Scott Weiland of STP Fame, dead at 48

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by LJ Moskowitz

Scott Weiland long feared becoming a rock and roll cliche, lamenting his addictions numerous times over the years. “I was written off as the guy whose hopeless addictions had – and would always – ruin everything for everyone,” he wrote in his 2011 biography, “Not Dead & Not for Sale”.

It appears that those hopeless addictions finally got the best of Weiland on a tour bus in rural Minnesota. The former frontman of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver was found dead around 9 PM last night after the gig with his latest band, Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts, was canceled.

Weiland led Stone Temple Pilots (STP) to three multiplatinum albums in the 1990’s. He may have been written off by many critics as an Eddie Vedder clone beginning with the release of the band’s first album, 1992’s “Core”, but STP’s music had an energy missing from many of the alternative acts of the day. Their follow-up album, 1994’s “Purple” was filled with radio-friendly hits that were ubiquitous in every bar, pool hall and club from coast to coast.

“Tiny Music…Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop” was a departure from the band’s previous records, but it had a vitality all its own. It was during the recording of the album that Weiland’s problems with drugs and alcohol reached epic levels. He had been drinking since he had was given his first beer by his father at age 12, but by the time STP hit the studio to record “Tiny Music”, he was scoring crack and heroin every third day. His addiction was so pronounced, the band was unable to tour following the album release.

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Stone Temple Pilots went on to release two more albums, but while 1999’s “No. 4” sold more than a million copies, 2001’s “Shangri-La Dee Da” struggled to sell half that total. By 2002, the band could no longer handle Weiland’s addictions and broke up.

It didn’t take long for Weiland to find success with a new band. Velvet Revolver combined his alt-rock sensibilities with the hard rock sound of his bandmates; former Guns n’ Roses members Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum along with Dave Kushner. 2004’s “Contraband” sold more than 4 million copies, but success didn’t follow the band for long. The 2007 release of “Libertad” barely made a blip in sales in comparison to the first album.

It was around the time that Weiland helped form Velvet Revolver that he claimed to have finally conquered his addictions, yet by 2008, he was forced out of the band with Slash claiming, “among other things, his increasingly erratic on-stage behavior and personal problems have forced us to move on.”

Weiland went on to record four solo albums, including an oddly touching Christmas album in 2011. He had been on tour to promote, “Blaster”, released earlier this year, when he was discovered last night.

Weiland wrote that his 2008 solo album, “Happy in Galoshes” was a sort of memoir. The album recounts how he let his demons ruin his life, and it speaks to the guilt he felt for allowing them to do so. By the time he wrote his autobiography, he felt that he had conquered those demons.

“In the end, I’m happy in my galoshes. Happy stomping through the rainy mud of my childhood. Happy to remember the crazy chaos of a life dedicated to music and nearly destroyed by drugs,” he wrote. It seems that those galoshes weren’t enough to save Weiland from himself.