Scott Weiland exits life’s stage too soon, but leaves musical blessings behind

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.

STP’s ‘Out of Time’ featuring Chester Bennington: Imagine a tank driven by lions

Chester Bennington STP

What does it feel like to cheat on someone you love? If you’re a fan of Scott Weiland, it’s probably a lot like listening to Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington take the lead for the Stone Temple Pilots. When I first heard the new single ‘Out of Time’ I felt a little dirty; STP has and always will be Scott Weiland’s band to me — but Bennington is so darn good that I’ve crossed over to the dark side. I would plunk down serious change to see them live. In the end I hope Weiland returns, at which time so will I. Ewoks will sing and it will be awkward.

For years, Scott Weiland has struggled with drug problems, and it’s affected the band. I’m not sure who is to blame (I’m sure there’s plenty to go around) but STP haven’t felt inspired in years. ‘Out of Time’ sounds like a tank rolling through the desert that’s being driven by growling lions. As a friend of mine said, “They sound hungry.” Indeed.

Here’s one of the reasons. Rolling Stone Reports:

In a statement, Bennington expressed his admiration for the band, which is in part how this collaboration came about. “I’ve loved STP since I was 13 years old and they’ve had a huge influence on me,” explained Bennington. “When the opportunity came up to do something creative with them, I jumped at the chance. The guys in Linkin Park have been incredibly supportive of me undertaking this project while I’ve continued to work on new music with LP.”

A friend of mine said that Bennington, these days, “does a better Weiland than Weiland.” I also found a similar comment in the Rolling Stone message boards. It’s a sentiment I agree with and, on some level, the lyrics to ‘Out of Time’ seem to be created as a wake up call for the singer:

Longing is the animal inside you when you bleed
Suffering is critical in finding what you need
Deliverance is evidence there’s more than what you say
Pain is there the moment that you wake up from your dreams

Oh, I know you can’t hide
Oh, when you look inside yourself
You’ve got to cross that line
Yeah, you’re running out of time

Loneliness is beautiful, it leads you home again
Happiness is overrated, joy is infinite
Liberate the hate you feel before it’s permanent
Smile when it hurts, it works like mother’s medicine

Oh, I know you can’t hide
Oh, when you look inside yourself
you’ve got to cross that line
Yeah, you’re running out of time

You’ve got to learn your lesson to see what you’ve been missing
You’ve got to cross that line

Yeah, you’ve got to look inside
Yeah, it’s time that you decide
Yeah, you’ve got to cross that line
Yeah, you’re running out of time

Beautiful! When we look inward and attempt to honestly examine what’s there we can not lie. That is why so many people spend so much time trying to keep themselves busy. They will do anything they can to keep themselves from having to perform the tough task that is introspection.

Video games. Shopping. Drinking. Eating. Exercise. Sex. Drugs. Work. All of these things and many more are used in excess to prevent individuals from sitting in the silence of solitude to figure out who they really are and where they want to go. And all of us — not just Scott Weiland — are “running out of time.”

“Happiness” in terms of that which the material word brings about is fleeting. It does not last. And when it runs out, most people look to fill it up with the same sugary goods over and over again. An honest self-evaluation is always painful, but it is “critical in finding what you need,” as Bennington’s lyrics point out.

I hope that when Scott Weiland is done trashing his apartment that he acknowledges what a masterstroke this was on the part of the DeLeo brothers and says, “Touché.” My fear is that instead of responding positively, he will once again choose the dangerous path, as he’s done since the 1990’s.

Regardless, I tip my hat to STP. ‘Out of Time’ is hands-down evidence that there’s still plenty of juice left in its engine. I’m looking forward to further collaborations between STP and Chester Bennington.

Democrats consult Arctic Monkeys, Lamb Chop, and Charlie Horse on Health Care.

Since my place of employment has been kind enough to send me out to Los Angeles on Sunday, I thought that reacting to Nancy Pelosi’s Obamacare-as-artist-generator argument would be warranted. Personally, I think

You too can be an amalgamation of the Arctic Monkeys, Axl Rose, and a famous sock puppet with...Obamacare!

it would be awesome to incentivize a nation of entitlement-demanding kiddies to take a cue from The Arctic Monkeys and craft songs like fake tales from San Francisco. And here’s why:

  • I haven’t had time to work out with my new job, and I won’t have to worry about defending myself in a world of gangly alt-rock wannabes with more in common with Alan Alda than US Army Rangers. I’ve lost a lot of muscle mass recently, and somehow I’m not afraid of adults who shop at Hot Topic.
  • How ironic would it be for those singing about Danny Tanner’s old stomping grounds to one day wake up and realize that their European health care, brought to them by the Nancy Pelosi world view, gave them increased coverage at the cost of less access and even worse quality.

San Francisco has a number of problems. Some of them a bit dry, some of them a bid sad, and some of them par for the course (if you’re a Che-shirt wearing clueless kid or aging hippie who thinks fighting for a cause exempts you from using deodorant or changing your underwear regularly). You would think, at some point, they would begin to wise up. But I guess not.

And this is why we should be scared about the public policy decisions our elected officials are making right now, in this moment. At some point, when the nation becomes too dependent on the government, it becomes impossible to reverse the skid into mediocrity and malaise and spiritual sloth on a national scale.

Don’t believe me, kiddies? That’s fine. But I still maintain that once you enter Pelosi’s jungle… (or was that Wicked Garden?), escape isn’t easy.

Just ask Greece. Or Mark Steyn…

And finally, is it me, or do Democrats seem to be consulting Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse for advice on Health Care? Weird…

On Colbert, Geddy Lee, and Conservatives.

I was going to do a post on Joy Behar’s perpetual “gas face” and what it means, but then I read this story and I lost my appetite for Behar ruminations. Instead, I’d like to talk about the conservative “Rock Problem.” Congressman McCotter seems to get it. And it seems as though there are a few others who understand. But, by and large, conservatives have a hard time using all the wonderful tools in the pop-culture toolbox that can dismantle liberalism and build a lasting conservative majority.

How hard is it to take apart Bush-bashing four-chord playing hypocrites? (Granted, they play those four chords very well…but you know what I’m saying.)

Why can’t we read The Conscience of a Conservative by day and rock out to The Silversun Pickups at night? Or Stone Temple Pilots’ Core? Or maybe just go all original emo and admit to crying while listening to The Cure’s Boys Don’t Cry? (Okay, maybe not that last one.)

It’s bothersome to me that more conservatives can’t find ways to explain the genius of living legend Thomas Sowell by using the occasional reference to Jim Lee’s take on Batman. Or one of the greatest video games of all time.

There is no legitimate reason why legions of left wing seminar callers should come across as cooler than their conservative counterparts.

And speaking of Counterparts, I better cut to the chase before I lose you. In short, if you thought I was a loser for having random intimate knowledge of Canadian rockers Rush, then perhaps you should also ask yourself why the kiddies watch Colbert while no one watched The 1/2 Hour News Hour.