David Lee Roth was up to doing reunion show with Eat ‘Em And Smile line-up at NAMM but not available
Back at the end of January 2019, David Lee Roth‘s classic line-up solo band consisting of guitarist Steve Vai, bassist Billy Sheehan, drummer Gregg Bissonette and keyboardist Brett Tuggle joined forces with Jeff Scott Soto (Journey, Yngwie Malmsteen, W.E.T., Sons of Apollo) for a short live set at the Ultimate NAMM Night at the Hilton Hotel Ballroom in Anaheim, California, USA at the end of January 2019.
Soto was recently interviewed by eonmusic and was asked what it was like to front the original David Lee Roth band. Soto advised: “Even after all these decades of doing what I’m doing, I still get those ‘pinch me’ moments. It’s funny, because I just recently saw a documentary about Queen + Adam Lambert, and they were interviewing Adam, and he’s very confident of who he is and how he sings, and as a performer and an artist, but he still has that ‘pinch me’ moment of; “Oh my god, look at that; that’s Brian May right there, that’s Roger Taylor right there”. No matter how many shows you do, no matter how many years you’re doing this in your life, you still get those moments, and that night gave me that moment, that; “I’m on stage with the David Lee Roth ‘Eat ‘Em and Smile’ band, this is insane!” It had been so many years [since the original band members played together], and collectively, to be on stage with them together, doing a DLR track, it was mind blowing. It was actually really fun.”
In terms of the rehearsals before they took to the stage at NAMM, Soto indicated: “The rehearsal was us backstage kind of talking it through, how we were going to; “We’re going to extend certain things, and then when we get to this, this is the cue to get back into the song”. That was the rehearsal.”
The Eat ‘Em And Smile line-up ended up playing the Talas song “Shyboy” and Queen‘s “Tie Your Mother Down.” Soto explained the song selection as follows: “The original idea was to do ‘Shy Boy’ and ‘Yankee Rose’. Initially they did reach out for Dave, and asked him if he wanted to do it, but he was in New York during that week, and he said he would have loved to have done it. From that, the guys, mainly Steve [Vai], they worried that if they ever wanted to put this thing together and actually make it work, whether it’s a jam or a reunion or whatever, by doing it with me and doing two DLR songs, he might say; “Yeah, you know, you’ve kind of already done it, you don’t need me to do it anymore”, kind of thing. So, it was by design that we removed ‘Yankee Rose’, and we only kept ‘Shy Boy’ because I made the point that ‘Shy Boy’s a Billy Sheehan vehicle. David Lee Roth, way after the fact; it’s a Talas song, Mr. Big [have played it], it’s been covered by virtually every band Billy Sheehan’s been associated with, besides Sons of Apollo. So I brought in the argument that, it’s not a Dave song, and it shouldn’t be treated as a Dave song; it should be treated as a Billy Sheehan song. But those guys were behind a version of that song, and that’s what convinced the guys to keep that in the set.”
With respect to everyone’s eyes being on him replacing Roth, Soto pointed out: “You know what? The buzz was amazing. Just being part of the buzz that we were going to be doing that, that was incredible. Then of course, the aftermath, it got so much press, it got so much notice. We got to the point where a record company offered a deal for the Eat ‘Em and Smile band and myself fronting, to do an album together. It got to that, but everybody’s busy, and everybody’s doing their thing, and I don’t expect anytime soon that we’re going to revisit that in a real way, but it was still a lot of fun to do.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Jeff Scott Soto at eonmusic‘s website.
Eat ‘Em And Smile album line-up with singer Jett Scott Soto playing live at Ultimate NAMM Night at the end of January 2019:
Steve Vai, Billy Sheehan, Greg Bissonette, Brett Tuggle with Jeff Scott Soto on vocals at The Ultimate NAMM Night, NAMM 2019. It’s been 33 years since the Eat ‘Em And Smile lineup played together. Dave couldn’t make it, so Jeff Scott Soto stepped in to blow everyone away.