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Remembering Scott Weiland, 1967-2015

Article by: Jason Robey
Featured Img Cred: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello


When someone hears the phrase “rock star,” it conjures up an image of more than simply “someone who is famous because they play rock music.” Since the ’50s, the term has been synonymous with excess — drugs, alcohol, money, and a bigger-than-life persona. Scott Weiland, who passed away yesterday at the age of 48, was one of the few remaining performers to embody that definition.

Weiland first came on the scene with Stone Temple Pilots in 1992 with their debut album, Core, and the debut single,”Sex Type Thing.” They were quickly lumped in with a list of other young bands, such as Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Alice In Chains, into the newly coined “grunge” genre. As each of those and many other bands looked to set themselves apart from the crowd, Weiland and STP guitarist Dean Deleo performed an acoustic version of their single, “Plush,” on MTV’s “Headbanger’s Ball.”

That was when I started listening to them. I was a sophomore in high school, previously entrenched in the so-called “hair rock” of the 1980s, and an avid viewer of “Headbanger’s Ball.” That uncharacteristic four minutes of stripped down, raw emotion was like a breath of fresh air, and I was hooked.

d4f5b377ee609e9622f4b452ad268107With the 1994 release of their #1 album, Purple, Stone Temple Pilots developed a sound of their own. They were all over the radio and TV, as Scott Weiland began honing his stage presence from the wild, arm-flailing dance he had been known for, to a smooth, fluid strut. This was also just the beginning of troubles for Weiland, as he was arrested on drug charges in 1995. Post jail time, the band released one more album in 1996 before their first hiatus. During that break, Weiland launched a solo career with the album 12 Bar Blues and a subsequent tour.

By 1999, it appeared that Weiland, and STP as well could disappear from the music world, and only some die hard fans would even notice. That was, until a handful of secret shows, including one televised on MTV led to the release of the critically acclaimed, platinum album No. 4, which earned their first Grammy nomination in 8 years for the single, “Down.” Stone Temple Pilots, and Scott Weiland, were back with an energy that oozed from every performance. Weiland looked and acted the part of rock star more than ever. After a couple years of touring, STP released one more album, their first not to go platinum, before Weiland left once again.

This time, Weiland joined Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, formerly of Guns n’ Roses, to form Velvet Revolver. This group had an chemistry and onstage energy that was unbelievable to witness. Unfortunately, they only released two albums between 2004 and 2007 before parting ways. 

In 2008, Stone Temple Pilots made the announcement that I, and many other fans, had waited to hear— they would be getting back together for a reunion tour. The tour was successful, though not without a few rather rocky nights. On his “on” nights, Weiland was amazing, proving not only that he was a rock star, but why he was a rock star. His off nights, on the other hand, were rough — magnified by the modern age of smart phone videos and social media. I was at one of the worst “off” nights Weiland had. During the opening song, Weiland stumbled drunk on the stage, fell into the drum set, and forgot most of the lyrics. The ones he remembered were mostly off-key and slurred. He seemed to channel an inner Jim Morrison that night, with incoherent ramblings between songs and a band who was visibly frustrated with him.


Over the next whirlwind of a year, Weiland released a solo album, went on tour (I saw a very “on” night for him, where he again proved that he was, in fact, a rock star) and then rejoined STP for another leg of the reunion. When they rolled through town that fall, I couldn’t believe that the charismatic, vibrant frontman I was witnessing was the same man who could barely stand up a year ago. There was one more STP album and tour before the band parted with Weiland one last time in 2013. Weiland released three more solo albums (a Christmas album, a download-only covers album and one final album of originals) and toured seemingly non-stop. I was lucky to see one more truly great show from him.

On December 3, 2015, just before a show in Minnesota with his newly formed band, The Wildabouts, Weiland was found unresponsive in his tour bus.


I’m not going to pretend that he was perfect, that he didn’t make some pretty bad choices and have a few pretty bad performances along the way. But when Scott Weiland was at his best, he was one of the most dynamic and captivating frontmen of his generation. He left a legacy that few can match and he will be missed by many.


Jason Robey
Jason has a deep relationship with music, as a performing musician, avid concert-goer and professional audio engineer. He has a passion for the local Phoenix music scene, as well as indie music from all over. He also enjoys writing, photography and anything that can make him laugh. Instagram: yitbos69 Twitter