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DETROIT (Billboard) - More than two years after dumping original lead singer Scott Weiland, the remaining members of Velvet Revolver are in the "dating" stages with an unidentified replacement, according to drummer Matt Sorum.
"The guy we're liking now is a young guy, a very strong guy ... a little bit heavier rock 'n' roll than we are," Sorum told Billboard.com.
He said the prospective frontman has been in other known bands before. "He's a guy we've had our eye on, but the timing wasn't right."
Sorum says he, guitarists Slash and Dave Kushner and bassist Duff McKagan worked with the singer earlier this month. Velvet Revolver is planning to hit Sorum's Hollywood studio again in January to start recording songs.
"(Writing) is a lot of the way we've been trying out singers," Sorum explained, "and a lot of the reason we've had trouble trying to pick a guy, because we really need to hear that truth. We can't just jump out there with any singer. We've got to make the right decision ... a guy who can front a rock band of this caliber and be a strong enough frontman to go out in front of Slash and be that guy. We need to hear that vocal, that lyric, that melody. It's not an easy thing."
Nevertheless, Sorum said the band was impressed that the frontman candidate "has a work ethic similar to ours" and also brings a "modern" edge to the group. "I've always stressed to the band that we need to be current," Sorum noted. "I don't want to go out there and make retro rock 'n' roll music. We have to take in the environment and parlay that into a rock 'n' roll outlet."
Velvet Revolver's timetable is somewhat up-in-the-air. Slash plans to be on the road promoting his solo album into the summer, including a stint opening for Ozzy Osbourne. Sorum, meanwhile, is producing a new album for the Runaways' Cherie Currie. Still, he hoped the band would be able to announce its singer soon and be active "at least by fall" of 2011.
Velvet Revolver's debut album, 2004's "Contraband," was a surprise hit and yielded a Grammy. But sales for the 2007 follow-up, "Libertad," were disappointing. Weiland was ousted in early 2008, with the band citing his "increasingly erratic on-stage behavior and personal problems." The band split with its RCA Records label in late 2008.