R.I.P. Scott Weiland.
Back in the day, I was obsessed with Stone Temple Pilots. Mainly their first three albums (the fourth is pretty good too, for the most part.) I guess I am still kind of obsessed with those albums, really. It is sad to know that the front-man to one of my favorite 90s bands is gone forever. However, when I first heard the news late last night that Scott Weiland had passed away, I honestly wasn’t surprised. I was kind of shocked that it had taken this long, given all his struggles with drugs and addiction.
My journey with Stone Temple Pilots began back in 1994 a couple years after their first album Core came out. I bought it at the age of 11 because I had seen the video for “Plush” being played non-stop on MTV at the time. I remember sitting in my room and thinking, “Wow, I’m totally listening to metal music right now!” At the time it was the heaviest thing I had in my discography. It sat alongside: Salt-N-Pepa, The B-52s, Janet Jackson, and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Blood Sugar Sex Magik (this album still rules by the way, but I will save that for another discussion). Then later on in the early summer of 1994 Stone Temple Pilots’ second album Purple dropped. My obsession with STP grew even more. I probably listened to that album a hundred times that summer. Then a couple of years later Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop, dropped and I loved that one too. But, of the first three albums, Purple is still probably my favorite.
Being a little kid, and not having a ton of access to music press, I had no idea that Weiland was struggling with drugs and what not. I randomly snagged a copy of Rolling Stone with Weiland on the cover and read the feature story about all his run ins with the law. I was honestly kind of surprised to read it because I didn’t really have any idea at the time. Towards the end of 1996 Stone Temple Pilots kicked Weiland out and I was super bummed, this was the first time one of my favorite bands had broken up / kicked out members and being 13 at the time I probably took it a little too hard.
In 1997 the remaining members of STP formed a new band with a new singer called Talk Show. I bought their album hoping for another killer Stone Temple Pilots album and although the album was pretty good it just wasn’t the same without Weiland’s vocals (Talk Show has since grown on me and now actually serves a pretty cool little bridge between Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop and No. 4). After the Talk Show album I came to terms with the fact that STP was done and while I was still really digging their first three albums I kind of moved on in my musical journey.
In 1999 I remember going CD shopping and seeing a weird looking black album with a cut-out shape of a white star and reading the name Stone Temple Pilots above it and being shocked. Obviously I purchased it and immediately put into my car stereo. I was super surprised when the first track “Down” kicked in at how heavy STP was now. I would soon realize that there were only a few heavy tracks on No. 4 and the rest was kind of traditional Stone Temple Pilots. My love for STP had returned. A little bit after the release I learned that band was coming to Salt Lake City and I was stoked. I hadn’t had a chance to see them in concert yet.
Then my very good friend and drummer in my band Jaime Horton who is the production manager for United Concerts called me and asked if I wanted to work as an assistant for Stone Temple Pilots’ during the SLC. Obviously I bailed on my ticket and said “yes.” Stone Temple Pilots was the first show I ever worked in what turned out to be an eight year adventure as runner for a concert production company (this is how Isaac and I met and without that this site wouldn’t exist). My job all day during the show was to be a dressing room assistant. The first person I met from the band was Weiland and it was early in the morning and he seemed super messed up. He ran into the dressing room where we were hanging red velvet curtains (so the dressing room that doubled as a hockey locker room would look like some weird swanky lounge). Weiland was wearing a fur hat, black aviator glasses, long-johns, big floppy boots, and a red super-hero cape. He ran around for a bit pretending to fly then disappeared into the bathroom for like 40 mins, came out and started flying around again. I was so star struck!
My interaction with the rest of Stone Temple Pilots was pretty great as well. Their drummer Eric Kretz was quite and polite. Jaime and I got into a really random and awkward conversation with the bass player Robert DeLeo, where Jaime talked about accidentally huffing paint fumes while painting some dudes living room and then seeing a flying hot-dog. After that exchange DeLeo kind of just laughed and walked off. So hilarious! I didn’t really have any interaction with the guitar player, Dean DeLeo who basically didn’t leave his hotel room to come to the venue until like 20 minutes before their sound-check. He seemed pretty messed up and hungover when he showed up too. I heard later on that Dean had his issues with addiction as well.
Before the show the band had a meet and great and afterwards I got them to sign the CD cover of my copy of Purple and then Jaime and I took a picture with the band that is awkward in its own right. I have it some where and I will dig it up probably later on tonight. If I find it I will post it here.
The concert that night was killer. Stone Temple Pilots were in good form and Weiland seemed like a monster, running around the stage switching off from yelling in his megaphone to singing in his mic. During the intermission before the encore the band took a break to smoke and for some reason Weiland stripped down naked and wrapped himself in an American flag. He played the whole encore like that. This was greatest day in my life up until that point, being able to be back stage with one of my favorite bands, watch them goof off, and have them put on a killer show as well. It was awesome.
A few years later Stone Temple Pilots released Shangri-La Dee Da and let’s be honest, with the exception of the first four songs and “Regeneration” that album kind of sucked. After that album the band broke up again and I had moved on to other music and bands. Then Weiland joined Velvet Revolver and let’s be honest again here and admit that the band was pretty contrived and their music also kind of sucked. I barley noticed when STP dropped their self-titled album in 2010. Except for the fact my band was supposed to open up for them in 2008 and we got screwed out of the slot at the last minute. I ended up going to the show though and it was bogus, it was like some weird lounge act version of Stone Temple Pilots and the band especially Weiland looked old, tired, and in it for the money. After that I was done with them.
It was kind of funny a few years later when they broke up again and started fighting about the whole use of the Stone Temple Pilots name when the rest of the band got back together without Weiland and started using Chester Bennington from Linkin Park as their front-man. Seriously what a joke! Weiland was pretty much a train wreck from then on (B.G.M. writer Aaron Cooper covered Weiland’s last solo album earlier this year check that review here). To me he had pretty much turned into a hasbin. Last night Isaac sent me this then-and-now clip when we were texting about Weiland’s death and it is pretty depressing how bad he had gotten.
Scott Weiland and Stone Temple Pilots were excellent during the majority of the 90s and I will always try and forget what Weiland turned into and remember what he was like back in the day. Cut out the “now” from the last clip and cherish just the “then” section in this video below.
Regardless of how sad his life ended and how mediocre his and Stone Temple Pilot’s music became I will always be grateful to Weiland and STP for three amazing albums that are still staples in my rotation and that helped mold my musical tastes at a young age. Scott Weiland really was pretty cool back in the day. He will be missed.