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Biography

Origins (1998-2002)

The early incarnation of Velvet Revolver began in 1998 when three former members of Guns N' Roses, Slash (guitar), Duff McKagan (bass), and Matt Sorum (drums) joined together to record original music (composed by Sorum, Lanny Cordola, and Michael Stearns) for the independent film, Soundman, written and directed by Steven Ho.

On January 24, 1999, the ex-Gunners (joined by Lanny Cordola, Chuck Wright, and Teddy Zigzag reunited for a special one-hour plus concert at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah to promote the film. Rumors spread about a possible Guns N' Roses reunion, but their set list avoided any Guns n' Roses songs, although they did revisit Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door," a favorite cover during their Guns days. "Before we left, people were saying... it's on the Internet, it's in 'Variety' that Guns is back together to play," McKagan told MTV News, who covered the event at Harry O's Bar. "It's so blown up," Sorum added. "And that's just like so far away from anything that's true," McKagan said. "We're just here to play. It's not that big of a deal, but we play good together."

In 2002, after meeting during a tour of Japan, McKagan added former Wasted Youth, Electric Love Hogs and Dave Navarro guitarist Dave Kushner to the Loaded lineup following the departure of Mike Squires. Loaded announced a tour of Europe, however some of the shows were soon canceled when McKagan began collaborating with his former Guns N' Roses band mates.

Formation (2002-2003)

The trio played again at a bar concert for musician Randy Castillo in 2002. They subsequently decided to form a new band after recognizing that their musical relationship was still very much intact. Izzy Stradlin was initially invited to be the band's rhythm guitarist, but he declined due to his unwillingness to work with a lead singer and his aversion to the life on the road (although Stradlin has rehearsed & written with the band & occasionally played with them on tour). During a Loaded show at Hollywood's Viper Room, McKagan introduced Kushner to Slash, after Kushner said they had known each other previously, who confirmed they were friends at Junior High and High School. After Kushner jammed with the group he was invited to join with Slash stating that "Dave brought a cool vibe to what we were doing. There was no deliberation; that was it, it was a perfect fit."

The quartet were referred to under the temporary name "The Project". During this time they wrote several songs such as 'Embrace' and 'Vengeful God.'

The quartet then set about auditioning a lead singer, with VH1 filming the recruitment process. The resulting documentary was aired as VH1 Inside Out: The Rise of Velvet Revolver. A number of lead singers auditioned, including Canadian Todd Kerns (formerly of Age of Electric), Josh Todd (of Buckcherry), Michael Matijevic (of Steelheart), Sebastian Bach (formerly of Skid Row), Shawn Albro (of U.P.O.), Kelly Shaefer (of Atheist/Neurotica) and Travis Meeks (of Days of the New). Myles Kennedy (of Alter Bridge and formerly of The Mayfield Four) declined an invitation to audition because he wanted to focus more on other projects. Reportedly, singers Mike Patton (formerly of Faith No More) and Ian Astbury (The Cult) were also approached early in the process, but both declined the offer. Scott Weiland had become friends with McKagan (via their respective wives) and had once played on the same bill as Kushner. Originally Weiland was wanted by the band but due to STP still touring he declined. After the band heard about STP's split in 2003, they were quick to get Weiland involved. Once he heard the material and offered his services as the lead singer, the band was formed.

According to Slash's autobiography, Scott Weiland suggested the name "Black Velvet Revolver", combining something intimate with something violent, after Slash suggested Revolver. He had liked the word Revolution, which he saw in the credits of a movie. From Black Velvet Revolver, they arrived at simply "Velvet Revolver." This was done while walking to the viewing room, at Universal Studios, to see Hulk. They were considering lending a song (Set Me Free) to the soundtrack.

Contraband (2003-2005)

Velvet Revolver recorded its first track "Set Me Free" for the soundtrack for the movie Hulk in 2003. The band also recorded a cover of Pink Floyd's "Money" which is 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.
Scott Weiland and Slash

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 reached global scales. The band toured both the United States and Europe twice, while also performing in Australia, New Zealand and Japan. The CD had SunnComm's MediaMax DRM rootkit on it, exposing users to a computer 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 xXx: State Of The Union. The band also recorded a new song entitled "Come On, Come In" for the 2005 movie Fantastic Four.

Libertad (2005-2008)

During 2005, the group announced that a second album was in the works. Scott Weiland announced at the 2005 Radio Music Awards that it would be a concept album, and would be less single-driven than its previous effort; but later in the summer of 2006, Matt Sorum dismissed the claim that it would be a concept album. In December 2006, the band set Libertad (Spanish for "liberty") 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 later claimed that former Stone Temple Pilots producer Brendan O'Brien would be producing the album.

On June 21, 2007, Velvet Revolver performed in a concert at the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C., that was streamed live via MSN Music. On June 23, 2007, four songs off the album were available in full stream audio onto the internet ten days before retail on BestBuy's website. It was announced by WWE that "Let It Roll" would be the official theme song for the 2007 Diva quest Search. "Slither" "She Builds Quick Machines," and "Messages" appear in a downloadable Velvet Revolver pack in the videogame Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. "She Builds Quick Machines" was on the game NASCAR 08.

On their official website, Velvet Revolver gave a chance for fans to vote in a poll for the third single off of Libertad. "Get Out the Door" won with 53% of the votes, winning over "Let It Roll" and "She Mine". "Get Out the Door" was released for airplay on January 28, 2008. MTV has recently reported that Slash told Illinois' Northwest Herald that the band will begin working on its next LP in April 2008. Slash is also planning to record a solo album sometime in the next year or two. They began a tour of Australia, Europe and the United States, starting with a concert in Chicago on January 24, 2008. According to BlabberMouth.net on February 7, Scott Weiland voluntarily entered a rehab facility. This led to Velvet Revolver cancelling their Australian tour which had already been postponed for 2 months. They returned to the stage on March 8, 2008 in Dubai for the Desert Rock Festival.

