Jeff Scott Soto says that he would "love" to rekindle his friendship with Yngwie Malmsteen.
Soto, who sang on Yngwie's first two albums, 1984's "Rising Force" and 1985's "Marching Out", last year 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.
Speaking to Meltdown of Detroit, Michigan's WRIF radio station, Soto said about the breakdown of his relationship with Yngwie (hear audio below), "It's unfortunate. I don't know where the thing went sour." He then corrected himself: "I kind of know where it went sour. But for the most part, everybody in his past is pretty much locked out of his circle. And it's hard to really swallow, because I really made a concerted effort to keep that relationship, to keep our friendship strong and ongoing, where it could have been so easy just to say, 'You know what? Based on the circumstances, I don't want anything to do with you.' And I didn't do that. And I went out of my way to make sure we could keep and retain that friendship. And for it to just be gone like that, it's… Without naming names and pointing fingers, it is what it is and hopefully… I'd love to change that in the future. I don't want any enemies. I wanna be having dinner with Neal Schon [JOURNEY] again as well someday in the future. I just hate any kind of division or separation amongst my peers and my colleagues."
In a 2017 interview with the "US American Made Guitars" show, Soto — who had a brief stint as the touring singer in JOURNEY more than a decade ago — said 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."
In the days after Yngwie's original interview with Metal Wani was published on BLABBERMOUTH.NET, several of the guitarist's former singers — including Soto, 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."