15 Years Ago: Velvet Revolver Kicks Out Scott Weiland
“This band is all about its fans and its music and Scott Weiland isn't 100% committed to either," guitarist Slash said in a news release. "Among other things, his increasingly erratic onstage behavior and personal problems have forced us to move on."
Velvet Revolver featured Weiland fronting a group for former Guns N' Roses members, bursting on the scene in 2004. Their debut Contraband hit No. 1, sold more than a 2 million copies in the U.S. and spawned the hit singles "Slither," "Fall to Pieces" and "Dirty Little Thing." Rock's newest supergroup had arrived, and the hype surrounding Velvet Revolver was merited.
Still, old habits die hard. Almost every member had a history of drug abuse. Many things had changed over the years, but the lure of getting high cropped up once more.
“Suddenly these guys who had all fallen apart themselves became extremely judgmental,” Weiland told Classic Rock, insisting his bandmates judged him for his drug use, rather than focusing on their own problems. “When they went through their shit, I was the last person that would be judgmental after what I had gone through in my life. The relationship I had with Matt [Sorum] became horrendous. He and I had come close to fist-fights so many times that it’s ridiculous.”
Watch Velvet Revolver's Video for 'Slither'
Libertad arrived in 2007, even as turmoil within Velvet Revolver continued swirling. The LP proved less successful than its predecessor, which only added fuel to the fire. Bandmates began taking swipes at each other in the media. At one point, Weiland actually describedhis bandmates as “junkies and fucking tramps [who] are trying to pretend they are fucking St. Francis!”
Members of Velvet Revolver were barely talking to each other as they toured Europe in the spring of 2008. During a March 20 show in Glasgow, Weiland told fans they were watching Velvet Revolver’s last tour. Two weeks later, he was out of the group.
"After reading the comment by Duff [McKagan], Matt, Dave [Kushner] and the illustrious 'Guitar Hero,' Saul Hudson, a.k.a. Slash, I find it humorous that the so-called four 'founding members' of Velvet Revolver – better known to themselves as 'the Project' before I officially named the band – would decide to move on without me after I had already claimed the group dead in the water on March 20 in Glasgow," Weiland said his own statement, released in response to his axing from the group.
"In response to Slash's comment regarding my commitment, I have to say it is a blatant and tired excuse to cover up the truth,” Weiland continued. “The truth of the matter is that the band had not gotten along on multiple levels for some time. On a musical level, there were moments of joy, inspiration, fun ... at times. But let's not forget the multiple trips to rehab every member of the band had taken.”
Watch Velvet Revolver's Video for 'Fall to Pieces'
Weiland said he would focus on making music with “people who have always had my back,” referring to his return to Stone Temple Pilots. He then wished Velvet Revolver “good hunting” and suggested a possible replacement in Sebastian Bach, who'd been considered before Weiland took over.
Velvet Revolver briefly reunited to perform four songs at a 2012 benefit, but they never played another full concert together. Meanwhile, Weiland’s attitude shifted from bitterness to appreciation.
"There were a lot of egos in the band, including mine,” he admitted in 2015. “Everybody was, basically, a star, a celebrity. To make a group like that work — like a supergroup-type thing — and to make it last for – I'm surprised we were together for, actually, seven years. I wish we would have had another album under our belts. It was great, great, great while it was great, and it was difficult when it was difficult. But I don't regret any of it. It was cool."
Weiland died on Dec. 3, 2015, of a drug overdose.
"We are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of our old friend and bandmate," members of Velvet Revolver wrote at the time. "We experienced a good chunk of life with Scott, and even in his darkest times, we all had hope and love for him. His artistry will live on – of that, there is no doubt.
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