By Kyle Anderson
Updated March 31, 2015 at 12:00 PM EDT
Credit: Rob Melone

Today is a bittersweet day for Scott Weiland, as it marks both the release of his band the Wildabouts’ new album Blaster but also the passing of longtime friend and Wildabouts guitarist Jeremy Brown. Late last night on his Facebook page, Weiland wrote this:

Only a few hours before hearing that news, the former frontman of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver called EW to chat about the impending release of Blaster, and he credited Brown as an intergral part of creating the album, which is more of a straight-ahead rock record than past Weiland solo efforts. “That was a set of chords and a riff that Jeremy brought to rehearsal, and he showed us the riff and we started jamming on it and I came up with the melody and the lyrics,” Weiland tells EW about “Hotel Rio,” one of the highlights of Blaster. “The process was the same on most of the songs—Jeremy bringing in these great pieces and all of us really collaborating.”

Blaster represents a departure for Weiland as a solo artist. “When I created the Wildabouts with my friends, we decided we wanted to make a band-sounding album, a rock-sounding album,” he says. “I made two solo albums before that were more experimental, and I think that they didn’t really resonate with my fan base because they were too out there, too artsy. I wanted to make an album that would resonate with the fans and still make myself happy on an artistic level as well.”

The result is a big, loud, glammy-sounding album that pays homage to Weiland’s heroes, including T. Rex and David Bowie. “One thing that has really influenced me with Bowie where I’ve taken an approach from him is how he changes from album to album and has always modified his sound and his appearance,” Weiland says. “I think that’s an important thing. I think if an artist stays stagnant in one style, you end up becoming stagnant artistically in your songwriting. You get bored. I always feel like I have to change styles and keep on evolving.”

He keeps pressing forward lyrically as well. The bulk of the lyrics on Blaster are inspired by his wife, photographer Jamie Wachtel, with the rest coming from a more expanded sense of fiction. “As I’ve gotten older and my life is a lot more stable, I’ve gotten more into storytelling,” he explains. “I’ve listened to a lot of Dylan and listened to how he wrote stories. So I took a lot of influence from that and applied it to my own process of writing and my own style of writing. On my earlier albums, the lyrics were about my feelings of being down or my apathy, and I don’t feel that way any more. Being off of heroin for almost 15 years, it definitely changes things. It’s opened up my writing a lot.”

Scott Weiland & the Wildabouts’ Blaster is available now, and the band will soldier own without Brown beginning next week. Check out the video for “Modzilla” and the tour dates below.

4/9/15: London, UK (The Garage)

4/25/15: Jacksonville, FL (Welcome to Rockville)

4/26/15: Birmingham, AL (Zydeco)

4/28/15: Corpus Cristi, TX (Brewster Street Ice House)

4/29/15: Houston, TX (Warehouse Live)

4/30/15: Baton Rouge, LA (The Varsity Theatre)

5/2/15: Concord, NC (Carolina Rebellion)

5/3/15: Memphis, TN (Beale Street Music Festival)

5/8/15: Rochester, NY (Water Street Music Hall)

5/9/15: Manchester, NH (Jewel NH)

5/11/15: Annapolis, MD (Rams Head On Stage)

5/13/15: Marion, SC (1st Annual Swamp Fox Biker Bash)

5/15/15: Lancaster, PA (Chameleon Club)

5/16/15: Columbus, OH (Rock on the Range)

5/18/15: St Louis, MO (The Pageant)

5/21/15: Jefferson, LA (Southport Hall)

5/23/15: Pryor, OK (Rocklahoma)

5/24/15: San Antonio, TX (River City Rockfest)

5/30/15: Napa Valley, CA (BottleRock Music Festival)

6/6/2015: Los Angeles, CA (El Rey Theatre)

6/27/15: Sterling Heights, MI (Stars & Stripes Festival)