Scott Weiland and Christmas music are probably not things that most people associate together in their minds. But the Stone Temple Pilots frontman – whose album of Christmas classics The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year hit shelves earlier this week – says he's always loved holiday standards. "I've been listening to these songs my entire life," he tells Rolling Stone. "It was a great honor to do this album."
The album features standards like "White Christmas," "Silent Night" and "I'll Be Home For Christmas." Many of the songs were cut with a large orchestra. (You can hear a stream of "Winter Wonderland" below.) Weiland's vocal style varies wildly between tracks. "I've never recorded something commercially before where I'm crooning," he says. "But if you listen to my solo albums it shows that there is such a major difference in the music that influences me and the way that I use my voice. I look at my voice as an instrument. My two favorite singers, John Lennon and David Bowie, had very different voices that they used depending on the vibe of the song."
Some of the tracks stick to familiar arrangement, while others are more daring. "We wanted to do a reggae-ish version of 'Silent Night,'" says Weiland. "And there's a sort of swigging version of 'What Child Is This?' and we have a bossa nova, Sixties kitschy version of one of the songs. It all worked out quite amazing."
The mere existence of this album may shock some of Weiland's fans, but he hasn't gotten any such reactions yet. "All the feedback I've gotten has been very good," he says. "My memories of Christmas time are very special, especially as a youngster. These songs, however they are stylized, have been done and redone by so many different people – yet people love to listen to them every holiday season. It's something that I want to just be part of."
Stone Temple Pilots have a mini-tour of South America lined up in November, but when that wraps Weiland is going to perform six Christmas solo shows. "It's a theater tour and it will be very classy," Weiland says. "We'll bring a small part of the orchestra with us and then we will go to the music union and find other players to supplement the rest of the orchestra. Then we're doing two morning TV shows, two afternoon shows and two late night shows."
An American Stone Temple Pilots tour was postponed last month due to Weiland's continuing throat problems. "My voice was shot," Weiland says. "I've been on the road nonstop ever since I got in with Velvet Revolver. We over-toured this last STP record. Sometimes it begins to feel like you're punching a clock. A lot of times I told them that we had to stop because my voice was giving out. Finally, an ear, nose and throat specialist put a camera down my throat. One of my vocal chords was strong – like overly strong – but the other one was very weak. He was afraid that I was going to do irreparable harm."
Weiland finds the whole situation very frustrating. "This isn't about any finger pointing, but there was a lack of communication," he says. "Things slip by and they slip through the cracks, and that can't happen. There would be no Christmas record and no STP records or concerts if my voice was destroyed."
When the STP tour ends and Weiland finishes all promotion for the Christmas record, he's looking forward to a long break. "In the last eight years, I've barely ever had more than two months off," he says. "I want to spend time with my kids and I want to have a personal life."