Scott Weiland has had a career. In fact he has had three of them (Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver and solo). Two ended badly and the third faced tragedy.
When a band breaks up or goes on hiatus, it's a perfect opportunity for the lead singer to exercise his singular artistic vision. With Stone Temple Pilots' future uncertain, Weiland issued his solo debut "12 Bar Blues" in '98. A decade later, following his departure from Velvet Revolver Weiland unfurled "Happy (In Galoshes)."
Born Scott Kline in Santa Cruz, CA, Weiland took his step-father's surname at age five. The family moved to the Midwest but returned to the Golden State (L.A. area - Huntington Beach) while Weiland was a teen. In '86, Weiland met bassist Robert DeLeo at a Black Flag concert and the two founded Mighty Joe Young. But after being signed by Atlantic Records it was discovered that the name had been taken by another group. So they became Shirley Temple's Pussy. For some reason the label objected. Stone Temple Pilots (STP) was the compromise solution.
STP released a series of multi-platinum albums: "Core" with the single "Plush" ('92), "Purple ('94) and "Tiny Music - Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop ('96). Along the way, Weiland, who was bipolar, ran afoul of the law. In '95, there was a conviction for buying crack cocaine. Weiland got off with a one-year probation. The legal proceedings forced the supporting tour for "Tiny Music" to be cancelled. This undercut the album's sales. Anger and ill-feelings over the arrest and Weiland's continued drug use forced STP to go on hiatus.
Weiland's "12 Bar Blues" failed to sell though a few critics had kind words for it. The other STP members busied themselves with Talk Show, a rather uneventful side project that yielded a self-titled album. So in '99, Weiland rejoined STP for "No. 4" featuring "Sour Girl." The album failed expectations - simply going platinum - but that wasn't the worst of it. Weiland was busted for buying heroin. His prior conviction, to say nothing of the numerous probation violations, earned him jail time.
'01's "Shangri-La-Dee-Da" only went gold - making it the first STP album not to sell at least one-million copies. Weiland was busted again, only this time it wasn't for drugs, but rather, domestic violence. In Las Vegas, Weiland violently shoved his second wife (Weiland was married to Janina Castaneda from '94 to '00), Mary Forsberg. The charges were deferred when the couple agreed to counseling. But that wasn't Weiland's only altercation. On the final stop of the "Shangri-La-Dee-Da" tour he and guitarist Dean DeLeo got into it on stage (something that would happen again). That incident led to the group's demise. The greatest hits collection "Thank You" rolled out in '03.
Also that year, on his birthday 36th birthday (10/27) Weiland was involved in a Hollywood traffic accident. He was charged with driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. It was back to rehab. Around this time ex-members of Guns N' Roses plus Dave Kushner were starting a band/supergroup. Bassist Duff McKagen, having survived the craziness that is Axl Rose (GN'R's frontman) probably figured they could handle Weiland, asked the singer if he was interesting in joining.
Ironically, Weiland had to request the court's permission leave rehab and work with the band. Once he walked away from a SoCal rehab center claiming that he thought he was done/cured. He wasn't but managed to dodge any serious ramifications.
Amazingly, Weiland and Velvet Revolver survived the ordeal. Led by the single "Slither," the group's '04 debut "Contraband" sold over three million copies.
Despite success, turmoil ran through Weiland's personal life. He and Forsberg, trashed a room at Graciela luxury hotel in Burbank. Later that day, Mary was arrested for torching her husband's wardrobe in the front yard of their Toluca Lake home. Mary blamed her own bipolar disorder for the incidents. "The weekend's difficulties were brought on by a reaction to an imbalance in (my) medications," she explained in a statement. "Reports that we were fighting . . . are untrue. Scott was simply trying to help calm me down."
In an interview, Weiland said that there were only two albums that he had written sober; STP's debut "Core" and Velvet Revolver's next effort "Libertad." Sobriety aside, the album fell far short of its predecessor's sales. In addition Weiland got another DUI and checked himself into rehab yet again. That forced the cancellation of the group's planned Australian tour.
"That was the greatest thing I ever did for myself," said Weiland of rehab. "I realized my biggest problem wasn't my addiction to drugs, but my need to medicate my feelings and deaden my ability to have relationships." Weiland later admitted that the rehab stint actually followed a cocaine binge he had after his brother died (from a drug overdose).
