Monday, December 07, 2015

Big empty

A couple of days late, admittedly, but I feel like I ought to pay my own brief tribute to Scott Weiland.

As for many of us of a certain age, who grew up with grunge, Stone Temple Pilots were a formative influence. If the hard rock of Core marked them out as the thinking man's Alice In Chains, Purple was a significant step forwards - much like the leap Pearl Jam made from Ten to Vs (while acknowledging the fact that both Core and Ten contained their respective creators' signature songs). While I seem to recall STP's third record Tiny Music... being poorly received (much like the others - they were never critics' darlings), that certainly wasn't the case round these parts.

After that, though, I lost touch with them, not buying any further STP albums or anything by the band Weiland fronted after being fired, Velvet Revolver, who bridged the gap between grunge and the hair metal that grunge was supposed to have killed off by also including three former members of Guns 'N' Roses in their line-up.

While I wouldn't say that Weiland's vocal style was particularly distinctive or unique (it was largely similar to that of both Eddie Vedder and Layne Staley) and it's evident that his personal battles with drug addiction often made him a difficult and unstable character (he was fired by Velvet Revolver too), he nevertheless had a reputation as a superb frontman in the live environment and was the voice of an album that, for a short time in 1994, held complete sway over my stereo.

The statement issued by the remaining band members - Eric Kretz and brothers Robert and Dean DeLeo - acknowledges Weiland's gift, but laments: "Part of that gift was part of your curse." Very true.

Update: Writing in Rolling Stone, Weiland's ex-wife Mary Forsberg Weiland has made a plea: "Don’t glorify this tragedy with talk of rock and roll and the demons that, by the way, don’t have to come with it". Meanwhile, here's Brad Nelson's own tribute for the Guardian, including a selection of five essential STP songs - 'Lady Picture Show' and 'Interstate Love Song' both worthy inclusions.

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