'GOOD evening Apollo." Short-term memory loss is a classic symptom of rock'n'roll excess.

Roars of forgiveness reverberate around a raucous Carling Academy as Scott Weiland slithers across the stage. Velvet Revolver provides group therapy for a quintet who ought to be thankful for their very existence, let alone a second coming.

The frontman, courtesy of an ongoing battle with drug addiction, is a pale and emaciated shadow of the man who once epitomised glamour and grandeur with the Stone Temple Pilots. Mercifully, the ravaging effects have spared his elegant vocals. The cocked revolver to Weiland's velvet, though, is unmistakable from his locks to his licks.

Not much, yet at the same time everything has changed in the eight years since Saul Hudson, aka Slash, escaped the wreckage of Guns N' Roses. His hair remains unfeasibly voluminous, parting like curtains in front of his face. He f lips open the 20 pack of Gitanes as regularly and subconsciously as one glances at a wristwatch. The rock star's diet is balanced by the nutritional concentrate that is a pint of Guinness.

He also oozes the odour of a thousand sweaty shows in the grimiest of joints but is no less attractive for it. For a man approaching 40, and on friendly terms with the Grim Reaper, he is bearing up well. Too well, in fact, to become involved in what many music critics have called a supergroup suicide pact.

A line-up consisting of two GnR originals, Slash and Duff McKagan;

Matt Sorum, Steve Adler's replacement on the skins for GnR;

Weiland; and underground guitarist Dave Kushner is driven by an appetite for destruction.

"What I do, musician or rock guy orwhatever, " he begins, with a rather impressive air guitar, "means I am drawn towards madness, excess and everything that goes with it. I have to be in that rock'n'roll environment, I need to feel that edginess, or I just feel too safe.

"I was out of control. I have been there before, but you live and you learn. We have a strong support network and I will not make that same mistake for a fifth or sixth time."

As if to prove his point, Slash's wife, Perla, and two sons, London Emilo and Cash Anthony, have become part of the entourage. "It means I have one foot on the ground but I can still let the other one wriggle in an another direction every now and again . . ."

IT SAYS MUCH FOR THE REPUTATIONS of the individual members of VR that a biography of the band was published in tandem with the release of their debut album, Contraband.

There is no escaping the fact that a large percentage of their audiences is made up of diehard Stoners. Equally, there is no escaping the question of Just What Happened to Guns N' Roses? Duff, the PR man, not the bassist, makes the recommendation that references to previous employment be kept until the end of the interview for fear of being doused in the black stuff or being used as a human ashtray.

In reality, Slash has learned to accept being a former member of the one-time biggest and baddest band on the planet. It has taken roughly one-fifth of the time to put together a new group and produce enough material for a Billboard No 1 record as it has taken WAxl Rose to meddle with Chinese Democracy, the as yet unfinished GnR masterpiece.

The idea forVR was conceived two years ago, when Slash, Duff and Steve reunited on stage at a tribute concert for Ozzy Osbourne's former drummer, Randy Castillo, and decided to get back in the ring. Curiously, they now find themselves up against themselves in the reborn rock scene, courtesy of the ill-conceived GnR Greatest Hits package.

"To be honest, I did not want that album to be released but nothing could be done about it, " says Slash, the decision having been taken by their old record company, Geffen, and the man in possession of the GnR name, Rose. AVH-1 Behind the Music documentary has rekindled interest in Guns N' Roses but unlike the happy ending to the Aerosmith story and the financially motivated Van Halen/Sammy Hagar reunion, there is no desire to risk life and limb.

"If there was any interest at all in doing something with Guns N' Roses, we would have done it by now, " he says with a hint of sadness.

"It would have been hell. That's why I respect the Rolling Stones so much, they have survived all that extreme animosity. It also helps that Mick likes to work. There is a tragedy behind Guns N' Roses. If we had stayed together, it would definitely have destroyed us. The damage is irreparable. There came a time when I just said 'I have to get f***ing out of here' and I have no regrets since."

That point occurred not long after Slash, surviving on a gallon of Jack Daniel's a day and co-dependence drug habit with Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx, required an adrenalin shot to the heart after being found blue and breathless in a hotel corridor by former tour manager John Reese.

As Slash lines up his cigarette stubs neatly, however, he is adamant music is his only vice these days. "Velvet Revolver has nothing to do with Guns N' Roses but both records spiked up because of the documentary and the only reason I agreed to do it was because I was needed to get the other members involved. I refused to watch it at first because the memories from it still made me uneasy. I knew it was coming, though. I was in a restaurant recently and was approached by a middle-aged lady who pulled out a copy of the Greatest Hits and told me she had bought it from a record store. I suppose that shows we have universal appeal."

There is no doubting Velvet Revolver's appeal. It borrows from the past without stealing. That, according to Slash, would be sacrilegious, so tour "covers" are limited to It's So Easy, Mr Brownstone and I Used to Love Her. Anthems such as Paradise City, Welcome to the Jungle and Sweet Child O Mine are strictly off limits but with the chugging Sucker Train Blues, the blistering Slither and Set Me Free, and the troubled Weiland's autobiographical Fall to Pieces, Velvet Revolver offers a fresh slice of incendiary rock.

"Tons of bands haven't seen the light of day because the public have been fed crap they cannot refuse because it's everywhere, " he says, scornfully. "When done properly, people are always drawn to rock but it's been homogenised by the industry, with people churning out any old shit to make a fast buck. It becomes f***ing boring after a while."

Welcome back to the Jungle.

Velvet Revolver play Glasgow SECC tomorrow.