Weiland got out in time for an ill-fated '08 European trek. Things went sideways during a show in Glasgow when he announced to the stunned audience that they were witnessing "the last tour" by the group. Later, the vocalist argued with a sound person before storming off the stage.
"(We) had a little band (turmoil) onstage as you probably all could tell," wrote drummer Matt Sorum in a blog post the following day.
Just days later, Weiland confirmed his intention to leave the group after the tour. "We were a gang," Weiland wrote in an online post. "But ego and jealousy can get the better of anyone."
Meanwhile, Stone Temple Pilots finalized plans for an extensive reunion tour.
Velvet Revolver officially announced that they had parted ways with Weiland on April Fool's Day, '08. Unfortunately, it was no joke. "This band is all about its fans and its music and Weiland isn't 100 percent committed to either," said guitarist Slash in a statement. "Among other things, his increasingly erratic onstage behavior and personal problems have forced us to move on."
Given a few months to chill Weiland claimed that his split from Velvet Revolver was due to petty disagreements. "When you start bickering about piddly little financial things, it takes the fun out of it for me," explained the frontman. Weiland added that Slash supported his decision to reunite with Stone Temple Pilots, although another unnamed Revolver member didn't.
The STP tour was successful but Weiland and drummer Eric Kretz were sued by Atlantic Records for allegedly threatening to prematurely end their recording contract. "The band never threatened anything more than remaining away from the studio until equitable terms could be arranged," said STP in a statement. So they weren't trying to end the deal just holding out for a better one.
Weiland released his second solo album, "Happy (In Galoshes)" in late '08. It was co-produced by Weiland and Doug Grean with engineering assistance from Steve Albini. Making a guest appearance were No Doubt's Tony Kanal, Tom Dumont and Adrian Young.
Then, in an unexpected move - even for Weiland - he released a solo Christmas album, "The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year," prior to the '11 holiday season. The set included the title track, "The Christmas Song," "I'll Be Home For Christmas," "White Christmas" and other holiday standards. But the good cheer didn't last.
"Stone Temple Pilots have announced they have officially terminated Scott Weiland," read a terse February '13 statement from the band.
Weiland had only recently denied rumors the group was breaking up.
"Not sure how I can be 'terminated' from a band that I founded,' Weiland said in a statement. The singer had wanted the group to record a new album rather than tour playing songs predominately from their first two albums.
Ironically, Weiland launched a tour shortly thereafter based around songs from those albums plus his solo career and his stint with Velvet Revolver. He also married photographer Jamie Wachtel in a '13 ceremony at his L.A. home.
Having apparently given up his legal effort to keep his former STP bandmates from using the Stone Temple Pilots moniker, Weiland (And The Wildabouts) released "Blaster" in '15.
"The album has its own distinctive sound, but it also can entice those Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver fans who have stuck by me," said Weiland.
Tragedy stuck when Wildabouts guitarist Jeremy Brown died (as a result of intoxication from multiple drugs). Brown's death at age 34, while the group was on tour promoting "Blaster," was ruled accidental. He was subsequently replaced by Nick Maybury.
Just eight months later, Weiland was found dead, apparently dying in his sleep, on a tour stop in Bloomington, MN. A mixture of alcohol and cocaine was listed as the cause of death.
The troubled singer was 48.
Weiland's former Velvet Revolver bandmates issued a short statement but it was STP's remembrance that best encapsulated the late vocalist.
"Together we crafted a legacy of music that has given so many people happiness and great memories," STP posted on Facebook. "We know amidst the good and the bad you struggled, time and time again. It's what made you who you were. You were gifted beyond words, Scott. Part of that gift was part of your curse."
1998 12 Bar Blues
2008 Happy (In Galoshes)
2011 The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
Following STP's collapse, Scott Weiland was viewed as irrelevant. Wrong. But there was a flaw. When Weiland attempted innovation there was a marked lack of inspiration. His embellishments were often at the expense of the songs.
When Weiland was less edgy, seemingly more comfortable, he was just flat-out better. "Happy (In Galoshes") was a prime example.