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Review: Velvet Revolver Contraband

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Historically, guitar heroes who leave their most famous band don’t top their previous efforts with a new band. But Velvet Revolver is categorized as a “supergroup” – a label that also spells doom. Throughout rock history, egos, death, boredom or “creative differences” have ended supergroups. Scott Weiland and the ex-GNR boys share the same personal sagas with addiction, booze and rock and roll chaos. This lineup mixes the wild eyed 80’s and some 90’s angst perfectly. Stone Temple Pilots were always seen as Pearl Jam/Alice in Chains ripoffs but Weiland had the charisma and cheap drug experiences required for a frontman. STP never really aspired to new heights. This album plays to Weiland’s strengths and to Slash’s chemistry with his ex-GNR mates.

“Slither” was the first single and immediately scores as Weiland proves the rehab was worth the wait. “Fall to Pieces” is destined to be a crowd pleaser or encore in future VR concerts. It’s not necessarily a ballad but the soaring guitar solos by Slash are cigarette lighter ready for the GNR crowd. “Spectacle” is bare knuckle brawling by Weiland and Slash against their opponents. Matt Sorum and Duff handle the rhythm section tighter than their GNR days and Dave Kushner brings some post 90’s rhythm guitars to balance Slash.

What this disc proves that you can have your 70’s/80’s/90’s and new millenium production all rolled into one. Now pick up a six pack and put this on your iPod and blow your earphones away. Hopefully, Velvet Revolver puts out a double album before this decade is over.

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  • THis really is an excellent album. I look forward to whatever they may give us in the future.

  • Marty Thau

    Some contend this is “old school” redux but I don’t buy into that. That’s just the voice of cynics who probably never liked this style of music to begin with. Weiland was always a great front man (drug problems aside) and Slash is simply the greatest guitarist for what he does.
    These guys are the stars of that form.
    Followers of this style of music now have someone to latch onto.

  • Revtim

    It’s funny you say “put this on your iPod”, isn’t this one of those discs with the copy protection that prevents copying to a portable device? (Easily avoided by pressing SHIFT while putting the disc in or turning off autorun, though.)

    I don’t have an iPod, so I cannot say for sure either way.

  • I love Slash and this kind o music. but i putt his in and it’s all derivative retro bleh (and circa junior high school love bmb / snake lyrics. Lenny Kravitz retro is better.

    SnakePit and even Izzy’s Ju Ju Hounds; none of it was very good. All drowned in influences without offering anything new.

    Slash should break out and do a solo guitar record. With a couple of guests. The Cult’s Sorum is pretty drum clinical and servicable with occasional flashes of brilliance.

    Weiland? Trying too hard. always tried to hard. Took drugs because he knows he’s not very talented. Never had much talent. Plush was STP’s best song. They were never very good – and most of the time god-awful. And I was dying for them to be good so they would do my name proud (or something like that anyway)

    Opinions? I got ’em.

  • Revtim, I just found that out yesterday. I actually have only played on my pc yesterday but wrote the review months before. Temple Stark thanks for the opinion. Slash, Weiland and VR will incite some love ’em or hate ’em. I didn’t like STP and barely liked GnR. I just really like this record.

  • That’s cool. Music is very subjective, but spelling isn’t. Gawd I screwed it up there, eh?

  • Revtim

    Tube Pinoy, did you press SHIFT while inserting the disc or turn off autorun? If not, it installed software on your PC without your consent.

    Did the same thing with me, I wasn’t paying close enough attention. I had to find the driver called ‘SbcpHid’ and remove it. Google for ‘SbcpHid’ for more explicit instructions, if you need to.

  • Marty Thau

    You sure do, Temple — have opinions, that is — and you sure are a tough audience. Further, how on earth would YOU know WHY Weiland took drugs? I think you just like to be contraire — perhaps to be noticed? Why don’t you give it a rest already and tell us about something you like with a passion instead of ripping apart musicians to feed your ego.

  • Marty, see my other posts here on musicians I like. I’m a contributor at the site and have a huge range of taste in music.

    Just opinions. Everyone’s got ’em.

    – Temple

  • Thanks for the tip, Revtim

  • Marty Thau

    You still haven’t answered my question Temple — how would YOU know WHY Weiland took drugs? Are you a personal friend? Or, did you just write that to stir some waves? Having spent a lifetime in the music biz I know what it feels like to read some writer’s fantasies about my personal life that are totally misinformed, or purposely manufactured to be sensational. It hurts. Weiland obviously has had problems that led to drugs but he does deserve credit for picking himself up and going at it again. Actually I’m rooting for him to succeed because of it. One should not be ridiculed for exhibiting human frailty.

  • I could be totally wrong. Absolutely. I don’t tend to have much sympathy for people who take, well, illegal drugs especially. Prodigal son stories don’t work for me. I much more applaud those strong enough not to succumb in the first place.

    I’m sure it was medicinal.

    I want him to succeed, too and do applaud that he has pushed himself to recovery (though really, after rock bottom he didn’t have much choice, did he? Other than death and no sane perosn wants him to die prematurely).

    I just wish he had dropped the singing for a successful career in welding.

    Can I no longer have opinions about national politicians either? I’m sure they have feelings, too. Somewhere.

