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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.


2005.04.07 - The San Diego Union-Tribune - Phoenix, Rising (Slash)

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2005.04.07 - The San Diego Union-Tribune - Phoenix, Rising (Slash) Empty 2005.04.07 - The San Diego Union-Tribune - Phoenix, Rising (Slash)

Post by Blackstar Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:56 pm

Phoenix, rising

By George Verga

For the members of Velvet Revolver, the band is a second chance, 'cosmically meant to be'

For Slash, helping put together Velvet Revolver in 2002 was a good way to reignite his love for the blues-tinged brand of hard rock that helped the dark-haired guitarist achieve worldwide fame as a founding member of Guns N' Roses in the 1980s.

For Scott Weiland, joining Velvet Revolver – which had auditioned dozens of potential lead singers before he came along – was a good way for the former frontman of Stone Temple Pilots to reclaim his life.

After too many years in a dizzying revolving door of drug abuse, arrests, jail time, repeated stays in rehab and the near-breakup of his second marriage, Weiland was nearing the bottom of a dark, grim, downward spiral to oblivion. "I was looking for a reason and a way out, to change, (and) a series of events kind of just happened," Weiland, who is on probation, said from a recent Velvet Revolver tour stop in Canada. "One of them was the final bust (in 2003), and it just gave me an outlet, something to grab a hold of, enough reason and enough motivation, and enough people around me – a new situation, that being the band. And once I got into it, I took a whole look, (and got) a different philosophy. I needed something completely new, a way of looking at things, instead of the old way I used to go about it. "Now, it's a whole different thing. The way I look at my life and the way I live my life now is completely different than the way I used to live my life."

In Velvet Revolver, which won a Grammy Award this year for Best Hard Rock Performance and plays here Tuesday at Coors Amphitheatre, Weiland has found a band of kindred spirits, personally and musically.

Slash and former Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan are both former drug addicts, while Velvet Revolver's second guitarist, Dave Kushner, has been sober for the past 15 years. Drummer Matt Sorum, another Guns N' Roses alum and Velvet Revolver's oldest member at 44, also appears to have conquered his appetite for destruction.

So when Weiland was arrested only days after it was formally announced he had joined Velvet Revolver almost two years ago, his new bandmates didn't stop to reconsider. Finding a new singer never crossed their minds. "I think I was just so locked into this thing that there was just no way it would stop," Slash, 39, recalled in a separate interview from the Los Angeles home he shares with his family. "Just the way the whole thing built up, it seemed like it was cosmically meant to be," he continued. "So for me there was no turning back. I wasn't going to let a bunch of cops keep this from happening. As much as a hassle as (Weiland's arrest) was, and as troublesome or worrisome, at the same time I was so focused on this thing happening that my brain was doing cartwheels, trying to figure out how to get through this or that angle. It was going to happen."

Velvet Revolver's 13-song debut, "Contraband," debuted at the No.1 spot last June on Billboard's national album sales chart. It broke the million sales mark in August and yielded the hit singles "Slither" and "Fall to Pieces" (the latter directly inspired by Weiland's travails). The well-crafted album benefits from the powerful, yet agile, drumming of Sorum, who is likely the only musician anywhere whose recording credits include work with the Cult, Tori Amos, former teen-pop idol Shaun Cassidy and R&B vocal dynamo Solomon Burke. But Velvet Revolver's guitar-driven music, largely a throwback to a bygone hard-rock era, seems to revel in its retro trappings. To hear Slash and Weiland tell it, though, audiences at Velvet Revolver's concerts includes lots of teenagers – young fans who were barely out of diapers when Guns N' Roses was in its heyday in the late 1980s.

"I think young kids today have never really had the opportunity to be smashed over the head with real rock 'n' roll, and what we're doing almost sounds alternative to them," Weiland said. "And it's real rock 'n' roll from the street, a real rock 'n' roll band that sounds like it's in a dirty club, in the heart of grungy Hollywood. (It's) that same kind of show, put on in an arena and played the way it is in a club, but (it's) in an arena. You get teenagers to come see that, and they haven't seen that before. To them that's like the way teenagers used to feel when they used to go see Led Zeppelin in the early '70s."

Slash agreed. "It's about the kids that come to the gigs," said the guitarist (whose real name is Saul Hudson). "Those are the only people you have to impress. You make a record for yourself, and the record is always a means to go out and perform, and that's what you're spending all your time doing. "When you go out and perform a set and everybody gets off on it, that's why you do what you do and put up with all the other BS."

