Singer, songwriter, icon, and exceptional frontman; Scott Weiland was a unique talent with a tortured soul who channeled his demons in some of the greatest songs from the grunge era.
Lead man of the Stone Temple Pilots from 1989-2002/2008-2013 and frontman of the supergroup Velvet Revolver from 2003 to 2008, Weiland continued his music career as a solo artist and with his band, The Wildabouts, until his final days.
Weiland was a sort of invincible man to me; he went through some truly rough years battling drug addiction but he never stopped singing, dancing, writing. Sadly, he passed away on December 3, hours before playing a gig with his band. He was 48. As many as his problems were in the past, I never expected to see this day come.
I fell in love with Scott Weiland with “Interstate Love Song”, my introduction to the Stone Temple Pilots. His voice remains as my favourite, right next to Robert Plant’s. There’s something about Weiland’s voice: so much passion, feeling, pain, and versatility. Throughout his career he showed his wide vocal and music range exploring various genres, from grunge and hard rock, to country and bossa nova. He could do anything. He was gifted.
His talent showed within his lyrics too; his band mates have stated he could come up with a complete song in less than thirty minutes. Through his songs he poured out his heart and soul, and it was a way of channeling his personal struggles, whatever they were. All those Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver, and Wildabouts songs are his legacy.
It wasn’t only his voice but also his on stage persona. He felt the music like no other and danced all night. He changed his style constantly, in a very chameleonic/Bowie way. You could see him with a purple fur coat on one concert, shirtless on the next, and the following in a suit.
Speaking of his fashion, I need to point out that he had great taste. As exotic as he might have seemed sometimes, the man knew what to wear and how. During my time at fashion school, I had a few photos of him on my binder. He was my male fashion reference and I loved the sight of him. What can I say? He was a neat package with multiple surprises inside.
I had the pleasure of seeing him live, five years ago, during his comeback with the Stone Temple Pilots. Because it was Scott Weiland, I insisted to my friend that we had to be as close to the stage possible. Close as to “see his beautiful face and feel his sweat.” Young, naive me had no idea the crowd was going to be so freaking intense and, no kidding, I almost died there. But hey, I did manage to get into the second row, almost center stage, and I indeed got to see him close – super close. When the lights turned on and I saw him right in front of me, I couldn’t believe it, and for staring at him in awe, I was crushed by the crowd. After the second song, my friend decided we had to get out of there or we were not going to make it out alive. It was ok: we were still close to the stage (I couldn’t move my arms anymore due to pain but I sang my heart out).
He danced, he jumped from one side of the stage to the other, he hugged his bandmates, he smiled when he took a moment to look at the crowd. He was beautiful, guys. Such a beautiful man, and he radiated passion and happiness. He looked happy. That was when I felt we had Scott Weiland back in full force and this was not going to go back to his darkest places.
It’s because of all this that I’m currently in a mix of denial, anger, and sadness. I can’t believe he is gone, I am pissed because the music gods decided to take him on their team, and I am unbelievably sad. My heart is shattered.
He never denied his battle with substances; he wrote an autobiography titled Not Dead and Not For Sale, in which he wasn’t shy about his struggle and was open about how his drug problem influenced many of his most famous songs.
The cause of death is still unknown, and it’s easy to make assumptions – more so after one of his Wildabouts bandmates was arrested for possession of illegal substances found on the tour bus. Whatever the cause was, he is in a much better place now, with no suffering and no struggling of any kind. As Sarah Michelle Gellar (the “Sour Girl” from the video of the song of the same name) put it: “Your music will live and your demons will leave”.
Scott Weiland should be remembered not for his personal battles, but for his talent as singer, writer, and performer. He was, is, and will always be “the voice” to me. My favourite of all. The man who wrote many of the songs I listen to on a daily basis.
Sleep tight, Scott. Love you forever.