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As lead singer for the California grunge rock band Stone Temple Pilots, Scott Weiland displayed a magnetic stage presence and muscular voice that propelled the group to stardom in the early 1990s on the strength of such bruising but cathartic songs as "Plush" and "Interstate Love Song." But Weiland's long struggle with drug addiction and personal problems threatened to overshadow his band's numerous accomplishments, and led to his dismissal from the group, as well as from the supergroup Velvet Revolver, which featured Slash and Duff McKagan from Guns N' Roses. For nearly a decade, Weiland seemed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory at every turn, forcing tour cancelations while he contended with jail sentences and stints in rehabilitation. In 2008, he appeared to have vanquished his problems and reunite for a wildly successful world tour with STP while penning a tell-all autobiography. Scott Weiland's twin legacies - as rock superstar and almost-rock casualty - kept his legacy alive for those who celebrated his music while viewing his life as one of the more destructive cautionary tales in the entertainment industry. Sadly, his death on a tour bus just before a gig in Medina, Minnesota on...
As lead singer for the California grunge rock band Stone Temple Pilots, Scott Weiland displayed a magnetic stage presence and muscular voice that propelled the group to stardom in the early 1990s on the strength of such bruising but cathartic songs as "Plush" and "Interstate Love Song." But Weiland's long struggle with drug addiction and personal problems threatened to overshadow his band's numerous accomplishments, and led to his dismissal from the group, as well as from the supergroup Velvet Revolver, which featured Slash and Duff McKagan from Guns N' Roses. For nearly a decade, Weiland seemed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory at every turn, forcing tour cancelations while he contended with jail sentences and stints in rehabilitation. In 2008, he appeared to have vanquished his problems and reunite for a wildly successful world tour with STP while penning a tell-all autobiography. Scott Weiland's twin legacies - as rock superstar and almost-rock casualty - kept his legacy alive for those who celebrated his music while viewing his life as one of the more destructive cautionary tales in the entertainment industry. Sadly, his death on a tour bus just before a gig in Medina, Minnesota on December 3, 2015 ended his career in the tragic way that even some of his biggest fans worried was almost inevitable.
Born Scott Richard Kline on Oct. 27, 1967 in San Jose, CA, he adopted the surname of his stepfather, David Weiland, when he was five years old. Around that same time, his family moved to Bainbridge Township, OH. His formative years were troubled ones: Weiland claimed that alcoholism was rife in his family, and that an older classmate raped him when he was 12. He returned to California to attend high school and college in Orange County, where he started performing with bands. Weiland also began drinking heavily during this period, and experimented with cocaine. In 1986, Weiland met Robert DeLeo at a punk concert in Long Beach. The pair became fast friends, especially after discovering that they were dating the same woman. They soon formed their own band called Mighty Joe Young, with Weiland on vocals, DeLeo on bass, his brother Dean on guitar and Eric Kretz on drums. In 1990, they completed a demo album, which served as the foundation for their debut album with producer Brendan O'Brien. While working on the record, they discovered that their band moniker was already in use by a blues musician, so they adopted several temporary names before settling on Stone Temple Pilots.
Over the next two years, STP (as they were also called) built a sizable fan base in the San Diego area, which attracted the attention of Atlantic Records. After signing with the label, they released their first album, Core, in 1992. Rife with brawny, alternative-metal hybrids like "Sex Type Thing," "Creep" and "Plush," the record shot to No. 3 on the Billboard Albums chart, and landed a No. 1 hit on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart with "Plush." The song, and Weiland's deep, powerful vocals, gained the band a massive national audience, but critics panned the record and the group as carbon copies of the growing grunge movement led by Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Despite such negative press, Core reaped the cream of industry awards for the band, including an American Music Award and Grammy in 1994 and a platinum record sale status in excess of eight million units.
The rush of success that accompanied Core caught the band in a whirlwind of media and industry attention, for which Weiland appeared wholly unprepared. He began consuming vast quantities of drugs while recording their second album, Purple. The success of the record and its three hit singles, including the country-tinged "Interstate Love Song," sent them on a lengthy tour with the notoriously debauched Butthole Surfers, during which Weiland became addicted to heroin. In 1995, he was arrested for purchasing crack cocaine and faced three years in prison. Stone Temple Pilots briefly broke apart, during which time Weiland fronted another group called The Magnificent Bastards, which provided songs for the "Tank Girl" (1995) soundtrack and the John Lennon tribute album, Working Class Hero. The separation from DeLeo and the rest of STP was short-lived, and by the end of 1995, Weiland was back in the fold and recording the band's third album, Tiny Music... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop (1996).
