Slash Welcomes Weiland

Gn'R vets ready to record, play select dates

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Now calling themselves "Velvet Revolver," Scott Weiland and former Guns n' Roses members Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum are ready to begin recording their debut album.

Weiland, best-known for fronting Stone Temple Pilots, told Rolling Stone last month that he was going to front the new band, but the rest of the group waited until today to confirm Weiland's admission.

"I always liked his voice in STP," Slash says. "He's got a great rock vibe, but also a cool, slinky thing going on. He's one of those guys who's got a dark side, which obviously fits with us."

"Scott is an identifiable guy and he has the swagger of a great frontman," says Sorum. "We have a lot of energy and we have our own identities. We want a guy who can keep up with that or be better than that."

As to Weiland's well-documented struggles with addiction, Slash says he's not concerned. "We've all been through it," he says. "We like Scott a lot and he's come to terms with his own stuff. We've been around the block so many fucking times -- whereas he might freak some people out, it doesn't phase us."

The band will begin writing lyrics to go with its ever-growing body of music and work on securing a record deal. But first Weiland has to complete a stint in rehab, which the singer promised to do following his May 18th arrest on drug charges in Los Angeles.

The four members have already recorded a cover of Pink Floyd's "Money" for the film The Italian Job and the original rocker "Set Me Free" for The Hulk. They aim to enter a studio by September and release an album in early 2004 after hitting the road this summer for some as-yet-unannounced dates.

Asked if Weiland's joining the band has created tension with the singer's STP bandmates, Slash says, "When we were recording 'Money,' [Dean and Robert DeLeo] were producing Alien Ant Farm in the same studio, and that was a very awkward day. Scott didn't seem like he had any ties to them, and as far as I now they're disbanded."

STP's management said "that's news to us."