Journey yesterday officially named Jeff Scott Soto as its new lead singer, following Steve Augeri, who had replaced Steve Perry. Augeri becomes the Willie Pipp of classic rock, having to sit out half this summer and fall’s Journey-Def Leppard tour, leading to Neal Schon buddy Soto filling in as the Journey front man. And, if you saw the show at Alltel Arena a few weeks back, what a job filling in Soto managed. He made the Journey show. You knew almost immediately into their set that if Journey was going to have any post 2006 life as a rock band, it was going to be with this live wire/great voice fronting the group permanently. Nothing against Augeri, who managed to nail perfectly all of Steve Perry’s signature notes in the Journey classic songs, but Soto added serious stage pazazz to the right notes.
Here’s the band’s press release:
JOURNEY NAMES JEFF SCOTT SOTO
OFFICIAL NEW LEAD SINGER
December 19, 2006 — Jeff Scott Soto has been officially named the new lead singer of Journey. He had been filling in for Steve Augeri, who had to leave the U.S. tour with Def Leppard shortly after it began on June 23 due to illness.
“We are so grateful to Steve for all the years he dedicated to Journey,” says Journey in a joint statement. “We thank Steve for all his hard work and we wish him only the best in his future endeavors. Over the past few months, we’ve come to realize that Jeff has proven himself above and beyond that he can sing the hell out of our songs and we’re happy to officially welcome him as part of the family. We’re excited to start a new chapter with Jeff and we’re excited about what the future may bring.”
Steve Augeri states: “Singing for Journey these last eight years have been the most challenging and the most rewarding of my career. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the band, and especially the fans, for the privilege of being part of a musical legacy that has touched so many hearts and souls. I wish my fellow bandmates success and happiness as they continue to make great music in the future, as I will strive to do the same myself.”
Jeff Soto also adds, “With delight and pleasure, I am accepting the offer to continue my tenure with Journey now as their permanent vocalist after the amazing past months we’ve spent together on tour. I also pay high respect to Steve Augeri for coming in and helping Journey continue their legacy for nearly the last decade and to Steve Perry for co-creating this legacy. I hope to now add and help drive Journey into the next stage of this band’s future.”
Since Soto’s first appearance with Journey on July 7 in Bristow, VA, his performances have been garnering rave reviews. To wit:
“Right off the bat, Journey’s new lead singer is fantastic. Jeff Scott Soto is a supremely talented vocalist who handled with ease the many sky-high notes and the mile-long range in Journey’s repertoire. Steve Perry fans have never gotten over the original lead singer’s departure from the band, but I’m here to tell you this guy rocks the role. And yes, if you close your eyes he sounds just like Perry, but — dare I say it? — maybe even more passionate and full of verve. Hits such as ‘I’ll Be Alright Without You’ and ‘Wheel in the Sky’ showcased his mighty voice.”
–Lorilee Craker, Grand Rapids Press
“The one-time Yngwie Malmsteen vocalist channeled (Steve) Perry flawlessly, nailing all the high notes and then some…Soto’s got it going on.”
–Christopher John Treacy, Boston Herald
“Could Soto cut it? Yes. And then some. His vocals and stage presence were impressive.”
–Dave Ferman, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
“Soto is a really strong vocalist, so instead of struggling to emulate (Steve) Perry’s laser-beam vibrato, he can get away with a style that mixes grainy power with effortless key changes.”
–Johnny Loftus, Metro Times Detroit
Steve Augeri is currently recording his debut solo album, IN THE MOMENT, due out the summer of 2007. He’s also putting the finishing touches on the much-anticipated follow-up to the AOR classic TALL STORIES album, launching early next year. For more info, visit www.steveaugeri.com.
Journey–Neal Schon (guitar), Ross Valory (bass), Jonathan Cain (keyboards), Deen Castronovo (drums) and Jeff Scott Soto (vocals)—are currently mapping out plans for 2007.