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