In March of 2015, L.A. Weekly writer Matt Wake interviewed Scott Weiland while the singer was on tour with his most recent band, Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts. We published the original interview on March 30, the day before the release of the Wildabouts' debut album, Blaster. (That same night, Wildabouts guitarist Jeremy Brown died of what was later determined to be intoxication from multiple drugs. During our interview, Weiland's only comment regarding his own drug abuse was to declare, “It’s been 15 years since I dabbled in that shit.”)
You can read the original interview here. But here are some noteworthy outtakes from Wake's lengthy phone conversation with the often reticent singer.
Do you remember where you were when you wrote “Interstate Love Song”? Put us there with you when wrote it.
Um yeah. We were at a flimsy little rehearsal space in Hollywood called Cole Rehearsal Studios where we were doing pre-production and Robert came to rehearsal with the nuts and bolts of “Interstate Love Song.” And I came up with the melody right away. That song was completed within probably an hour-and-half and we only did pre-production for two weeks and then we flew to Atlanta to record it.
What was the difficult thing to include in your 2011 memoir Not Dead & Not For Sale? What was the most difficult thing to leave out?
I didn’t leave anything out. There wasn’t anything I left out. But probably being kidnapped was the hardest thing to go into detail about.
In your memoir you talk about playing Los Angeles clubs coming up and going to see bands like the Red Devils play and stuff like that. For you, when you were coming up, what was the coolest Los Angeles club to play?
Probably English Acid just because it had a reputation. We played there with Electric Love Hogs and with Sugartooth, who Joey [Castillo, the Wildabouts' touring drummer] was a drummer of. [Sugartooth] was also the band that opened up for us on our first tour. But English Acid was probably the place to play.
Beside all the records and tours, you’ve done the book and I believe a clothing line, too. What’s something you haven’t done in your career you really like to do and how close are you to doing it?
I don’t know. Getting a third Grammy with a third band. And I don’t know how close I am to that. The record’s not out yet.
When you’ve recorded a song you’ve written about your wife — like “Circles” or “Way She Moves” on the new album — and you play it for the first time for her, are you psyched or are you nervous?
No, I’m pretty excited actually and she’s been very happy that I’ve written songs for her. … [“Circles”] was the first song that we wrote with the band and I just think it ties together some of the themes of the album, like Appalachia and moonshining and stuff like that. It just happens to be a love song about my wife and I.
How many vocals do you typically do for the stuff on Blaster? Are you a couple of takes guy or do you prefer to comp vocals over 10 or more takes?
Usually about three takes.
You’re playing South by Southwest soon. As a guy who’s has the career you’ve had, what are you hoping to do by performing there? What opportunities do you see in that?
Well, besides the shows which are no different than every other show, which is just to do the absolute best we can do at any moment, I have a lot of press to do as well. So there’s some taking that into consideration, how to negotiate my way through the press and all the interviews and, you know, do my shows to the best of my ability.
Some of your previous solo stuff was pretty arty and obscure sounding. Why go back to rock on this record? I can tell your heart’s in it and it’s not just a business move. Had you been listening to Aladdin Sane lately or something?
No, it’s not like that. And it’s not like a “rock” rock album. We started creating certain sounds on the guitar that we wanted to do, we wanted to use and it was those sounds that drove certain riffs. We didn’t want to use typical Marshall amp distortion sounds so we used lots of varying fuzz boxes from the ’60s up through the current ones of today, to not have that typical distortion. It’s not a typical rock album. It’s more of an indie, garage rock, glam sort of album.
You and The Wildabouts are playing several festivals this year, including Beale Street, BottleRock. What’s a fond festival-related memory you have either as performer or fan, backstage, onstage or in the crowd?
Probably my first big festival which was Reading, and we played with Porno for Pyros and Butthole Surfers and various other bands. I think PJ Harvey was on the bill that year. So that was a cool memory.
Is there a certain song on Blaster that after you and the band recorded it, you immediately had the reaction of, “Yeah I’d put this up against anything I’ve done before?”
Yeah, I would say “Circles,” “Modzilla” and “Way She Moves” are three songs I could mention off the top of my head.