On December 3rd, 2015 the world lost a singer, a song writer, a poet, an artist, one of the faces of a musical era, a father and a husband. Scott Weiland died, but he will long be remembered. He blazed a trail, and created a legacy for himself as a musician and an entertainer by what he did both on stage and off. We won’t discuss his personal choices because his choices don’t define who he was as an idol to so many. He will be missed by many, especially myself. All that can be said is that a musical genius is gone, long before he ever should have been. While a great deal about Weiland will live on, there are things that will still be greatly missed about him.
Today, one of my idols is dead, and as a fan like anyone else, I am mourning my childhood idol’s death. His voice was crucial as part of the grunge era of the early to late 1990s. The sixteen-year-old inside me is weeping. His music could raise your spirits and mellow your mood. He faced adversity and was still loved by many because of who he is as an artist. While his music will live on and what he did will always be with us, it is hard not to miss what will no longer be, and what could have still been. Here are the 10 things we will miss most about Scott Weiland.
10. His Music
The music already performed and recorded will live on long after Scott is gone, but what we will all miss is the music that was still to come. He recently stated that “music keeps him young.” His legacy of music, whether done with Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver or on his own, was reflective of the era in which he was making it. We could be assured that no matter what genre of music Weiland was writing and performing, it was completely him. When listening the songs he sang, it never felt as though two were alike in either arrangement, tempo or direction. And, that same originality will sadly no longer be heard. As Weiland died, so did the brilliant melodies that were still to come as well.
9. His Lyrics
Fans will always have their favorite songs when it comes to Stone Temple Pilots, but personally, it always began and ended with “Plush”. The lyrics are shrouded in mystery, yet seem so poignant at the same time. “And I feel that time’s a wasted go. So where ya going to tomorrow? And, I see that these are lies to come, Would you even care?” Or the lyrics of the song “Creep” that begin with “Forward yesterday, Makes me wanna stay, What they said was real, Makes me wanna steal, Livin’ under house, Guess I’m livin’, I’m a mouse, All’s I gots is time, Got no meaning, just a rhyme.” At their roots, they seem so simple, and yet manage to isolate the feelings of the author. In Weiland’s case, his lyrical style was unlike those of his colleagues, which is what made it all the more special.
8. His Poetry
Weiland’s poetry was able to evoke many meanings. You can scratch beneath the surface to a much deeper level. Much like the lyrics that he left behind, Weiland’s poetic and unfiltered words stand alone. However, it was the poetry that was still left to come that many will miss greatly. As much as words can hurt, they can often heal, and reading the lyrical aesthetics of Weiland’s words resonates with so many fans. Many would hang on each and every word that Weiland put down. It was unlike many of his generation. As we stand here today, with the passing of Weiland we see the death of the poetry that he had not yet conceived, and the thoughts it would have provoked.
7. His Creativity
Much like the original nature of his music, Weiland’s creativity will also be missed. The key to his success had to be to be his consistently thinking and reinventing himself, his music, who he wrote with and how he wanted his message to come across. It was Scott’s vision within his music that will greatly be missed. This creativity was reflected in the progression of his writing as well. Creativity isn’t just something every musician has in equal measure, it is what set some apart from one others. The original nature of what Weiland released drove fans to listen to his music. There are artists who will simply use a routine for writing, but this wasn’t the case with Weiland. In his case, creativity was what made his music special and what made him special.
6. His Talent
This is what sets apart those that are special from those that are manufactured by the music industry, and it is unmistakable when you see it. At 48 years of age, Weiland’s talent was as evident as it ever was. It was recognized by many in the industry as well; after Weiland’s passing, Smashing Pumpkins singer Billy Corgan wrote, “...it was Scott’s phrasing that pushed his music into a unique and hard to pin down, aesthetic sonicsphere.” It was that quality about Weiland that made him separate from the rest. Talent is developed and nurtured. It is something you are born with, and Weiland had talent. Corgan, an equal to Scott during the same era, could see that brilliance that Weiland brought to music. It was a talent that will be sadly missed by all that listened to him.
5. His Collaborations
Among Weiland’s strongest qualities was that, despite the belief that he was difficult to work with, he actually had the ability to come together with a number of prominent artists and create lasting music. Often egos tend to rule, but egos aside, Weiland’s work with Velvet Revolver and The Walkabouts was tremendous. Whether it was Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver, Camp Freddy, The Magnificent Bastards, The Wondergirls or Art of Anarchy, Weiland was able to come together with a number of different musicians. It is that special quality that isn’t talked about when talking about the singer and song writer, but really should not be understated. It is that special ability to simply not allow your own ego to dictate the direction a song will take, but allow all involved to see where that journey will take them.
4. His Relevance
Billy Corgan once noted “If you look at the popular bands of our generation, like Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, Nine Inch Nails, Hole, Nirvana and others, you see now clearly that the bands were very influential, very important not only for music, but for culture, fashion…” As much as Stone Temple Pilots are greatly woven into the fabric of grunge music history, so was Weiland specifically. “And that is if you asked me who I truly believed were the great voices of our generation. I’d say it were he (Weiland), Layne (Staley) and Kurt (Cobain). So it goes beyond tragedy to say it is we who lost them, and not the other way around.” While his memory will live on, it is his relevance as a rock icon that will be missed my many.
3. His Stage Presence
Often times, people will discuss lead singers that stand out because of their ability to capture the attention of the crowd because of what they do. Scott Weiland unquestionably had that special quality that allowed him to captivate those before him. Whether it was his look, the manner in which he dressed, or how he moved on stage, Weiland was a consummate, quintessential front man. His gyrations on stage certainly made many a female swoon over him, and how could they not? He shone on stage no matter the size of the audience, and no matter the city he was performing in. When Scott Weiland was on stage everyone paid attention. He credits Jim Morrison and David Bowie as having influenced the way he performed. It was clear to see their influence in him when he was on stage.
2. His Voice
It was unlike many of his generation, or any other. Weiland’s voice was able to hit certain notes that others could not. It was remarkable to hear him vary his range throughout his career. Whether it was melodic on tunes such as “Creep” or “Plush” or deep and brooding on tracks like “Sex Type Thing” or “Dead and Bloated,” Weiland’s voice was amazing. After touring and performing, one would think that with all the constant strain he put on it, his voice wouldn’t hold up, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. His voice was a staple during the height of the grunge era of music. He had signature items that accompanied him on stage, and among them was his megaphone which he would use to amply his voice while in front of the microphone for the song “Dead and Bloated.”
1. Stone Temple Pilots
There isn’t one without the other. After Weiland and the remaining members of the band, Eric Kretz, Dean Deleo and Robert Deleo, decided to part ways, it was the end. While there have been others that have been as much a part of the legacy of music that Weiland created, no other band is as much a part of the fabric of the character of Weiland as Stone Temple Pilots. They may have split up in 2003, and didn’t record another album together until 2010, but it was as if time stood still when the four members of the band came together to make music. The true essence of what made the band successful is no longer there. Their true success was as a collective unit, a unit that will be never be quite the same again.