Behind an unmarked door on a nondescript street in an industrial part of town is Scott Weiland’s second home: an old machine shop he transformed into his dream studio.
Gold and platinum records cover one wall; hand-scrawled set lists for Velvet Revolver and Stone Temple Pilots fill another. There’s a grand piano, stacks of amps and a pool table covered with Weiland’s clothes. A Yoda doll sits in the corner. Red silk lanterns dangle from the ceiling next to an American flag.
This is where Weiland’s second solo album, an ambitious double-CD almost 10 years in the making, was born.
“This album is really my heart and soul,” Weiland says, sitting in the studio’s glass-enclosed control booth with an acoustic guitar on his lap, “because this is my playground.”
Over the past decade, the Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver frontman escaped to the studio again and again — when STP broke up and reunited, when he and his wife broke up and reunited.
“Whenever he had some time, he would come in and we’d either write a song or record a song or something,” says Doug Grean, Weiland’s longtime friend and musical collaborator. “Every time he got fed up with the big rock machine, the corporate machine, he would come in and do a song. Every time he got kicked out of his house by his wife, he would come in and do a song.”
Most of those tracks appear on “Happy in Galoshes,” in stores Tuesday.
Dogged by drug addictionThe title is a tad ironic, since Weiland isn’t exactly what you’d call a happy type — especially lately. The 41-year-old rocker continues to be dogged by his drug addiction, though trips to rehab and jail have become less frequent. Last year, his brother died of a drug overdose, his mother was diagnosed with cancer, he had a dramatic split with Velvet Revolver and hit the road with STP. He is also going through an “unexpected divorce” from wife Mary, with whom he has two children.
“It’s been a rough year and a half,” says Weiland, who delves into his personal issues without provocation or reservation. In flowing, stream-of-consciousness style, he talks about his drug problems, his divorce, jail, blogging, high school, being a dad and the war in Iraq. He switches subjects without warning or reason. But there is an earnestness to him, a sort of wounded sincerity.
He talks about his 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter and how he tried to keep STP’s reunion tour short so he could spend more time with them. He shares how uncontrolled drug use derailed his first solo album, 1998’s “12 Bar Blues,” and how most of the musicians went to rehab before the record was released. He talks about his other stints in treatment and jail and confesses: “I currently don’t have my driver’s license. I’ll be able to get it back in a couple months.” He reveals that “Happy in Galoshes” is about his relationship with his wife, whom he married in 2000.
“It’s a concept album of the love lost between she and I,” Weiland says. “It chronicles our relationship from the moment that we got married and really, every time there was a separation is when I would come in here and live here basically and just purge.”
The album is a genre-defying collection of 19 songs — some hard rock, some pop tunes, some folksy tracks and a cover of David Bowie’s “Fame.”
But “Happy” is likely his last double-disc effort, says Grean.
“The next record’s going to be totally different,” he says. “We might do a country album next time.”