In the tumultuous and tempestuous world of rock ‘n’ roll, few bands epitomized the clash of talent and turbulence like Velvet Revolver. Despite the internal discord that became an infamous hallmark of the band, there was an undeniable magic that captivated fans and critics alike. Dave Kushner, reflecting on his time in the ensemble, unabashedly acknowledged that the drama, though disruptive, undeniably contributed to the band’s overall allure and energy.
Velvet Revolver burst into the scene in 2004 with their debut album “Contraband,” a commercial success that boasted the Grammy-winning single “Slither.” The band’s second and final offering, “Libertad,” may have sold less than its platinum predecessor, but it still left a lasting mark, moving a significant number of units.
Via UG – The band managed to retain a quintessential element of rock “danger” until the very end, an essence largely attributed by Kushner to the same tumultuous factors that led to the band’s demise.
He said: “There was the ‘dangerous band’ element, which is something I often roll my eyes at. But with that band, it did apply. There was always an element of, ‘Is this guy [Scott Weiland] going to show up’ or ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen’ present. That came across in the writing and approach to a song like ‘Slither’, for example. When we recorded ‘Slither’, Matt [Sorum] was getting really frustrated with all that stuff while Slash and the guys were in the room with him. So, we were playing along with Matt, and he said, ‘Ah, it’s too fast,’ and kicked us out of the room and recorded the drums himself. I remember the guys were pissed, and Duff threw a beer bottle across the room.”
What’s most odd, is this was normalcy for the band as Kushner said: “This sort of tense stuff was always happening, but that song ended up being the single and did well. Now, I can’t say that without one, there wouldn’t have been the other, but maybe if things were easy, we wouldn’t have had that same edge.”
The band was an incredible buffet of talent as Kushner even dived into Slash where he stated: “Playing with Slash was an education in and of itself. But I’ve known Slash since middle school, and we also hung out in the same circles. I was always very comfortable around him, but there’s no denying I looked up to him. But what was always so cool is that Slash is just a dude. That was never more apparent than when we were looking for singers, and people said, ‘You just need to get someone.’ But Slash said, ‘No, it’s got to be the right guy.’ We waited, and it paid off. So, maybe more than anything, I learned to be a better band member. That’s important, because when you’re in a band you’re sometimes a partner in a multi-million-dollar company, so there’s a lot to learn.”
One of the cornerstones of Kushner’s musical philosophy is rooted in humility and remaining grounded. He acknowledged the significance of mindset and personality in the realm of music, underscoring the timeless adage, “Your ego is not your amigo.” For Kushner, longevity in the music industry is not solely reliant on skill, but also on the ability to adapt, collaborate, and stay true to oneself beyond a single album cycle.
He said: “There’s a stupid saying that goes, ‘Your ego is not your amigo,’ and it’s so true. The truth is there are probably a ton of people who have more skill than I do, but mindset and personality count for a lot. When you put all that together, that keeps you around for more than just an album cycle.”
In the end, Velvet Revolver’s chaotic journey, marked by in-fighting and mayhem, serves as a testament to the band’s ability to channel adversity into electrifying music. The drama that surrounded them fueled their creativity, ultimately leaving an indelible mark on the rock landscape.