JEFF SCOTT SOTO Stands By His Claim That YNGWIE MALMSTEEN Threatened To Cancel Concert If Singer Was In Attendance
March 8, 2023
In a new interview with the YouTube channel of Brazilian music journalist Igor Miranda, ex-YNGWIE MALMSTEEN singer Jeff Scott Soto, who has had an acrimonious relationship with the legendary Swedish guitarist in recent years, reflected on his claim that Yngwie threatened to cancel his concert in May 2022 in Agoura Hills, California after finding out his former bandmate was in attendance. Jeff said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I thought it was kind of funny. I mean, when I posted about it [on social media] that night, I was doing it because it was so unbelievable, I was laughing. I was, like, 'I have to share this because it's so silly.' But then to be called a liar about it, it made it even more funny to me, because why would I lie about something about that? Why would I even care to go to any extreme to go see somebody who doesn't wanna see me or doesn't want me around them? Of course I was there to see my friends' band playing. They invited me. It's a place that I go to all the time. I didn't feel there was any harm gonna be done if I just kind of stayed in the corner. And, of course, when the word was out that I was there, I was told if I'm gonna remain in the building, the show would be canceled. It's a thousand, one billion percent truth behind that. Two guys came up to me that work there, that I know that work there, they said, 'I don't know what this is about, Jeff, but I'm sorry to tell you that we've been informed if you don't leave, the show's gonna be canceled.' And I was gonna leave anyways. I was there to watch my friends' band. When they were finished, I was paying my bill to the bartender, who's also a very good friend of mine, and everybody watched that happening, and we were just, like, 'Can you believe this?'"
Jeff continued: "I wasn't there for the Yngwie show. I wasn't planning to stay. I didn't sneak in — none of that. Of course, it was so silly to me, it was so hilarious to me. But it's unfortunate that it has to be that, because I'm not looking to keep talking about this or to keep elevating it or to keep getting news from it. I want peace from everybody in my life. Anybody that has any issues with me, I would love to just give them a hug and move on with life and leave this world, leave this planet with no enemies. But, unfortunately, that's not the case on that side."
When Soto first posted about the Agoura Hills concert last May, he wrote: "Hey my peeps, here's a fun little diddy for ya! I went to the Canyon Club tonight, my local watering hole for the past 21 years, it's like my Cheers where everybody knows my name...I actually went to see one of the support bands who were killer btw, I hesitated on going because my former ahem 'boss' was headlining but I was not planning to stay anyway...well, word got to him I was in the house and I was kindly told as long as I am present, the show would be cancelled... Now I've seen it all!
"I left as planned but it's kind of funny, I just had to share the ludicrousness (not a real word but seems to fit the detail) that continues in 2022, I laughed all the way home!' Jeff added. "I'm sure this will be shared like crazy but I couldn't help but sharing it with you all, good times!"
The following day, Malmsteen disputed Soto's account of what happened in Agoura Hills, writing on his Facebook page: " Hmmmm…. I think some people are making up stories to be in the media again. Kids, don't believe made up BS from people who are trying to stay relevant! He's not important for me to cancel my show to my fans. On the other hand I was told by my agent that he snuck in there without paying so the security threw him out. Certain people make up stories… turn up at my show, get kicked out by security because they snuck in the venue WITHOUT PAYING, then turn around make up a story to try and grab media attention… some people are sick. STOP stalking me and get help ".
When one fan questioned Yngwie about his claim that Jeff has to struggle to appear relevant on the scene today and challenged Malmsteen to "compare audience response to said projects and releases to what [Yngwie has] accomplished during the same period," Malmsteen responded: "Hmmm Let me think In the last 15/ 20 years … I have been on the American billboard chart every single time I have released a record including my last one! being playing theaters, promoters are happy. On top of that I have made mega deals including signature models with Major companies such as Marshall, Fender, ovation, Dunlop, Seymour Duncan, Lewitt microphones and the list goes on. On top of that I have won awards for the most magazine covers ever in the history of certain guitar magazines. Would you like me to carry-on?!? None of this matters to me, however what does matter is an intent to smear an attack me and my reputation for the last 40 years. Everything this man says is a lie with the intent to do damage. I have not once spoken about him and nor have any interest to simply because he’s not important to me. And yet he can’t stop talking about me on a regular basis! Making up stories because he has not had any relevant success on his own he tailgates on other people. He needs to just MoveOn and stop stalking me. Oohh I almost forgot I have over HALF A MILLION listeners on Spotify every month alone! His let me look it up… oh no ONLY 40k! Yep he needs to keep slandering me a bit more."
Soto later returned to social media to respond to Yngwie with the following missive: "I will put this to rest after clarifying a few things.
"God forbid ANYONE thinks I am trying to drum up press, especially by berating someone in the process.
"I post my past on social media to celebrate and share the pride I have for my musical endeavors the past 4 decades. I don't and don't need to ride anyone's coattails, stalk or trying to drum up press for myself, I have my music and the current things I partake in to do this. Everything else I share is a celebration, nothing more, nothing less.
"I went out to a venue I frequent for the past 21 years, I have played this venue more times than I can remember or count and know all that have been and still there since I walked through those doors the 1st time in 2001. I have not 'snuck in' to a show since 1988 when I heard of an intimate jam Prince was throwing at an undisclosed location which I found out about and finally made it in 15 min before he was done playing. That said, if I have to sneak in to a venue or not pay to get into one for ANYONE, I simply would not even be near the building, I am 56, not 16!
