All Hail The Velvet Revolution!

by Mike Eccleshall | 27 March 2004

Virtual Festivals' founder and editor Steve Jenner: "If it wasn't for Guns N' Roses, I wouldn't be running this site now. None of this would exist, plain and simple. That band turned me on to music - in particular the life-changing power of live, outdoor rock n' roll - back in the early nineties when they ruled the world, and here we are. So, when I was offered the chance to meet my heroes - the guys I still considered to be the two coolest people on Earth - I knew it would be a pretty amazing experience. And I wasn't to be disappointed."

The setting was, appropriately, a guitar shop in London's West End. Everyone knows about Axl Rose's increasingly bizarre new [non-]adventures with the old band name, since the original, 'classic' incarnation split in the mid nineties. Fewer would be aware, however, that Slash, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum have more recently re-united - abandoning solo projects in the process - to form a new hard rock outfit called Velvet Revolver, featuring former Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland.

Prior to Slash and Duff's arrival, we were treated to a five track playback of new material from their forthcoming album 'Contraband'. VF can reveal that the album sounds absolutely awesome. It's straight-down-the-line classic LA rock, and yes there is a definite (but unashamedly acknowledged) GNR influence. However, they're in no way a poor halcyon days imitation. In fact, for those who never quite got to grips with Axl's yelps, the vocals of former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland bring an entirely new and welcome depth to the proceedings.

Shortly afterwards, Slash and Duff swaggered into the room, surprisingly bright-eyed and amiable (for rock legends). We spent the next hour or so desperately fighting the compulsion to just sit silently, in open-mouthed submission to the uncut awe rampaging through our humble veins, whilst our idols sat and chatted openly with us, regaling tales of rock n' roll excess from the glory days old and new. And we have proof that Duff really does drink low alcohol beer these days!

You can read the full interview on this website from Tuesday 30th April, in which Slash n' Duff shed light on their ongoing relationships with former Gunsmen Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin and Steven Adler, on the events that led to the creation of the new band and album, on helping Weiland overcome heroin addiction (a subject both are rather familiar with), on why they are glad to have swapped mega-stadiums for small clubs, and how fatherhood has only enhanced their rock n' roll spirit. The latter was of particular interest to VF editor Steve, who had only the week before become a proud new dad himself!

Steve admits: "I never thought that if I ever got to meet Slash, we'd be talking about babies!"

Axl's Guns n' Roses are set to headline the Rock In Rio festival in Portugal this summer, whilst Velvet Revolver have their sights set on some UK Festivals, with Download as a possibility...

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Photographer: Mike Eccleshall

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