Soul SirkUS – ‘World Play’ (2004/2005) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

Soul SirkUS started originally as a project called PlanetUS which had Neal Schon, Deen Castronovo, Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony. They demoed a couple songs, but it ended abruptly when Sammy and Michael returned to their small side gig called Van Halen. Neal and Deen wanted to continue so they needed a singer. Then in January 2004 at the NAMM Convention in Anaheim, California. Neal had heard of Jeff Scott Soto thanks to Andrew McNiece at Melodicrock.com who was good friends with Jeff and mentioned it to Neal. At the NAMM Convention, Neal and Jeff met and jammed and the relationship between the two was born.

They pulled in the great bass player Marco Mendoza and now the band was complete. They recorded 11 songs and changed the name from PlanetUS to Soul SirkUS. The name had to have the US in the name as Neal wanted to show this as a continuation of what he started with PlanetUS. The Soul Sirkus parts each start with an S to represent Neal Schon and Jeff Scott Soto. They spent time writing together, Neal on music and Soto on lyrics, but from what I gather, it was recorded in two days!! That is impressive. The album was complete and released on December 7, 2004. The cover was black which is different than the copy I have and I still need to get that copy.

While rehearsing for a tour, Deen Castronovo was exhausted and his health was not great after the long Journey tour that he and Neal just recently finished. Deen stepped away. But no one wanted the project to end so they recruited drummer Virgil Donati most notably from the band Planet X. The band didn’t want to go on the road as a band and support an album that not every member played on so they went back in the studio and had Virgil re-do all the drum parts. This gave them time to do a couple new songs as well. They re-released the album in March 2005 and this time the cover was a bright yellow and there were now 16 songs and not just the original 11 tracks.

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My Sunday Song – “New Position” by Soul Sirkus

For My Sunday Song #283, we are going to dissect the song “New Position” by Soul Sirkus which was a Jeff Scott Soto side project with Neal Schon (Journey), Marco Mendoza (The Dead Daisies) and Virgil Donati on drums. They had only one album called ‘World Play’ back in 2005. If you get the European edition of the release, there is a DVD with the video for the song as well. The song was technically a single, but I don’t know if it charting.

The song was written by Neal Schon and Jeff Scott Soto. It is seems to be about a woman and is full of sexual innuendos with the title alone. The singer has aching for this woman and so wants her and believes he can show her things that she may have forgotten about…hmmm…I wonder what that could be!! This isn’t rocket science lyrics, no sir. It is rock & roll baby!! Keep it simple, sexual and jamming…and they do just that.

Musically, the song opens with a machine gun barrage drum fills from Virgil showing he means business. Marco’s bass is slamming helping give us a fiery, groovetastic, good time song that will rock your ass off. Neal Schon’s guitar mastery is on full display as he lays down some killer riffs and don’t get me started on the solo. Man, he is killing it. Jeff Scott Soto is full of swagger and confidence as he delivers a stellar vocal full of harmonies and so much power. This album is a showcase of his talents and why Neal tapped him to lead Journey on tour, sadly, no album was ever done before Jeff was dismissed.

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