Monday, June 07, 2010

The Racers Edge, Part Dos

You ever see that movie Sin City? Where Bruce Willis is in jail and gets out and stuff? That was cool. Not as cool but beneficial for rock n roll was Scott Weiland getting launched from the big house.

Shangri La Di Da (2001)

STP's second disc after the relaunch finds the quartet blending more Scotti-isms into the mix. A lot of mid tempo grooves and Bowie tricks (like the song "Wonderful" having keyboards straight outta "Heroes") are thrown in. Maybe a little too much though, much of the album meanders with a crawling sense of understatement. At least understated for these guys, who made their name by putting together pulverising riffs and hammering them right in your head. The skidding dance effect influenced "Coma" is about as exciting as things get. Shangri La Di Da drags along after track 3 to the point I usually forget its on until it ends. Boorring! Getting lost in a mellow haze might lead you to believe STP had matured, yet Weiland was there to set things straight by getting arrested for domestic violence and following that up by fighting with band mate Dean DeLeo.

Velvet Revolver - Contraband (2004)

A lead singer with a strong creative point of view, drug addiction and anger issues would put off many a band from hiring such a person. To the guys who had survived Axl Rose, Scott Weiland was going to be a walk in the park. So went one of the biggest supergroups of our young millenium, Velvet Revolver. Those with a hankering for a Guns N Roses reunion were sated with Scotty boy hooking up with Slash, Duff McKagen and Matt Sorum (plus one other dude who I can't remember because he wasn't ex-GNR). Velvet Revolver sounded exactly like it looked on paper: Use Your Illusion era GNR rhythms topped with Weiland's increasingly Bowie styled hard rock. As relentlessly predictable as it is enjoyable, Contraband boasted plenty of what you paid for. The driving rocker "Slither" and the power ballad "Fall To Pieces" kept up interest and pushed the unit to big sales.

Oh, and in case you thought Weiland might not challenge the patience of his new employers dude got into a car accident while high. Still beat dealing with someone inciting a riot while wearing a skirt - sorry, tartan is it?

Velvet Revolver - Libertad (2007)
I think it was around this time that Velvet Revolver was the band inducting Van Halen into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Their performance of Van Halen songs were done with such a sense of sloppy disrespect that I just plain hated Velvet Revolver. Even thinking about it now pisses me off. What the hell is a Libertad anyway? Skipped this disc, could be the greatest thing since sliced bread, I don't care.

Scott Weiland - Happy In Galoshes (2008)

OK, I'm listening to this CD for the first time. Though it isn't the revelation that his prior solo disc 12 Bar Blues was, Happy In Galoshes is pretty good. Even though there are stylisitc shifts here or there, this is mostly a straightforward rock disc. In someways it comes across as a calm STP album, not calm like Shangri La Di Da with slow heavy rhythms just the even balance between instruments pulled behind the vocal. There are a few oddball moments like the surprisingly soft ballad "Killing Me Sweetly" but not the smorgasboard of sound the first solo album was. The single "Missing Cleveland" and also "She Sold Her System" remind me a lot of STP in terms of melody. "Be Not Afraid" is brilliantly haunting. There is a silly cover of David Bowie's "Fame" which comes across like a remixed version of the "Fame '90" remix. I also think I hear a bit of The Killers in the overall approach too. In case you think Weiland got it together now, he was arrested for a DUI in '07. Also, Weiland separated from his second wife.

In yet another messy professional breakup Weiland left/jumped ship from Velvet Revolver to reteam with his old band Stone Temple Pilots. STP released a new album which I just got so I can check it out. Nice time for a mental breakdown...

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