Q&A: Scott Weiland on STP, Velvet Revolver and His Solo Tour

Rolling Stone
Scott Weiland in Sacramento, California, Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
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Scott Weiland in Sacramento, California, Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

It's been a pretty crazy week for Scott Weiland. For the past few days, he's been rehearsing with his solo band the Wildabouts for their upcoming Purple at the Core tour, which will focus almost entirely on material from the first two Stone Temple Pilots albums. It kicks off March 1st in Flint, Michigan and runs through the entire month. Weiland called Rolling Stone on Tuesday afternoon to chat, and we asked him about Slash's statement that STP had fired him. He emphatically denied it. Sixteen hours later, the band put out a single-sentence press release: "Stone Temple Pilots have announced they have officially terminated Scott Weiland."

Weiland's camp says they were stunned by the announcement, and later that day Weiland put out his own statement explaining that he learned the news from the press. "Not sure how I can be 'terminated' from a band that I founded fronted and co-wrote many of their biggest hits," he said. "But that's something for the lawyers to figure out." 

In this Q&A from Tuesday, Weiland addresses the state of STP, his desire to reunite with Velvet Revolver and the plans for his solo tour. 

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Tell me how this tour came together.
I've been touring with my solo band for a little while and we have a really tight chemistry, and a tight friendship. It became important for me to give them a name, so we went with Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts. It just feels right. We're working on a rock & roll record. Over the last month we've recorded close to 30 songs. It's really lean and raw, sort of like garage rock.

I though it would be cool to launch a record like that by going out and doing the early Stone Temple Pilots songs. STP were originally supposed to go out and play Core this year. I was really excited and I talked to the press about it, but the rest of the band didn't want to do it. So I went and talked to agents and my entertainment lawyer and the managers, and we decided to do a selection of songs from Purple and Core, as well as a couple space jams and maybe some covers that will change from night to night. All of a sudden there was a big groundswell of interest that just took on a life of its own. 

How much of the show will be devoted to Core and Purple?
Easily 90 to 95 percent of it.

Are you playing the albums straight through?
No. It would be impossible. We were into the real long show thing and we had a feeling it might happen, but people just don't have the same attention spans. Core was 59 complete minutes, and Purple was like 46 minutes-plus. Then you add in a couple of space jams, and a couple of covers here or there, and a couple of our own songs for an encore, and we're easily at an hour and a half, which is pretty perfect for us right now. 

I see about 17 shows on the schedule. Are you planning on doing more after that?
Yeah, we're going to be taking a break and then coming back. I haven't seen the full routing sheet yet, but I think it will late April and then through May.

What's it like to play these STP songs with different musicians? I'd imagine it's a very different sort of energy.
Yeah, but it's a lot of fun, because we do different arrangements of the songs. There's certain songs, like "Vaseline," that are very, very similar, and then there are other songs that are changed a lot.

Which ones?
There are a lot of them. The band has been working on arrangements with the notes that I've given them over the last day and a half. I start with rehearsing with them today. Then we'll rehearse again before the first gig. I already have ideas about how I want to change things around – kind of like what we did with "Do It for the Kids" on Contraband with Velvet Revolver. We made it a Cramps-meets-Doors kind of thing. There are certain songs we can do that with. I want to do the original version of "Crackerman." Before Brendan [O'Brien]'s input it was inspired by "Jesus Built My Hotrod" by Ministry. That was the vibe I was going for. 

I've seen lots of rumors about Stone Temple Pilots on the Internet. What's the status of the band? Are you guys still together?
That's the thing. I really have paid no attention to social media. It's never been something that I've done. There are people that put up tour dates and basically say what's going on, but I need to get more involved, because I hear about rumors that are absolutely ridiculous. STP has not broken up. I haven't quit. I haven't been fired. We're talking about when we want to tour next. 

My personal feeling is that we just need some new blood in the band. It'll give it new energy, so that we're not just playing the same greatest hits set we've been playing ever since we got back together after I left Velvet Revolver. I'd like to make a new record so it breathes new life into it. Right now, I'm focused on building my solo career with this group of guys. That's what feels right. 

As far as Velvet Revolver goes, I'd love it if it happened. But it's not something I can count on, and it's not something that I can control. If it happens, it'll happen. It would be a great thing. I know the fans would love to see it, but I respect that Slash has a solo career and he wants it to succeed the same way that I would like my solo career to succeed. Having said that, whether things work out in a timely fashion, and if it's quarterbacked right by the team and we all work together . . . it's all very sensitive right now, but I'd like to do it. It would be fun. 

