Jeff Scott Soto says that he wishes he and Yngwie Malmsteen "could just bury the hatchet and be friends."
Three years ago, Soto, who sang on Yngwie's first two albums, 1984's "Rising Force" and 1985's "Marching Out", 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.
In a new question-and-answer session with Vince Palamara, Soto was asked if he still had "mixed emotions" about Yngwie. The singer responded (see video below): "It's not mixed emotions. I have absolute emotion that I wish we could just bury the hatchet and be friends. Life is too short. We're losing so many of our heroes, so many of our friends, colleagues, peers, family — [members] — whatever, you name it — and I don't wanna go out of this earth with any regrets or with any enemies. So I would love nothing more for us to make up, but for whatever reason, there's a resistance and it continues to be. All I can do is keep extending that olive branch and hopefully he'll grab on to it and we can actually mend whatever it is that is still lingering after all these years. But I don't regret anything. It was an amazing learning experience and it put me where I am today. It gave me my start. I'll always be humble in the fact that without Yngwie, I wouldn't have gotten a lot of the opportunities that I've had today. So, yeah, as far as I'm concerned, it was an amazing positive experience. Of course, the negatives outweighed the positives for me to stay on, and that's why I moved on."
Back in 2017, Soto 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."
In the days after Yngwie's original interview with Metal Wani was published on BLABBERMOUTH.NET, several of the guitarist's other former singers — including 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."