Like some of you, I am a huge fan of Stone Temple Pilots. But more to the point, Scott Weiland.
He was a fucking rockstar. One of the last great rockstar frontmen of the '90s Seattle rock scene, drug addiction and all. Thankfully, we still have Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder, as well as the rest of Alice in Chains (with an excellent new frontman replacing the legendary Layne Staley). But I was lucky to experience Scott Weiland's magnetic stage presence a handful of times, in a number of variations.
My Intro to STP
I was introduced to Stone Temple Pilots when my dad came back into my life in my high school years. Although I didn't "grow up with" STP's music when it was in vogue (born in '88), I sure related to the dark themes of their lyrics and their driving energy. I could even fake hit the notes Scott Weiland would belt, although I'm not a singer. Plush and Interstate Love Song are classic anthems I'd have on repeat. Wicked Garden, Meatplow, Vaseline, Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart, And So I Know, Dead and Bloated, Unglued, the list goes on and on. Fantastic musicianship that Weiland contributed so much to.
Bringing their music with me to south america
STP was one of only four bands whose songs I took with me down to Argentina on my first international solo trip at age 21. The other three artists were: Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, and Faith No More; a peculiar combination of completely diverse musical stylings. They accompanied me on a pretty harrowing overnight drive through winding, darkened cliffsides within a mountain range, on my way back to civilization. Weiland's calmer, more crooning ballads are pretty cool.
Seeing STP + Velvet revolver live
I was fortunate enough to see Stone Temple Pilots live at least two times I can remember, but maybe three. I went once with my dad, which was a fucking epic concert in the parking lot of Qualcomm Stadium. The energy surged, the DeLeo brothers (bass + guitar) and drummer Eric Kretz killed it alongside Weiland at his best, and some motorcycle dude and his chick tried to pick a fight with me (to no avail, thankfully). I went another time alone, driving all the way up to Fallbrook on short notice to see their show outside a casino. That time I got to meet the entire band backstage—except for Weiland, who hauled ass out of the venue area immediately after the show in a black SUV, swaddled in security guards.
One of the times STP fired Scott is when I saw Velvet Revolver in full force—again with my dad—as Slash plucked away at the guitar alongside Weiland. That concert was another good story, since my dad and I said 'screw it' to our seats and jumped the fence into the mosh pit.
My final time seeing weiland
This last time I saw Weiland, only a month ago now, was with his band The Wildabouts. Even though Scott allegedly broke free of his addictions, they must have come crashing back down upon him for this show at The Music Box (formerly Anthology in Little Italy) on November 3rd, 2015.
He was high as a shaman on a substance other than alcohol. I know what it's like performing on stage drunk, but he was definitely on some other level. Pills, perhaps? Cocaine? Heroin? Beyond weed, though, for sure. I have not seen a frontman in concert on super heavy drugs, at least knowingly, so it's hard for me to assess the unsobriety I witnessed. No matter what the substance, I feel for Scott. Addiction must be unimaginably horrible. The downward spiral of a once strong man, battling a tormented drug that ultimately grabbed hold to pull him back down into the darkness, no matter how much he clawed for the light. And according to his ex-wife in a sobering Rolling Stone essay, this lifelong addiction took a toll on his family and his marriage.
Scott Weiland was a hell of a frontman, with a charisma that took over the whole room. I was only a few feet away from him during the performance, and was lucky enough to catch a few glimpses of his gaze. He's fucking creepy to stare at. He rocked pretty hard and managed to hit most of the high notes, so no matter what substance he may have been on, he sure kept it together. Definitely rockstar status in my book. I had the privilege of seeing this last rendition of Scott Weiland, again with my dad, on a beautiful, rainy night in San Diego.
Rest in Peace, Scott. Your soul will live on in the music you've left us. Thank you for your contributions to my life.
Feel free to share any positive stories of seeing Scott Weiland, STP, Velvet Revolver, or The Wildabouts live below. I read and respond to every comment.