It would be an understatement to say a few staffers at the IE office were Scott Weiland fans. Whether he was fronting his ground-breaking alt-rock band Stone Temple Pilots or his follow-up projects – Velvet Revolver and The Wildabouts, we were terribly saddened by his untimely passing this week. As a tribute we’re posting an online version of Bruce Pilato’s February interview with him as he toured (stopping at the Double Door) supporting his new Wildabouts album: Blaster.
We’re also reposting Curt Baran’s March, 2010 photo gallery of Stone Temple Pilots at The Riviera that originally appeared in IE’s now defunct photo gallery site.
Rest in peace, Scott Weiland.
First Appeared February, 2015: Scott Weiland – Master Blaster
The edgy former lead singer of both STP and Velvet Revolver returns with a stunning new rock album, Blaster, and a powerful new quartet, The Wildabouts. With his new album, Blaster, and a smokin’ hot band, The Wildabouts,
Scott Weiland has positioned himself as sort of a rock n roll contradiction. He
is clearly reborn and reinvented this time out; yet his music has come full circle.
As the saying goes, “everything that is old is new again.” The controversial lead singer for both Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver has checked back in with a new collection of music, that arguably, is as strong and accessible as the best tracks he cut with both STP and VR. That undeniable Weiland scowl is omni-present in the music, and the band, after a
few years backing Weiland on tour, are lava-hot. Weiland remains brutally honest (as he was in his acclaimed 2011 biography, Not Dead Yet & Not For Sale, but the cynical and sometimes nasty front he wore for years as STP’s front
man has been replaced by a dare-we-say, kinder, more gentle persona.
While the attitude might be different, still one thing remains: Scott Weiland is incredibly passionate about the music he makes. Unlike his previous two solo albums which dabbled in everything from folk rock to blues and jazz, with no real focus, Blaster, hits the listener right on the head. This is a crunchy collection of alternative riff-rock that will be a welcomed breath of fresh air to his long time fans.
Scheduled for March 31st release on Vagrant Records, Blaster will send Weiland and The Wildabouts on an extensive tour that stops in Chicago on February 27th at The Double Door. Weiland sat down with IE last month to talk about his new album, strong band, and a re-energized life.
IE: It’s great to see you have something new going on.
SW: Yeah, I am very excited about it.
IE: The new album, Blaster, is almost like a full circle musical celebration. Your other solo stuff almost seemed to deliberately move away from the core alternative hard rock sound you made famous with STP and Velvet Revolver, but this album clearly embraces the sound most of your fans know you for.
Is that assessment off base?
SW: No, not at all, it is a rock n roll album, but it is more of an indie-rock, garage sounding record. It is a retro modern
sounding record. We really took a lot of time in the beginning of making this album to figure out what tones we
wanted to use that would set us apart from other bands. Things like guitar sounds. We came up with some signature
sounds that chilled up to a real cohesion within the album itself. But I did want to go back to being in a band and having a real band situation. My other two solo albums were departures and they were for artistic purposes. I never looked at those records as being commercial successes. I did them as a labor of love. At this point, when we started this whole process, I got together with the guys I had been playing with in my solo band and we talked about making a rock record. One that had a little bit of a different flare. I didn’t necessarily want to go back to STP or Velvet Revolver but I think its rock n roll
enough that STP fans and Velvet Revolver fans will embrace it. At the same time, I think we will be able to get a new audience.
IE: It’s kind of a less is more statement.
SW: Very much so. And that is one thing we did as well. We were a five piece in my solo band and we went to a four
piece. We wanted there to be more space to the music and have there be more room. I felt in the music of my solo band,
for the other 2 solo albums, it was too cluttered. This is very much a less is more type of album, there is more space
between the notes and that is the other member of the band
IE: Is this a new band?
SW: No, it’s the same band I had, minus one.
IE: How did the writing process happen? Was it a collaborative effort?
