During an appearance on a recent episode of "The Ron Keel Podcast", acclaimed hard rock singer Jeff Scott Soto (SONS OF APOLLO, TALISMAN, JOURNEY, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN) was asked how he feels about that "fine line" that artists always have to walk between speaking their minds on political issues and entertaining. He responded (hear audio below): "It's kind of in the same context of 'know the gig, keep the gig.' I realized there's too much divisiveness or dividing of thoughts and feelings and emotions. And I'm not one to stop being a friend or stop talking to a family member because their views are different than mine — unless you're talking about pedophilia, unless you're talking about something so extreme, like, 'Well, I believe Charlie Manson was a prophet.' That's where I kind of draw the line. But when it comes to religious, gender, political views, if you're my friend, you're my friend. And you're my friend because I like you as a person, not because you follow the same team, so to speak. And this is what I feel is a big problem."
He continued: "I hate the fact that we can't speak our voice, we can't make our voices heard, because people just want us to just shup up and sing: 'We don't care about your views.' Well, hang on. What makes [you] think I care about your views? You're a fan, you're somebody who buys my music, you're somebody who listens to me. I don't wanna hear your political views either, but I have to, because you seem to throw it at me when I try to make a statement that has nothing to do with politics.
"I posted the other day about my love for the Lakers, and I'm so happy the Lakers brought home the championship, and I got blasted. Because the Lakers and the NBA decided to run on the whole 'Black Lives Matter' platform, that automatically means that I'm a left-wing extremist, because I'm following their platform and I accept it, and if I were on the right wing, I would have told them to take a hike.
"You're going into my head without even knowing who and what I am," Jeff added. "I'm excited and I'm celebrating a moment, and you're crapping on it, because you think I'm trying to make a political statement. So this is why I personally have just backed off from it, because I realize, especially at my level — I'm not at the level of Bono or Eddie Van Halen or Brian May where if I drop even 50 percent of my fanbase, I'm gonna be okay. If I drop 50 percent of my fanbase, I might as well go start working at a gas station."
Jeff went on to reiterate that he can still have a relationship with people who have opposing political views.
"I tell my friends, 'Listen, as long as you don't have a problem with it, I don't,'" he said. "Even when it does come up, we kind of joke and share the laugh of, 'You're an idiot. There's no way you can believe this.' And this is without saying anything about who I'm talking about or what I'm talking about. Forget about the politics. I'm saying in general, you can agree to disagree and still love one another, and that's one thing that I really feel is missing right now in the world."
Last month, KEEL frontman — and "The Ron Keel Podcast" host — Ron Keel defended Donald Trump against accusations that the president's rhetoric is to blame for the divisiveness and unrest in the United States. The singer, who had previously tweeted in support of Trump's policies, took to the social media platform to comment on the fact that there has been more discord between Republicans and Democrats in our time than there has been in generations. He wrote: "And of course, like everything else, this is @realDonaldTrump 's fault. #BS Elections don't divide people. Beliefs don't divide people. WEAKNESS divides people."
Soto's new solo album, "Wide Awake (In My Dreamland)", was released on November 6 via Frontiers Music Srl.