Scott Weiland Gets Official Nod To Lead Ex-GN’R Members

Announcement comes three days after Weiland pleaded not guilty to drug charges in Burbank, California, following an arrest last month.

After months of auditions and wavering between top contenders, the group known simply as the Project — featuring ex-Guns N’ Roses members Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum — has finally decided upon a singer. Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland officially gets the coveted singer spot.

The band also finally gets an official name, Velvet Revolver, according to the group’s spokesperson.

Weiland announced himself as the singer in mid-May, which the band at the time said was premature, since no contract had been signed. Sources close to the band also said there needed to be a resolution to the singer’s rehab issues. But Weiland had long been considered to be in the lead, despite that frustration, and had recorded two songs with the band for films — a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Money,” which can currently be heard in one scene and in the closing credits for “The Italian Job,” and an original song called “Set Me Free” for “The Hulk,” the soundtrack for which hits stores June 17.

“Set Me Free” — which leaked onto the Internet late this week — has already started getting radio play on WBCN in Boston, where they’re fielding requests for the track.

The only known live performances by the band — with Weiland on vocals — were staged during a presentation for film studios at the band’s rehearsal space in April and during a filming of an electronic press kit for “The Hulk” in May. After the film studio presentation, the band received several requests to contribute songs to movies as far off as 2004 (see “Slash/ Duff/ Matt Coming Soon, Axl Nowhere In Sight” ).

The announcement comes three days after Weiland pleaded not guilty to drug charges in Burbank, California, following an arrest last month on two felony counts of possession of heroin and cocaine (see “Weiland Pleads Not Guilty To Drug Charges, Offers To Go To Rehab” ).

According to sources close to the band, Velvet Revolver had been trying to help the singer lessen his risk of a relapse, including exploring options such as rehab, methadone treatment, 24-hour supervision and martial-arts programs that would require mental discipline. Weiland volunteered to attend a rehab program before his next court date, which was set for July 11. He faces up to a year in county jail if convicted.

Before starting up with Velvet Revolver, Weiland had begun work on his second solo album with producer Josh Abraham, and the Stone Temple Pilots remain on hiatus, according to the group’s spokesperson.