Yesterday was the late musician Scott Weiland’s Birthday. I miss him a lot; miss the contribution to music he made and am grateful for the music he gave us.
I’m going to be honest, Velvet Revolver made me a bigger fan of Stone Temple Pilots than I previous was. I loved the two albums VR made (nobody will be surprised to learn I play them all the time). Yet I know not everybody shares my same viewpoint.
For six years and two albums, Velvet Revolver divided the rock community. Some fans and critics loved their brand of hard rock fuelled by sobriety and honed musicianship. In contrast, others found them a divided beast, the product of two much-loved bands with disparate styles (heavy rock rhythm section and a glammy grunge frontman) that did not quite mesh. While their combined history worked with them for the most part, it also brought a slew of comparisons to songs written twenty years prior. Whatever your perceptions of Velvet Revolver, there was no denying that the unity of three (then) former members of Guns N’ Roses and the singer of Stone Temple Pilot made an exciting, enticing combination.
The story of Velvet Revolver is intriguing. Part organic, part orchestration, they were technically a new band, but the histories of its members ensured that it had a past already built-in, and try as they might, some could never escape their ghosts. While some made friends among them, one succumbed to them, leaving a rock n’ roll trail in their wake. Their debut album, Contraband, was a bold, punky attack on the senses. Even the name made it sound illicit like there was something a bit naughty about the music contained within. They ploughed on and made their more profound, more thoughtful Libertad. It became their unintentional swansong, circled in tragedy, yet presented a band who had found their grove since their debut. It did not fare as well critically, but it was by all accounts a honed beast layered with conflict.
There would be other ventures, and an ultimate solo career. I often wonder what music Scott would still be making now should tragedy have not intervened. It’s one of those losses that I, personally, felt the most: he could not outrun his former ghosts.
Anyway, here’s to you, Scott, one of the best frontmen I have had the pleasure to see live. Thank you.