For Slash, the seeds for Velvet Revolver were planted not by the demise of Snakepit, his post-Guns N' Roses band, but by the several years he spent working with American music icon Ray Charles, who died last June at the age of 73. The guitarist, who is half-black, played on many of the sessions for the soundtrack album for the Oscar-winning 2004 film, "Ray." He also contributed to the 2002 album "Ray Charles Sings for America" and to the posthumously released "Genius Loves Company," which won eight Grammy Awards in February. "I worked with him until he died," Slash said of Charles. "It was like (when I played with) Les Paul – someone you're so in awe of – and he was so everything you could ever want one of your heroes to be. "I was nervous every time I had to do any of that stuff (with Charles), every time I'd have him listen to a take I'd done. One time, we were playing for the soundtrack to the movie, and he was so easygoing and really took me under his wing, as nervous as I was. ... "He just got me up and running. I was going through a period of no focus; I had nothing to look forward to. It just seemed kind of dead, and I was going through a period where I just wasn't interested in anything, and then he gave me something to work toward."

For Weiland, who has been drug free for more than a year and hopes to settle in coastal North County with his family, music is a more essential part of his life than ever before. "It's more important, because the major focus of my life is my family and my music," he said. "And without it, I guess I would really need to focus on finding some sort of peace of mind, which I think would be very difficult. I think I would fall into a deep depression without those two stabilizing forces in my life, because I still suffer from bipolar disorder and that's debilitating at times.

"I take medication for that, so I'm a little more stable than I used to be. But I still feel like that keeps me with one foot firmly on the ground and the other dangling rather dangerously over the edge. But I guess that helps keep the creative juices flowing. It keeps life from being monotonous and horrifyingly bland."

The Music of Their Lives:

Velvet Revolver lead guitarist Slash and lead singer Scott Weiland both fell in love with music as kids, long before they became rock stars with, respectively, Guns N' Roses and Stone Temple Pilots. Below is a list of the albums that each cite as prime inspirations, along with their comments. (While Weiland and Slash each gave shout-outs to the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Aerosmith, only one album – the Sex Pistols' 1977 debut, "Never Mind the Bullocks" – made both of their lists.)


"Exile on Main Street," the Rolling Stones; "Revolver," the Beatles; "Never Mind the Bollocks," the Sex Pistols; "The Cars," the Cars; "Toys in the Attic," Aerosmith; "Black in Black," Aerosmith; "The White Album," the Beatles; "In Utero," Nirvana; "OK Computer," Radiohead; "Legend: The Best of Bob Marley & The Wailers."

"The common denominator is that they were all groundbreaking and they all spoke the truth," Weiland said. "... all those records were key, important records for their times that affected change within pop culture. And that's something that I strive for."


"Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs," Derek and the Dominos; "Rocks," Aerosmith ("And also Aerosmith's 'Live Bootleg,' because it's great."); "Blonde On Blonde," Bob Dylan; "Beggars Banquet," the Rolling Stones; "Let It Be – Naked," the Beatles; "Cheap Trick," Cheap Trick; "Never Mind the Bollocks," the Sex Pistols; "Court and Spark," Joni Mitchell; "Led Zeppelin," Led Zeppelin; "Wired," Jeff Beck.

"(It's) probably just the sincerity," Slash said of his choices. "Whatever the music is communicating, or the artist, is sincerity. (There's) an individuality in those particular artists that's common throughout these albums."

Daddy is a Rock Star

Besides being members of Velvet Revolver, guitarist Slash and lead singer Scott Weiland are each the married fathers of two young children.

Both musicians credit their kids for helping to keep them grounded and focused on life beyond rock 'n' roll. And both spoke of fatherhood with infectious enthusiasm.

"It's awesome," said Slash, the father of sons London, 21 1 2, and Cash, 9 months.

"I think it's made me a lot more sensitive," said Weiland, the father of son Noah, 4, and daughter Lucy, 2. "I know it has."

Slash, whose older son got a drum set for Christmas, used to be more concerned with his music than his personal well-being. However, he said soberly, "that changes completely when you have kids."

Weiland proudly noted that both his kids are fans of Velvet Revolver and Stone Temple Pilots. His daughter recently watched her first Velvet Revolver concert from the side of the stage, although she wore headphones to protect her hearing.

"My son thinks I'm like a superhero," Weiland said. "I mean, his life revolves around Power Rangers, Spiderman and his daddy. He says to me every day: 'Daddy, I love your music, I love your music! You look so good and I love your music, and you're the best dad.' That's the best feeling."

Weiland also credits his kids for his artistic growth.

"I think that once you have children, it sort of gives you a free pass to be able to explore your childlike side all over again," he said. "When writing emotional music, music that's not overtly masculine 'man-rock,' it's given me a lot more courage to really explore the emotional aspects, the emotional scheme of things, in sensitive music."

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