Members: Scott Weiland, Slash, Dave Kushner, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum
Active: 2002 - present
Velvet Revolver (abbrieviated to VR) is a Grammy Award-winning hard rock supergroup with three former members of Guns N' Roses - Slash, Duff McKagan, and Matt Sorum (who also played with rock band The Cult) - plus Scott Weiland, the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots, and Dave Kushner of the 80s hardcore punk band Wasted Youth. They have often been compared with another famed supergroup, Audioslave.
Velvet Revolver was formed when three former members of Guns N' Roses - Slash (guitar), Duff McKagan (bass), and Matt Sorum (drums) - joined to play a benefit concert for fellow musician Randy Castillo in 2002. They subsequently decided to form a new band that would bring back the spirit of rock to the mainstream. When Izzy Stradlin declined an invitation, the band recruited guitarist Dave Kushner, who had previously played with Wasted Youth and Dave Navarro. Kushner had gone to school with Slash and had worked with McKagan in Loaded, the band he'd played with before joining Velvet Revolver. The quartet were referred to under the temporary name "The Project" for a short period pending the selection of a permanent title for this emerging super group.
The quartet then set about recruiting a lead singer with VH1 filming the recruitment process. A number of lead singers auditioned, including Canadian Todd Kerns (formerly of Age of Electric), Josh Todd (of Buckcherry), Sebastian Bach formerly of Skid Row, Kelly Shaefer of Atheist/Neurotica, Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge, and Travis Meeks of Days of the New, but were unsuccessful. Reportedly, ex-Faith No More singer, Mike Patton, was also approached early in the process, but declined the offer to front the band. Scott Weiland had become friends with McKagan and had played on the same bill as Kushner when Stone Temple Pilots were known as Mighty Joe Young and Kushner was in Electric Love Hogs. Weiland heard the material and offered his services as the lead singer and the band clicked.
Slash suggested the name "Revolver" for the project and Weiland suggested the addition of "Black Velvet" to the title. Slash thought this sounded too similar to "Stone Temple Pilots," so the name was abbreviated to simply "Velvet Revolver."
Velvet Revolver recorded its first track "Set Me Free" for the Hulk soundtrack in 2003 and was also responsible for a cover of Pink Floyd's "Money," featured in the movie The Italian Job. The band played its first live gig at the El Rey in Los Angeles in June 2003. It recorded its first album, Contraband, in the latter part of 2003 with recording complicated by Weiland's court appearances for drug charges and his subsequent sentencing to undertake rehabilitation.
The marketing campaign for Velvet Revolver in the run-up to the release of the first album was profiled as part of the Frontline (PBS) program The Way the Music Died, which included interviews with the band members and producers.
Contraband was released in June 2004, debuting at #1 on the Billboard album charts, #11 on the British album charts, and #2 on the Australian charts. The first single, "Slither," topped a composite world modern rock chart in June, reached #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and #5 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. "Slither," which is also the band's first music video, has also reached #56 on the Billboard Hot 100, gone top 20 in Finland and top 40 on a European composite chart, in Canada, and in Australia. Since then, the band has released three more singles: the ballad "Fall to Pieces", the hard-rocker "Dirty Little Thing", and "Come On Come In", all of which have videos featured for them. "Fall to Pieces" has been remarkably successful not only on rock stations, but also on modern music stations. The band consequently declined an invitation to tour with KISS after learning that Poison would be a part of the bill, in an effort to distance themselves from being lumped in with bands from the 80's who had re-grouped at the time to make a buck; Velvet Revolver were out to make the statement that they were a new band. The members of Poison, naturally, were far from impressed.
As of August 2005, "Contraband" had sold more than 2 million copies in the United States, and the rigorous touring in support of the album has reached global scales. Already, the band has toured both the United States and Europe twice, while also hitting Australia and Japan.The CD has SunnComm's MediaMax DRM rootkit on it, exposing users to a security vulnerability.
Velvet Revolver performed at Live 8, playing "Do It For the Kids," "Fall to Pieces," and "Slither." However, only "Fall To Pieces" appears on the Live 8 DVD.
In 2005, a part of Contraband's "Dirty Little Thing" was inserted in Universal Studios' sequel to XXX, "XXX: State of the Union"
The band also recorded a new song entitled "Come On, Come In" for the 2005 movie Fantastic Four.
During 2005, the group announced its sophomore album, which is due out in 2006. Scott Weiland announced at the 2005 Radio Music Awards that it will be a concept album, and will be less single-driven than its previous effort, but later in the summer of 2006, Matt Sorum dismissed the claim that it will be a concept album. In December 2005, the band set Libertad (Spanish for "freedom") as the working title of the album.
In September 2006, Matt Sorum confirmed via Camp Freddy Radio on Indie 103.1 that the band had recently signed a deal with Rick Rubin to produce the new album. However, on his website, Sorum now claims that former Stone Temple Pilots producer Brendan O'Brien will be producing the album.
In October 2006, Scott Weiland announced that "Libertad" would most likely be released spring to later spring 2007.
2004 - Contraband
2007 - Libertad (Working Title) (April/May, 2007)
2003 - "Set Me Free"
2004 - "Slither"
2004 - "Fall to Pieces"
2005 - "Dirty Little Thing"
2005 - "Come On, Come In"