A Talented and Versatile Vocalist
Stone Temple Pilots
December 3, 2020, was the fifth anniversary of the passing of Scott Weiland. Scott was best known as the vocalist for Stone Temple Pilots (aka STP) and the super group, Velvet Revolver. Scott was born in San Jose, California, in 1967, and spent most of his teen years in Huntington Beach. Per Scott’s memoir, he was brought up listening to The Doors and Merle Haggard, the same as me. I was also privileged to see Scott in STP three times and attend the first Velvet Revolver tour.
Scott participated in all the high school sports, and sang in the church choir. This is where Scott realized he could sing in different voices. He studied John Lennon and David Bowie’s voices, and used them as a reference when singing.
Stone Temple Pilots
Weiland and bassist Robert DeLeo first met when Robert jumped up on the stage to play with Weiland’s band, Swing. After some time, Scott went looking for Robert, and asked him to join his band, but Robert only agreed if he got rid of the guitar player. The new band included drummer Eric Kretz. Then, Robert approached his brother, Dean DeLeo, who played guitar. Dean was hesitant at first because he had a thriving business and had given up trying to be a successful guitarist. He eventually caved, and they called themselves Mighty Joe Young.
Some of the first songs they had in Might Joe Young were eventually hits off the first album were: Plush, Creep, and Wicked Garden. The band had started to quickly draw crowds in the San Diego area and began opening up for Soul Asylum, Henry Rollins Band, and Electric Love Hogs, whose guitarist Dave Kushner would later be a part of Velvet Revolver.
As Mighty Joe Young’s popularity grew, they were spotted by Tom Carolan of Atlantic Records, at the Shamrock Bar in Los Angeles. Tom was so impressed with the band, he asked if they wanted to make a record. The only flaw signing them was that they had to change their name, since it was already taken by another band. The group loved the logo on the oil can, “STP,” but needed a name to go with the initials, so they came up with “Stone Temple Pilots.”
In 1992, they released their debut album, Core (the word that summed up what they were trying to do with their music), and it took a little while, but eventually climbed the charts, reaching number three in June, 1993. It was a smash hit and has since sold more than 40 million worldwide.
Riding on the success of their debut album, they released their sophomore effort, Purple in 1994. It debuted at number one, and stayed in the top ten for five months and sold over six million copies in the US alone. The album spawned the hits: Big Empty, Vasoline, and Interstate Love Song.
The band released their third album, Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop in 1996. It was another success with hits: Big Bang Baby, Lady Picture Show, and Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart, but it was the beginning of Scott’s substance abuse problems and internal issues within the band.
12 Bar Blues and STP Breakup
With Scott going to rehab, and the band at odds with Scott, they decided to work on other projects. Before Scott went to rehab, the band issued a public statement that Scott was a junkie and sued him for the money lost in support of the tour of their last album. When Scott was discharged from rehab, he decided to release a solo record in 1998, called, 12 Bar Blues (a chord progression called twelve-bar blues), which was a totally different sound than that of STP. Scott received positive reviews on the album and did a small tour, but then found himself back in rehab.
After Scott got out of rehab, the band reconciled somewhat and went back to the studio in 1999 to work on their next album, aptly titled, No. 4 , but shortly after it was released, Scott was back in rehab and jail. After Scott got out, STP began promoting the album and co-headlining a tour with Red Hot Chili Peppers. The band released their fifth album, Shangri-La Dee Da in 2001, and headlined the Family Values Tour with Linkin Park, Staind (which I saw first hand, and it was a great show). The album was not as successful as the other albums, and at the end of the 2002 tour, Scott and Dean almost came to blows backstage, and the band was over.
After the breakup of STP, Scott was asked to audition for the band that former Guns N’ Roses members – guitarist Slash, bassist Duff McKagan, drummer Matt Sorum, and guitarist Dave Kushner were putting together. The new supergroup called themselves Velvet Revolver and released their debut album Contraband in 2004 with critical appraise. The album topped the charts at number one upon its release and has sold over three million copies worldwide. The album contained the hits, Slither and Fall to Pieces. The band was an an immediate concert draw. They released their second album, Libertad, in 2007, and was another success, but the band couldn’t survive the tour. Scott began using again, which built up tension with the group. Scott’s last show with Velvet Revolver was April 8, 2008, in Amsterdam.
IReturn and Exit of Stone Temple Pilots
While Scott was with Velvet Revolver, the STP guys had reconciled in 2007, and agreed to a reunion tour in 2008. Prior to the band officially getting together, Scott released his second solo album, Happy in Galoshes.
The band’s first appearance was on the Late Show with David Letterman, performing their new single Between the Lines, the band’s self-titled sixth album. They got along and toured through 2012, until tensions came up again when the band wanted to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Core, but felt that Scott no longer had the vocal range to perform some of the album’s songs. Scott was frustrated and decided to perform the songs they did not want to play, on a separate solo tour. This caused more angst with the band and eventually broke up again, Scott’s last show with STP was September 23, 2012 in Sacramento, California.
The Wildabouts and the End of a Legend
After Velvet Revolver announced that Scott was fired, Scott and the band sued each other which put a nail in the end of the band with Scott. Scott put another band together called Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts. The new album, Blaster, was released March 31, 2015, with a tour that followed. Unfortunately, Scott was found dead on the band’s tour bus on December 3, 2015, marking the end of a legend.Check out his last interview the night before he died and Velvet Revolver’s performance of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, indeed we do.