Scott Weiland: A 25-Year Musical Retrospective

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Edited by Brett Buchanan

The passing of Scott Weiland has sent ripples throughout the rock music industry. Many artists have paid tribute of his passing with their own covers of their favorite tracks featuring Weiland, with Chris Cornell also dedicating the Temple Of The Dog classic “Say Hello 2 Heaven” to Weiland.

With Scott Weiland’s last in-depth interview being with Alternative Nation owner Brett Buchanan, and with the simple fact that his music has had a profound impact on the reporters here at Alternative Nation, we decided to do a look back on the influence Weiland’s music had over his 25-year career on each reporter, all the way back from the 1989/1990 Mighty Joe Young demos to 2015’s Blaster.

Brett Buchanan:

Purple is overall my favorite STP album. It’s just one of those timeless albums you can play front to back on repeat. When it comes to my favorite songs from Scott, there are so many from throughout his career. The 1990 “Only Dying” demo from STP’s Mighty Joe Young days is a really underrated gem, and the lyrics feel even more tragic now with what has happened 25 years later.

I have a real affinity for the final songs on STP albums. “Maver” off of their last record was a beautiful track, it showed the evolution of his songwriting over the years. “Atlanta” and “Kitchenware and Candybars” are epic. From his solo career, the standouts to me are “Barbarella,” “The Man I Didn’t Know,” and “Amethyst.” From Velvet Revolver, you can’t go wrong with the hits “Fall to Pieces” and “Slither.”

Scott changed his style not just from album to album, but from song to song. He could have easily rested on his laurels and written Core lite music after 1992, but all the way up until Blaster he kept pushing himself artistically. Regardless of what else he was going through in his life, Scott Weiland always had a great melody in him. Like Fred Durst said, he was the melody man. Rest in peace Scott.

Greg Prato:

I would say a 2-way tie between Purple and Tiny Music From The Vatican Gift Shop STP reminded me of the great ’70s rock bands (Aerosmith, Kiss, Queen, etc.), as they seemed to get better and better with each album, and each album spawned several classics. Top fav song is “Interstate Love Song,” which is one of the best ’90s rockers – which is no small feat considering how many classics came out between ’91-’94. I also fancy “Pretty Penny,” “Vasoline,” “Big Bang Baby” (my fav STP video!!), “Sour Girl,” and “Days of the Week.” Thank you Mr. Weiland for all the great music.

Jeff Gorra:

Songs: “Interstate Love Song” is so melodic and catchy, it’s the first song I ever played live with a band. “Wonderful” is also an underrated beautiful ballad and “Tripping On A Hole In A Paper Heart” is just such a cool & unique song, along with “Last Fight” from Velvet Revolver.

Album: Purple, it’s ridiculous how many good songs are on that record. I can listen to that all the way thru, front to back, back to front.

Mike Mazzarone:

You know, I could go with what everyone else has been saying, how Core, Purple…etc have been the most impactful albums that I’ve ever heard from Scott, how they have the greatest songs in the history of his career…etc. And while there is some truth to that, let me tell a little quickie about how I coped after Scott’s death.

I was privileged enough to see his last ever show in the United States. As everyone is aware, that show was in promotion of Blaster, Scott’s now final album. I know people have said they don’t want to listen to Scott’s music, or they reach for the old standbys like Tiny Music or Core, but for me? I have listened to Blaster twice a day, every day. I mention this the “album of the year” write up, if Blaster makes the top ten but for me, the album serves a pivotal footnote in the musical history of Scott Weiland. It showed that he really still had it, but you could also hear the pain. The pain in his voice for a lot of these tracks, mostly polished up by studio magic – listen to the Rolling Stone live version of “Way She Moves”, you’ll see what I mean. It is a pure tragedy, Scott Weiland’s death had to happen the way he did. Our addictions, our vices are one of the hardest things to over come. That much is true, when I ran into him with fellow AN reporter, Doug McCausland, you could see that Scott was really out of it. Yet, he managed to give the best show that I’ve seen from him since 2010.

In a way, Blaster now has a more special meaning than the albums I grew up with. I think we will always look at it as more underrated than it really is.

