Friday, December 4th 2015 at 9:50 am ET is a time stamp I will forever remember until the day I die because that’s the day I found out Scott Weiland, former lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots was dead. On December 3, 2015, Scott Weiland was found on his tour bus in cardiac arrest over in Bloomington, Minnesota. He was hours away from going on stage with his new band “The Wildabouts”. Official cause of death isn’t known at this time as no doubt many will speculate.

Scott Weiland was only 48 years old as shockwaves of his death rocked the music industry, his family and friends. I can’t begin to tell you the emotions I’m experiencing as I’m writing this. Once again we lost another Rock icon gone many years before their time. Jimmy Hendrix, John Bonham, Freddie Mercury, Kurt Cobain, Michael Hutchenson, Layne Staley, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston are just some of the names that scream out loud to me right now. It’s with these greats and many others does Scott Weiland sadly join while painfully reminding us all of a time and era in the 1990’s.

I still remember where I was back in 1992 when Stone Temple Pilots debut album “Core” was released as at the time I lived in California. Just a year prior Seattle band Nirvana was tearing up the charts and ushering in a new era in music with their landmark “Nevermind” album. Everywhere you turned Nirvana was getting attention. I loved the band a lot but even way back then before I became a teenager I found myself never being content on what was mainstream. I always strived to find any and everything considered good music. Stone Temple Pilots was on my radar thanks to the local radio stations who put them in heavy rotation since the band at the time was based out in California. The band sounded so promising with singles like “Wicked Garden”, “Sex Type Thing”, and “Big Empty”. I found myself captivated and mesmerized by frontman Scott Weiland with his commanding and rough voice that just oozed machismo. He reminded me a lot of The Doors Jim Morrison, Billy Idol, David Bowie, John Lennon, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, David Lee Roth from Van Halen, and Freddie Mercury from Queen, all rolled into one.

It would be almost a year later after the release of Core would I own the album as it would be one of the 1st I’d buy on cassette to start my rock collection. Scott Weiland was such a great singer, composer, and songwriter that I truly believed anything he touched would be gold. STP’s arrival to the rock scene was a welcomed breath of fresh air for those that needed escape from constant Nirvana rotation as almost their entire Nevermind album was played on every rock station. Bands like STP, Janes Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bush would fall under Alternative Rock and be played on alternate stations like 99.1 WHFS in Washington, D.C. I must admit I found myself taking a liking to the local radio station DC101 when it came to their 7 CD sides at 7. They would basically play an entire album from a featured artist. Usually whoever was popular at the time but they always strived playing new releases. It was through DC101 was I in for a treat as I got to hear the premiere of Stone Temple Pilots Purple album. Not as hard as Core but I still relished in the fact it was equally as good.

I remember where I was when Kurt Cobain passed away, Michael Hutchinson of INXS, and Alice in Chains Layne Stayley. All of these men passing hit me really hard. Especially Layne Staley as I remember sitting alone in my bedroom playing every single Alice in Chains album followed by their Music Bank boxed set. For Scott Weiland, I discovered the news as I was making my commute to work when my girlfriend inadvertently broke the news to me via text message. She thought for sure I knew about the news seeing as how it broke out a little after midnight the night before. It was one of a few rare nights I decided to go to bed early. To say I was in shock is an understatement as I tried hard fighting back tears while trying to make sense of what happened. All day I had his death on my mind as I couldn’t help but continue saying to myself “no not again”. Scott Weiland along with Billy Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, And Pearl Jam really defined rock in the 90s. The timing was so perfect too as many music lovers desperately needed a break from Pop, Soft Rock, and violent rapping as I like to call it as lyrics from a lot of artist of that time talked about shooting, killing, raping, sex, and drug deals gone wrong. Stone Temple Pilots had their doubters with their Core album as many thought they were trying to hard to sound like Pearl Jam. I didn’t see it that way at all actually and was quite pleased when Purple came out as it showed them go in a more progressive, mellow tone while still staying true to their 1st album by being heavy. Let me tell you this album sealed my fate in being a STP fan for better and worse but as well as a mega fan of Weiland.

While in high school I was starting to become aware of Scott’s drug & legal problems. How naive I was back then as I figured it was all part of maintaining the big, bad Rock and Roll image for fans and the press. Didn’t really dawn on me just how bad it was getting until I heard 1996’s Tiny Music…From the Vatican Gift Shop did I wonder what was going on Scott’s vocals. I could tell it was him but gone was the husky, heavy bass and deep howls with growls from the previous two albums. This go round it seemed as though the journey for this album had a pop feel. I wouldn’t exactly call it a Rock album but it sure as hell wasn’t a pop album. It was something in-between and it proved to be a great experiment as it became an instant classic. Many STP fans I’ve spoke to over the years have always said when comparing each STP album that they are very similar to Led Zeppelin. Every single Zeppelin album isn’t the same as each one is a standalone masterpiece. This rings so true for every Stone Temple Pilots album.

