Journey guitarist Neal Schon explained why the band dismissed former lead singer Jeff Scott Soto, saying he “didn’t sound right” to them. Soto replaced Steve Augeri in Journey in December 2006 after Augeri began suffering throat problems on the road. (Augeri had replaced singer Steve Perry in 1998.) But Soto lasted less than a year, and in December 2007, Journey hired Arnel Pineda, who fronts the band to this day.
Said Soto about his firing: “The problem is I don’t know. That’s the problem. If I knew what the problem was, if I knew the reason why I got fired, then at least I could be at peace with it; I could find a way to discuss it or talk about it. But I’m not legally supposed to talk about it. … It got to the point where we had to take it [to] legal side of things.” The singer said he simply wanted an answer as to why he was let go. “If I was told why I was fired, if I was told, ‘Your voice sucks,’ if I was told I killed one of the guys’ dogs, if I made somebody in their family angry, if I was told the reason why I was fired, I could make peace with it. But to this day, 14 years later — whatever it is — I don’t know. I don’t have the answers.”
Schon responded to Soto’s claims in a Facebook comment: “It was unfortunate, but Steve Augeri’s voice gave out. We were in the middle of [the] Def Leppard tour, so I was working with Jeff on [a] side project and suggested he come in and help [finish] the tour. It went well but all were not sold on him being the lead singer after writing a tune and listening. Both [keyboardist Jonathan Cain] and I agreed it didn’t sound right – or, better put, what we wanted. I hope this satisfies this ongoing drama. It didn’t work out.”
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