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Weiland Trades Velvets for STP

Insults fly as STP re-form for summer tour, new album

Evan Serpick Jun 10, 2008
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© Markus Cuff/Corbis

Midway through a March Velvet Revolver gig in Glasgow, frontman Scott Weiland made an impromptu announcement from the stage. “You’re watching something special,” he said. “The last tour by Velvet Revolver.” It came as a surprise to the other members of the band, who shared confused looks before launching into the next song on the set list: ‘Fall to Pieces.’

As it turns out, Weiland was wrong: Velvet Revolver will tour again – but without him. After the show, the singer and his bandmates traded harsh recriminations in the press, and on April 1, Velvet Revolver announced they were seeking a new singer, citing Weiland’s “erratic onstage behaviour and personal problems.” Slash says the singer, who did a rehab stint after his arrest for DUI last year, was constantly showing up late for shows. “This is something that’s been coming down the pike for a while,” Slash says. “We’re just really relieved.”

But for Weiland, just as one door closed, another opened: Only a week after the singer left Velvet Revolver, Stone Temple Pilots announced a massive 65-date reunion tour (earlier in the year, they revealed plans for a few festival dates). “I walked into a situation where there was a lot of baggage,” Weiland says of his time in Velvet Revolver, which included three former members of Guns n’ Roses. “But with STP, these were the best friends of my life. I grew up with these guys while we were teenagers. It’s a whole other thing.”

On April 7, Weiland was onstage again, this time with Stone Temple Pilots at the Houdini Mansion in LA It was the band’s first gig in six years, and it played a high-energy set of STP classics like ‘Interstate Love Song’ and ‘Plush.’ “It felt like home,” says Dean DeLeo, who formed the group with his brother, bassist Robert, as well as drummer Eric Kretz and Weiland, in 1991.

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It was hard to imagine such kind words when STP broke up in 2002. At the band’s last show, Weiland and Dean DeLeo nearly got into a fistfight over Weiland’s drug use. “Time is a great healer,” says Dean, who adds that he and Weiland started to hang out again in recent years. “He would be like, ‘Can we play some music?’ And we’d sit at my little house in Malibu and play some music.”

Talk of a tour first came last year, when Dean called Weiland, who was on the road with Velvet Revolver. “He said, ‘Are you sitting down?’ ” Weiland recalls. “ ‘There are a handful of festivals trying to reach out to us, and the money is pretty ridiculous.’ ” The bandmates met to discuss a few dates, but after Velvet Revolver broke down, they set their sights on a full tour and even a new STP album. “We’re making a new record after this tour, definitely,” says Weiland. “There’s more to say.” Dean says he’s written lots of songs with Weiland in mind: “There’s certainly no shortage of material.”

The band is letting fans vote on what songs it will play on the tour, which started May 17 at Ohio’s Rock on the Range Festival and wraps up August 31 at Seattle’s Bumbershoot.

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STP’s members are planning to bring their kids along – which will add to the drastically different vibe from STP tours past. “Partying and kids don’t really go together,” says Robert DeLeo. “There is a lot more clarity and wisdom now, and there’s a lot more understanding of what’s happening. If we can all apply that, it’s gonna be a better place for everyone.”

Beyond the STP tour, Weiland is planning a flurry of projects. In the fall, he’ll release a solo disc he’s been working on with Steve Albini (“It’s like Granddaddy bumping heads with Marvin Gaye,” Weiland says), and he’s plotting a memoir, a clothing line and a TV show. “I’ve been spending more time with my manager than my significant other,” he says.

Velvet Revolver, meanwhile, are setting up a website where potential frontmen can audition. “We’re just excited about finding somebody else and moving on,” says Slash, adding that the band is planning a third album.

Weiland, who mockingly suggested the group hire Sebastian Bach for the gig, says his time in Velvet Revolver gave him some insight into the demise of Guns n’ Roses. “Everyone has made Axl out to be this crazy person,” Weiland says. “But having been in a band with these guys for five and a half years, I’m not so sure that it was all Axl’s fault.”

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