|Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
After spending most of 2005 on the road, Velvet Revolver is slowly making headway on new material that will comprise its sophomore RCA album. Bassist Duff McKagan tells Billboard.com, "Hopefully we'll be in the studio in February or March. It would be nice to have something out by July."
And while it's too early to talk specifics, the band is mulling an overarching theme for the set, according to frontman Scott Weiland.
"With the first record, it was kind of a feeling out process on a technical level," he says. "We were sort of bonded by blood in a sense, because we'd gone through very similar circumstances. On this record, I have a real concept in mind. Because of that, it will be a very album-oriented record instead of a singles-driven record."
"We've got 10 or 12 ideas maybe," McKagan says. "We had a lot of stuff from tour, from soundchecks or backstage. [Drummer] Matt [Sorum] has a studio in his house and we're just hashing out ideas there."
Weiland has been writing during his own down time at home with his wife and family, not only with Velvet Revolver in mind but also the follow-up to his 1998 solo album, "12 Bar Blues."
"I'm constantly writing -- all the time," he offers. "We got off the road about three months ago, and for me, writing is not a chore. I own my own recording studio, and it's a playground for me, really. I have two kids and a wife. Once I get my kids ready for school and drive them there in the morning, and have breakfast with the old lady, I drive five minutes to my studio and just write there."
The new set will be the follow-up to 2004's "Contraband," which debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 1.8 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Velvet Revolver will close out the year with a Dec. 31 show in Sayreville, N.J. The group's charmed first two years of existence is not lost on McKagan, who endured his share of hardships with Guns N' Roses.
"It seems like this band -- the reincarnation of ourselves in another thing -- has been accepted now into this whole other kind of upper echelon," he says. "We played with Elton John and Stevie Wonder. We're asked to be the band to play on the Grammys and all these other magnificent things. Finally, we're respected as players."