Edited by Brett Buchanan
Legendary Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver frontman Scott Weiland passed away a year ago today. To celebrate his life on this sad anniversary, Alternative Nation is going to take a look back at some of Weiland’s most intimate musical moments.
While Scott Weiland was best known for lighting up stages with his signature megaphone on tracks like “Crackerman” and “Sex Type Thing,” few were better than him at performing in a stripped-down setting, often times showcasing his most elegant vocal work on softer tracks such as “Atlanta” and “Wonderful.”
Here are his top 10 acoustic performances, and following the list are a group of previously unreleased Scott Weiland tribute graphics made on photos of the late singer throughout his career that Alternative Nation owner Brett Buchanan had made during his time as Weiland’s social media manager (one of which is the featured photo for this article). The tribute photos were edited with the help of Below Empty user justbill, and feature Stone Temple Pilots’ iconic fleuron logo from Shangri-La Dee Da. One of the originally commissioned photos remains as Weiland’s Facebook profile picture.
You can also read Alternative Nation’s November 2015 interview with Scott Weiland, and read original Mighty Joe Young guitarist Corey Hickok’s in-depth article ‘Scott Weiland: A High School To Core Retrospective.’
- Pretty Penny (MTV Music Video Awards 1994)
This iconic performance took place at the end of STP’s extensive U.S. tour in support of Purple, and it features the band recreating the acoustic portion of their live shows at the time, with Weiland sitting in a big comfy chair next to the DeLeos on a couch, while Eric Kretz stands alongside them using minimal percussion. It’s this type of setting where the entire band showcased how truly versatile and talented they were. Weiland’s emotional take is a bit bittersweet to listen back to now, but it really exemplifies his raw talents.
- Slither (KROQ Studios 2004)
This performance was recorded at the KROQ studios on April 30, 2004. It’s hard to believe that an acoustic rendition of this track works so well, but I would argue that this version gives the studio take a run for its money. What’s most remarkable is Weiland’s natural ability to shift from a softer voice into his normal belting that he brings back before the final chorus, and to even be able to so easily adapt to an acoustic rendition of a song like this. It’s difficult to imagine many other singers pulling it off.
- Killing Me Sweetly (101 WRIF Detroit 2009)
Weiland was certainly out of his prime by 2009, but at this point he was still putting on strong shows, and in some ways his voice seemed to be improving after getting rougher towards the end of the Velvet Revolver days. With this particular performance, it seems that a little flash of the old Weiland returned. Weiland’s solo band (not yet known as The Wildabouts here) do a great job as well.
- Atlanta (From the Thank You DVD)
There are many songs that contend for Weiland’s strongest vocal performance, but from an emotional standpoint, for me, “Atlanta” takes the cake. This performance is my personal favorite version of this classic. Weiland channels Jim Morrison at times in this haunting rendition of the No. 4 closing track.
- Creep (MTV Unplugged 1993)
This is just an amazing performance from a classic concert. STP’s MTV Unplugged is arguably one of the best ever, especially considering the group only had one album under their belt at the time. Weiland’s vocals are as strong as ever here, and the band is incredible as well. Even Robert DeLeo’s backing vocals are strong.
- Interstate Love Song (VH1 Storyteller’s 2000)
STP’s entire Storytellers performance is a classic, much like MTV Unplugged, and “Interstate Love Song” is one of the highlights. This reworked version makes for one of the best and most unique performances ever of the song, and Weiland’s delicate vocals really elevate it to another level. Once again, it’s difficult to imagine many other artists being able to re-imagine a classic song like this and have it work so well.
- Big Empty (MTV Unplugged 1993)
Like “Creep,” this classic performance speaks for itself. Weiland pretty much always nailed this one throughout his career, but nothing would ever top this version.
- Sour Girl (Late Show With David Letterman 2000)
Though No. 4 is one of STP’s heavier albums, it features some of Weiland’s most emotional songs, such as “Sour Girl.” Country legend Junior Brown accompanies the band in this outstanding version. Weiland channels the late David Bowie as he gives a truly beautiful vocal performance. Once again, this exemplifies the pure talent of not only Weiland, but all of the members of STP.
- Plush (MTV Headbanger’s Ball 1992)
This is another performance that speaks for itself. You simply don’t see real talent like this on MTV anymore. The studio version will always be a classic, but this special performance will stand the test of time right along with it.
- Wonderful (Family Values Tour 2001)
Shangri La De-Da is one of the most underrated works of Weiland’s career, and I have always felt that this song should have been a hit on the same level as “Sour Girl.” This performance, like many of the other versions that made this list, rivals the studio take. The part that really makes this version special is Weiland’s effortless harmonizing with his future replacement, Chester Bennington. Maybe Bennington couldn’t effectively replace Weiland, but he certainly could sing with him.