Rhythm & Views

Scott Weiland

Stone Temple Pilots lead singer Scott Weiland, at 41, is one of the more veteran members of what I call the At Press Time Club, referring to the caveat which must accompany any article written about the unpredictable, frequently arrested and reluctantly rehabbed musician. (Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty grace the club's United Kingdom chapter.)

A couple of shaky (literally) early promotional outings for Weiland's latest solo effort, Happy in Galoshes, pointed toward another train wreck this winter, but--at press time--the vocalist has fulfilled all live obligations, including a well-received STP New Year's Eve gig. With the help of producer Doug Grean, a frequent Weiland collaborator and co-founder of Weiland's label, Softdrive Records, Happy manages to capture flashes of his former STP glory with hook-laden rockers "Missing Cleveland" and "Blind Confusion."

Elsewhere on Happy, Weiland professes mad Bowie love (outside of stealing the Thin White Duke persona) on "Paralysis," and squeezes a "Good Vibrations"-worthy harmonic refrain into "Beautiful Day," a reworking of a STP outtake. But a series of loungy ballads, a shameful Casio-based cover of Bowie's "Fame" and six-plus minutes of Weiland's Liza Minnelli-like, drunken-karaoke rendition of the hymn "Be Not Afraid" erases all previously earned goodwill, even if it is just a bonus track.

Time will tell if, to Weiland, Grean is a poor man's Rick Rubin, or closer to Brian Wilson's money-funneling, co-writing Svengali therapist Dr. Landy. Keep an eye on a recently inked deal tying Weiland's publishing rights from STP's catalog--and all future projects--to Grean and Weiland's Softdrive label.