Rest In Peace!
Scott Weiland, whose extraordinary career as the lead singer of the Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver was overshadowed by his unending battle with drug addiction, has died.
He was 48.
His manager Tom Vitorino confirmed his death, but he didn’t disclose the cause. Weiland was found dead while on tour with his latest band.
“Scott Weiland, best known as the lead singer for Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, passed away in his sleep while on a tour stop in Bloomington, Minnesota, with his band The Wildabouts,” a statement on his Facebook page said. “At this time we ask that the privacy of Scott’s family be respected.”
Weiland’s onstage persona was known as being flamboyant and chaotic; he was also known for constantly changing his appearance and vocal style, as well as his use of a megaphone in concert for vocal effect. Widely viewed as a talented and versatile vocalist, Weiland has been ranked in the Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalists by Hit Parader (No. 57).
1986–2002: Stone Temple Pilots first stint
In 1986 Weiland met bassist Robert DeLeo at a Black Flag concert in Long Beach, California. The two of them were discussing their love interests, when they realized one of them was the same girl. They developed a bond over the incident, and ended up moving into her apartment. Weiland’s childhood friends Corey Hicock and David Allin rounded out the group, both of whom would soon be replaced by Eric Kretz and DeLeo’s brother Dean. They took the name Stone Temple Pilots due to their fondness of the initials “STP”. In one of the band’s first opening performances as Mighty Joe Young, they opened for Electric Love Hogs, whose drummer Dave Kushner would one day co-found Weiland’s later band Velvet Revolver. In 1992, they released their first album, Core, spawning four hits (“Sex Type Thing“, “Wicked Garden“, “Creep“, and “Plush“).
In 1994, STP released their second record, Purple, which saw the development of a more distinctive identity for the band. Like Core, Purple was a big success for the band, spawning three hit singles (“Big Empty“, “Vasoline“, and “Interstate Love Song“) and selling more than 6 million copies. The critical response to Purple was more favorable, with Spin Magazine calling it a “quantum leap” from the band’s previous album.
In 1995, Weiland formed the alternative rock band The Magnificent Bastards with session drummer Victor Indrizzo in San Diego. The band included Zander Schloss and Jeff Nolan on guitars and Bob Thompson on bass. Only two songs were recorded by The Magnificent Bastards, “Mockingbird Girl,” composed by Nolan, Schloss, and Weiland, appeared in the film Tank Girl and on its soundtrack, and a cover of John Lennon‘s “How Do You Sleep?” was recorded for the tribute album, Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon. Weiland rejoined Stone Temple Pilots in the fall of 1995, but STP was forced to cancel most of their 1996–1997 tour in support of their third release, Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop, which sold about two million albums. Weiland encountered problems with drug addiction at this time as well, which inspired some of his songs in the late-1990s, and resulted in prison time.
While STP went on hiatus after the release of Tiny Music…, Weiland released a solo album in 1998 called 12 Bar Blues. Weiland wrote most of the songs on the album, and collaborated with several artists, notably Daniel Lanois, Sheryl Crow, Brad Mehldau and Jeff Nolan. In 1999, STP regrouped once again and released No. 4. The album contained the hit single “Sour Girl” which featured a surreal music video with Sarah Michelle Gellar. That same year, Weiland also recorded two songs with the short-lived supergroup The Wondergirls. During this time period Weiland spent five months in jail for possession.
In November 2000, Weiland was invited to perform on the show VH1 Storytellers with the surviving members of The Doors. Weiland did vocals on two Doors songs, “Break on Through (To the Other Side)” and “Five to One“. That same month Stone Temple Pilots appeared on The Doors tribute CD, Stoned Immaculate with their own rendition of “Break on Through” as the lead track. On June 19, 2001, STP released its fifth album, Shangri-La Dee Da. That same year the band headlined the Family Values Tour along with Linkin Park and Staind. In late 2002, the band broke up with the DeLeo brothers and Weiland having significant altercations back stage.
2003–2008: Velvet Revolver era
In 2002, former Guns N’ Roses members – guitarist Slash, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum – as well as former Wasted Youth guitarist Dave Kushner were looking for a singer to help form a new band. Throughout his career Weiland had become acquainted with the four musicians; he became friends with McKagan after attending the same gym, was in rehab at the same time as Sorum, and once played on the same bill as Kushner. Weiland was sent two discs of material to work with, but felt that the first disc “sounded like Bad Company gone wrong.” When he was sent the second disc, Weiland was more positive, comparing it to Core-era Stone Temple Pilots, though he turned them down because Stone Temple Pilots had not yet separated.
When Stone Temple Pilots disbanded in 2003, the band sent Weiland new music, which he took into his studio and added vocals. This music eventually became the song “Set Me Free.”Although he delivered the music to the band himself, Weiland was still unsure whether or not he wanted to join them, despite performing at an industry showcase at Mates. They recorded two songs with producer Nick Raskulinecz, a recorded version of “Set Me Free” and a cover of Pink Floyd‘s “Money,” for the soundtracks to the movies The Hulk and The Italian Job, respectively. Weiland joined the band soon after, and “Set Me Free” managed to peak at number 17 on the Mainstream Rock Chart without any radio promotion or a record label. It was prior to a screening of The Hulk at Universal Studios that the band chose a name. After seeing a movie by Revolution Studios, Slash liked the beginning of the word, eventually thinking of Revolver because of its multiple meanings; the name of a gun, subtext of a revolving door which suited the band as well as the name of a Beatles album. When he suggested Revolver to the band, Weiland suggested ‘Black Velvet’ Revolver, liking the idea of “something intimate like velvet juxtaposed with something deadly like a gun.” They eventually arrived at Velvet Revolver, announcing it at a press conference and performance showcase at the El Rey Theatre while also performing the songs “Set Me Free” and “Slither” as well as covers of Nirvana‘s “Negative Creep”, Sex Pistols‘ “Pretty Vacant“, and Guns N’ Roses’ “It’s So Easy“.
“I just thought he was a great singer, and he’d always been on my mind for [Velvet Revolver]. He was the one vocalist that I knew had the kind of voice that would serve what we were going to do: he had a John Lennon-ish quality, a little bit of Jim Morrison, and a touch of almost David Bowie. He was the best singer to come out in a long time in my opinion.”
Velvet Revolver’s debut album Contraband was released in June 2004 to much success. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and has sold over three million copies worldwide to date. Two of the album’s songs, “Slither” and “Fall to Pieces“, reached number one on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. The song “Slither” also won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal in 2005, an award Weiland had won previously with STP for the song “Plush” in 1994. At the 2005 Grammy Awards, Weiland (along with the rest of Velvet Revolver) performed the Beatles song “Across the Universe” along with Bono, Brian Wilson, Norah Jones,Stevie Wonder, Steven Tyler, Billie Joe Armstrong, Alison Krauss, and Alicia Keys.
Velvet Revolver released their second album, Libertad, on July 3, 2007, peaking at number five on the Billboard 200. The album’s first single “She Builds Quick Machines” peaked at 74 on the Hot Canadian Digital Singles. The second and third singles, “The Last Fight” and “Get Out the Door“, both peaked at number 16 and 34 on the Mainstream Rock Chart, respectively.Critical reception to the album was mixed. Though some critics praised the album and felt that Libertad gave the band an identity of their own, outside of the Guns N’ Roses and Stone Temple Pilots comparisons, others described the album as “bland” and noted that the band seem to be “play[ing] to their strengths instead of finding a collective sound.”
You will be missed…