JEFF SCOTT SOTO On JOURNEY Gig: 'I Will Do My Best To Uphold The Reputation Of The Band'

Legendary hard rock vocalist Jeff Scott Soto (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, TALISMAN, SOUL SIRKUS) has commented on his new role as the touring singer for JOURNEY while Steve Augeri recovers from a throat infection.

Soto, who has performed with JOURNEY guitarist Neal Schon in SOUL SIRKUS, will step in for Augeri starting with a show Friday (July 7) in Bristow, Va.

"Steve's been suffering with an acute throat condition since before we kicked off the tour with DEF LEPPARD," the band said in a statement. "We were hoping he'd be in well condition to handle the rigors of the road but unfortunately it appears to be a chronic condition requiring total voice rest."

Augeri's doctor will monitor his condition to determine when he may be able to rejoin the tour.

Meanwhile, Soto had the following to say regarding his new gig:

"As you may have heard by now, I have accepted the opportunity the team up with JOURNEY and help them continue their current tour with DEF LEPPARD.

"I must start [by saying that] my heart goes out to my dear friend, Steve Augeri, who has been dealing with some potentially threatening throat problems for some time. He is a BRAVE soul to go in and tackle these songs night after night, year after year, and an amazing job he has done. Unfortunately he is only human, he is not bionic, and the road can take its toll on the best of us out there. I couldn't be more sympathetic myself. I, too, experienced problems a few years back and had to go through nodule removal surgery. It is a risky operation with no guarantees that one's voice will be as it once was ever again.

"I pray that Steve's condition is not too severe and with the proper down time, he will come back stronger than ever!! In the meantime, this in itself is a bit of a dream for me... First, starting a group with the mighty Neal Schon and SOUL SIRKUS was one thing, but now singing all of these songs, as I did in my teens on a daily basis in my car, in the shower, etc., with the creators is pretty mind-boggling.

"I take on this responsibility with absolute pride and respect to the legacy JOURNEY have created.

"It's no surprise to anyone who knows of my musical history and background that JOURNEY cuts into my influence quite deeply. Strange but true, I know some of these songs better than my own.

"There were three singers who did impact and mold my style during my teens: Steve Perry, Sam Cooke and Freddie Mercury; my mentors in song, performance and of course voice!

"I understand there will be many naysayers in this decision to continue the tour, especially for those who are expecting at least one of the 'Steves' instead seeing yours truly up front, but I will do my best to uphold the reputation of the band and its fans. It's a tough decision for a band, especially at this caliber, to take such a risk like this mid-tour, but I couldn't be more proud to be a part of it. Remember, I too am and always will be a fan. With that, I hope we can enjoy this ride together!"

A short video clip of Jeff Scott Soto performing the JOURNEY classic "Who's Crying Now" during SOUL SIRKUS' 2005 U.K. tour is available for viewing at YouTube.com.

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