Scott Weiland talks upcoming New York City shows, Leonard Cohen, Notre Dame and more

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As the frontman and lyricist for Stone Temple Pilots, Scott Weiland was part of more than a dozen major hit singles, as spread out among six best-selling albums. Between the fifth and sixth albums of STP, Scott was the voice of Velvet Revolver, whose 2004 release Contraband sold millions of copies in spite of the modern cliché that “people don’t buy albums anymore.” Along the way, Scott also put out four solo efforts and contributed to a number of side-groups like The Magnificent Bastards, The Wondergirls, Camp Freddy, and Art Of Anarchy.

Beyond his musical career, Scott launched a fashion line called Weiland For English Laundry in 2009. He released an autobiography titled Not Dead & Not For Sale: A Memoir through Scribner in 2011. Scott also owns a record label called Softdrive Records, which has put out titles from The Actual, Tommy Joe Wilson and The Color turning beyond his own music.

In support of Blaster, Scott and The Wildabouts are in the midst of a tour which launched in late October. Their first New York City area appearance will be on November 25 at The Gramercy Theatre. In case you’re busy on that Wednesday night, there will be other opportunities to see Scott on November 28 at Montclair’s Wellmont Theater and on November 29 at Huntington’s The Paramount. The tour wraps in his hometown on Dec. 21.

I had the opportunity to speak with Scott – a Grammy, MTV and American Music Award winner — by phone about his musical career and more. More info on his current projects can be found at www.scottweiland.com.

Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts
Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts

You have a couple of shows in the area coming up. For the people who’ve been following you for 20, 25 years now, what should the setlist of one of those shows look like? Will it be mostly hits?

Scott: It’s a combination of songs from Blaster and STP and 1 VR song.

Got it. So nothing from 12 Bar Blues?

S: No 12 Bar Blues, no.

At this point in your career, people expect to hear hit songs when you perform. Is that something you enjoy doing, or is that mostly for the fans?

S: I still enjoy playing the hits, especially because I know the fans enjoy it.

Something very admirable is that you’re one of the few rock artists out there today that could do a 90-minute set of only hits. Is that something that you ever dwell upon?

S: I’ve thought about it before, yeah. But I like to play my new music as well.

Cool, so in terms of new music, how do you think about your new album? Did it come out the way that you’d wanted through the Pledge Music campaign?

S: No, my ex-manager kind of messed up the Pledge campaign. It didn’t really turn out as well as I thought it would.

So would your hope for the next album be a more traditional label release?

S: Yeah.

Also looking back on your holiday album, was that an enjoyable experience in making it? I remember that there was a radio station in Milwaukee that played it for 24 hours straight.

S: Yeah, that was something that I really enjoyed, re-recording those classics.

Well, you also had an original on that album.

S: Yeah.

Did the idea of doing a Christmas album just come to you in the middle of the night? How did that project come about?

S: No, it’s always something that I wanted to do.

So is there any chance of a “Volume 2” at some point?

S: There could be a re-release with a couple other songs on it.

In general, something else that I find interesting about you is that you generally keep things positive and don’t throw mud back at people even after they’ve spoken ill of you in the media. Is that something you do consciously?

S: Yeah, that’s something I do consciously. It’s not worth a mud-slinging fest.

So it’s not something that a publicist coached you on, you just like to stay positive in general?

S: Yes.

Cool, so then beyond the music, you had the Weiland For English Laundry clothing line going on a few years ago. Is that something that’s still active?

S: It is still active, but it’s not supposed to be. The contract is over and I’m owed a lot of money.

Sorry for bringing that one up. Another thing that you have going on is Softdrive Records. Is that intended to be a functioning record label beyond your releases in the future?

S: No, it was for a couple of years, for about three years. But it’s not right now, it’s more of an imprint.

In terms of unreleased music, over the years you’ve also recorded with The Wondergirls and The Magnificent Bastards. Is there a lot of unreleased music in your vaults?

S: Actually no, stuff that I write, I release.

Oh, so there aren’t likely deluxe releases coming in five to ten years with a live concert and/or some b-sides?

S: No, because everything I record I put out.

Got it. So in general, what’s coming up for you on the music end? You’re pretty much touring in support of the latest album, or you’re also looking ahead to other projects?

S: I’m looking ahead towards any projects that exist, but mostly it’s about touring right now. We start at the end of the month.

You put out a book a couple of years ago. Was that an enjoyable experience for you?

S: Yeah it was, because after doing a lot of mindless interviews where people took their own interpretations of what I said, I was able to put my own words into my life experiences.

not dead and not for sale

Would you have any interest in doing a followup book, talking about the years since then?

S: Not at this point.

So it sounds like everything is straight-forward, you’re touring, you might do another album…

S: I’ll definitely do another album. I’ll be making records until I’m 80.

Do you think that you might put together an all-star band similar to the way that Ringo goes out and does the hits with other people?

S: No, I think more along the lines like Leonard Cohen.

Wow, that’s a cool comparison. In general, is there something that you wish more people knew about Scott Weiland?

S: I think people can make up their own minds.

So it’s not like you want people to know about a specific hobby of yours or a favorite football team or something like that?

S: Yeah, Notre Dame.

How did you wind up getting into Notre Dame as a fan?

S: Because my stepfather went to school there and played football there.

No other teams you’re especially behind?

S: Not really, the Lakers…

Aside from sports, are there any other hobbies that you have?

S: Yeah, I surf when it’s warm.

And you’re still in Los Angeles all these years later?

S: Yeah.

Being a New York-based publication, I wanted to ask what you remember about your first gig in New York City?

S: It was at The Bank [formerly located at 225 East Houston St.] and it was during the, what was it called? New music festival?

CMJ?

S: CMJ, yeah. We played at The Bank and it was a great show. That was the first show of our tour that we played.

Wasn’t it in New York City where Stone Temple Pilots put on the KISS makeup at a concert?

S: Yes it was.

Do you remember what exactly inspired that moment to happen?

S: It was just a whim.

Do you remember if it took you an hour and a half or so to put the makeup on?

S: We didn’t put the makeup on, the person that actually put KISS’ makeup on put our makeup on.

Wow, that’s cool. So in closing, do you have any last words for the kids?

S: Keep on kickin’ it.

-by Darren Paltrowitz