Last night, as I was attempting to be witty tweeting about ‘The Wiz Live’, I started to see the inevitable news emerge. Scott Weiland was found dead on his tour bus in Minnesota. He was making music again with a new band, The Wildabouts. The band was in Louisville just two weeks ago. He was 48.
Although I wasn’t surprised to hear Weiland had passed, a flood of memories started to wash over me. One of the first cds I ever purchased was a Stone Temple Pilots EP. I was hooked from the moment I saw the clip for “Sex Type Thing”.
Weiland was a classic front man; brash, not too buff, kind of pissed off, which served the early 90’s well. He could rock out, but he could also take it down for “Creep” or “Big Empty” or this song which every guy I knew could play the intro to. I loved the fact he would dye his hair, he was a chameleon, and he didn’t give a fuck. I once saw a clip of where STP dressed as KISS in full make-up, yeah man. One of my earliest memories was watching a KISS concert on HBO. It’s rare when a band tries to duplicate their look, STP pulled it off.
I wore out the cassette of the band’s second album ‘Purple’. On one particular night, I did what a lot of teenagers did back then, I went to bed with my Walkman blaring in my ears. I was playing ‘Purple’ and all of a sudden, I was awakened by this odd-sounding song.
I thought I was dreaming and I was so freaked out, I kept telling my family and my friends about it the next day; they all gave me funny looks.
So it’s no secret Weiland had a severe battle with drugs. He was arrested multiple times and his fellow band mates gave him several second chances that never really materialized. Whatever drama existed, Weiland moved on to front the super group Velvet Revolver. I had the pleasure of seeing VR twice, once at a festival in Nashville, the other at a club in Detroit, Weiland was all swagger and attitude, I was hooked all over again.
One song and subsequent video captured Weiland’s real life addiction struggles, the beautiful “Fall to Pieces”.
God bless Duff McKagan, he tried to keep Weiland on the straight and narrow. Somewhere along the way, the front man decided to return to STP, forcing Velvet Revolver to go into hiatus, and then try to find someone to replace him. They would play one more show with Weiland in 2012, and that was it.
Weiland spent the last few years touring and recording one album with his solo band, the Wildabouts. Earlier this year, one of the band’s guitarists, Jeremy Brown, who was fired, died of from an accidental overdose. And then Thursday happened, Weiland passed away in his sleep due to cardiac arrest on a band tour bus. Though I know Weiland was making it through the past 20 years on life support, his body finally gave out.
I want to thank Scott Weiland for some of the best rock music ever and for keeping rock alive, so to speak. One last song, one of Stone Temple Pilots’ most haunting. RIP brother.