Back then I’m reminded so easily of how easy it was to make a new friend. All you had to do was go to your nearest Tower Records, Sam Goodie, or CD Warehouse. As you were running through the aisles and / or listening to songs at station booths. Somehow you ended up talking to somebody that had your same music taste. It was just that easy! This was the case for me in my junior year of high school back in 1999 when on a sunny Tuesday, October 26 I played hooky from my 1st & 2nd period classes to head into Georgetown. I killed some time at the shops nearby before making my way to CD Warehouse, sitting on their doorsteps and waiting patiently for the store to open. I shopped there so much that sometimes the owners of the store would let me in before they opened the doors to the public. It was operated by a gay couple who had really great taste in music and was very diverse when it came to conversation. On this particular day I had to wait to get inside as there was a small line. I wasn’t the only one looking to buy Stone Temple Pilots No. 4 album. What a classic album this was as it found the band returning to their hard rock roots while also blending in heavy metal, and psychedelic rock. There was hardly any promotion for this album on TV but radio did show it love. It was pretty difficult for the band to tour because before the release of the album Scott Weiland got in trouble with the law once again. This time he ended up being sentenced to a year in jail. I still remember shortly after Weiland was released and how the band tried to go on tour to promote the album but by then much of the buzz fizzled. I recall STP’s appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman to perform “Atlanta”. Still a great live performance to this day.

Fast forward to summer of 2001. By this time I’m sharing s 2-bedroom apartment with my best friends and Ebony and Brian, a couple who would eventually get married. “Did you see the new Stone Temple Pilots video for Days of the Week”?, Brian asked me after I came home from work. I told him I didn’t as I asked him to describe the video for me. It sounded interesting as I patiently waited to listen to the entire album. Once it was in my hands Initially and I listened to it I thought it was a pretty weak album. I just didn’t get the album initially as it came off like the Beattles white album from 1968 but of a cheap imitation. Now before you get disgruntled with those remarks I made let me just say I think I’m on to something because originally this album was suppose to be a double album. There was also a planned documentary and coffee book in the works. The way the documentary was constructed was very similar to the Beattles 1970 documentary Let it Be. Everything eventually was abandoned as the label, Atlantic wasn’t too keen on this and expressed their concern. It took many years for me to take a strong liking to this album as eventually it became on of my top 3 favorites from STP. There’s that mark of a genius once again shinning through from Scott Weiland and the DeLeo brothers. Eventually tensions would rise among the creative trio which resulted in the band breaking up.

I was pretty upset when STP split while having concern for Scott Weiland because of his trips in and out of rehab became frequent news. It seemed as though he managed to put a shield around his demons long enough to be part of another band that was equally as good as STP…Velvet Revolver with former Guns N’ Roses members Duff McKagan, Slash, and Matt Sorum. The results delivered two classic albums in 2007’s Contraband and 2009’s Libertad. Like with STP, tensions would arise with Velvet Revolver thus creating lots of friction as the band eventually disbanded. It’s at this point I couldn’t help but say to myself something isn’t quite right because usually in relationships what you learn from each one helps you be a better partner overall. Scott Weiland had his ups and downs with a band and as a solo artist. To me this was a big red flag and made me question if Scott was really okay. It’s at this point was I content on Weiland stepping out of the spotlight to focus on himself and his family and maybe get back into music at a later time. That never really happened though as shortly after Velvet Revolver was done would Weiland reform STP with the DeLeo brothers to do a limited date tour that soon resulted in a new studio album, a first in 9 years. I could tell just by listening to the album that whatever STP was on their previous albums wasn’t present on their latest effort. Not sure if maybe this was because longtime producer Brendan O’ Brian was absent from this album or what folks. All I know is the STP I grew up on was long gone as instead from what I saw and heard was only a small fraction of what they use to be in their glory days.

