Jeff Scott Soto says that he left Yngwie Malmsteen's band more than three decades ago because he realized "you don't really work with Yngwie; you work for Yngwie."
Soto, who sang on Yngwie's first two albums, 1984's "Rising Force" and 1985's "Marching Out", discussed his relationship with the legendary Swedish guitarist during a recent interview with "That Metal Interview With James".
Asked if Malmsteen was "difficult to work with," Soto said: "One thing I had to learn early on is you don't really work with Yngwie; you work for Yngwie. And this is one of the reasons why I left early on.
"I'm so used to working with people — we craft, we build, we formulate together. And I realized I was joining a situation where the main focus was the guitar player — it was his career, it was his band, it was his vision," he continued. "But I really thought his vision would start with getting the best people he can surround himself with and then we would grow together and we would build his vision together, and it would become our vision. That was my first mistake.
"As we went along, I realized you don't work with Yngwie; you work for Yngwie. And when I realized I really don't wanna work for somebody, even back then when we were getting very little credit when we were not even getting paid the really tiny salary that we were promised, all of my delusions of grandeur just went right out the window. I just said, 'This is not for me. I don't have respect…' I'm not talking about just Yngwie; I'm talking about overall. There was no focus from the record company or management. There was no focus even from the fans — everything was Yngwie, Yngwie, Yngwie. And I'm, like, 'I'm putting the same effort as I put into any band that I would be in, and I am getting zero return from it.'"
Jeff added: "I wanted something where I can get out of it what I'm putting into it, and that's the main reason why I left him. It had nothing to do with I didn't like the music or we had a fight. It just basically came down to, I missed being in a band, I missed sharing everything — even in the fact that I was the only American in the band. You get off stage and you normally get backstage, you're sweaty and you're laughing about what happened in the show — 'Hey, did you see that girl when she lifted her top?' — all that kind of stuff that you're used to. But with his band, we'd get off stage and the four of them start speaking in Swedish and I felt left out. 'Man, can we talk in English just so I can [understand] the conversation?'
"So, yeah, it kind of sucked for me in that sense. I was young, I was green, I was inexperienced. I deal with those situations way differently now."
Three years ago, Soto engaged in a war of words with Yngwie 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. Soto later 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."