Scott Weiland has begun work on the follow-up to 12 Bar Blues, his 1998 solo debut, with producer Josh Abraham (Crazytown, Deadsy). Abraham describes the four completed tracks, recorded in late August at his Los Angeles studio, as more "artsy" than Weiland's efforts with Stone Temple Pilots, but not as far out as the singer's experimental first set.
"What I do is much more commercial than what Scott would ever do," Abraham says during a break from finishing the new Staind album. "But I think the combination could definitely be on the radio. It doesn't sound anything like STP, but it's definitely his vision of what he wanted to do."
Like the singer's first solo album, which mixed ambient jazz, bossa nova and tape-loop electronic rock, his second effort is heavily reminiscent of Scary Monsters-era David Bowie. The influence is greatest on "Drop That Baby," which Abraham describes as a trace of psychedelia melded with a heavy, melodic hook. "If Only I Could Fly" has an angelic, celestial vibe, with airy guitars reminiscent of U2's Edge, he says, while "Big Black Monster" is another trip into psychedelic rock. The fourth track is still untitled.
"He is a man of many voices," Abraham says of Weiland, whom he met when both were part of the Los Angeles super group the Wondergirls, which also featured Sugar Ray singer Mark McGrath, Orgy's Jay Gordon and the Cult's Ian Astbury. "For different moods and topics, you can hear him get into character like an actor. He has an angry voice, a sweet falsetto and a monotone voice, and it's really cool how it changes so much from song to song. You can't believe it's the same singer."
12 Bar Blues featured appearances from Sheryl Crow and Daniel Lanois, and Abraham expects some "superstar" guests to drop in when he and Weiland return to the studio in the spring. Prior to that, Weiland will preview material from the set at several charity events in February.