Split with Weiland and future (2008-present)

Weiland stated on March 20, 2008 at Velvet Revolver's show in Glasgow that this would be the band's final tour. Matt Sorum posted a message on his website the next day discussing the band's situation and said, "You could tell who was unhappy last night," and "some people in this business don't realize how great of a life they have." Weiland responded by telling Blabbermouth.net, "Well, first of all, the state of my family affairs is really none of his business, since he is too immature to have a real relationship, let alone children. So don't attempt to stand in a man's shoes when you haven't walked his path."

At the time Slash hinted in an interview with Classic Rock magazine that, contrary to Weiland's assertions, Velvet Revolver will continue beyond its current tour. When asked "Will Scott be singing?", Slash replied "I have no comment on that", and laughed.

It was announced on April 1 that Weiland had officially parted ways with Velvet Revolver. Later that month, Weiland performed with Stone Temple Pilots for the first time since 2002, kicking off their reunion tour.

Matt Sorum said on May 26, 2008 in an interview "that the band was definitely not breaking up and that they looked for a singer before and they can do it again." Bassist Duff McKagan has recently stated that the band has been working on new material inspired by the recent drama with Weiland.

Velvet Revolver have been on indefinite hiatus since April 2008 and sought audition tapes through the internet of prospective singers. In summer 2008 Lenny Kravitz was rumored to be in the studio with VR as a possible singer, but Kravitz denied the story and was on tour with his band during the time. Royston Langdon, of Spacehog, was also rumored as a possible singer, but it was denied by the band. Chester Bennington of Linkin Park was another rumored singer, having already performed the Guns n' Roses song "Paradise City" with the band, although, as stated by Classic Rock magazine "[Chester] already has a job". In November 2008, the band was dropped from their record label Sony BMG/RCA Records. At NAMM 2009 Duff McKagan appeared at both the RotoSound and Dunlop booths, at the end of a long day, McKagan sat down with MusicRadar for an exclusive video interview. They discussed a variety of topics, the most pressing being Velvet Revolver's ongoing search for a new singer. McKagan smiled and hinted that the candidates have been narrowed down and that an announcement could be made very soon. The following month bassist Duff McKagan said "It's down to a couple of guys," and the band was "weeks away" from announcing their new singer.

Rumors of Guns N' Roses reuniting arose in late 2008 when Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose disappeared without promoting the latest Guns N' Roses album. It was claimed that Axl had been in secret talks with the classic Guns N' Roses lineup for a reunion tour. However, Axl Rose has done a couple of interviews since and seems strongly against a reunion tour; also, the touring lineup for the upcoming branch of the Chinese Democracy Tour has been announced. Because of this, speculation for a reunion tour has gone.

On July 15, 2009, Slash stated through his Twitter account that a scheduled Velvet Revolver meeting "went great." He also went on to say that no new singer had been announced, but "the dream is alive and well."

In 2009, the members of the band have been busy with their solo projects. Duff McKagan has recorded an album with his band Loaded while Slash has been working on his first solo album Slash and Matt Sorum has been on tour with Motörhead. Guitarist Dave Kushner collaborated with Bob Thiele Jr. co-writing the theme song for the 2008 FX original series Sons of Anarchy. In 2009 Dave and Bob Thiele Jr. received an Emmy award nomination for the theme. Kusher also collaborated with Scars on Broadway guitarist and solo artist Franky Perez releasing songs under the pseudonym of DKFXP, a combination of the initials of Franky and Kushner.

During December 2009 rumors had developed that the band had hired Gord Prior of Blu Bones as their new frontman. However, a spokeswoman for the band dismissed this stating that no new decisions had been made. In an interview with Musicradar, Matt Sorum said "We need a singer soon. We need the right guy in six months. We can't wait another year. Otherwise, it might not matter."

In February 2010, after running into one another on a flight to Las Vegas, Slash stated he had "no issues" with Weiland and that he was excited to hear the new Stone Temple Pilots album. He also said of Velvet Revolver: "As soon as I get back from this tour I'll call the other guys and see where they're at and then we'll reconvene and take a good look at where Velvet's at and who's out there and get that up and running. It's definitely not dead. It's just sort of dormant."

In March 2010, Duff McKagan joined Jane's Addiction, replacing founding bassist Eric Avery. Jane's Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins has stated that: "Jane's Addiction is now the four of us: Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro, Duff McKagan and myself. Duff's a full-time member and he's ready to bite off as much as we are. What that ultimately means for the future of Velvet Revolver, I don't know."

On April 2, in an interview for London Free Press, Slash stated that the group was "far from dead in the water" and that they had "written new songs and [planned] to reconvene in 2011."

On April 7, in an interview for Seattle Weekly, McKagan, while speaking about his recent addition to the Jane's Addiction lineup, stated that "Velvet is in a period of downtime right now, and perhaps we will one day get a new singer [...] We are all friends in VR, don't get me wrong, but with all the different issues that plagued us, we all just needed to do something else for a while, I suppose."

Van Halen Induction

On March 12, 2007, Velvet Revolver stood in for Van Halen for their induction ceremony into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Of Van Halen, only former bassist Michael Anthony and former singer Sammy Hagar attended. The band played a medley of "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" and "Runaround". Sammy Hagar introduced Velvet Revolver as "the best rock and roll band left on the planet." Anthony and Hagar joined Paul Shaffer and the house band on stage to perform "Why Can't This Be Love".