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2004.12.11 - Miami Herald - Velvet Revolver's Quick Success No Shot In The Dark (Duff)

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2004.12.11 - Miami Herald - Velvet Revolver's Quick Success No Shot In The Dark (Duff) Empty 2004.12.11 - Miami Herald - Velvet Revolver's Quick Success No Shot In The Dark (Duff)

Post by Blackstar on Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:06 am

Velvet Revolver's quick success no shot in the dark

Velvet Revolver scored three Grammy nominations this week for best rock album, song and performance -- and they're showing off why tonight at Mansion in South Beach.

There was buzz about Velvet Revolver even before the band had performed live, signed a recording contract or had a name or front man.

From the start, the line-up was a recipe for a super group: bass player Duff McKagan, lead guitarist Slash and drummer Matt Sorum, all from Guns 'N Roses, and rhythm guitarist Dave Kushner, formerly of Wasted Youth and Electric Love Hogs.

All that was missing was a mesmerizing lead singer.

A classified ad McKagan placed in music magazines in September 2002 turned up no suitable candidates.

But six months later, Scott Weiland, taking a break as front man for Stone Temple Pilots, came through the door, sang Set Me Free and Velvet Revolver was a band.

''The rock gods blessed us with Scott. He is better than anything we could have ever advertised for,'' McKagan said in a telephone interview from a tour bus bound for South Florida.


The buzz was prophetic. Velvet Revolver's CD Contraband debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 100 in June, went platinum in August and on Tuesday was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Album.

This summer, the band's eerie, heart-pounding single, Slither, hit No. 1 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Track Charts. It received a Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Today, the No. 1 spot is held by Velvet Revolver's textured power ballad, Fall To Pieces, which was also nominated, this time for Best Rock Song.

Now Velvet Revolver makes its South Florida debut at South Beach's Mansion at 11 tonight.

''We've all matured as musicians and as people. We've gone through the tough times and understood them. I think you can see that in our lyrics and arrangements and how we work together,'' said McKagan. "It's all a group effort.''

That extends into their personal lives. When Weiland was arrested for cocaine and heroin possession two months after joining the band, McKagan introduced him to the martial arts discipline of wing chun kung fu, which has helped both men stay sober.

Staying sober is essential to the success of the band, as Weiland's past drug problems, drug convictions and 32 stints in rehab ultimately derailed Stone Temple Pilots at its height.

''We're making it work right now, but I'm not going to lie and say it's going to be that way forever. For the good of the band and its survival, I hope it stays that way, that we stay clean. That Scott stays clean. But I can't predict the future,'' McKagan said.

Before Weiland joined in March 2003, his four bandmates had collectively composed and arranged 60 songs. Friend and former Guns 'N Roses rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin also contributed a few.

''Izzy was never interested in joining,'' McKagan said. "After Guns 'N Roses, he will never work with a lead singer again.''

McKagan says Velvet Revolver's creative process happens informally -- while they are rehearsing or just hanging out.

Even the name of the band -- its original working title was The Project -- was a collaborative effort.

''The name Velvet Revolver doesn't mean a damn thing,'' McKagan said. "Slash had suggested the name Revolver -- and I liked it because of its Beatles connotation. But there are several hundred bands named Revolver. After a while, Scott suggested adding Velvet to the name. Slash sketched out the band logo and that was it.''

The lyrics and arrangements come about in a similarly informal fashion, McKagan said.


"Sometimes it happens fast. Fall To Pieces started off with Slash throwing out some guitar riffs. Eventually I did the bridge, and we all started adding lyrics,'' McKagan said.

"But ones like Slither and Do it for the Kids took longer, and we did several versions until we picked the one that worked right.''

Weiland's vocals have also changed. The low-growl rock baritone flaunted in Stone Temple Pilot's Sex Type Thing has given way to a broader, melodic higher-octave range.

''Scott can embrace lyrics in so many different ways,'' McKagan said. "He sounds completely different than when he was with Stone Temple Pilots.''

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