It didn’t take long before friction erupted in the band once more as Scott Weiland was dismissed from STP. Weiland would argue that he couldn’t be fired from the band because of the way he and band members structured their contracts. Both sides would find and exploit loopholes that allowed them to perform STP songs, just not together. STP would take on Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington while Weiland performed with a new band he formed called the Wildabouts. In between all this Weiland found time to make new music with another band called Art of Anarchy but before any heavy promoting and touring for the album commenced, Weiland abandoned the project, once again sighting certain problems he had while working with them. Minor issues that could have been resolved according to other band members who hoped he would join them on the road one day. It’s by this point am I convinced there is some type of ongoing problem with Scott. Part of me wasn’t sure if it was drugs or what but now more than ever I wanted him to just take a break from music all together, enjoy time with his family. Take an extended break to better heal the mind, body and soul. Could’ve been for a year, three or even five, I just wanted him to take a step back and try to look at his life from a fresher perspective. I encouraged him to do this back in 1999 when at the time STP had a section, possibly a forum on their site where you could send them letters, emails, and they would actually reply. Far as I know I didn’t get a reply back but I had hoped my message was read. How I wished Scott had taken the advice especially if it came in the form of an intervention from friends and family.

Part of me is full of anger because Scott saw so many people die during his time in the music industry. It didn’t give him a stone cold reality check as even with bringing kids into this world while losing a brother in the process did it make him fight even harder. At least that is the impression I was given based on the lifestyle he lived through the years leading up to his death. As someone that personally dealt with having a close family member who took drugs I know all too well about the pain and suffering it causes on loved ones. I lost an uncle to it while my mother dived into it a couple of years later after he passed. She had it pretty bad as everyday I would come home from school and something from my home was always missing. One day it be some comic books, the next day some clothes, followed by a lamp, dresser, even a TV until eventually I came home to vacant bedroom. I Saw with my own two eyes what the drugs were doing to her and my approach to her was that of a person with love. I didn’t scorn her or belittle her as I simply told her how her drug habit was making me feel and how she needed to stop. There was genuine hurt in her eyes as she understood how I felt and eventually she got help. Happy to say it’s been almost 15 years since she’s kicked the habit.

I go on and on about drugs and Scott Weiland because sadly it turns out that the Minnesota police found traces of cocaine on Scott Weiland’s tour bus. To be more specific it was in his bedroom. Hearing this just rocked me to the core because it sadly provided revelation that all these years Scott Weiland was saying he was clean from drugs was possibly a lie. He admitted many times in various interviews that he gave up drugs and that drinking was all he did. His actions in public could easily suggest that but it could also be categorized as a drug user to a more careful eye that knows the signs. It could possibly also explain why Scott Weiland acted rather rude to fans recently who paid hard earned money to see him and the Wildabouts. We won’t really know until the toxicology reports come in and that could take weeks. But just combining these things with his recent poor live performances that’s gone viral would most likely leave any fan wondering just what exactly was going on with Weiland leading up to his death. I’m always one to admit when I’ve rushed to judgement and have always been the bigger man in apologizing when I’ve made a mistake. Scott Weiland fans all around the world, let me say that if it turns out I’m wrong about anything I’ve sad about Scott trust me I have no problem apologizing.

Scott’s greatest gift to the world proved to be his unraveling in the end, his curse. He tried repeatedly to put a curb stomp on his demons. Some he was able to overcome and others he left unattended. There were some he left far behind in the rearview mirror while adopting new ones. His death is a painful reminder that when it comes to sobriety it’s all about having a good support system, staying clean and clear of all drugs and alcohol as that’s the ultimate form of sobriety. It’s the ultimate way to stay on the right path. His death also reminds me of my own morality as once again I’m reminded life is not forever. It’s a pretty damn tough pill to swallow as someone who grew up in the 80s and saw so many gifted musicians and actors pass before their time. It’s difficult enough seeing these gifted people age yet it creeps up ever so slowly as together we cycle through this thing called life. Yet when they die so unexpectedly I think it stings extra hard because it feels as though a part of us died along with them. It’s feels like losing a close friend or a family member.

I’d like to just say in closing to you the readers that if you know anyone that is doing drugs to please encourage them to get help. Approach them with nothing but love and respect and do not give the an ultimatum. Let them know how their drug use is hurting you and affecting your relationship with them. If there are children in the picture I can’t stress it enough how this conversation needs to happen. When there’s children in the picture it’s no longer about me, myself, and I as one has to start thinking about their family. You may be vilified by them but don’t give up on them. It’s true that in order for one to get help they must want help. You should always continue telling that person how much you love them and how much they mean to you and to get help. I truly believe that if Scott really, really knew how beloved he was and the outpouring respect many had for him things would probably be much different. No doubt the man has left behind a great body of work and a legacy that no vocalist will be able to come close to touching at least in this lifetime. Scott Weiland may now be “Dead and Bloated” ( hardcore STP fans will get that reference I just made ), but he’ll never be forgotten.

Thanks for the good memories Scott and here’s hoping that somewhere in Heaven your jamming with Kurt Kobain, Layne Staley, Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, and John Bonham.

We can only imagine…
R.I.P Scott


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments