Scott Weiland tries to avoid boredom at all costs.
In addition to being a dad and a husband (he’s married to model Mary Forsberg), he fronts Velvet Revolver. He’s working on his forthcoming autobiography with author David Ritz, and would like to pursue acting. The self-proclaimed “fashion whore” is mulling his own clothing line, and hopes to release his second solo LP late next year. On top of all that, Weiland has just launched his own record label, Softdrive, with his manager and production partner.
It’s clear the man knows how to keep busy, and recently, he’s been consumed with working on Velvet Revolver’s Libertad — the follow-up to 2004’s Contraband — an LP the former Stone Temple Pilots leader couldn’t be more, well, psyched about.
“I haven’t been this excited about a rock record since 1993, when I went into the studio to record [STP’s] Purple,” which was recorded in just 10 days, with producer Brendan O’Brien (Incubus, Rage Against the Machine) at the helm, Weiland explained. O’Brien is also behind Libertad, which Weiland called “a really inspired rock and roll album, but it’s got many textures.
“It’s multidimensional, which I think is one thing Brendan brings out in artists,” Weiland continued. “I think he’s brought out the best in this band, and, I mean, these guys” — guitarists Dave Kushner and Slash, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum — “are amazing players, and they’re capable of anything. They’ve reached completely new heights, and pulled something out of themselves. Instead of doing what’s completely comfortable, what they’ve done before, they have gone to new places, emotionally, musically and spiritually.”
Weiland said the new album, which should surface this spring, “is completely colorful in a new way, but it is definitely not a concept album.” The singer said he scrapped initial plans to weave a connecting concept throughout the LP because “there’s been a hurricane of concept albums that have come out this year, and I really didn’t want to make the concept album that made the levee break.” Velvet Revolver wrote more than 18 tracks for the disc, including “Pills, Demons, Etc.,” “Just 16,” “Get Out the Door,” and “Queen for a Day,” and started tracking December 4.
“It’s an album like albums were meant to be,” he said. “It’s not a collection of singles, but it’s not some drummed-up concept album that’s contrived either.”
VR first enlisted producer Rick Rubin (Jay-Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers), but — for reasons Weiland wouldn’t really get into — opted to instead work with O’Brien. “Obviously, Rick makes things happen with people, and that chemistry creates a certain ’spiritual combustion’ in some way,” the singer said. “But with us, that didn’t happen. I worked with Brendan on every STP record, and we needed somebody who was more in the trenches with us. When Brendan works with a band, he becomes the fifth or sixth bandmember. He gets in there with you, and he’s in the thick of it. Every song that we were working on previously had a different feel, and songs that I was completely uninspired by, within a short period of time, became inspiring. Songs that I had no ideas for, I suddenly had a lot of ideas for, and took to completely different places than I think I would have taken them.”
And Weiland said he’s about two-thirds of the way done with his yet-untitled solo outing, his first since 1998’s 12 Bar Blues. He said the disc will most likely be out next fall, “right around the time STP takes … uh, STP … Freudian slip … Velvet Revolver takes its break. So that’ll give me time to go do some roadwork, and do some shows, which I really didn’t have a chance to do with my last album.”
He’s written more than a dozen tracks for the effort, including “The Man I Didn’t Know,” “Beautiful Day,” “I Know It’s Late,” “She Sold Her System,” “Big Black Monster,” “Killing Me Sweetly” and “Happy,” a cut originally slated for Libertad.
“That’s the one I wrote with Pharrell Williams,” he said. “I think [Williams] is incredibly talented, and what makes him great is he is completely colorblind, musically. Where his influences lie are from all different genres of music, and I think he takes you on a sonic journey, as far as his production goes. And, so, we kind of went and sort of searched him out, talked to him, and told him the ideas we had. This track we started working on with him pertained more to me, personally, than to the band, so it became one of the songs on my solo record.”
Weiland’s sophomore LP will be released by Softdrive, a label he’d been trying to develop for more than six years. He said he wanted to form a label “that would release various types of music, and focuses on the great music of all the genres.” One of the label’s first releases, the debut disc from the Actual, In Stitches, will be issued in 2007, and the label has also signed country artist Tommy Joe Wilson. Softdrive operates out of Weiland’s recording studio.
“Obviously, we don’t have a massive income stream to offer major dances, but we can make records here for next to nothing,” he said. “We have everything in our recording studio that every major recording studio has.”