"Stone Temple Pilots have announced they have officially terminated Scott Weiland."
When STP released that statement early last year, it shot daggers through the hearts of Weiland and alt-rock zealots alike. The ensuing months have played out like a Bizarro World version of grunge history: STP went on to record a lackluster EP with Linkin Park's Chester Bennington on vocals, and are now working with Aerosmith's Steven Tyler. They've also filed a lawsuit against Weiland for playing the band's material during solo concerts.
Weiland, meanwhile, has counter-sued STP and started his own band, the Wildabouts. Still, he's also said he hasn't given up on STP and recently admitted he'd be open to reuniting with Velvet Revolver "at festivals, you know, to make easy money."
Chill caught up with Mr. Sex Type Thing during the North American leg of the Wildabouts' tour to ask him about STP, Bennington, Tyler, and Velvet Revolver. Oh, and that new band of his, too.
So how's the Wildabouts' debut album sounding?
It’s sounding really cool. It’s rock n' roll, but it’s very indie rock n' roll. Much furrier and garage-sounding than either STP or Velvet Revolver. It’s not an art project like the other two solo albums, it’s a rock band. These guys are my closest friends and I get to write music with them. I haven’t had that experience in a long time—probably since the first times I made a record with STP and Velvet Revolver.
I hear a Beach Boys-meets-Queens of the Stone Age vibe on "Beach Pop Rock."
Yeah, pretty much. You know how there’s big riffs but space between the notes with White Stripes records and stuff like that? And riffs that are a little more interesting than the typical, 'Oh, let’s rip off Led Zeppelin' riffs? Some of the stuff has that kind of vibe. And the guitar solos aren't shredder solos. They’re really cool artistic solos but they rock. They just aren’t your typical grunge or metal type of tones.
You've also been playing a lot of STP and Velvet Revolver songs on this tour. Do you get tired of playing those old hits?
Yeah, sometimes. But it does make it a lot more fun to be able to play them differently with the new band. The songs we play from STP and Velvet Revolver, we rework to sound like ours. We don’t try to emulate the song exactly.
I do get tired of playing some of the old stuff, but I still give it 100 per cent. The fans buy the tickets. They make it possible, so I give all I can give. They do expect to hear the hits, but I always ask, 'Do you want to hear new music?'
When you look back on those old STP records, do you regard them as the last of a kind? In terms of rock albums?
I think since grunge and alternative in the late '80s and early '90s, there really hasn’t been a real grassroots movement that’s affected pop culture, politics, and the overall industry. I think a lot of it is probably because people just grab what they want—download a couple songs here, but don’t commit themselves to the whole album like they used to. You definitely have to have a forward-thinking manager to negotiate your way through the whole process of marketing and promoting an album, because it’s a whole different world. Brick and mortar distribution no longer exists. You think of all those great bands that came from the whole independent scene that ended up signing with major labels and selling millions of copies, album after album. To be a part of that, I'm very grateful.
Last year, you wrote a letter to your fans on Facebook saying, "don't give up on STP. I know I haven't." Do you still feel that way?
Um, I don’t know. I’m really committed to what I'm doing right now. There are memories I have that will always be close to my heart, but as far as will there ever be anything again with STP? It’s very hard to say. I’ve learned to never say never in this business, but at this juncture, I'm 100 per cent focused on my band the Wildabouts, making a record with them, and being the leader of that band.
Is it weird to see STP recording with Steven Tyler?
I don’t know. We’ve all had relationships with those guys in Aerosmith for a long time. Ever since Robert (DeLeo) and Dean (DeLeo) did some writing sessions with them right after Core came out. The first time we played at Madison Square Garden, Joe (Perry) and Steve (Tyler) came up on stage and we did a couple songs with them. And yeah, that was cool. I’ll always remain close with them whenever I see them. I haven’t seen Joe or Steven in a while, but we’re tight, though.
So you can't hate on Tyler because you respect Aerosmith.
Yeah definitely. Especially their classic stuff.
Did that stuff have an influence on STP?
It definitely did on Dean. He was heavily influenced by old Joe and Jimmy Page. Those two guys were probably his biggest influences.
What are the prospects of a new Velvet Revoler collaboration?
I have no idea. I heard they’re auditioning new singers again. Maybe I should go to the cattle call. It’s a difficult situation. You’ve got the guys from Velvet Revolver and Guns N’ Roses in a band. Who’s really is going to [step in]? We did make it work and see success. But it’s hard. It’s like STP hiring Chester Bennington. They made an album and it sold 35,000 units. That’s kind of unbelievable considering STP sold over 40 million and I'm sure Chester’s band Linkin Park has sold pretty much the same amount. It didn’t work, though. People weren’t buying into it.
I guess STP fans still hold you close to their hearts.
Yeah, thank God for that. Because they’re the ones coming to the shows. I think this album will even reach more STP and Velvet Revolver fans because it’s a band album. It’s a rock n' roll album. It’s more indie-sounding, more dirty-sounding.Back To Top
Alex Nino Gheciu is an intrepid writer and editor who builds trap doors to help Canadians escape into the After 5 & Weekends, even while they're still doing the 9 to 5. He's reported on crimes and cat problems for the Toronto Star, and has also written words for The Grid, The National Post, Sharp, and The A.V. Club. In his spare time, he chips away at his secret plot to take over the world and turn it into one giant amusement park.