Bing Crosby, Burl Ives, Jose Feliciano and... Scott Weiland? OK, the Stone Temple Pilots frontman may not be the first name you think of when it comes to Christmas music, but with the release of "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," Weiland assures us that his holiday credentials are well-established.
"To tell the truth, I've been singing Christmas music my whole life," Weiland tells Billboard.com. "I started singing in the first grade, in the choir because there was money in public schools for choir and music. I was picked to sing two solos -- one was a Christian Christmas carol and the other one was a Hanukkah (song). I still remember the majority of the words, in fact. So I have the roots to do it."
"The Most Wonderful Time..." is no rock 'n' roll Christmas album, however. Co-produced by his longtime musical partner Doug Green, it finds Weiland singing lushly orchestrated versions of favorites such as "The Christmas Song," "White Christmas," "Silent Night" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," as well as the lone original "Happy Christmas and Many More." "I wanted to do it like a traditional Christmas album, like in the 30s and 40s," Weiland explains. "Most of the young people want to hear a Justin Timberlake version of 'The Christmas Song' or something R&B modern or the country kind of thing, like a Faith Hill sort of thing. But for me, I really connected with the crooners and the jazz stuff. They really touched my heart -- the Frank and Tommy Dorsey bands and all that Nelson Riddle stuff, Mel Torme, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, (Frank) Sinatra...That was a golden era of really, really creative music."
Weiland also hoped to re-create the famous Bing Crosby- David Bowie duet medley "Little Drummer Boy"/"Peace on Earth" with Leonard Cohen, but logistics prevented that from happening. "He was touring, so getting him on board when we were recording was very hard," Weiland says. "He wanted to do it. He's always had an incredible, hip, cool factor, so it would have been a cool thing for us to do together, and just an amazing honor to me."
Weiland is planning to make a couple of TV appearances to promote "The Most Wonderful Time..." and to play about a half dozen concerts, bringing his own principal musicians and hiring local orchestras to present the material. Details for all of that are currently being worked out.
As for Stone Temple Pilots, Weiland promises that "there is another album coming" to follow 2010's self-titled effort. The group plays three shows in South America this month, then Weiland expects his bandmates to start working on new material. "They usually start before me, just getting some rough ideas together and then putting rough ideas down on ProTools with no lyrics and no melody," he explains. "And then I start listening to it and see if it's just a straight-ahead rock 'n' roll record or if it's more of a concept album like (2001's) 'Shangri-La Dee Da' was. Once we decide that, it should go full speed ahead."