8 things you need to know about grunge legend Scott Weiland
The former STone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver frontman has passed away at 48
Published 04/12/2015 | 10:46
RIP Scott Weiland – 48 is way too young to go. The former Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver frontman was found dead on his tour bus in Minnesota last night, as he was due to go on stage with his latest band, The Wildabouts.
Here are eight things to know about a grunge legend:
Weiland’s first band Stone Temple Pilots, was formed in San Diego in the late 1980s. He was born Scott Kline in San Jose – yes, the place in that Burt Bacharach song. (Amusingly, the group’s second album Purple contains a hidden track at the end which pastiches that Bacharach-style lounge music.)
STP, whose name was partly inspired by an iconic motor-oil logo, could be classed as a sort of “just outside the Champions League placings” band in the history of grunge. As in, they weren’t quite up there with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden or Alice in Chains. But by any reasonable standards, Stone Temple Pilots were a fine rock group.
Weiland was a fine lead singer too, with a rich, expressive voice and a cool image: sometimes androgynous and sometimes macho, he had a bit of that old-school, Axl Rose-esque rock ‘r’ roll swagger and outlaw glamour about him.
Stone Temple Pilots’ best album, probably, is Purple. Best songs? For me, Sex Type Thing, Pretty Penny, Plush, Unglued and Kitchenware & Candybars.
In 1994 the STP track Big Empty was featured on the brilliant soundtrack of the equally brilliant Brandon Lee action movie, The Crow. (You can hear it when T-Bird and his fellow skangers are driving around, waiting for their bomb to go off in an amusement arcade.)
After Stone Temple Pilots broke up (they’d later get back together, though Weiland eventually left for a second time), he formed the hard-rock super-group Velvet Revolver with Slash, Duff and Matt Sorum of Guns ‘n’ Roses. They were only okay – a bit too much widdly-widdly-widdly guitar solos for my liking – but the first album, Contraband, is decent. And in You Got No Right, they wrote at least one song for the ages.
Weiland battled substance abuse problems for much of his life, from drinking as a teenager to using cocaine, heroin and crack, and hopping in and out of rehab. He was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder, as was his second wife, model Mary Forsberg.
Three times married with two children, Weiland is, sadly, just the latest in a long line of grunge stars who’ve died young, their deaths mostly drug-related: Kurt Cobain, Kristen Pfaff (Hole), Layne Staley and Mike Starr (both Alice in Chains), Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon), right back to Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone. It’s a depressing roll-call.