These are bittersweet times for Scott Weiland.
On one hand, the former Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver frontman is on the road supporting "Blaster," his fourth solo album -- and first billed alongside his band the Wildabouts -- and "one of my favorite pieces of work I've ever done." But that joy has been tempered somewhat by the death of Wildabouts guitarist Jeremy Brown, Weiland's chief songwriting collaborator, the day before the album's May 31 release.
"He was my main collaborator in making the record," Weiland 47, says by phone from his home in California. "We lost a member of our family and our band. We've been able to soldier on and still keep rockin', but we miss Jeremy very much." New guitarist Nick Maybury, Weiland notes, came through an audition process and "knocked it out of the park," though the singer notes that Maybury is "a little bit of a different kind of player than Jeremy."
Nevertheless, Weiland says, the songs from "Blaster" are "going over really well live, with our audiences," which is not entirely a surprise to him. "I wanted to make a band album again, which is what we did with ('Blaster')," Weiland explains. "I think that's what people are connecting with. It really has that feel of a band playing together, that live energy you get when everybody's in the room just rockin'.
"I have to say I haven't been more excited about making an album since I made the first (Stone Temple Pilots) album, 'Core'" in ??
The other bane of Weiland's existence these days are rumors and reports about his return to the drug use that dogged him early in his career -- particularly after some dodgy performances earlier this year, one of which he blamed on faulty in-ear monitors. Weiland, who also wrote songs and sang on the debut album by the new all-star band Art Of Anarchy, says that he's been clean for the past 13 years and that, yes, he's tired of having the subject come up time and again.
"Y'know, it's all well-documented," he says with an audible sigh. "I wrote about it in my book (2011's "Not Dead and Not For Sale") that I take meds for being bi-polar that sometimes give me an adverse reaction, but we're working on that to make it better.
"I just don't really think too much about (the rumors). I let them kind of slide off me. I"m just working on promoting and touring this album and writing new music and focusing on that. It's much healthier."
Scott Weiland & the Wildabouts and P.O.D.
8 p.m. Saturday, June 27.
Stars & Stripes Festival at Freedom Hill, 14900 Metropolitan Parkway, Sterling Heights.
Admission is free. VIP tickets are $25.
Call (586) 268-5100 or visit www.startsandstripesfest.com.
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