Scott Weiland was born Scott Richard Kline on October 27, 1967 in San José, California. At age 5 he became Weiland when his stepfather adopted him. Moving between Ohio and SoCal in the first 15 years of his life he emerged from the San Diego area as Mighty Joe Young. Weiland’s band landed a contract with Atlantic Records, changed its name to Stone Temple Pilots and cashed in on the burgeoning grunge scene. They took the name Stone Temple Pilots due to their fondness of the initials “STP”.
The band’s early success with its debut album, Core, and the rock radio smashes “Sex Type Thing,” “Plush,” “Creep,” and “Wicked Garden,” earned the attention of rock royalty, landing the band an opening spot of some dates of the Rolling Stones “Voodoo Lounge” tour in 1994. Aside from opening with the Stones, Weiland also found himself rubbing shoulders with other notable rockers, including Gene Simmons of KISS, Bad Religion’s Greg Graffin, and Rob Zombie, at events like Rock for Choice in 1993. In the summer of 1993, STP was one of the top attractions on the Weenie Roast, the annual summer concert held by Los Angeles radio station KROQ, where the band’s music remained a staple through the ‘90s and beyond.
In one of the band’s first opening performances as Mighty Joe Young, they opened for Electric Love Hogs, whose drummer Dave Kushner would one day co-found Weiland’s later band Velvet Revolver.
In 1994, STP released their second record, Purple, which saw the development of a more distinctive identity for the band. Like Core, Purple was a big success for the band, spawning three hit singles (“Big Empty”, “Vasoline” and “Interstate Love Song”) and selling more than six million copies. The critical response to Purple was more favorable, with Spin magazine calling it a “quantum leap” from the band’s previous album.
In 1995, Weiland, always instantly bored with unchanging scenarios, formed the alternative rock band The Magnificent Bastards.
The band included Victor Indrizzo on drums, Zander Schloss and Jeff Nolan on guitars and Bob Thompson on bass. Only two songs were recorded by The Magnificent Bastards, “Mockingbird Girl,” composed by Nolan, Schloss, and Weiland, appeared in the film Tank Girl and on its soundtrack, and a cover of John Lennon’s “How Do You Sleep?” was recorded for the tribute album, Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon.
Weiland rejoined Stone Temple Pilots in the fall of 1995, but STP was forced to cancel most of their 1996–1997 tour in support of their third release, Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop, which sold about two million albums. Weiland encountered problems with drug addiction at this time as well, which inspired some of his songs in the late-1990s.
Weiland liked to shake things up by kissing his bandmates in front of the camera. In a 1993 photo, he was captured locking lips with STP drummer Eric Kretz. The band’s early success earned them a spot on MTV’s acclaimed Unplugged series in 1994. By 1998, Weiland was in full rock-star mode, saluting photographers with a single finger and a cigarette dangling from his mouth.
While STP went on hiatus once again after the release of Tiny Music…, Weiland released a solo album in 1998 called 12 Bar Blues. Weiland wrote most of the songs on the album, and collaborated with several artists, notably Daniel Lanois, Sheryl Crow, Brad Mehldau and Jeff Nolan. In 1999, STP regrouped once again and released No. 4. The album contained the hit single “Sour Girl” which featured a surreal music video with Sarah Michelle Gellar. That same year, Weiland also recorded two songs with the short-lived supergroup The Wondergirls. During this time period Weiland spent five months in jail for drug possession.
In November 2000, Weiland was invited to perform on the show VH1 Storytellers with the surviving members of The Doors. Weiland did vocals on two Doors songs, “Break On Through (To the Other Side)” and “Five to One”. That same month Stone Temple Pilots appeared on The Doors tribute CD, Stoned Immaculate with their own rendition of “Break on Through” as the lead track. On June 19, 2001, STP released its fifth album, Shangri-La Dee Da. That same year the band headlined the Family Values Tour along with Linkin Park and Staind. In late 2002, the band broke up with the DeLeo brothers and Weiland having had significant altercations back stage.
In 2002, former Guns N’ Roses members – guitarist Slash, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum – as well as former Wasted Youth guitarist Dave Kushner were looking for a singer to help form a new band. Throughout his career Weiland had become acquainted with the four musicians; he became friends with McKagan after attending the same gym, was in rehab at the same time as Sorum and once played on the same bill as Kushner. Weiland was sent two discs of material to work with, but felt that the first disc “sounded like Bad Company gone wrong.” When he was sent the second disc, Weiland was more positive, comparing it to Core-era Stone Temple Pilots though he turned them down because Stone Temple Pilots had not yet separated. When Stone Temple Pilots disbanded in 2003 they went into the studio and in 2004 released the album Contraband which debuted number one on the Billboard 200 and sold over 3 million copies.
