For those just here for the final photo and not the broader story about drug addiction and alcoholism, it’s at the bottom of the article. I hope you read the whole story though.
Legendary Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver frontman Scott Weiland died two years ago today (though we’re publishing this slightly early) from a drug overdose. While it’s important to celebrate Weiland’s stellar music catalog (which we’ll do on social media and other stories today on the site) and remember the good hearted man he was, it is also important to acknowledge how we tragically lost him to drug addiction and alcoholism. Weiland had a turbulent 2015, with many performances where Weiland’s on stage demeanor scared fans who worried that his life was in danger. Weiland’s final performance with his band the Wildabouts was on December 1st in Toronto, video of which can be seen below.
Following the performance, Weiland and his band hopped on their tour bus. They had a couple of off days due to the cancellation of a concert in Minnesota due to low ticket sales. On December 2nd, the band stopped in the Chicago area, where Weiland and his bassist Tommy Black headed to Mack’s Golden Pheasant Restaurant in suburban Elmhurst, Illinois. This is where Weiland’s final photograph was taken with a fan named Douglas Wigand, who was 63 at the time. The picture was taken at the bar.
“It was nice hanging out with them for a while,” said Wigand at the time. “I was always a big fan of Stone Temple Pilots, and it was amazing to see [Weiland] a day before he died. A lot of people told me it might have been the last photo of Scott Weiland that was ever taken.”
Wigand said he talked with Weiland and Black about their various bands and Wigand’s four-decade-plus tenure in the postal service. He said Weiland asked him whether he received a good pension after he retired. Wigand said he also bought Weiland and Black a shot of Patron each.
“They were nice guys,” Wigand said. “It was a shame what happened.”
Weiland and Black left and the band stopped in Bloomington, Minnesota on December 3rd, where the band were originally scheduled to perform. Weiland died of a toxic mix of drugs and alcohol on his tour bus.
If any readers are struggling with alcohol and/or drug addiction, and I know several who have struggled who have reached out to me before, it is never too late. Reach out to your local Alcoholics Anonymous, or Narcotics Anonymous. There is actually a fan I spoke to around the time Scott died who thought about giving up his own fight because he felt if a rock star like Scott couldn’t make it, he didn’t have a shot. Messages like this always disturb me.
I didn’t know Scott as I only had a chance to meet with him twice, but from talking to many people who loved him dearly who knew him from throughout his life, he was a human being like all of us with a good heart, and also flaws.
He unfortunately lost his battle with addiction and alcoholism, but it’s important to remember that beneath the fame, he’s just a good man who lost his fight. People from all backgrounds have their battles with this disease. I lost my stepfather to alcoholism (cirrhosis of the liver) in fall 2013, but I also have friends who have overcome their battles with drugs and alcohol, while I know others who continue to fight. A quote from Scott’s 2011 book Not Dead and Not For Sale has always stuck with me, I actually even re-posted it in some stories about his sad 2015 performances in the slight chance that he might read it. This is the last time he openly discussed his addiction and alcoholism before he seemingly went into total denial mode (at least to fans and the public) in his final few years, where he tried to rationalize his drinking and lie about his drug use.
“For years I’ve known goddamn well that I’m a drunk, but who wants to admit that? After kicking the strong stuff, why couldn’t I have a little drink now and then? What harm was there in a small indulgence? The answer was serious harm – potentially fatal harm. For me, putting a drink in my mouth is something like putting a lead blanket over my heart. There’s been so much pain in the past few years that I’m afraid to feel, or commit. I pray that this will end. I don’t want to be alone anymore. I want to be able to love again.
The dream of every drunk – to be able to manage their drinking – is one that has died hard for me. My prayer is that, once and for all, that dream is dead. So I’m back to counting days. It’s nearly been two months since I’ve had a drink. By the time you read this book, my hope is that it will be six months.”
For any fans who are struggling and reading this, keep up the fight. Count days, and do it in honor of Scott.
Rest in peace Scott Weiland. You are missed. God bless his friends and family.
Scott Weiland’s final photo on December 2, 2015.