By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
Back in August 2006, a buddy of mine invited me to the Jack FM Rock Festival in Irvine, headlined by Journey and Def Leppard. When we got there, my friend told us he forgot the tickets, but it turned out he never had them to begin with. We tried to sneak in, but security was on their game that night. As we were walking back to my car, I could hear “Lights” performing, and that is when I heard the incredible singing of frontman Jeff Scott Soto. Having just joined the famed arena rock group for a short time, I was amazed by his soulful, prevailing voice, and I have been a big fan of his ever since. Soto has been part of so many projects over the years, including Talisman, Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, guitarist Gus G, supergroup Sons of Apollo, and his other supergroup, W.E.T. Recently, I got to interview him over Skype, where we had a chat about W.E.T.’s upcoming record with Frontiers Records, Retransmission.
He was taken back by the intro I set up him, but he was very flattered. We would talk about what life has been like for the both of us when COVID-19 hit. For him, it was an opportunity to make new music. When it came to the band name, Soto came up with the idea as Work of Art, Eclipse, and Talisman collectively bringing their unique sounds together. Moreover, he jokingly said he wanted to see how uncomfortable the name made their friends say aloud. He went to detail of how the group came to be and how the chemistry has been since. We went into how Retransmission came to fruition. Following the success of 2018’s Earthrage, Soto said they looked to continue the kind of chemistry they have been achieving since the 2nd album. We got into the songs that are featured off the record, especially “Got to Be About Love,” which is a tune both he and I connected with on a deep level. He would tell me the inspiration he was looking for when he co-wrote “One Final Kiss.” I even asked him about how he felt about the Talisman self-titled debut turning 30 years old. He went into some detail about one aspect of the record he did not enjoy: using a drumming machine instead of actually drums.
I see Soto as one of the most impassioned and charismatic lead singers of rock ‘n’ roll today. He commands great respect on stage and connects with his fans on a deep, personal level. It was awesome to chat with him once again. As for the W.E.T. album Retransmission, it is now available through Frontiers Records, and it is necessary for any rock fan’s musical collection. To Jeff Scott Soto, I salute you. Horns up!!!