released in Japan for their band Talisman. No one told them. The album was called “Besterious” and consisted of all songs that were previously released from the band. In response to this, Jeff and Marcel, along with Empire Records, decided they were going to release their own band approved version of a greatest hits compilation. It was called “Best of…” and it was chock full of hits plus a ton of previously unreleased tracks that any diehard fan would want to buy. I should know, I bought it!!
Two of the biggest treats were the first two tracks. These were both demos yet they had Goran Edman on vocals instead of Jeff Scott Soto. Goran was the singer for John Norum’s band and joined Talisman prior to Jeff. Goran left to join Yngwie’s band. The first of the demos is “Day By Day” and musically is no different than what ended up on the debut. It is a very Bon Jovi style song. Goran’s vocals are higher than Jeff’s but I’m not sure they have the power Jeff’s have. Regardless, it is still a stellar version of the song.
The second Goran demo is “Lightning Strike” seems a little more raw than the final Soto version, but all the elements are there. The chorus has some great harmonies and layers of vocals. Jeff sings it in this same style as Goran. I’m not sure which one I like better with this one. The rawness of this one adds a little to it.
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.
If you follow this site at all, you know I am a massive Jeff Scott Soto fan and I am in the early stages of a Jeff Scott Soto Series where I am reviewing all of his albums in my collection. We are looking at over 70 reviews when all is said and done. I would love the opportunity to interview him, but that hasn’t happened yet. However, I did get to meet him. Jeff Scott Soto was in town with Jason Bieler (you know him, he is from Saigon Kick and wrote their massive hit “Love is On the Way”) and I bought tickets, of course. I also splurged and the the VIP package which got me in to the sound check and a Q&A.
Soto/Bieler played at a venue in NODA called The Evening Muse. A really small place and it holds about 300 people and it was packed which was great to see. I got there a little early as the VIP event started at 6pm. While I was walking from my car to the venue, I was crossing the street and who was coming the other way, Jeff and Jason. I realized it while they were passing me and Jason saw me do a double take and he said hello! It was cool. Then, while waiting in line, they came back from walking around NODA and while Jeff went in to get ready, Jason Bieler hung out and shook every one’s hand in line and talked for a few minutes.
In 1989, Marcel Jacob had label interest but no band. You remember Marcel, he was in Yngwie Malmsteem’s Rising Force with Jeff Scott Soto. Although the two didn’t hit it off at first as their musical upbringing were so different. Marcel was a European music snob and Jeff was simple uncultured American. Over time, they became friends and Marcel needed help from his friend for a project he was working on that had no singer. He asked Jeff to sing the songs for the album.
Marcel’s project was originally called Guitars on Fire, but after the songs were completed and mixed, the name changed to Talisman. But the album almost didn’t happen. At the time of recording the album, Jeff Scott Soto was in a band called Eyes and his contract had him exclusively which means, Jeff can’t do anything outside of Eyes. At the time, Jeff was broke, and I mean flat broke. He needed money fast. So Jeff talked to his label, begged and pleaded and made them understand that this album is a one-off and wouldn’t compete with Eyes. It would have limited release only in Sweden so they had nothing to fear. And you know, they bought it.
Jeff went to Sweden and recorded the album with Jacob in 1989. For the album, you had Marcel Jacob on bass, drums (except for two tracks), keyboards and guitar. Jeff Scott Soto handled the vocals, Christopher Stahl on guitar, Mats Lindfors on guitar, Mats Olassaon on keyboard, and Peter Hermansson on drums for the two tracks Marcel didn’t play on.