SW: Very much. We talked about it and decided that we would share publishing. I would keep the publishing for the
lyrics and melodies and whoever in the band came up with the riffs would get that part of the publishing.
IE: That is very fair of you. Not every solo artist would do that.
SW: Yeah. We shared it.
IE: The first single, “White Lightning” is classic riff-rock with that distinctive Weiland wail that goes over it. Why did it take you this long to make a record like this – this is obviously where your musical home is.
SW: Being in two very big band and there is all this drama that goes along with being in two very big bands, especially
if you have played with them for a very long time. I purposely wanted to make solo albums that were a labor of love. That was music I listened to on my own and my own personal influences. But, this was something that was a natural happening. It just happened. We got together and talked about what we wanted to do and we talked about the sound we wanted; the type of songs we wanted to write. We wanted to have a Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers type of band. I would front it, but I am also a Wildabout member.
IE: When you were in Stone Temple Pilots it was an alternative band and a modern band, but you also paid a lot of tribute to classic rock bands like Zeppelin and Sabbath with their heavy guitar riffs. It seems like with this new record and band you can still fit in that world of those classic riff bands that came out of the ’70s. Are you still a fan of that music?
SW: Yeah I am. And from the ’70s I think – we have T Rex elements; and Bowie elements in there. There are riff rock elements in there for sure, but I feel it is a little more on the indie-rock tip as produced albums. We are not on a huge
major label. We are on Vagrant and they gave us full creative license to do whatever we wanted and they dug what we
were doing. I am really happy with it all.
IE: I’ve read your book, so we all know your history, and I have to tell you, you now seem incredibly healthy and happy. You seem like you have it all together now. What are you doing now that has
made a difference in your life?
SW: There are a lot of things now. I am very happily married. I train; I work out; I got into martial arts again. That was
always something that has centered me. There are a lot of things. The way I live my life now is a lot different than the
way I used to over a decade ago.
IE: Would you say you have a normal life now? Do you drive the kids to gymnastics? Would you call yourself domesticated?
SW: Well, it’s domesticated when I am at home. But I don’t have a 9 to 5 job. I am an artist and I am most happy when I
am creating and performing. So, when I am on the road, I don’t have a regular lifestyle. We play and are done by 12
midnight; we’re out of the venue by 1 am, and we are on the bus and eating dinner then, I usually don’t go to bed till
4:30 AM, and I wake up at 12 noon. It is still a rock n roll lifestyle without all the excess.
IE: Do you see the work you are doing now with the Wildabouts as something you will continue for a long while, or do you see yourself doing those labor of love type solo albums again like maybe an acoustic folk record or something that explores jazz?
SW: I see this as something I am going to be doing for quite a while. I am always open to experimenting and doing other
projects, I like playing with different people and collaborating. I think that is a cool thing to do. That kind of thing is a
lot of fun, but right now, this is my major focus. I intend it to be for a while.
IE: Are you a fan of the blues legend Son House?
SW: I gotta be honest; I am not familiar with his music to be totally honest.
IE: You share is a lot of his attitude when you sing.
SW: Wow. Thank you. I will have to check that out now. I appreciate the compliment.
IE: Everyone is aware of the turmoil you had with STP and to a lesser degree with Velvet Revolver. Do you see a day where that can come to an end and you and the STP guys could actually make music again, or at least hang out in the same room with them?
SW: Well, I can tell you this – in rock n roll you can never say never. I look back on my years with STP very fondly
and we shared many successes, both commercially and artistically. I don’t have any negative feelings toward my
former partners in STP. I wish them well in their future and with the lawsuit behind us now, we all can get back
to just playing music and I can focus on my first album with this new band. I am exceedingly proud of this album. I
think people will be pleasantly surprised.
IE: Can we expect the same energy we saw in you with STP and Revolver?
SW: Oh yeah. That is something I can never get rid of. I am a whirling dervish on stage. This is a great band.
-Bruce Pilato (interview); Curt Baran (Photo Gallery)