Jeff Scott Soto Admits Mimicking Steve Perry While Recording With Journey
Even if Jeff Scott Soto‘s time with Journey was relatively short, the musician tried to contribute to the band with his own. In a recent chat with the Talk Louder podcast, he discussed his time with Journey and revealed how he had mimicked former vocalist Steve Perry‘s signature sound while trying to establish his.
Steve Perry’s complicated relationship with his former band is quite well-known. From filing lawsuits to disclosing how Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain let him down, it is safe to say that Perry is not on good terms with Journey. His influence and role within the band, however, were crucial.
Jeff Scott Soto would definitely agree with this since he recently emphasized Perry’s influence while he was a band member. He disclosed that he had recorded one original song with Journey, and the track was called ‘Winds of Freedom,’ written by Jonathan Cain for the 4th of July.
It had patriotic themes which emphasized U.S.’s early history. For Soto, it wasn’t a usual Journey song, but it was supposed to be performed only at that event. So, the band recorded the track, and that was the only new material Jeff got to sing for them. While recording the song, however, the musician remarked that he mimicked Steve Perry‘s vocals.
Soto used the word ‘Perry-ed’ to describe how he got into the ‘Perry mode.’ He disclosed that he had done lots of Steve’s inflections and grammatical sounds. Soto remarked that Steve’s mentor was Sam Cooke, and Cooke’s mentor was Nat King Cole; so, he had learned from all the masters, including Steve Perry.
The musician explained that he wanted to pay tribute to the former vocalist’s legacy in Journey. Perry’s sound was a cult one, and the musician was influenced by his singing. However, the singer noted that you could still hear his own sound in the song, even if he had mimicked Perry’s inflections.
Jeff Scott Soto remarked on ‘Winds Of Freedom,’ the recording process of the song, and how had mimicked Steve Perry:
“We did one song. It was a song that Jonathan wrote for… It was a private gig. They were celebrating America’s birthday, and Jon basically wrote a song. It was kind of like a history. It was talking about Jamestown, and the ships came over, and they settled in the new land and colonized.
It didn’t sound like a traditional Journey song, but it wasn’t supposed to be. It was specifically for that event, and it was only supposed to be performed at that event. And we did that song, we demoed it, and that was the end of it. That was the only original song I got to do with them.
But, man, I just remember when I was singing it, I ‘Perry-ed’ the f*ck out of it — if that’s even the word: ‘Perry-ed’. I went into Perry mode. I did a lot of his inflections, a lot of his grammatical vowel sounds. Sam Cooke was his mentor, and before that, Nat King Cole was Sam Cooke’s mentor. So I basically learned from all of the masters, including, down the line, from Steve.
And I wanted to pay homage to what he brought to the band, what he left with that band, because it’s such an identifiable signature sound. But when you hear it, you can hear the inflections, but you still hear it’s me.”
Although Steve Perry has a complicated relationship with his former band, his influence was crucial for the band. Soto decided to pay a tribute to Perry by doing his signature sounds, but the musician also emphasized that his own sound could still be heard through Perry’s influence.