Wanna hit those classic David Lee Roth high notes? Singer Jeff Scott Soto says you’ll have to blow your voice out to get it just right.
Soto (Journey, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Yyngwie Malmsteen, Sons of Apollo) recalled his appearance on the 1999 Van Halen tribute album Little Guitars – A Tribute To Van Halen during a recent interview with KNAC.COM. Soto sang on the track “So This Is Love?”, which also featured Blues Saraceno on guitar, Eric Singer (KISS, Alice Cooper) on drums and Tony Franklin (The Firm, Blue Murder) on bass. As Van Halen fans know, the original Van Halen recording from 1981 features some classic Roth high notes. Soto said, in order to be as true to the original vocals as possible, he had to “blow out” his vocal chords prior to recording.
“I can’t do that trademark David Lee Roth thing that he does,” Soto told KNAC.COM’s Ruben Mosqueda. “You’ve heard it on all of those Van Halen records. It’s impossible! I don’t know very many people that can do that. He’s like the only guy that could do that! It was his own personal trademark. I can do it, but my voice has to be completely blown out! So check this out, I said yes to doing the song. I’m driving home from the studio, I’m going over the song, and I’m trying to get those ‘yipes’ as I’m trying to get those on the song because I want to be as true as possible. They weren’t coming out! I remember in the past when my voice was blown out after partying, not enough sleep, singing all night, and I’d wake up the next day, and my voice was trashed! That ‘yipe’ happens even without trying!”
Soto continued, “So I went to try to hit a high note, and that ‘yipe’ happened! On my way to the studio, I was singing the whole way there, trying to blow out my voice! I’m sure I scared a number of people on the way to the studio as I was trying to blow my voice out! When I blow out my voice, it gets ‘gravelly’. When that happens, it’s about as close as I can get to capture that David Lee Roth vocal. I was able to do those ‘yipes’. If you listen back to that, you’re gonna go holy shit! You’re going to think it sounds like Dave! The only reason that I was able to do that was because I blew my voice out!”
Listen To Jeff Scott Soto On “So This Is Love?” (1999)
During a 2017 interview Soto was asked what he’d do if he was asked to join Van Halen saying, “When do you want me there?! [laughs]. The only three bands I would ever, ever wanna sing for is Journey, Queen and Van Halen. Van Halen would be a dream come true.”
During that same interview Soto added that his favorite Van Halen song is “Light Up The Sky” from Van Halen II. He had the chance to perform the song live in 2015 alongside bassist Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth, Talas, Sons of Apollo), drummer Ray Luzier (David Lee Roth, Korn) and guitarist Lance Turner (Atomic Punks).
Watch Jeff Scott Soto, Billy Sheehan, Ray Luzier & Lance Turner Perform “Light Up The Sky” (2015)