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APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION
Welcome to Appetite for Discussion -- a Guns N' Roses fan forum!

Please feel free to look around the forum as a guest, I hope you will find something of interest. If you want to join the discussions or contribute in other ways then you need to become a member. We especially welcome anyone who wants to share documents for our archive or would be interested in translating or transcribing articles and interviews.

Registering is free and easy.

Cheers!
SoulMonster

2004.08.DD - Blender Magazine - The Blender 100: #93 Velvet Revolver (Slash, Duff)

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2004.08.DD - Blender Magazine - The Blender 100: #93 Velvet Revolver (Slash, Duff) Empty 2004.08.DD - Blender Magazine - The Blender 100: #93 Velvet Revolver (Slash, Duff)

Post by Blackstar Wed Aug 26, 2020 10:00 am

The Blender 100: #93 Velvet Revolver

Before Slash’s new band could get a-rockin’, they had to get Scott Weiland off heroin

By Adam Higginbotham

Hidden in an anonymous building in the industrial hinterlands of Burbank, California, Velvet Revolver’s studio is decorated in a manner befitting L.A. rock aristocracy: The walls are hung with gold and platinum discs and Oriental carpets; the ceiling is swagged with red velvet drapes and hung with Chinese lanterns; plastic palm trees sprout among the amps. Then there’s a final finishing touch: Almost completely obscuring the view through the Plexiglas window into the control room, raggedly spray-painted in giant, dripping, silver letters and followed by a giant, triangular exclamation point, are two words: fucking fuck! “It’s good to express yourself,” explains bassist Duff McKagan, squinting through the indelible legend to where the technicians are setting up his equipment for the afternoon’s rehearsal. “Scott did that,” adds rhythm guitarist Dave Kushner. “He was in a bad mood. And he had a can of spray paint.”

These days, Scott Weiland’s moods are a little more predictable than they have been. Since the former Stone Temple Pilots frontman joined three ex-members of Guns N’ Roses — McKagan, guitarist Slash, drummer Matt Sorum — and Kushner to form Velvet Revolver, his life has become much calmer. “I have better control of my impulses than I used to,” Weiland says, in careful understatement. “You know, for a person who has poor impulse control like I do.”

Weiland is now apparently finally free from the heroin addiction that dogged him for the past 10 years — partly as a result of joining a band entirely composed of some of the most infamous ex-junkies in rock. And Velvet Revolver have just made one of the most anticipated albums of the year. But don’t dare call them a supergroup.

“I bristle,” McKagan says, “when somebody calls this a supergroup — like a pre-put-together thing. This is so far from that.”

* * * * *

After parting company with volatile frontman Axl Rose in the ’90s, the three former Guns N’ Roses kept themselves busy. There were other bands, like Slash’s Snakepit and the Neurotic Outsiders. McKagan, told after his pancreas exploded in 1994 that he could either stop drinking or die, spent three years at Seattle University earning a degree in finance and accounting.

They all played together again for the first time at a benefit gig in April 2002, and after recruiting Kushner to play rhythm guitar, began looking for a singer. From the start, they wanted Weiland — “He’s the best rock & roll singer in the world,” McKagan says — but he was still in Stone Temple Pilots. So they decided to advertise. They received thousands of submissions from all over the world. “We got the inevitable,” McKagan says. “We’d hear the first two chords of ‘Welcome to the Jungle,’ and we’d just fucking take the CD out.”

They auditioned 25 singers in person, but none was quite right. “It was tedious,” Slash says. By February 2003, the band had been commissioned to record two songs for movie soundtracks but still had no frontman. But Stone Temple Pilots were disintegrating, making Weiland available after all. The only difficulty for the band — every one of them a former junkie or alcoholic — was that Weiland was still addicted to heroin. In May 2003, only days after announcing that he had joined the band, Weiland was once again arrested and charged with possession of narcotics.

After their experience with Rose, didn’t the three consider just finding a singer who was normal? “We’ve all got heavy-duty skeletal shit goin’ on in the closet,” Slash says. “We only feel comfortable with somebody who was in some way maladjusted.”

Slash says he never gave Weiland any specific advice about kicking the drug. “We had a serious confrontational meeting early on, where I flat-out told him, ‘It only leads to one thing: You’re gonna die. Probably sooner than you’d planned.’”

“These guys have all been arrested numerous times,” Weiland says. “They understand. They’ve been very supportive.”

Before they began work on the album, McKagan took Weiland on a martial-arts retreat in the mountains of Washington — the same regimen McKagan himself had used to overcome his own drug addiction. When they returned, they began whittling down the 60 songs they had written for the album that would become Contraband.

Weiland wrote all the lyrics for the resulting 13 songs, and they include some of the most personal words he’s ever written: charting his struggle with depression and addiction, and his alienation from the Hollywood rock-star lifestyle. While still committed to rehab through the recording of the album, Weiland has now completed his court-ordered treatment, is clean again and has reunited with his wife and two children. It’s his family, he says, who finally persuaded him to put the drugs behind him.

“It’s only so long that you can live life for yourself,” he says.

Meanwhile, Axl Rose is going through his same old problems — as Guns N’ Roses once again falls apart around him. Would anyone in Velvet Revolver consider getting the old GN’R lineup back together again? “No fuckin’ way,” Slash says firmly.

https://web.archive.org/web/20040730001854/http://www.blender.com/articles/article_977.html
Blackstar
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