The record, which featured a brighter, more upbeat sound, again failed to resonate with critics, but fans rallied behind it, sending the album to No. 4 on the U.S. charts. However, Weiland's substance issues soon derailed any chance to support Tiny Music with a tour. After a much-publicized period in which he reportedly sank into a drug frenzy with fellow rocker and controversy magnet Courtney Love, the band canceled the tour and dispatched Weiland to a rehabilitation facility. His attempts at sobriety were met with mixed results. In 1996, he was ordered by a judge to spend six months under round-the-clock supervision, which resulted in the dismissal of his drug possession charges. But by early 1997, he had relapsed, forcing the band to cancel another tour and send Weiland back to treatment.
Both Weiland and the remaining STP members released their own projects in 1997 and 1998. Weiland recorded a solo album, 12 Bar Blues, which offered a more stripped-down sound and personal lyrics, while the DeLeo Brothers and Kretz recruited singer Dave Coutts to form a new band, Talk Show. Neither effort was well received, and Weiland soon patched up his differences with his old bandmates. Their fourth album, appropriately titled No. 4 (1999), yielded a Top 100 hit with "Sour Girl," but any sense of accomplishment was quickly derailed by Weiland's arrest for heroin possession that same year. He was sentenced to a year in a Los Angeles county jail for violating his probation, which again forced the band to abandon plans for a tour.
After completing his sentence, Weiland returned to the Stone Temple Pilots fold to record their fifth album, Shangri-La Dee Dah (2001). The album proved a modest hit, and the band hit the road for the first time in almost six years to promote it while initiating plans for their next album. But once again, Weiland's demons rose up to derail any chance for a revived career. In 2001, he was arrested in Las Vegas on domestic violence charges after an altercation with his wife, model Mary Forsburg. The charges were dropped after the couple agreed to attend counseling, but Weiland soon turned his anger towards Robert DeLeo, with whom he brawled backstage after the final date of the tour. Having apparently reached their breaking point, Stone Temple Pilots declared themselves officially defunct in 2002. The following year, Weiland returned to rehab after crashing his car on his birthday.
In 2003, Weiland was approached by former Guns N' Roses members Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum about forming a new band. The media openly wondered about the logic of Weiland teaming with a trio whose own drug and alcohol issues were the stuff of rock legend, but with the addition of journeyman player and composer Dave Kushner, the supergroup known as Velvet Revolver was launched in earnest. Their debut album, Contraband (2003), debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard charts, and yielded No. 1 hits, "Slither" and "Fall To Pieces" on the modern rock charts. In 2005, "Slither" took home the Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal. Velvet Revolver's explosive success appeared to indicate that Weiland was poised for a career revival.
However, the bloom was off the rose for Velvet Revolver in less than two years. Their second album, Libertad was a dismal failure upon its release in 2007, and Weiland made matters worse by allegedly speaking with DeLeo about touring with STP at various summer festivals, which sent fractures through his new band. In late 2007, Weiland was arrested for driving under the influence at the tail end of the year, forcing the band to cancel its Australian tour. Tensions within Velvet Revolver reached the boiling point during the group's 2008 European tour when Weiland announced onstage that the band's days were numbered. By April of that year, the group announced that it would longer continue with Weiland as its frontman.
As most fans and industry pundits predicted, Weiland went back to his comfort zone with Stone Temple Pilots in 2008. A lengthy tour was soon launched while the singer worked to complete his second solo album,'Happy' in Galoshes (2008). He also completed an eight-day jail as part of his 2007 DUI conviction, which came with 18 months in rehabilitation and four years of probation. The reunion tour proved to be the band's biggest success since its heyday, and the quartet quickly began recording their sixth studio album, a self-titled effort that debuted at No. 2 on the Top 200 in 2010. In the midst of so much renewed interest, the band announced that it would take a brief respite to allow Weiland to contend with newfound personal issues that had arisen over his divorce from Forsburg and lingering grief over the 2007 drug overdose death of his brother, Michael. In 2011, he published his autobiography, Not Dead and Not For Sale, which detailed the more harrowing aspects of his life and career. A third solo album, A Compilation of Scott Weiland Cover Songs, featuring his takes on material by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Nirvana and Radiohead, among others, was released in digital-only format that same year. An album of Christmas music, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, followed. He then resumed touring with STP for a well-received jaunt through Southeast Asia and Australia. In February 2013, it was widely reported via a press release that the band had fired Weiland without explanation, but that was news to the frontman, who responded "Not sure how I can be 'terminated' from a band that I founded, fronted, and co-wrote many of its biggest hits, but that's something for the lawyers to figure out." Weiland released another solo album, Blaster, credited to Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts, in 2015, but online videos of unsettlingly chaotic live performances worried longtime fans. Scott Weiland was found dead on his tour bus prior to an engagement in Medina, Minnesota on December 3, 2015; the local medical examiner ruled that the singer died of cardiac arrest with a mixture of alcohol, cocaine and the amphetamine MDA in his system. He was 48.
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