Scott Weiland, best known for his time as lead singer for the popular 90s grunge band Stone Temple Pilots, died on Thursday while on tour in Minnesota. He was 48.
The news was confirmed early Friday morning via a post on Weiland’s official Facebook page, which stated that the singer died in his sleep while on tour with his solo band The Wildabouts. No cause of death was given, but the musician had had a long, publicized struggle with substance abuse.
Scott Weiland, best known as the lead singer for Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, passed away in his sleep while on a tour stop in Bloomington, Minnesota, with his band The Wildabouts. At this time we ask that the privacy of Scott’s family be respected.
The San Jose, California-born musician formed Stone Temple Pilots with brothers Dean DeLeo (guitar) and Robert DeLeo (bass), and drummer Eric Kretz. Their 1992 debut album Core struck a cord with the grunge fanbase, propelling the band to the top of the charts eventually hitting No. 3 on the Billboard 200. Songs like “Sex Type Thing,” “Plush,” “Creep,” and “Wicked Garden,” got heavy rotation on radio stations, as did their respective videos on MTV.
The band’s sound was instantly compared to that of their Seattle counterparts Alice In Chains, especially with Weiland’s baritone vocal style similar to that of AIC’s Layne Staley, another musician who battled drug addiction in the public eye. (Staley died on April 5, 2002 of a drug overdose.) Core was also released on the same day (September 29, 1992) as AIC’s sophomore effort Dirt.
While STP might have seemed like they were riding the grunge wave, they began to stand out on their own, and their popularity kept growing. Their second album, 1994’s Purple, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and yielded hits with “Vasoline,” “Big Empty,” “Interstate Love Song,” and “Unglued,” while their third effort, 1996’s Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop hit No. 4, and had three singles reach #1 on the charts, “Big Bang Baby,” “Lady Picture Show,” and “Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart.” In 1993, they did an installment of MTV Unplugged, which showcased their dark melodic side, and proved another huge success for the group.
[Weiland, second from left, with Stone Temple Pilots]
But, with Weiland’s struggle with addiction combined with reported constant in-fighting amongst the band members caused the group to go on several hiatuses. In 1995, he was convicted of buying crack cocaine and sentenced to one year’s probation, and was arrested again in December 2007 for DUI, and in 2008 did a stint in rehab. While the musician struggled with addiction, he reportedly had not done heroin since December 2002.
In 2002, Weiland formed the supergroup Velvet Revolver along with former Guns N’ Roses band members guitarist Slash, bassist Duff McKagen, and drummer Matt Sorum, as well as Dave Kushner of Wasted Youth. Velvet Revolver released two albums, Contraband (2004) and Libertad (2007), with singles “Slither” and “Fall to Pieces” being stand-out tracks. Weiland left the group in 2008, and rumors have periodically popped up over the years about a reunion.
Weiland did reunite with STP in 2008 though, and embarked on what became a very successful U.S. tour, and subsequently released Stone Temple Pilots (2010), their sixth studio album and first since 2001. More tours followed, but in 2012, the old tensions between Weiland and his bandmate arose, and by February 2013, the singer was out of STP once more.
He moved his music career along in the form of his solo outfit, The Wildabouts — their debut album, Blaster, was released on March March 31, 2015. It was during a recent tour the group that the singer passed away.
Though Weiland and company might have entered the music scene as seemingly just another grunge band riding the coattails of the genre’s popularity in the 1990s, the strength of their songs, as well as their longevity even in the face of inner conflicts and substance abuse, proves than they were more than a flash in the pan. It’s 23 years after the band’s debut and their songs still hold up over time, and when Weiland wasn’t obviously intoxicated, his live performances were amazing. His story — like his contemporaries Kurt Cobain and the aforementioned Staley, as well as Blind Melon’s Shannon Hoon and original AIC bassist Mike Starr — is yet another tragic tale in music of a talented musician whose inner demons led to his early demise.
Update 12/4/2015, 10:30amTMZ reported at 10am EST on Friday that the cause is cardiac arrest, though the underlying cause of death has yet to be determined. Their source is from a 911 call that said Weiland “appeared to be dead in his tour bus in the parking lot of a motel” and that he “was not breathing” and that he “appeared to have gone into cardiac arrest.”
Update 12/4/2015, 5pm The surviving members of Stone Temple Pilots wrote a tribute on their FB page for Weiland:
Let us start by saying thank you for sharing your life with us.
Together we crafted a legacy of music that has given so many people happiness and great memories.
The memories are many, and they run deep for us.
We know amidst the good and the bad you struggled, time and time again.
It’s what made you who you were.
You were gifted beyond words, Scott.
Part of that gift was part of your curse.
With deep sorrow for you and your family, we are saddened to see you go.
All of our love and respect.
We will miss you brother,
Robert, Eric, Dean
RIP Scott Weiland
October 27, 1967 – December 3, 2015
Scott Weiland, best known as the lead singer for Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, passed away in his sleep while…