“Scott Weiland, best known as the lead singer for Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, passed away in his sleep while on a tour stop in Bloomington, Minnesota, with his band The Wildabouts. At this time we ask that the privacy of Scott’s family be respected,” reads a post on his official social media pages. No more information is known at this stage.
As so happens in the music world, Scott Weiland’s life and career were at once triumphant and tumultuous. His dynamic stage presence and unique voice gained him and his various bands worldwide acclaim, alongside criticisms of riding on the coattails of grunge heavyweights Nirvana and Pearl Jam.
Amidst the Grammys, hits and world wide tours, Weiland’s life was also marred with public fights, court cases, arrests and the ubiquitous scourge of addiction.
While the circumstances surrounding his death have yet to be made clear, what is evident is the undeniable contribution Weiland made to the music world and how much his talents will be missed.
Watch: Stone Temple Pilots – Plush (Unplugged)
It was in the early ’90s that Weiland formed and became the frontman for San Diego-based Stone Temple Pilots, after meeting bassist Robert DeLeo at Black Flag show in California. After changing their original band name from Mighty Joe Young, the pair were joined by Eric Kretz and DeLeo’s brother Dean and went on to record the band’s 1992 debut album, Core, which spawned such classics as Creep and Plush, the latter which scored them a 1994 Grammy.
STP went on strong, over the next few years becoming one of the world’s biggest hard-rock bands and slicing out five more albums between 1994 and 2001, including Purple (1994), 1996’s divisive Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop and 1998’s comeback of sorts No. 4.
But by 2002 Weiland’s struggle with addiction, stints in rehab and fights with band members had pushed tensions in the band to such heights that STP disbanded.
Weiland took that voice of his elsewhere, teaming up with Wasted Youth’s Dave Kushner as well as ex Guns N’ Roses members Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum to form Velvet Revolver. The troupe of rockstars went all in, released two albums and earning Weiland another Grammy for 2005’s Slither.
Watch: Velvet Revolver: Slither (live David Letterman Show 2004)
Weiland’s issues with addiction continued, with multiple DUIs, a stint in jail and more discord within the band all culminating in their cancellation of an Australian tour, which Slash called “the final blow”.
Velvet Revolver and Weiland parted ways in 2008, with the singer taking the opportunity to reunite with Stone Temple Pilots – but that too was short lived. In 2013 STP issued a press release announced they had fired Weiland from the band, recruiting Linkin Park‘s Chester Bennington in his place.
Thus began an ugly legal drama, with the band suing their former frontman for playing their material during solo concerts to promote his career, and Weiland hitting back with a countersuit, claiming since he founded and named the band, the material belonged to him.
“There’s a band agreement, a band contact agreement,” Weiland said at the time. “They didn’t follow the rules that were set down…”They’ll have to buy me out of the company.”
“It was a very difficult decision to terminate the face of your band,” reflected bassist Robert DeLeo. “But we really didn’t have any other choice.” The suit was eventually settled out of court.
Still Weiland, at least professionally, persevered, recently putting together a new band called The Wildabouts. While they started out performing Stone Temple Pilots songs live, the band this year released an original album, Blaster.
Sadly Weiland’s death was in fact the second in his new band this year after Wildabouts guitarist Jeremy Brown died in March of multiple drug intoxication. He was 34.
Scott Weiland & the Wildabouts – Modzilla
However unlikely they seemed, rumours of a third STP/ Weiland reunion started circling just last month when Bennington announced that he would be leaving the project to focus solely on Linkin Park.
While a reunion was never officially discussed, when asked just a few weeks ago about the possibility Weiland reiterated that he doesn’t have “any negative feelings towards the guys,” adding “you never know what will happen in rock and roll.”
“You never know. there could be a revival of either STP or VR in the future,” he added. “Rock never tells.”
Reflecting on this, the fact that Weiland seemed to have weathered, albeit in a rocky fashion, the chaos of the ’90s and early ’00s that took so many of his peers, the weight of today’s news feels that much heavier.
Scott Weiland is survived by his wife, Jamie Wachtel, who he married in 2013. He has two children from a previous marriage with Mary Forsberg, Noah, born in 2000, and Lucy, born in 2002.
As tributes from the music world begin to flow in, we’d like to add our own. Vale Scott Weiland.
Watch: Stone Temple Pilots – Sour Girl