"Lastly, I went to this venue to see someone play who is very near and dear to me. When I found out who the headliner was, I decided it best not to go as I didn't wanna ruffle any feathers in any way. Then I decided I will go but leave before said headliner begins as I had no interest in seeing that part of the evening anyway.
"If anyone has been paying attention to interviews, award speeches and even my own social media where I have stated numerous times all I want in my life is peace, no enemies, no animosity ESPECIALLY with ANYONE in my past, they will know my intent is ONLY about leaving this planet with no water under the bridge. I extend olive branches, continue to celebrate my past with a positive spin and make sure everyone knows I wanna hug it out with anyone who has or has had any issue with me. If this is 'sick' then institutionalize me immediately!"
Six years ago, Soto, who sang on Yngwie's first two albums, 1984's "Rising Force" and 1985's "Marching Out", engaged in a war of words with the Swedish guitarist over the fact that Malmsteen claimed in an interview that he "always wrote everything," including the lyrics and melodies, and simply hired various vocalists to sing his material.
Back in 2017, Soto told the "US American Made Guitars" show that "it's false information" to suggest that he contributed nothing to Yngwie's early albums "because we co-wrote [some of] those songs together. I actually authored those songs," he said. "For him to say, 'I wrote every lyric, every melody,' it's absolute falsity. And he's speaking out of whatever anger or whatever throwaway conversation he might be having, but when it's put on text, it comes across as very crude and very arrogant. So, of course, I don't take that kind of stuff too personally."
The singer went on to say that faulty memory may be at least partly to blame for Yngwie's comments. "Yngwie's written so much of his own stuff, he's written so much on his own when it comes to lyrics and melodies through the years," he said. "Maybe the past eight albums… I don't even know how many albums he's put out, but for that many albums he's put out, clearly his memory is fogged on the albums that he wasn't doing all of that."
He continued: "Joe Lynn [Turner] was a very strong collaborator on the album ['Odyssey'] with he did with Yngwie, as was I, as were some of the other singers that were involved with him. Maybe later on that changed and the other guys were basically just used to sing his words. And I was as well on some songs. I mean, 'I Am A Viking', I didn't write one word or one melody on it. But the stuff that we did together, that's stuff that we did together. And there's some stuff I did on my own that's on there — he didn't add or remove one single thing from it. So, again, it's selective memory. It could be he doesn't wanna talk about me, he's got a bad taste in his mouth about me, so he's gonna do everything in his power to make sure that everybody knows how downplayed my role was in his life and his career."
As for why he thinks Malmsteen has been making disparaging comments about him and other former singers in the press, Soto told "US American Made Guitars": "If anybody knows anything about Yngwie's… the business end of things, his wife is managing him. And through the years, she's gotten more control over the people in his life, the people that were in his life, and it's really sad to see that a lot us have been kind of locked out. Slowly but surely, everybody that was in his past, including his band, including myself who actually retained a great friendship and relationship with him, were just dialed out. And we were just kind of pushed to the wayside for whatever reason, whatever paranoias there are. I really don't understand it. I actually had a great relationship with both of them, and I just saw more and more that they were just pushing everybody away. They wanted their inner circle to be so small, and I never did anything to interrupt that circle. But there were others around that I'm very close to, and was very close to, one of them being Marcel Jacob, who was the bass player that was in [Yngwie's] band when I was in the band. We had a band together called TALISMAN for about nineteen years until [Marcel] took his own life back in 2009. But he and Yngwie had a bit of a conflict and they dangled that over my head for a couple of years until Marcel actually passed away in 2009. When that happened, I assumed, like everyone else that knew Marcel, the guys in the band EUROPE, so many people, whether they were big or small, acknowledged Marcel's passing. Everyone expected Yngwie to do the same, and when he didn't, it rubbed everyone the wrong way, including myself. We tried to at least just get a statement or an acknowledgement of it, and when he was not only not doing that but actually hanging up on people, blocking them or changing his number so nobody can reach him anymore about it, to me… I made a statement, and that probably got back to their camp, that said, 'To me, Yngwie is dead.' I don't wanna know or hear from him."
Soto added: "Marcel was one of my best friends, and if you can't put water under the bridge when somebody has passed, to me, that's just the weakest, juvenile way of dealing with life. And it must have gotten back to his camp, 'cause all of a sudden I was cut out."
In the days after Yngwie's original interview with Metal Wani was published on BLABBERMOUTH.NET, several of the guitarist's other former singers — including Joe Lynn Turner and Tim "Ripper" Owens — responded on social media, with Turner describing Malmsteen's statements as "the rantings of a megalomaniac desperately trying to justify his own insecurity." This was followed by a retort from a member of Yngwie's management team, who wrote on Malmsteen's Facebook page that the three vocalists "came out enraged, spitting insults and profanities" at the guitarist because "Yngwie said something that they didn't like." The management representative added: " It's very unfortunate that these past hired vocalists must resort to mudslinging and insults to elicit any kind of media attention towards them. Such classless, puerile words are ungentlemanly at best and absolutely disgraceful at worst."
Hey my peeps, here's a fun little diddy for ya! I went to the Canyon Club tonight, my local watering hole for the past...
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