I get it. Sorta unexpected and sorta not, but I’m still processing the news that one of my biggest musical influences is gone. When I read the news this morning it took me ten minutes to take it in. It hit only when I relayed it to my wife. “Scott Weiland died”. It affected me in a way I can’t express. It’s easy to say gutted or devastated, but that’s not quite it.
There’s a real sadness. I haven’t felt that way about anyone that I never met or knew personally. As sad as it sounds, he was a constant in my life. I listened to his music through the years when I was discovering who I was. Musically, I was inspired. His lyrics, both poignant and preposterous, were entwined in melodies that were as sweet, syrupy, and sickly as …well, syrup. And I soaked it in.
I saw him perform only twice. With Stone Temple Pilots in 2001 and Velvet Revolver in 2005. Both times he owned the stage with a boundless energy. A true force of nature. Over the last few years there’s been signs that his voice was gone. Ejected from his bands for erratic behavior and suchlike he was flirting with self-parody and shedding credibility like it was going out of fashion. Still, I was rooting for him.
I wrote note so long ago: “I’ll keep the Weiland praise fairly brief here, but I will say that he’s one of the most creative vocalists of that whole 90’s alternative rock thing. He’s got an ear for melody. Seriously, when he shed the masculine meat suit he wore on Core, he threw himself in with the best that the ages have given us. Maybe it’s his glam and pop influences, but his melodies, phrasing, and timing separated him from the other angsty front-men of 90s alternative rock. He was in the company of the likes of Belafonte and Sinatra as well as Morrison and his hero Bowie. Now, over the years, he may have lost some of his dynamism (drugs and alcohol clearly taken their toll on his vocals), but he’s still one of the very best in this guy’s eyes”. I didn’t expect that just a few months later I would be saying he was one of the very best.
Recently he’d been talking about healing wounds and building bridges. There were reports of his tour, band, and performances getting better and better. He was again embracing music at grassroots level. He seemed excited about The Wildabouts and I honestly thought he was turning it around. Getting back on top.
He wrote in his memoir that “the opiate took me to where I’d always dreamed of going. I can’t name the place, but I can say that I was undisturbed and unafraid, a free-floating man in a space without demons and doubts”. Maybe those demons and doubts caught up with him.
Anyhoo, I hope he’s found peace and that his soul finds a home in the universe.
“keep seeking with the spirit of love”