By Ian S. Port
By SF Weekly
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Tony Ware
By Emma Silvers
Velvet Revolver is a supergroup featuring ex-members of Guns N' Roses -- guitarist Slash, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Matt Sorum -- and fronted by former Stone Temple Pilots vocalist Scott Weiland. The band brings its testosterone-dripping bar rock to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Tuesday, April 19 (go to www.anotherplanetent.com for the skinny). What follows is an interview with Weiland, who was kind enough to take 20 minutes out of his very busy schedule to talk about our shared hometown and alma mater, although not about Axl Rose or the time he spent in rehab or the fact that Slash had his famous top hat stolen at the 2005 Grammy Awards, which was reportedly something of a tragedy. Enjoy!
Scott Weiland: Oh, really?
GK:Yeah. So I figure that anyone can read all about Scott Weiland and Velvet Revolver in every other magazine. I'm gonna ask you about Edison High School.
GK:First question is, were you in a band at Edison?
SW: Yeah. Well, not in the Edison Band. I was in a band called [indecipherable].
SW: My first band that I performed just before my -- actually I just turned 16 years old, and had formed it with my high school best friend who was a guitar player, and we had a guy I knew who was my first girlfriend -- her best friend -- her best friend's boyfriend was a drummer. So the two of us -- my best friend who was a guitar player and this new cat who was a drummer -- we formed the foundation of our, of this band, and that band became ... [phone cuts out].
GK:Did you play in the Battle of the Bands at Edison?
SW: I guess we played in, what do you call that, the open air round --
SW: Yeah, the bowl. I don't know if it was a Battle of the Bands, but we played at lunchtime.
GK:That's awesome. You and I have played on the same stage in different bands.
SW: Really? We shared a stage.
GK:What about Huntington Beach growing up? What was your favorite part of Huntington Beach and what is your least favorite part?
SW: Well, I'll tell ya, my best memory of Huntington Beach was when I first moved from a small town outside of Cleveland, Ohio. And that was about two months before my freshman year. I came out, it was almost the end of summertime, and I was still playing football at that time. I was always one of those people who was really into sports and really into arts. And I'm still that way. I still love sports and I'm still completely into all of the art forms. I'm just not one of those people who believes you have to commit to one or the other. But that always made it difficult to align with one sect of friends as well, because I didn't fit with the jocks and I didn't fit with the freaks either. So I never was with one particular group of people. My group of friends -- we were kind of outsiders because we weren't with one particular clique, we just had our own little outsider clan. And, uh, that's kind of the way we liked it. I've never had a lot of friends, I've just had a small handful of good friends. But the memory that I have was -- you know, coming from a small little town, which was very conservative, very Midwest, very preppy, the kind of town where no one locks their doors at night, no one locks their doors when they leave for work, and all the good kids -- nobody had sex. I guess there was a little bit of first- and second-base action going on, but nobody was smoking weed and hardly anybody was even drinking. Me and my friends were already getting into sneaking the liquor from the cabinet thing, but it just was very conservative. And all of a sudden I move to Huntington Beach, and it was a free-for-all. All the friends that I started making right off the bat that were guys on the football team, there were also -- 'cause I wanted to -- I already surfed 'cause my father, my actual father, lived in Northern California, that's where I was born and I spent my summers in Northern California, learned how to surf in Santa Cruz with my dad, and so as soon as we moved to Huntington Beach, the first thing I did was get a board. And the guys on the football team who leaned a little to the left, those guys also surfed and they also smoked weed and so they sort of initiated me fairly quickly, and all of a sudden I was, you know, whisked right into the Southern California beach culture. And that was right around the time that, right as school was starting, and that movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High came out. And I couldn't believe it. That movie ... uh ... typlified [sic]... that movie was like ... it seems like fact to me. It, it, when I went and saw it with a group of my friends, it seemed exactly like the school that I went to. It seemed like Edison High School, it seemed like Huntington Beach. So I related to that. It was just a whole different culture. It was a lot faster. I remember as soon as the weekends would come there were multiple parties and everyone would ride their Schwinn cruisers from party to party, just a whole different lifestyle. So I guess those are my fondest memories of going to high school in Huntington Beach. I was pretty innocent back then, though.
GK:Did you ever go to Pizza D'Oro, the restaurant?
SW: Oh, hell yeah.
GK:All-you-can-eat lasagna and spaghetti?
SW: Yeah, yeah.
GK:What year did you graduate?
GK:Did you have a favorite teacher from Edison?
SW: Yeah, it would be Mr. Otie, my choir teacher. You know I was in the madrigal ensemble as well?
[At this point Weiland goes into a long story about trying to quit the wrestling and football teams to focus on music, a decision of which his coaches did not approve. I enjoyed the story, but it was too long. And so let us close this piece with one of the most winning things I've ever heard a multimillionaire rock star say:]
SW:But what they said was, "You're going to wrestle." And I said, "Listen, I'm not going to. I'm going to concentrate on music. I'm in the madrigal ensemble, we have over 100 concerts a year, and I have my band, and I also have to get good grades."