The Hippo


Aug 20, 2019








Scott Weiland. Courtesy photo.

Scott Weiland & the Wildabouts
When: Saturday, May 9, at 7 p.m.
Where: Jewel Nightclub, 61 Canal St., Manchester
Tickets: $25-$100 at (21+)

Soldiering on
Weiland tour continues after guitarist’s death

By Michael Witthaus

March 31 should have been a triumphant day for Scott Weiland. It was release day for Blaster, the debut album from his new band. By all accounts, it marked a return to form for the ex-Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver singer. But the day before its release, Scott Weiland & the Wildabouts guitarist Jeremy Brown died at his Southern California home.

The cause of death has not been revealed, but the effect was immediate. A kickoff show in London was postponed, and a U.S. tour including Manchester’s Jewel Nightclub placed in doubt. But after a series of hastily organized auditions, Nick Maybury joined the band. The Australian guitarist has played with Perry Farrell and Alice Cooper, among other bands.
In a recent phone interview, Weiland called Brown’s passing “crushing and still unbelievable. He and Blackie [bassist Tommy Black] were my best friends and so the loss of a best friend is very hard and very sad and I’m reminded of it all the time.  Musically speaking, no one will ever fill his big shoes. But we had to keep soldiering on.”
His determination to continue took a somewhat callous turn in an early April interview with Bob Schallau. “If a person dies in a band you don’t break up the band and not promote the album,” Weiland told the rock journalist. “That’s not what Jeremy would have wanted us to do. Yeah. I’m gonna quit? No, you don’t do that. If a soldier goes down, you keep on fighting. It’s a tragedy what happened — but I’m gonna give up my career?”
Weiland’s collaboration with members of the Wildabouts — named after a line in Donovan’s song “Mellow Yellow” — dates back to a tour in support of 2008’s Happy in Galoshes. The new record was “very much a band album, and Jeremy wrote the majority of the musical arrangements,” Weiland said, conceding that taking the stage with a new member won’t be easy. “It will be definitely mixed emotions, I mean not having Jeremy there is going to be very strange, but you still have to go out there and put 100 percent into the show, which we’ll do. It will be bittersweet, to say the least.”
The key factor in Maybury’s selection was the way the guitarist took to material from Blaster, which makes up a big portion of the show. “He came in and slayed it,” Weiland said. “The way he played ‘Modzilla,’ ‘Hotel Rio’ … he learned about 11 songs.  We went through them and they sounded great. Our last rehearsal he came in and slammed it.”
The new disc is brash and ballsy, a straight-up rocker rooted in Weiland’s unabashed love for ’70s glam rock. The opening riff of “Way She Moves” channels T Rex’s “Bang a Gong” — a band also covered with “20th Century Boy.” The decade infatuation continued with a recently released iTunes exclusive version of David Bowie’s “The Jean Genie.”
It’s a decided departure for Weiland. “I made two solo albums that were more along the lines of art projects and were a little too far out for my average fan base,” he said. “I wanted to make a band album and another rock record … and explore different sounds on the guitar, use a lot of fuzz, synthesized guitars. We wrote around that tone.”
The mix of material on stage includes “a majority of the album and four STP songs,” said Weiland. A few from his old band’s catalog are off limits, however. “We don’t play ‘Plush’ or ‘Interstate Love Song’ — those songs are just so wrapped up in the rest of STP that I think they’re STP exclusive. I would feel strange playing [them].”
“Vasoline,” “Dead and Bloated,” “Meatplow,” “Crackerman” and “Big Bang Baby” are all in the set list. “We sometimes play ‘Big Empty’ — so there’s a good collection of STP stuff,” said Weiland.
In 2013, the band Weiland co-founded nearly three decades ago fired him; Stone Temple Pilots is now fronted by Chester Bennington. On April 13, flyers were handed out at an STP show in Los Angeles comparing the current lineup to Journey without Steve Perry, Queen without Freddie Mercury, or Van Halen without David Lee Roth, urging fans to pick up a copy of Blaster.
Weiland’s camp took no credit for the stunt. For his part, the singer won’t admit to any ill will towards his ex-mates. “I wasn’t really privy to that leafleting, that was something I think the label did,” he said. “I don’t really think about it at all. I wish them well, and I’m focused on my band.”
As seen in the May 7, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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