Unfortunately Scott Weiland was as famous for being a drug addict as he was for being the lead singer of two great bands, the Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver. He goes now to the great gig in the sky… I hope.
He tried many times to get his demons under control, succeeding at taming them for brief periods, but sadly, in the end they have won.
Every article I have read mentions his passing was almost expected and not surprising. Very sad… but he lasted longer than most self admitted rock star junkies; getting clean many times in his life of 48 years, but never enough to fully escape the clichéd ending.
The best piece I found on him is from an interview ten years ago while he had some of that clean time in Esquire magazine. The article let’s him tell his story of the downward spiral in detail from the beginning.
I am not a huge STP fan, but I still have their debut album (CD) “CORE” in my collection. It was the BMG selection of the month. Back in the day of snail mail music clubs, you had to buy a couple of the “selection of the month” picks to fulfill your membership, and they were always full priced. I was OK with that pick, so I let it ride – if you didn’t respond to the BMG mailing you were automatically sent the “selection of the month”. That explains my Backstreet Boys and Celine Dion albums… back to Scott.
The CD had the mega hits Plush, Sex Type Thing, Wicked Garden and the first song of theirs I thought of upon hearing his passing – Dead and Bloated (sorry).
In the liner notes are lyrics to all the songs. Most of them have references to addiction and an overall theme of despair. Why? I’m listening to it and perusing the liner notes for clues right now. Ah, here’s one that let’s you into his mind.
My favorite song of his career came later – Interstate Love Song. According to Weiland, the song dealt lyrically with a number of themes, particularly “honesty, lack of honesty, my new relationship with heroin.” At the time he was having relationship troubles with his girlfriend, as he was using heroin while recording Purple but told her he no longer was. “She’d ask how I was doing, and I’d lie, say I was doing fine,” he admits in his autobiography Not Dead and Not For Sale. “I imagined what was going through her mind when I wrote, ‘Waiting on a Sunday afternoon, for what I read between the lines, your lies, feelin’ like a hand in rusted shame, so do you laugh or does it cry? Reply?”
The music video featured a long-nosed protagonist escaping from an unseen pursuer (perhaps his demons?). The protagonist’s nose grows longer throughout the video (similar to Pinocchio), to symbolize the theme of lying in the song lyrics.
His life and lyrics bring to mind the Tale of Two Wolves; the one you feed is the one that wins. Can the dead have more peace, joy, and happiness than the living? I hope so, for everyone’s sake. It’s a better end than just being bloated.