Scott Weiland, singer from Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, dead at 48
Scott Weiland, whose powerful vocals fuelled megaselling bands Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver as he all the while maintained a very public battle with drug addiction, has died at age 48.
A statement on Weiland’s social media pages indicated that he died in his sleep Thursday night in Bloomington, Minn., while on tour with his current band. The statement asked for privacy for members of his family.
Weiland and his band, the Wildabouts, played Adelaide Hall in Toronto on Tuesday, the most recent date before a planned show in Medina, Minn., on Thursday.
Musicians such as Dave Navarro, Travis Barker and Mike Mills of R.E.M. took to Twitter to express their condolences.
Weiland fronted the band Stone Temple Pilots, formed in San Diego with brothers Dean and Robert DeLeo and Erik Kretz. While sometimes overshadowed among critics by the likes of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, the band was a stalwart presence on alternative and rock radio in the 1990s.
Weiland and the band enjoyed a smash out of the gate with Core, a late 1992 release which featured radio hits Creep and Plush. The album was certified eight times platinum (one million in sales) in the U.S.
Onstage and on the publicity circuit, Weiland was a charismatic and engaging figure. But even as the group achieved success in its early days unthinkable for even veteran bands, Weiland later said, he began taking heroin partly out of feelings of unworthiness.
“You can either let it break you or you can find some source of strength inside of yourself like a belief in a higher power,” he said of addiction in 2002 to Q Magazine.
The follow-up Purple from 1994 was only slightly less successful in terms of sales figures, selling over six million copies, but it reached No. 1 on the U.S. charts, something the debut disc had not achieved. The album’s success came on the strength of staples Interstate Love Song and Vasoline.
Weiland would tell Esquire magazine decades later that his use of drugs began as a teen long before his music career took off, but soon his missteps became public knowledge. In May 1995 he was arrested after police found cocaine in his car and heroin in his wallet.
By the late 1990s, relationships in the band were such that they took a breather. Weiland released a solo album in 1998, 12 Bar Blues, with the others forming a side project.
“I love those guys, and I love making records with them,” he told Request magazine while doing publicity for his solo project. “They are the best musicians I’ve ever played with, and they’re rock stars. When we’re performing live, there’s not a band in the world that can touch us.”
STP would reconvene for two more releases, but appeared like they might be done for good after 2001’s Shangri-La Dee Da.
Weiland was back in the headlines in 2001 after a domestic disturbance call involving his second wife, although charges were not pursued.
His career would be revived when he hooked up with former Guns ‘n’ Roses members Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, serving as frontman for Velvet Revolver.
Their subsequent debut album Contraband was one of the best-selling rock albums in an era where CD sales were on the decline and illegal downloading on the rise. The album sold over 250,000 copies in its first four days of release, and eventually totalled over four million in sales in the U.S. alone.
Velvet Revolver released a follow-up two years later, Libertad, which Weiland claimed to the Daily Mail was “the first record I’ve made in years where I haven’t been shooting dope or smoking crack.”
But the relationship would end acrimoniously, with the other members citing Weiland’s erratic behaviour as they let him go not long after the second album. The move came as Weiland was dealing with an arrest for driving under the influence of drugs.
By 2010 Weiland was back with Stone Temple Pilots, as they released a self-titled album.
Three years later, however, Weiland would be sacked from the band he first joined over 20 years earlier, with lawsuits ensuing.
The rocker was currently on tour with his latest band, the Wildabouts. The band had about 16 listed dates left on the current tour, all in the U.S.
A date in Corpus Christi, Texas, in April received notoriety, with internet music sites variously describing Weiland’s performance as bizarre and sad. The singer’s rep said drugs were not involved, attributing the performance to exhaustion and sound issues.
Weiland played multiple dates in Canada earlier in the year, including at the Ottawa Bluesfest in July.
Weiland’s survivors include two children.