Anyone shocked by the news of Scott Weiland’s passing hasn’t really followed his career. Many close to him have expressed their surprise that the man was still alive… and that was years ago. But that’s the bravado of a true rock star, even staring death in the face and giving it a big fuck you.
Scott Weiland was a unique animal. While everyone other singer in the nineties was either angsty or depressed, he would strut out on stage with a sexy slither channelling the past glories of David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Mick Jagger (yeah Adam Levine, bite me). He came on stage like he’d just done two lines of blow off a groupie’s tits and had two more waiting backstage after the show. He was cock sure and ready to fire. Even though Stone Temple Pilots were lumped into the grunge scene, he couldn’t have cared less about it. He was living the rock dream.
Like every true rock n’ roll icon though, he did have a softer side. Awards shows are all about artists basking in their glory while the record labels push their latest hit. I’ll always remember the MTV Awards in 1994; you’d think he’d come out in a leotard and strut his stuff to “Vasoline” or “Unglued.” Nope, instead he sat down and dedicated a quiet performance of “Pretty Penny” to his friend. It’s actually the only time I can remember an artist playing a song that wasn’t a single at an awards show, and it was the most rock n’ roll thing I’d ever seen.
The acoustic version of “Sex Type Thing” from the MTV Unplugged set still chills me to the bone. It’s creepy yet intensely sexual. Only a true rock star could get away with singing those lyrics and still have women cheer; maybe Weiland and Jim Morrison could pull it off, but that’s it.
He may have been the last of the rock star sex symbols, the last rock star to run out on stage with a big swinging dick truly not giving a fuck. They are a dying breed. Yes, I know some of his predecessors are still alive, but they probably require little blue pills to get it up. He was an anomaly. He allowed a whole generation – my generation – to feel what it was like to see Robert Plant or Roger Daltry in their prime.
I won’t say he was taken away from us too soon, because he lived his life fast and hard. The reality is that he’s still there, same as he ever was, on my record shelf, on my hard drive, and in my brain. The only difference is that I’ll never see him live again, and he’ll never make new music. I raise a glass to you Weiland; may you eternally rest in peace, not that you ever really wanted to rest. Scratch that; may you rock forever.
Written by Richard Brunette
*edited by Kate Erickson