I've always been good at juggling my musical adventures between different bands – the Magnificent Bastards, solo projects, STP, Velvet Revolver, as well as doing things with different artists, like Cyndi Lauper and a lot of other people. I think you need to do that stuff as an artist. That's the way things were done in the Sixties and the Seventies, even to the Nineties. People like collaborations. Maynard [Keenan] is a really good example of how things can be done right. That's what I would like to do. I'm not going to force anything to happen. I want it to sort of happen organically.

Slash seems to be the source of some of the rumors about you. He said STP fired you, and he said he doesn't want you back in Velvet Revolver.
Slash said STP fired me?

Yeah.
Oh, no no no. Slash doesn't know anything about STP. Those guys wanted to get together to talk about touring, but I don't think touring right now is the best thing. STP has a legacy, and to protect that is very, very important to me. But to go and do the kind of offers that we were getting would be diminishing the brand, and I don't want to do that. There are offers right now. There are offers that I passed up on. There's offers that those guys didn't want as well. There were some hurt egos, but that's the way it is. Things are like a family. No one's ever fired anybody in STP. 

It's the same thing with Velvet Revolver. The whole thing that happened in VR is that I was called by [Stone Temple Pilots guitarist] Dean [DeLeo] while I was on tour with VR. He said, "There are a few festival offers. Would you like to do something?" So I approached the guys in VR. They said, "Yeah, just a few shows? No problem." Then we went on tour in Europe. We were there for a long time, and everyone in the band went through some difficult times in their own way.  

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Nobody is perfect, but I do regret some of the things that I said, as I'm sure some of the other people do. Matt [Sorum] and I did get into an argument at the last show we played. I do remember saying something from the stage like, "This is the last Velvet Revolver show that I will ever do," and that I was quitting. I regret saying that. It was something that I said in the heat of the moment. I did not . . . it embarrassed them. I shouldn't have done that. It was an immature move. If I could take it back, I would. I still feel like something will happen. If it doesn't, there's other things to do.

As far as STP is concerned, it's a partnership. It's always been that way. It's not a situation where . . . I started the band. I'm not tooting my own horn in any way. It's a thing that was started by my old guitar player and Robert [DeLeo], and we've always kept things going. We've gone and taken time off before. They've done their own band. If they do another project, obviously not under the name STP, just like I'm doing my own solo thing right now, that would be great. I've always supported them. But no one's been fired, and I haven't quit. So that's all hearsay.

Slash also said the "door was closed" as far as you returning to Velvet Revolver. He was pretty emphatic about it.
Well, the thing in interviews is . . . and it's the same with every interview I've ever given, is that words somehow get changed and edited. Then when you're doing a radio interview, someone asks a question, you answer it, and then they sort of push you into a direction, into a corner, to say something that doesn't really come out of it. You end up becoming defensive just to shut up that question. 

I remember when Slash started doing his solo thing. He said, "I don't want to talk about Velvet Revolver." Just like I said before this interview. I said, "I don't want to talk about VR or STP." They said, "Well, we're going to." My manager said, "Well, shit, do you want to do the interview or not?" I said, "Well, sure, I'll still do the interview. I'm a nice guy. I'll do it." But you can't control what happens in the press. I'd say something more along the lines of, "You know, we'll see." 

What's the status of your next album?
We're halfway finished with it right now. When we get back we'll finish off some more tracks and figure out a track . . . There's so many ways of putting out records now. The major label route is sort of old school. Not to say it can't work, but just expecting radio to push a record isn't the way things work anymore. It works in country, but rock & roll is different. There's not many rock & roll or alternative stations anymore, and the ones that exist don't have the same influence they had before. Fans of rock & roll in general, they hear about bands and the listen to videos of them on their laptop. 

I understand what you were saying about STP earlier. Oftentimes bands need to go away for a little bit to build up interest. Fans start to appreciate them more when they aren't around all the time.
Yeah, and you start to appreciate why you actually started doing it in the first place. It just ends up having a better, more organic feel. 

What's your guess for when STP will return? Two years? Three years?
I have no idea. I would say three years is a long time, but I'm not psychic. I have no way of knowing. I know there's offers for summertime and stuff like that, but I only hear what I'm told by management. 

Finally, you have a reputation for being very difficult to work with. I'd imagine you feel it's undeserved, but does that reputation bother you?
Yeah, I think it's kind of unfair. I mean, I've been difficult in the past. I think most of that has to do with with, you know, the 1990s . . . that sort of stuff that came from that decade. But it's difficult. Do I show up onstage late sometimes? That's something I could definitely work on. I'm human. Is there a person that shows up to work perfectly on time every day? I suppose there's a perfect attendance award that's given out to some employees at some place, but . . . it's something that . . . I think that a majority of it has to do with things from the past. People read things on Google and they have these perceptions, these misconceived perceptions of who you are. At times that hurts, because they really don't know who I am.

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