Core made me a fan. I’m a fan of a lot of the more underrated STP works like Atlanta, Dare If You Dare, Art School Girl, Kitchenware and Candybars, Where The River Goes, Pretty Penny, Bi-Polar Bear, Maver, Naked Sunday, Where The River Goes…etc. But I can say with confidence that Scott Weiland/Stone Temple Pilots are one of a handful of acts that I can listen to over and over again without skipping a single song. Without my rediscovery of STP in 2009 and the self titled album that came out shortly after, I would probably be still on my country music kick and writing for some Garth Brooks fansite.

What a shame that would be.

Scott without a doubt made me the rock fan I am today, he will remain as one of my favorite acts of all time but it just pains me that the lasting memory I have of him, was his final states show where there was a guy shouting next to us “WAY TO GO SCOTTY! WE LOVE YOU SCOTTY” and he didn’t even give it a single thought.

We do love you though Scotty. We always will. Rest in peace.

Doug McCausland:

I was born in July of 1993, precisely at the time “Plush” was making its waves topping the Billboard rock charts. I didn’t give a shit about the rock music trends of the Generation X era; I was too busy trying to collect all 120 stars in Super Mario 64.

My only knowledge of Stone Temple Pilots was a conversation I overheard my father having with my mother, spinning a copy of The Doors’ Waiting for the Sun, something or another about Stone Temple Pilots performing with The Doors and somehow taking up Jim Morrison’s mantle. It wasn’t until years later I realized he was referring to Scott’s performance with the surviving members of The Doors on VH1 Storytellers, delivering an awesome cover of “Five to One”.

In fact, it wasn’t until 2006 that I had really delved into rock music; Chris Cornell’s powerful vocals in the Casino Royale theme piqued my interest in soulful rock music, Guns N’ Roses’ Greatest Hits (specifically, “Live And Let Die”) exposed me to the dark yet majestic stride of hard rock. My interest in the latter would lead to an introduction to Velvet Revolver’s and its’ engimatic frontman, Scott Richard Weiland, around the release of Libertad.

“Who is this guy?” My boggled middle school mind asked itself, comparing the Weiland slithering around on stage dressed like a leather fetish Nazi to images images liner notes of Libertad (dressed like Clint Eastwood or Roland Deschain) and images on Google search. “He’s like a million different people.” My intrigue with the chameleon Weiland led me to bum my dad’s copy of STP’s Thank You, and, as it has it, while others my age obsessed over Soulja Boy and Good Charlotte, Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop was on constant repeat.

Tim Branom:

Other than Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder, Scott Weiland was the last great voice in recent memory from the Grunge era to continue making music. At first, critics called him an Eddie Vedder clone, and then later, his Jim Morrison persona took over and never left. But It sometimes had a dash of Johhny Rotten and sometimes a bit of 60’s Psychedelia looking over your shoulder. He finally won over critics with his unusual lyrics and videos, creating his own sound from California, very different than his adoptive Seattle Grunge brothers, but yet the comparison remained.

And when Weiland joined Velvet Revolver, it was a true super group which our generation had not seen since the debut of a new singer with Van Halen. When we lost Weiland on Dec 3, 2015, we lost musical creativity in an age where bands of today must not only record old songs to get attention; they sometimes have to actually sample the song as well just to get a hit. Maybe his legacy will be studied so that future rock stars can learn from a master. Below are my top picks for a fine Scott Weiland listening experience. Enjoy.

(1992) Stone Temple Pilots: Core
Recommended: “Creep”, “Plush” , “Sex Type Thing”, “Wicked Garden”
(1994) Stone Temple Pilots: Purple
Recommended: “Big Empty”, “Interstate Love Song”, “Vasoline”
(1995) Various Artists: Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin
Recommended: “Dancing Days” – Stone Temple Pilots
(1996) Stone Temple Pilots: Tiny Music…Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop
Recommended: “Big Bang Baby”, “Lady Picture Show”, “Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart”
(1998) Scott Weiland: 12 Bar Blues
Recommended: “Lady, Your Roof Brings Me Down”
(1999) Stone Temple Pilots: No. 4
Recommended: “Sour Girl”
(2000) Various Artists: Stoned Immaculate: The Music of the Doors
Recommended: “Break On Through” – Stone Temple Pilots
(2004) Velvet Revolver: Contraband
Recommended: “Fall to Pieces”, “Slither”

Elias Fulmer:

I’ve been an active reader of AlternativeNation.net for about 4 years now and a writer/reporter here for nearly half that time. I’ve noticed the site’s strong connection to Weiland – and even if we published articles about him not showing him at his best, I know many of the writers here were rooting for him. They deeply cared and were worried about him. I haven’t explored Scott Weiland’s discography as heavily as others, but there are several key highlights for me.

