RIP: Scott Weiland

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Posted December 8, 2015 by J Matthew Cobb in Features
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Stone Temple Pilots frontman dies at the age of 48

Scott Weiland, longtime frontman for the rock band Stone Temple Pilots and supergroup Velvet Revolver, passed away at the age of 48 on December 3, 2015. Known for his flamboyant style, versatile vocals and onstage antics, the San Jose born singer/songwriter died of cardiac arrest after being discovered on his tour bus in Bloomington, Minnesota. He was scheduled to perform with his band The Wildabouts that evening.

Weiland emerged on the West Coast rock scene with area bassist Robert DeLeo childhood friends Corey Hicock and David Allin, forming Stone Temple Pilots in 1986. The group released their first LP, Core, in 1992. The album, yielding juggernaut radio rock hits with “Creep,” “Sex Type Thing” and the forever celebrated “Plush,” blasted the group into notoriety. Their follow-up album, Purple, continued in that fashion and ended up selling more than six million copies. Critics like SPIN latched on to the album, praising the effort as being more elaborate and distinctive than their debut. The band would eventually take a hiatus in 1998, allowing Weiland to experiment with a solo project (12 Bar Blues). They would regroup for No. 4, producing a hit single with “Sour Girl.”

One of Weiland’s career’s brightest highlights happened in November 2000 when VH1 invited him to participate in VH1 Storytellers with the surviving members of the Doors. This led him to sing a few of Jim Morrison’s greatest songs, including “Break on Through (To the Other Side)” and “Five to One.” In those moments of cool, with Weiland wearing a jock leather jacket and black shades, he not only conjured the spirit of the late Doors frontman but showcased a brilliant demonstration of nostalgia worship.

In 2002, Weiland teamed up with former Guns ‘n Roses members Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum along with Wasted Youth member Dave Kushner to create Velvet Revolver. During that period, six years in total, a number of achievements were made: The debut LP, Contraband, hit number one on the Billboard 200; “Fall to Pieces” and the Grammy-winning “Slither” proved to be rock radio favorites.

In Weiland’s latter years, substance abuse began taking over, yielding to a number of arrests for crack cocaine. Heavy alcohol consumption also took place. On a number of occasions, his performances onstage were heavily criticized due to him forgetting his own lyrics and lack of energy. In 2011, HiFi reviewed his first holiday album, a surprise disc that presented Weiland as a faux jazz-pop crooner.

On the heels of Weiland’s passing, a number of rock giants ranging from Billy Corrigan and Rolling Stone critic David Fricke praised Weiland for his musical contributions and legacy (Corrigan stated that Weiland was one of the “three voices of a generation,” along with Kurt Cobain and Alice in Chains frontman Layne Staley).

He is survived by his wife Jamie Wachtel, whom he wed in 2013, and two children, Noah and Lucy, that he had with his ex-wife Mary Forsberg. His ex-wife Mary penned a moving and very sobering obit to Weiland, where she states boldly that “we should not glorify his tragedy.” It is currently available at RollingStone.com.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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