Scott Weiland is dead (and bloated). That sucks. I mean, none of this is a surprise, because the man had a problem with heroin so bad that even former members of GnR said, “Yeah, that’s a little too much for us.” So his being found dead on a tour bus isn’t a shock. It still sucks. I don’t know if he had a wife or kids, probably, so for them it’s an actual loss. They knew him. I only knew the guy through media – like most of us. I’m ok with that.
I really like Stone Temple Pilots. I’m a guy who was a teenager in the 90s and they were 90s through and through. I also really liked Velvet Revolver. They were one of those “Superbands” like when Rage Against the Machine joined up with what’s his face from Soundgarden. I’m also at the age where I begin to legitimately believe that modern music sucks. I know it can’t be true, because it’s literally – literally – whatever every single generation says about the one prior but … fuck, today’s music is fucking AWFUL! STP weren’t awful.
When I was a dipshit kid doing backyard wrestling with a mattress that had exposed springs, getting hit in the head with shit I shouldn’t been hit in the head with, dressing up waaaaaaaay too much like Jeff Hardy (the absolute coolest wrestlers ever to a 16 year old nerd), I’d always use STP as my grand entrance music. I never felt like more of a badass.
But two things about Weiland always stuck out the most to me. One was this:
I don’t know what in the fuck this was but it’s magnificent. He just did a straight, no irony at all, Christmas album. The videos were cheeky and cute but it’s just him, seeing about Winter Wonderland and shit. I can’t imagine the thought process that says, “I’m a heroin using, badass, shirtless, front man to big, bad-ass bands … I’m gonna do a record just like Bing Crosby would’ve.” And: it wasn’t ironic. He really meant it. Someone would do this today, but there’d be a wink and a nod, so you’d know that they know how goofy it is, making them secretly cool. Fuck that, Weiland just did the shit straight and didn’t care.
The other weird thing was that he was a HUGE Notre Dame football fan. Like, mega huge. Worshipped them. Followed them everywhere. Never missed a game. All of that. When I first heard that, it just confused me. Again: skinny, shirtless, kind of preening, drug abusing music guy liked … Notre Dame. The college team that I would last associate with someone like that. Maybe if it had been USC or someone, I could’ve shrugged and let it go. But Notre Dame? It was the football program for two people: 1. Catholic kids everywhere; 2. People who like Duke basketball and need a football team.
I’m inevitably making more out of these two weird things that is needed. But a part of me always sees them as evidence that he was just … himself. With the 90s being all about “I don’t care what you think, man” he truly, really, did NOT care. He didn’t fall over himself to show how much he didn’t care, like we all did. If he was gonna gyrate on stage, that’s what he was gonna do. Make a Christmas album of classics? Yup. Follow Notre Dame? Why not?
I’m not going to necessarily mourn the man, because I didn’t know him or anything, and I really wouldn’t even be mourning him so much as I’d really be mourning the death of something I associate with my formative years. That’s kinda how these things work with celebrities. And I don’t know enough about the construction of music to tell you if he was a great contributor to the art or whatever. I suspect not. I also suspect he wouldn’t care, because he did what so many pretend they’re doing: whatever he wanted.
Here’s hoping the Vatican sells an STP CD today in its gift shop.