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May 22nd, 2004
Velvet Revolver aim to shake up boring landscape of rock music + VR reviews
Angela Pacienza
Canadian Press

TORONTO (CP) - The bad days of rock are back.

So say the members of Velvet Revolver, a who's-who of modern day rock legends, including crowd-pleasing guitarist Slash from Guns N' Roses. In typical bad-boy fashion, the quintet - also including ex-Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland, former G N' R members bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum, and Dave Kushner, who once played guitar with Dave Navarro's band and Wasted Youth - showed up late to a news conference Friday, and chain-smoked their way through 45 minutes of Q&As, using enough curse words to render half their comments unusable to most media outlets.

"It's fast. It's ferocious. It's like drinking lightning in a bottle," said Weiland, dressed like a superstar in dark aviator glasses, black velvet hat and white scarf.

Velvet Revolver was in Toronto to play a sold-out show Friday night previewing material from their upcoming record, Contraband.

"This album has the utmost potential . . . to be influential, to explode and be a massive album just like the Pixies were," said Weiland, who at one point threatened to walk out should reporters ask about his notorious drug addiction and police arrests.

The group has reason to be cocky. It has been greeted with open arms, with many critics hailing the quintet a "supergroup." As well, the first single Slither is quickly climbing the radio and video charts and their shows have all sold out in minutes.

Their reasoning for all the attention is that young people are once again interested in true rock 'n' roll bands, complete with the rough-and-tumble attitudes and un-boyband looks.

McKagan said while he was going back to school a couple of years ago, fellow students often said they felt ripped off by the current landscape of bands.

"They'd say, 'Our generation doesn't have a rock band. We don't have rock 'n' roll.' They're buying records that are 20 years old," he said.

"There's a whole new young generation that's just starving for something that's pure and unadulterated."

The blame, McKagan said, lies with the mega-mergers of media corporations that started in the mid 1990s.

"With the advent of these mergers these labels were all owned by a huge umbrella corporation of stock holders. That in turn made all these pop paint-by-numbers garbage (groups). That's what was spoonfed to a whole generation. There will be revolt at some point and there will be change."

He signalled out Nickelback and Creed as two bands that offer audiences no passion.

"Rock 'n' roll is about a sense of freedom," added Slash. "When the corporate (people) get a hold of it, it becomes very contained, very predictable. It loses its human edge."

Velvet Revolver formed in 2002 after Slash, McKagan and Sorum banded to perform a benefit show for their late friend Randy Castillo, a former drummer for Ozzy Osbourne. Kushner, a high school friend of Slash's, joined shortly after.

Weiland, who has struggled with drug addictions for years, was recruited as the vocalist after a 10-month search.

All members described their union as the best thing that's come along since they formed their first bands as teens.

Weiland likened it to a "virgin experience," except they each "know what we did wrong in the past and we know how to avoid certain pitfalls."

Slash said it was never about money or fame.

"It's been purely about the music. . . . It's hard for people to fathom that. This thing came together organically."

As the band prepared to leave the room, Slash promised rock fans a return to roots.

"Guitar solos are back," he said with a grin through his long, curly mane.

Some Velvet Revolver show reviews:
Chicago, IL
Detroit, MI

Source(s): http://www.canada.com , http://www.suntimes.com , http://www.billboard.com  
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