The binges, the arrests, the pimp hats — Scott Weiland has lived dangerously for much of the past two decades. But the man can safely claim to be one of the most successful artists of the past 20 years, pushing 35 million records worldwide as frontman for grunge-era scene-stealers Stone Temple Pilots and supergroup Velvet Revolver. Following the latter’s implosion in March, Weiland’s back with STP, and on November 25, he releases his second solo album, “Happy” in Galoshes (New West). He’s also not ruling out a Velvet Revolver reunion. “Slash and I always got on pretty well,” he says. “So who knows?” Weiland, 41, spoke to us from his home in Southern California.
A few years back, you called out certain reviewers for being “fucking kiss-ass pussy turncoats.” There’s no question here. I just think that’s awesome.
A lot of journalists like to suck up to celebrities, and then as soon as they’re a safe distance away at their computers, they take shots. But that’s the way society has become, especially in pop culture. Computers and the Internet have made it really easy to rant. It’s made everyone overly opinionated. I’ve just gotten sickened by the fact that everyone who thinks that they’re somebody can throw out their opinions.
Here’s an opinion: Your cover of “Reel Around the Fountain” on the new album is pretty solid. Why did you choose that song?
It’s one of my favorite songs that the Smiths did. That’s one of those tunes that when you’re in a sad, somber state of mind, it just kind of sinks you there deeper. And sometimes that feels good, you know?
Totally. About that album title, there’s not a lot of rain where you live. Do you even own galoshes?
No, but I used to when I lived in Ohio. I grew up in a small town outside of Cleveland, and you wore galoshes over your shoes when it was raining, sleeting, or snowing. Actually, once it got to the point of heavy snow, you’d put on your snow boots.
Don’t take this the wrong way, but you seem pretty serious. When was the last time you laughed so hard it hurt?
You know what? It’s probably when I saw Wedding Crashers, about a year ago.
You haven’t guffawed in a year?
I’m sure it’s happened since then, but I don’t know. It’s been a rough year for me. My brother died. My mother got cancer. And my wife and I have our issues. So it hasn’t exactly been the greatest year. It hasn’t been the greatest year for a belly of laughs.
It doesn’t sound like it, no.
But it’s been a great year for my music. The thing is, unfortunately, I write the best songs when I’m miserable.
So are we looking at another string of No. 1 hits?
Well, I don’t know about that. It’s all about the Disney music now. My kids are into that stuff. Actually, my son is starting to grow out of that now. He’s about to turn eight. He’s kind of like, “I don’t like that stuff anymore.I like rock.”
Is he into Stone Temple Pilots?
He likes certain songs. But we don’t allow him to know certain titles of songs, like “Sex Type Thing.” He thinks it’s called “Ex Type Thing.” You know, you’ve got to be careful with how you educate your kids in rock’n’roll fashion.
Good thing you changed the name of the band from Shirley Temple’s Pussy, then.
Oh, yeah, definitely. [When we came up with that] I was very young. Young, dumb, and full of dumbness.
Do you look back fondly on the’90s, considering everything that went down?
Yeah, I do. I look back on the first half as something that was romantic — a time of exploration and a time of freedom and a time where it felt like anything was possible, and a time when it seemed like there was a lot of hope. And then everything came crashing down. I think for a lot of us, it was heroin that did that.
That must have taken a toll on your body. How much harder is it to rock out now that you’re 40?
Not much, really. I’m still in pretty good shape.
Well, they say 40 is the new 30.
Do they? Well, I’m in better shape now than I was when I was 30, soI guess 40 is my new 20. I waspractically dead when I was 30, so I’d have to adjust those parameters you’ve set there.