Earlier in life, let’s say I was just going through a hard time and ended up in a 72 hour psychiatric hold. In the ambulance, one of the EMTs offered to put on Pandora Radio and I said sure, “alternative rock, please.” The three songs that played to my memory were “Disarm” by the Smashing Pumpkins, “Come As You Are” by Nirvana and “Creep” by Stone Temple Pilots. I’ve always loved “Creep” (more than Radiohead song of the same title) and have found myself listening to the Unplugged version many a lonely nights.

The first two Stone Temple Pilots albums made a bigger impression on me. One summer, my friends and I carried around a large dufflebag full of sixty-some cassettes and one of the most frequently played cassettes was Stone Temple Pilots’ 1994 Purple. I hazily recall a conversation between my friend Cade and I fondly discussing the record shortly after I became a writer here at AlternativeNation. I never dug into the Velvet Revolver stuff too much, but recently I found their cover of Nirvana’s “Negative Creep” and discovered I may enjoy it more than the original.

But I think what speaks to me most about Weiland was his cover of the Smiths’ “Reel Around the Fountain.” It is one of my most cherished works by the Smiths and deals with very sensitive, delicate and introspective matters concerning sexuality. I think it would take anyone a bit guts to speak about those sorts of things.I understand Scott dealt with a great deal of suffering in the realms of love, sex and addictions of that kind, separate but not unrelated to vices like alcohol or other intoxicants. It’s sad to see Scott go – I really was enjoying Blaster and I was planning on going to his LA show later this month. I almost met him when Brett interviewed him – but I had just bought tickets to Texas by the time Brett invited me. Some things aren’t meant to be…Wherever he lies, I hope he has found peace and serenity at last.

I’ve always admired your sense of artistry and integrity. Thanks for the memories and rest easy, Scott.

“I’m half the man I used to be. This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray.”

Anthony Carioscia:

I guess I’d go with Purple being my favorite album Scott Weiland did. It evolved from the Grunge sound of the debut and added more variety to the song writing which in turn showed us even more of Scott’s vocal range.

Cindy Slade:

I’d say the two albums that I play the most (still), are Core & Purple. It’s quite hard to pick a favorite song, but the one that always comes to the forefront of my mind is “Vasoline”.

The song is fun, and I’ve always loved the video they put out for it, especially the insect in the vasoline in the very opening of it. I never get tired of listening to it. I’ve always loved “Slither” from Velvet Revolver as well.

Hanna Graf:

I have loved Stone Temple Pilots Core ever since I first heard it. There isn’t one bad song on that album. I love the heavy and powerful music, but most of all its Scott Weiland’s voice. His deep, booming, forceful voice fills up the room even without his megaphone. It’s unique and matched by very few other singers. For me, STP is all about Scott Weiland and they are just not interesting without him.

Another album I often listen to is Velvet Revolver’s Libertad. I don’t feel as strongly about it as Core, but it’s a really good rock album. And you just can’t go wrong with Scott Weiland’s voice and Slash’s guitar.

It’s very sad that the world has lost such a unique voice way too soon, but Scott Weiland will always remain one of my favorite singers.

Jeremy Neugebauer:

It’s always crazy to me that people rediscover great music after an artist passes on and all the while their music was just there waiting for someone to give it a listen again and it takes their life ending for people to listen to it, which I am now guilty of. The past couple days I’ve been rediscovering Purple.

After a Scott Weiland tribute on AN Radio and listening to much of it, I have come to the conclusion that Purple is quite possibly a top 5 album of the 90’s. I now recall that in my teen years I once said ‘Interstate Love Song” was my favorite song and along with “Big Empty”, “Vasoline”, “Unglued”, and “Pretty Penny” it made some of the best singles from a single rock album during the period, but its the deeper cuts that set this album apart, which is the same with most great albums. “Meatplow”, “Lounge Fly”, “Still Remains”, “Silvergun Superman”, “Army Ants” are all just as strong as the singles. I just rediscovered this wonderful album again and it is the definition of a classic. Scott Weiland, like with many of the other rock greats, was a troubled genius, passing on way too young.

Hear all the best from Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver and Scott Weiland at www.rockshowradio.net and www.alternativenation.net/radio