Hard rock combo Velvet Revolver is eyeing a mid- to late-spring release for its second RCA album. The group is recording in Los Angeles with producer Brendan O'Brien, who stepped in for the band's ori

Hard rock combo Velvet Revolver is eyeing a mid- to late-spring release for its second RCA album. The group is recording in Los Angeles with producer Brendan O'Brien, who stepped in for the band's original choice, Rick Rubin, after that arrangement "did not work out," frontman Scott Weiland tells Billboard.com.

"All of our hopes have even been elevated over the past three weeks," he says. "We were really excited about six months ago, when we first began writing. Then we really kind of flat-lined for a while. We didn't know which way we were going. There was a definite loss of inspiration for a bit there. It has a lot to do with chemistry. Once Brendan came on board, I guess it was kind of like a shot in the arm. It was a new energy."

"We thought we'd just kind of give it a shot and see if Brendan was available, and just by chance, the artist he was supposed to be working with didn't pan out," Weiland offers. "So he was available during the exact time we really needed him. He flew out within a week and it has been amazing. [Bassist] Duff [McKagan] came up to me and said, 'You know, I didn't know what it was like to really have a producer before.'"

And though Weiland told Billboard.com last year he intended to weave an overall concept throughout the album, he has since "thrown that idea out the window. In my opinion, there are so many schlock concept albums that have come out in the past year," he says, without naming names. "The ground is way too over-fertile with concept records. I prefer to write a lean and rather vicious rock'n'roll record. I think that would be a better contribution to rock'n'roll at this moment."

Weiland has also been working on the follow-up to his 199X solo album, "12 Bar Blues," which will be released in late 2007 or early 2008 on his newly launched label, Softdrive Records. The imprint, which is also home to rock act the Actual and country singer/songwriter Tommy Joe Wilson, will go through Sony's RED Distribution, with additional back-end support provided by New West Records.

Weiland's album, which is about three-quarters finished, will include a collaboration with the Neptunes' Pharrell Williams on the song "Happy." The artist is also hoping to do a song with producer Daniel Lanois. "He told me, 'I don't know if I could dive into an entire album right now. But if you write that special song, I'd love to hear that song. I think I could probably wrap my head around that,'" Weiland says.

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