  • H.W. Saxton

    Marty, This is unrelated to this thread but:When is someone going to do a complete anthology of Suicide? They have so much good material languishing in semi-obscurity. Undeservedly I might add. I’ve got all the LP releases,the 12′ of “Dream Baby Dream”, all of Alan’s solo stuff and some of Marty’s. There are a lot of obscure tracks by them such as : “Speed Queen,Rock N Roll Rebel,Rock N Roll Is Killing My Life and so many others that deserve a wider release. They are to me such an underrated and influential band. Without them there would not have been the 80’s electro-pop boom, the No Wave scene, a lot of the electro funk out of NYC (Baambata,ESG,Liquid Liquid) and much more. At least not to the extent there was. Just curious as I could not think of a band that are more deserving of a wider release and recognition.They are still so far ahead of their time musically. PS: Strange as it may seem one of the first songs I taught myself on the guitar was “Ghost Rider”. Lots of fuzz and a little tremolo and delay…

  • Marty Thau

    Temple, you can have opinions about anyone you like. Why don’t you try, though, to be a bit more honest and accurate. Now you’re coming across as just another hungry for recognition sarcastic gossip hack.
    Unfortunately people like you do succeed — but no-one really likes them.

  • I thought I was just answering your question instead of ignoring you. I’m at the site, not waiting with baited breath for you to reply, but for editing duties.

    If you’ve got a Jones for SW and STP is your favorite band – great.

    “People like me?” “Gossip hack?” (I freely admit to the sarcastic) Now where did that come from? Who’s attacking now?

    Have more fun and answer HW’s query. Sheesh.

  • Omni Temporal

    That’s “bated” breath, not “baited” breath. Thank you.

  • H.W. Saxton

    Fishermen wait with “baited” breath. Aha ha ha. Sorry.

  • what the fuck ever. LOL Man you guys .. you’re cracking me up – literally. And correct.

  • Marty Thau

    Temple, you never did answer my question and you know it. You skirted around it and threw in your usual cutesy savage sarcastic crap. That’s all. You’re part of the new breed of “paparazzi” writers — who will say and do anything to be noticed.


  • Actually Temple did answer your question, Marty.

  • Marty Thau

    Not to my satisfaction, Victor.

  • If you can’t find satisfaction when someone admits “I could be totally wrong” about an opinion, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

  • Marty Thau

    “I COULD BE WRONG?” What kind of admission is that, Victor? How about I WAS WRONG TO WRITE THAT!
    THAT should have been the answer – not some half-assed admission of guilt.

  • An admission of “guilt” may be what you wanted in the privacy of your own mind, Marty, but that was never the question you asked Temple. What you actually asked was how he knew the reasons for Weiland’s drug use.

    He answered your question by admitting he had no such personal knowledge. In doing so he made it sufficiently clear for any reasonable reader to understand that his comments were speculative personal opinions, not insider revelations.

    If you were expecting him to perform the written equivalent of craving your lordly pardon and humbly licking the bottom of your shoe, you’d better get used to disappointment.

  • Marty Thau

    Victor, Temple wrote Weiland took drugs because he knew he had little talent. I asked Temple how he knew this. He answered by saying he “could” be wrong — not that he “was” wrong in writing it because he couldn’t really back up his statement.
    It was opinion stated as fact. “Could have been wrong” implies the possibility that he also could have been right. “I WAS wrong” was the honest thing to write. Temple skirted the question and you’re making this more of an issue than it deserves. Now go back into your little cubicle and mind your own business.

  • Marty, I could be right, though. We don’t know the facts.

    Marty I respect everything you do in your career and understand you are a long-time friend of this site and one of the Tres Producers.

    I don’t want to upset you but I guess you’re just going to have to think the worst of me. I’m not going to get legalistic and parse my opiniated language unless you are going to start picking on every single quote and comment equal to or much worse than my stated opinion

    Why did you pick me for your special attention?

    Respectfully. Temple

    Thank you Victor

  • Marty Thau

    If you didn’t know the facts why did you write it up as if you did? You should have written “in my opinion he probably or possibly turned to drugs because, etc., etc.” Why is it so difficult for you to admit that your wording was irresponsible? I have nothing against you but I do have something against journalists who are careless with words — and in that instance I believe you were. Now if you want to continue this petty back and forth tit for tat argument I’m ready and willing — but I just as soon drop it and chalk it up to “differences.” That should suffice, don’t you think?

  • I’ll just say you’ve called me a few different things here – and all are your opinions.

    i’m part of the “new breed of paparazzi.” I’m “a gossip hack? I’m not “honest” or accurate.”

    And you did not precede them with “In my opinion”. The situation is equal and therefore enough with the – in my opinion – hypocritical double standard.

    Peace. You’re driving me nuts. You still haven’t explained why I’m your punching bag to the exclusion of all else at this site.

  • Marty Thau

    I didn’t single you out for any particular reason. I just took umbrage at something you said that
    I felt was irresponsible. You can believe me when I say I’m not a Weiland or Stone Temple PIlots fan. I would have reacted the same had you written about someone like Clay Aiken. The point is — people do believe what they read. Spare us your morality, too. Your experience is not mine.

  • playguitar

    No. Definately not.
    Retro? More like Judastpriestlike leathermetal lameness. Dave kushner is obviously one of the lousiest guitar players ever. GnR like material with a punkrock backing guitarist? Come on. The singer of the band (cant be arsed to look up his name) is an obviously faggy facade running around like those infamous Bauhaus clips in the 80’s. The fact that i havent heard the bass player at all speaks for itself. The musical merits of this band is absolutely zero, or as i would almost call it, “pop”. Theyre trying to hit the heights of soaring 80s metal, and hit the mainstream bouncing poprock crap.
    And for poor old Slash, falling from controversial Gibson slinger in early GnR to a fat, old, smoking parody on the word “rockgod”, i see no other option than to denounce his public existence and buy a house in central nevada, and to live happily with his wife and children ever after.
    Lets not forget that rock is dead, and Slash is most dead of all

  • Delvis

    Well anyways, Velvet Revolver gave someone that was 15 the mid 80’s something to sing/think about again, keep rock alive!

  • Tasha

    This album is by far my favourite!! It’s a need to buy album!