A Writhing, Leather-Lunged Rock 'n' Roll Adonis: Remembering Scott Weiland

He was not a grunge also-ran, but an amazing synthesizer of disparate musical influences.

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I vividly remember the first time I saw Scott Weiland perform live. It was January 18th 2005 at the NIA in Birmingham. A die-hard Guns N' Roses fan, I was probably more excited about the prospect of seeing Slash and Duff McKagan in the flesh than I was about Scott.

But I was quickly captivated by the singer's undeniable presence. A potent mix of Jim Morrison, Mick Jagger and, unsurprisingly given the company he was keeping, Axl Rose, Weiland felt like a rock 'n' roll frontman of old; a throwback to a bygone era in the best possible sense.

Though I would catch Weiland again during his lifetime - with Stone Temple Pilots at Download 2010 - that occasion didn't live up to the precedent he'd set at the Birmingham show. In fact, it was downright depressing.

Lethargic and struggling to hit the high notes, Weiland was a shadow of his former self that day. The animalistic swagger that he'd demonstrated five years earlier was gone. Reviewers of the performance suggested that he was once again battling his demons, and they would continue to do so until his untimely passing.

I managed to see the best and worst of Scott Weiland in concert: a writhing, leather-lunged rock 'n' roll Adonis one time, a languid and distant ghost the other. It is, of course, the former that he should be remembered for, as well as his myriad other musical achievements.

In his prime, Weiland was an immeasurable talent. Not a mere grunge also-ran, as some early critics suggested, but an amazing synthesizer of disparate musical influences, as much indebted to Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie as he was to Kurt Cobain.

Listening to STP's psychedelic tinged "Tiny Music… Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop" or Weiland's eclectic solo debut "12 Bar Blues," you hear the sound of a man relentlessly pushing forward in the formation of his own sonic identity. It was an admirable pursuit, and one tragically cut short.

Thanks for the music Scott.

By Alec Plowman

18 comments sorted by best / new / date

    PotsieRokx
    I saw him twice, the first was my first ever concert experience, 2005 velvet revolver tour, which inexplicably changed my life (very cliche yes, but also very true), as the author noted he was in fine form this tour, swaggering around the stage and commanding the energy from the audience. Although there to see slash in all his guitar god glory i couldn't help but be captivated by Scotts prowress behind the mic. They got to Superhuman half way through the set and there in front of me was slash half knelt, guitar proped vertical unleashing the intro to the song and half arm wrapped around him was scott as he belted into it, after which point i signalled up and out to the 6'7 beast of a man behind me as my 16 y/o frame was being crushed by the surge of the crowd behind me, after that i needed to witness him again, Fast forward to 2011 and the Stone Temple pilots had been cemented firmly into my playlist and with the release of their self titled album i was adamant on seeing the gang and fortunately i did, With their only show sold out in Sydney i was devastated that i missed out. Then a few weeks before the sold out show they announced a second in a much smaller intimate venue, we got tickets and fuck me, how lucky i was. Unlike the author of this article, my experience from the 2011 STP show has still yet to be trumped, they must have played for 2.5 to 3 hours, absolutely amazing, on fire and on point, as a unit they were flawless and as a now immortal front man you couldn't have asked for more from silver gun superman to big empty to the encore of dead and bloated the concert and every track will be permanately etched into my mind. Yes personal problems litter the narrative of this mans journey but who is faultless these days. Families are hard and dealing with substance abuse is harder but possibly without the aforementioned this man may not have created the legacy he has, impacted the multitudes of people he has with his music and possibly helped people through their own demons with his work. Rest in piece mr Weiland, your work will always have a positive impact on me and many others.
    vivekjha25
    Scott was a remarkably versatile singer . Plush is a staple for me whenever I pick up a guitar and will be one for a long long time.
    jekylhyde
    For a man that had a lot substance abuse issues, he was very productive. 6 albums with STP, 2 with VR. 3 solo albums (and one of those was a double album), cover album and a Christmas album. Plus that Art of Anarchy record. That's 14 albums in 23 years. It's so sad that he's gone now. R.I.P. Scott. Forever a fan.
    MrFixIt
    All of it enshadowed by the fact that he is a wifebeater. Don't forget that.
    gvaldez216
    When you do listen to Hendrix do you think of drugs? How about Bonham, do you hear alcohol? Find a pristine celebrity and I'll show you a unicorn.
    kmepie
    Yeah because domestic violence is morally comparable to substance abuse.
    DWAUME
    Well, clearly it's not enshadowed by that fact. His music career heavily enshadows his domestic violence. You can say something like "In my opinion, the fact that Scott beat his wife enshadows his entire music career." But, of course, your opinion is enshadowed by the opinions expressed in popular media, and the enshadowing opinion/narrative in popular media is "Talented singer died, had troubles with drugs." If you really do care about the people who have been domestically abused, I recommend donating to your local domestic abuse center, or to some group you feel worthy. If you specifically care that Scott hit women, then the problem's over, so rest easy. tl;dr It's overshadowed, not enshadowed.
    karstaag666
    Who let the Rasmus in? I'm sure one of Scott's biggest regrets was hitting his wife. He wasn't a nasty person at heart. You can have sympathy for a man's plight even if you do not condone their actions. He should be remembered for the great things he did because that is what should be left to inspire others.
    MikeBTE
    I've seen STP 5 times and VR Once. All kickass shows but those STP shows were very special. I'll miss Scott Weiland. Not many singers I like nowadays.
    derpdragon
    I never realized how much scott weiland looks like Satyr from Satyricon until I saw that thumb.
    DWAUME
    I like to think that Scott and Satyr look nothing alike, except their actual thumbs.