STP concert 2009

In 1992 there was a kid with a chip on his shoulder from Illinois who listened to “Core” by the Stone Temple Pilots for the first time. The attitude and the energy and the raw power exuded from singer Scott Weiland blew the teenager away. There was something truly special about Mr. Weiland, a gift from God wielded with grace and authority that began a life-long love of his work. That kid was me, which is why the news of his death on Friday cast an heavy pall over my mind; it could only be removed by sharing the sincere sorrow.

The Los Angeles Times reported:

Scott Weiland, the charismatic rock vocalist who first gained fame with 1990s rock band Stone Temple Pilots, has died, according to his wife.

The Grammy-winning singer, 48, who struggled with addiction, earned post-Pilots success with the platinum-selling supergroup Velvet Revolver. His cause of death was not immediately available.

His wife, Jamie Weiland, a photographer, confirmed his death to The Times in a brief conversation.

“I can’t deal with this right now,” she said, sobbing. “It’s true.”

Scott Weiland rose to stardom in the 90s, but he wasn’t “of” the 90s. At his best he rivaled David Bowie in terms of his ability to seamlessly experiment with musical styles. He was in a rock band, but he fit in right along Sinatra during the holidays with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” He could do punk, but he often soared with ballads — and no matter what genre he was swimming in from song to song, you always felt as though he was trying to give you a glimpse into the depths of his soul.

Scott Weiland

Life is a lot of things, but part of it involves the slow realization (put beautifully by The Flaming Lips) that everyone you know will one day die. That actually isn’t as pessimistic as it seems — especially if you believe in God — but it can be painful when someone who has touched your life in profound ways passes over to the other side.

I never met Scott Weiland. I never broke bread with him or had a chance to help him wrestle his demons into submission — but he still affected my life in ways most people cannot fathom.

Doug STP concert

If nothing else, this post is a thank you that perhaps Scott can read from the “Great Beyond.”

Thank you for blessing me with your music. Thank you for the memories you helped me create with my sister in our youth and my friends as an adult. And thank you for helping everyone else out there whose problems were temporarily kept at bay by your talent.

We achieve greatness when we grab hold of the potential God has granted within us and manifest it in the physical world. We see the beauty of all souls when we witness those rare individuals who can give us a high-definition musical photograph of their own.

Scott Weiland exited this earth way too soon, but his life’s work left indelible marks in the minds of millions.

Instead of being selfish and cursing God for allowing Scott to leave us early, we should take comfort — the singer’s questions, “What does God look like? And angels’ wings?” have been answered.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

9 comments

    1. Thanks for reading, insanitybytes. I know the cyclical take on this is that he’s just another rock star who killed himself with drugs, which is why I wanted to put my thoughts out there. So far I’ve done blog remembrance posts for Weiland, a Navy SEAL, and “self-help guru” Dr. Wayne Dyer. I never know where this blog is going to take me…

    2. Nicely written Doug. We are about the same age, and I still remember first glimpsing STP and Weiland on MTV, early on when “Core” had first come out. My older sister got me into a lot of music over the years, from metal to grunge, and she was a big fan of STP from the beginning. I kinda thought they were derivative of a lot in the grunge scene at first, but I had to concede that they made some great music over the years (those first four STP albums still hold up remarkably well–those along with Weiland’s “12 Bar Blues” album got a lot of spins from me and my friend over the years).

      It got me thinking back to the one and only time I got to see STP live, in Riverbend stadium, Cincinnati, with my aforementioned sister. This would’ve been the late 90’s, the show was great and Weiland was memorably energetic.

      In the end, it’s a good thing to be able to focus on the artist and their contributions, instead of their demons.

    3. Thanks for commenting, Cheesedique. I saw Scott perform a few times, including once with Velvet Revolver. For some weird reason I believe Slash had multiple top-hats that he threw into the crowd at the end of the show. Odd…

      Regardless, I saw two shows where Scott was stellar and one where I’m pretty sure he was going through a rough patch. When he was on, he was an amazing front man.

      I’m not sure if you ever checked out Happy In Galoshes, but I thought it was a pretty good album.

  1. Great tribute Doug. So many memorable songs from a great band. I remember the first time I heard “Plush” blasting out of the car radio, I thought what a cool sounding band. “Interstate Love Song”, “Vasoline” are probably the two biggest hits that still get radio airplay in Australia.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Magnetic Eye. That was definitely a strong album. As time has gone on, I like that STP evolved over the years. The sound was clearly “STP,” but it was obvious they were growing as musicians and experimenting with different styles.

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