I woke up this morning, and for a moment I had forgotten that Scott Weiland died last night. I was up until 4 a.m. listening to his music and thinking about how sad it was that he was gone.
I saw Stone Temple Pilots open for the Butthole Surfers (with Basehead and fIREHOSE) at Bayfront Park in Miami in June of 1993. This was just before the Unplugged show hit and sent them and Weiland into super stardom.
Without a doubt, the Butthole Surfers were far and away the best band that day. However, this relatively unknown band from San Diego, with a wiry lead singer who had Raggedy Ann-red hair, really grabbed me with how well they played, how tight they were, how good their melodies were and what a badass frontman they had.
It wasn’t long after that you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing an STP song or seeing one of their videos. There was, of course, backlash and jealousy.
But when you stripped all that away, you were left with the songs, the lyrics, the playing, the melodies and the singing. Scott Weiland was one of the best rock vocalists I’ve ever heard.
His first solo album, “12 Bar Blues” included one of my all-time favorite songs, “Barbarella.” The first time I heard it on the radio, I was totally floored. To this day, I’ve never heard anything quite like it. Those who know me well on Facebook, know that I post one version of it or another a couple of times a year…at least.
For whatever reason, the vocal break down that includes the lyrics, “And all the tangerines/They taste like jelly beans/This must be boring by now/Grab a scale and guess the weight/Of all the pain I’ve given with my name/I’m a selfish piece of shit…” always resonates with me.
There was something completely authentic, vulnerable and sad about Weiland. It all came through in the timbre of his vocals. At his core, he was a blues singer. I don’t know from where his pain was derived, but I wanted him to overcome it.
I was lucky to catch him at Revolution in Fort Lauderdale in the summer of 2013. Weiland was in good form and seemed to be having a lot of fun. A couple of weeks ago, he played here in Asheville. Sadly, the show got past me and I missed it. I’ll always regret that I missed a last chance to experience him.
Now there will be the inevitable “I knew it was coming” and “once a junkie, always a junkie” crap, which will miss the point.
Weiland was a rock star. He was one of the last rock stars. He deserved to be a rock star. He earned it with talent, will and hard knocks. He was the real deal, not some packaged hipster piece of crap that passes for a rock star in 2015.
So, RIP Scott Weiland. I hope you have found the peace in death you could never find in life.
Thanks for the music and giving us everything you had until you had nothing left.
You were here.