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Scott Weiland

Ostentatious and flamboyant, or just a maverick disguising his rollercoaster relapses into rehab as par for the course for a rock star, frontman WEILAND has had his share of the limelight as an integral member of STONE TEMPLE PILOTS and VELVET REVOLVER. And who can forget his solo exploits? If comparative sales are anything to go by, a large percentage of the music buying public, that’s who. A string of solo albums behind him (three proper sets if one doesn’t count festive sets or compilations), only his post-STP debut `12 Bar Blues’ (1998), reached a healthy homeland Top 50 place.
Born Scott Richard Kline, October 27, 1967 in San Jose, California (his surname was switched aged 5 after his step-father David Weiland), the singer struck up a friendship with bassist Robert DeLeo at a BLACK FLAG gig in 1986; apparently they had dated the same girl. Down the line a few years, picking out the name Mighty Joe Young, the pair added Robert’s older sibling Dean DeLeo on guitar and Eric Kretz on drums, both respective replacements for David Allin and Corey Hicock. Almost forced to alter their moniker as it was used by another band, and having a penchant for the initials “STP” for some reason, STONE TEMPLE PILOTS did the trick: grunge rather than stoner, the course they would take.
Straight from the get-go, but with grunge all the rage, it seemed that PEARL JAM had been usurped by WEILAND and his crew and, on the evidence of debut set `Core’ (1992), their cloning was down to a tee. When 1994’s `Purple’ set gate-crashed the No.1 spot, staying in the charts for over a year, WEILAND had time to employ other activities: The Magnificent Bastards (Weiland, Jeff Nolan, Zander Schloss and Victor Indrizzo) being one of them; Bob Thompson played bass. `Mockingbird Girl’ featured on the soundtrack to Tank Girl, but heroin addiction and time wasted in rehab centers or prison led to several unsatisfactory reviews for STP’s `Tiny Music… Songs From The Vatican Shop’ (1996).
Leaving out his Magnificent Bastards for a solo set (STP had formed TALK SHOW in the meantime), 12 BAR BLUES (1998) {*7} was SCOTT WEILAND in a potpourri of styles: sonic psychedelia, grungy glam and trip-hop pop. Produced by DANIEL LANOIS and augmented by his own instrumentation and that of bassist Peter DiStefano, aforesaid drummer Indrizzo, and many more, dirges such as `Barbarella’, `About Nothing’, `Jimmy Was A Stimulator’, the carousel-esque `Lady, Your Roof Brings Me Down’ and the aforementioned `Mockingbird Girl’, needed little time to sink their hooks into the listener.
Putting his troubles behind him, however briefly, STONE TEMPLE PILOTS were back on course for 1999’s `No.4’, an album that led to the breakdown of his marriage. Friction between himself and Robert DeLeo duly reached a fractious point of no return; STP going into reverse after fifth set `Shangri-La Dee Da’ (2001). Scott’s life nearly took a turn for the worst, when, on his 36th birthday, his car was involved in a crash, leaving him to recuperate via another rehab stint.
Then, out of the blue, an audition for refugee GUNS N’ ROSES alumni (Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum) for VELVET REVOLVER resulted in further excesses, but time again in a leading hard-rock band took its toll on the singer. A few albums down the line, namely `Contraband’ (2004) and `Libertad’ (2007) were well-received by the metal fraternity, but true to form, postponed or re-scheduled tour dates through Weiland going off the rails, led to the frontman exiting stage left on April 1, 2008. A covers combo, Camp Freddy (alongside Sorum) did little to raise his profile, although a reunion of STP made for column inches if nothing else.
Forming his own record label in SoftDrive, he was indeed free to be “HAPPY” IN GALOSHES {*7}, as his late 2008 sophomore set suggested. Rock/pop-centric with twists and turns of self-indulgent glam or psychedelia, WEILAND’s set probably deserved a higher return than No.97, but in his karaoke cut of BOWIE’s `Fame’ (featuring PAUL OAKENFOLD), grandiose was written all over its grooves. There was a Thin White Duke element running through the album’s veins, but in the Kurt Cobain-esque `Missing Cleveland’, the ELVIS COSTELLO-ish `Blind Confusion’ and the bossa nova beat of `Killing Me Sweetly’, the theme was decidedly “Stars In Their Eyes”. A reunion to end all reunions (yeah, right), an eponymous `Stone Temple Pilots’ set was given the green light in May 2010, while its “Pandora’s Box” curiosity effect led it to peak at No.2.
What exactly was he up to with the release of the unofficial A COMPILATION OF SCOTT WEILAND COVER SONGS (2011) {*5} – an obvious title – and the festive THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR (2011) {*5}, only the modern-day crooner himself could tell you, but rehab centers were again on the lookout for a sharp dressed man in a hat falling through their doors.
While STONE TEMPLE PILOTS were ready to rock the joint again, but this time without Scott (LINKIN PARK’s Chester Bennington filling his berth), lawyers were now whetting their lips and rubbing their hands with anticipation for a long drawn-out court battle. In the meantime, through his stint in Art Of Anarchy with Bumblefoot, SCOTT WEILAND AND THE WILDABOUTS (guitarist Jeremy Brown, bassist Tommy Black and drummer Danny Thompson) secured a release for his third “proper” set, BLASTER (2015) {*5}. Nothing new in his fixation with BOLAN-esque glam and bubblegum-rock, this mixed bag of sweeties stalled in every department; only `Way She Moves’, `Youthquake’ and a reading of T. REX’s `20th Century Boy’ stood out from the pack. Meanwhile, an eponymous “Art Of Anarchy” set was dispatched that June.
The world of rock was reeling in shock when the announcement of Scott’s death beamed through the media airwaves late on December 3, 2015. Due to appear on stage with The Wildabouts, he’d been found dead on the tour bus – a sad ending and another warning to the grim reaper effects of hard drugs.
© MC Strong/MCS Apr-Dec2015

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