The Sad, Brilliant Legacy of Scott Weiland

weiland

For as long as I’ve known that the lead singer of the band Stone Temple Pilots is someone named Scott Weiland, I’ve known that that name would be pretty much always mentioned in context of cocaine and heroin. There was no Velvet Revolver without STP, there was no STP without Scott Weiland, and there was no Scott Weiland without drugs. It’s just something you knew if you were aware of music and pop culture as a teenager in the 90s. Bill Clinton lied about Monica Lewinsky, OJ got away with murder, and Scott Weiland has a drug problem.

So it almost goes without saying that news of his death at what appears to be a cocaine overdose was not exactly a surprise. And in some ways, it’s the only way his story could have ended. It turns out that he just wasn’t capable of doing the Clapton thing, getting clean, finding god, opening a rehab facility in the tropics and inspiring thousands of people to get clean as well. I wish he could have found that peace, but he didn’t, and I accept that. I’m sad he’s gone, that I never got to see that fleeting reunion tour he was always talking about, but without him there are two memories I hold very dear that would have never happened. So, drugs or not, I have to pay homage to that.

My senior year of high school, some friends of mine from the marching band and drum line pulled together a version of “Interstate Love Song” for the end of year talent show.  They knocked it out of the park, and we left the show to a warm, Texas sunset that just continued the feeling of satisfaction – could life get any better? Right then, it couldn’t.

Then, during college, one semester in particular I was playing poker regularly and making a quick $5 or $10 a weekend. I remember going to the local Hastings used music section to spend my winnings, and they always had way too many copies of No. 4, Shangri-La-Di-Das and Core – never Purple. Until one glorious day – the clouds parted and Hastings had just one used copy of Purple hidden behind a bunch of other stuff. It was like finding a friend I’d been looking for for years. The case was pretty badly cracked, and the insert was wrinkled but I didn’t care. That was $6.99 I was definitely going to spend. To this day it is still the only STP album I actually own, and I still love it. “Vasoline” “Interstate Love Song” and “Big Empty” still top the list of their best songs for me, with “Love Song” at the absolute top for Weiland’s inflection, soulfulness, and one of the smoothest leading guitar licks in all of rock music.

I of course have no idea what Scott Weiland’s epitaph will be, and I have no idea what his true intentions were in writing “Interstate Love Song.” But I think to think that it’s him writing to his addiction, personified.  If so, the full lyrics allow him to make his own very poignant tribute. Read below. I think you’ll see what I mean.

Waiting on a Sunday afternoon
For what I read between the lines
Your lies
Feelin’ like a hand in rusted chains
So do you laugh at those who cry?
Reply?
Leavin’ on a southern train
Only yesterday you lied
Promises of what I seemed to be
Only watched the time go by
All of these things you said to me
Breathing is the hardest thing to do.
With all I’ve said and
all that’s dead for you
You lied-Goodbye.
Leavin’ on a southern train
Only yesterday you lied
Promises of what I seemed to be
Only watched the time go by
All of these things I said to you

RIP Scott. Thanks for the memories.