Their second album in 2007, Libertad, received mixed critical awareness. Though some critics praised the album and felt that Libertad gave the band an identity of their own, outside of the Guns N’ Roses and Stone Temple Pilots comparisons, others described the album as “bland” and noted that the band seem to be “playing to their strengths instead of finding a collective sound.”
Weiland was definitely an over the top narcissistic persona, so when his former STP bandmember Dean DeLeo discussed an offer from a concert promoter to headline several summer festivals, Weiland accepted and said he had cleared the brief tour with his Velvet Revolver bandmates. He explained, “everything was cool. Then it wasn’t”, and said the rest of the band stopped talking to him.
Another version of this story reads:
According to Dean DeLeo, steps toward a Stone Temple Pilots reunion started with a simple phone call from Weiland’s wife. She invited the DeLeo brothers to play at a private beach party, which led to the reconciliation of Weiland and the DeLeo brothers. However, Weiland said in a 2010 radio interview to promote the band’s self-titled release that the reunion was the result of Dean calling him and asking if he’d be interested in reuniting the band to headline the Coachella Festival.
In any case on March 20, 2008 Weiland revealed at Velvet Revolver’s show in Glasgow, Scotland that this would be the band’s final tour. After several flares on their personal blogs and in interviews, on April 1 it was announced by a number of media outlets that Weiland would no longer be in Velvet Revolver.
And the controversies continue
In 2008, Stone Temple Pilots announced a 73-date U.S. tour on April 7 and performed together for the first time since 2002. STP’s reunion tour was a success, and the band continued to tour throughout 2009 and began recording its sixth studio album. STP’s first album since 2001, Stone Temple Pilots, was released on May 25, 2010.
In September 2010, STP announced it was rescheduling several U.S. tour dates so that the band could take a “short break.” Instead STP toured Southeast Asia for the first time in 2011, followed by Australia.
The band said they were interested in a 20th anniversary tour to celebrate the release of Core with Weiland commenting on January 2, 2012, “Well, we’re doing a lot of special things. There’s a lot of archival footage that we’re putting together, a coffee table book, hopefully a brand new album – so many ideas. A box set and then a tour, of course.” Yet also in that same month of January guitarist Dave Kushner announced Velvet Revolver would reunite with Weiland for the first time in four years for a one night, three song gig to raise money for the family of recently deceased musician John O’Brien. On what the future would hold for the band and Weiland, Kushner replied “We haven’t played together in four years, and so we’re really just like, ‘Let’s see how this goes.” Three months later Weiland remarks that he would like to reunite permanently with Velvet Revolver, comparing that “if Maynard James Keenan can do it with A Perfect Circle and Tool, then there’s no reason why I shouldn’t go and do it with both bands”. Further in May in an interview with ABC Radio Weiland said that he had reunited with the band permanently for a tour and an album, which however was denied a few days later by Slash in an interview with 93x.
STP began to experience problems in 2012 that were said to have been caused by tensions between Weiland and the rest of the band. Despite the band’s claims that their fall tour would be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Core, this did not happen. On February 27, 2013, shortly before this solo tour was set to commence, Stone Temple Pilots announced on their website that “[…]they [had] officially terminated Scott Weiland”.
Weiland in turn criticized the band after they hired Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington as his replacement, claiming he was still a member and they shouldn’t be calling themselves Stone Temple Pilots without him and the Velvet Revolver reunification never happened either.
So Weiland, next to his solo album projects including a full blown Christmas album in 2011, started a new project with Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts, with a tour titled “Purple at the Core” commencing in March 2013 with pop/rock band MIGGS as the opening act, and an album titled “Blaster” finally released on March 31, 2015. Less than a week after the release his guitarist Jeremy Brown was found dead at his home at age 34.
On December 3, 2015, Weiland was found in cardiac arrest on his tour bus in Bloomington, Minnesota. Drugs are suspected but not proven yet. Many see Scott Weiland as one of the three voices of the grunge generation, next to Kurt Cobain (died at age 27 on estimated April 5, 1994 and Layne Staley (died at age 34 on April 5, 2002). Just sad to consider that 3 of that generation’s voices couldn’t stay away from drugs and depression.
A day following his death, his former bandmates in Stone Temple Pilots issued a statement saying, “Dear Scott Let us start by saying thank you for sharing your life with us. Together we crafted a legacy of music that has given so many people happiness and great memories. The memories are many, and they run deep for us. 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. With deep sorrow for you and your family, we are saddened to see you go. All of our love and respect. We will miss you brother, Robert, Eric, Dean.”