Is this the curse of MTV Unplugged? Cobain? Staley? Can they at least have the decency to take Jonathan Davis next?

Scott Weiland. Wall to wall I’ve heard the same reaction. It’s a shame, not a surprise. Talented performer, unfortunate habit that took its toll too early. 48, guys. I can’t get over how young that still sounds. We’d been seeing the cost he paid for years and unfortunately that time bomb kept ticking down. I’m not a fan of spouting off cautionary tales, but maybe if you consider your drug habit to be a way of life, think about it a little? Of course that’s a massively reductive statement. Reframing one’s existence and removing harmful elements is so much larger than simply “perhaps don’t do this thing” can solve.

N. E. Way. This isn’t about trying to change a way of life, this is about Weiland and (by extension Stone Temple Pilots) affected mine.

Stone Temple Pilots came into my life at a time when music meant the most. It took me a while to warm to music, but once that switch toggled it was an instant obsession. I had a blue translucent plastic CD wallet and it was everything to me. I’d scribbled dumb anime related lyrics and insipid faux profound (fauxfound?) quotes all over it. A ton of mix CDs called shit like Coherence and Concordance and Pure Legend (Reprise). I also copied CDs through a disgustingly lengthy process. I’d find track listings, then download each individual track via P2P software (Napster, Morpheus, Kazaa). Quality would vary between songs. Then I’d ensure they were arranged in precisely the right order and burn them up. “Instant” album.

Because I took such effort in acquiring my collection, because my collection was so small, I’d left a chunk of my soul in that wallet like some flimsy horcrux. I knew each album back to back. I knew every lyric. It was Nirvana, Sublime, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Guns N’ Roses and all the other usual suspects. On holiday in these years of easy influence I met a cute girl with cool tastes in music. “Why the hell aren’t you listening to Stone Temple Pilots?” She asked. She recommended Sour Girl as a jumping off point. Naturally I got off the plane, went home, loaded up Kazaa, found my link and turned it up. I was smitten. I got a few big singles – Big Empty, Plush, Interstate Love Song, Vaseline, Creep, Down. It all came to a head when my friend bought me their greatest hits album, Thank You. Guess what stayed on constant rotation for the better part of 6 months?

I’d found grunge at the same age as my brothers did. Only difference is they’d found it when it happened, I didn’t age into it until the early 2000s. So when an all new band Velvet Revolver featuring Scott Weiland started up, finally I had something of my own with a singer I loved. No hand me down from my brothers, this was all new. I heard Slither and it caught me. I got the other tracks and played them on repeat. Poor ticket sales meant music retailer Sounds held a buy an album get a ticket deal to see Velvet Revolver live. This was an experience I never expected to have. I bought in, got the shirt and lined up with the rest of the unwashed rock masses under the Superdome. Weiland was wild, erratic and falling all over the stage, but shit that guy could sing. It was the right concert at the right time to reinforce my love of the brash, in-your-face braggado that rock represented. However people may feel about Stone Temple Pilots in the grunge canon, Velvet Revolver with any claim to rock legitimacy or Scott Weiland as a performer it meant something to me.

Maybe tonight I’ll take an hour, grab a drink and rotate Thank You for once last acknowledgement.

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