Velvet Revolver debuts

Weiland, former GNR members to play El Rey gig

The band comprising former members of Guns N’ Roses and ex-Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland — now known as Velvet Revolver — will give its first public appearance tonight at an invitation-only media event at the El Rey. Further appearances, though, may well be limited to the movies.

The much-anticipated band of Weiland, former GNR members Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, plus former Wasted Youth guitarist Dave Kushner, will perform a short set that will include “Set Me Free,” the single from the soundtrack for Universal’s “The Hulk.”

Event is sponsored by KROQ; Universal Pictures; Decca Records, which issued the soundtrack disc; and Velvet Revolver’s management company, Immortal Entertainment.

Band settled on Velvet Revolver as a name after the “Hulk” soundtrack had been printed. The song, the only one in the film, is therefore credited to Weiland, Slash, McKagan, Sorum and Kushner on the soundtrack that features Danny Elfman’s score.

Requests already in

Velvet Revolver, when they were working as “the project,” did showcases at their rehearsal studio in April for film and record label executives. Kathy Nelson, president of film music for Universal Music Group and Universal Pictures, hired them to record a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Money” for “The Italian Job.” Requests have been coming in for them to record songs for films scheduled for release this year and next.

“We weren’t looking for a song for ‘The Hulk,’ but I did mention to them that we would consider one,” Nelson said. Recorded less than a month ago, “Set Me Free” was played for director Ang Lee and Elfman, both of whom gave it the thumbs-up, and, Nelson said, “More time was spent mastering than anything else.”

Nelson said negotiations went smoothly partially because the band was without a label or a music publishing deal, and the execs at Immortal offered one quality idea after another on how to market the track.

‘Free’ most-added

“Set Me Free” was the most added song at active rock and mainstream rock stations last week, making it on 32 playlists, according to the Radio & Records tracking service. (No. 2 was Godsmack with 15.)

Song was sprung on many radio programmers late last week as a bit of a surprise, owing to the fact that a number of legal hurdles needed to be cleared before the song was released.

Unsigned, Velvet Revolver will be recording new songs for an album that it intends to present as a finished project to record labels for release.

“Right now we have six songs totally complete,” Slash said. “It’s like one of those things, sorta like what you want it to sound like, plus a little bit more. It has the edge that you’d want and expect from us. I can’t say for sure anything yet, though. We’re just really focused on making an amazing record.”

Risky business

Naming Weiland as the lead singer is definitely a risky move, as he has been arrested several times on drug charges. This month, he pleaded not guilty to felony counts of possession of heroin and cocaine. His next court date is July 11 and, if convicted, he faces up to a year in county jail. Before joining Velvet Revolver, Weiland was working on his second solo album; Stone Temple Pilots continues to be on hiatus.

News of Slash, McKagan and Sorum working together surfaced after Axl Rose relaunched Guns N’ Roses with a lineup that included none of the band members who made them the premier hard-rock band of the late 1980s and early ’90s.

Clear Channel had set up a Rose-led GNR tour late last year that was canceled after Rose was a no-show at a couple of venues. The current Guns N’ Roses had an album in the can, “Chinese Democracy,” that U’s Geffen imprint was eyeing for a spring release. It has since been moved to September, at which time GNR is expected to tour. While on hiatus, GNR bassist Tommy Stinson is embarking on a solo tour in August. GNR guitarist Buckethead, meanwhile, has one July show on his docket with his band the Deli Creeps.

Izzy Stradlin, who played opposite Slash during GNR’s initial run, co-wrote about 10 songs with Velvet Revolver when it was an unnamed entity. He intends to release his fifth solo album, “Like a Dog,” later this year and follow it with a solo tour.

(Katherine Turman contributed to this report).

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