Scott Weiland died on Dec 3, 2015, just a month ago. And it really bummed me out.
I was a fan, but not a particularly attentive or obsessive one. I just liked his voice, his look, and his story. He even made episode #26 of my “Separated at Birth” series, since I thought he bore a resemblance to one of my personal pop culture heroes, David Bowie.
As the weeks have gone by, I’ve taken a moment to think about why Weiland’s passing has given me such pause.
It comes down to two things. First is that the two of us were almost the same age; he was actually two months younger than me. I don’t think I’m in the prime of life, but I also recognize that I have a few high performing decades left. To see one of my “peers” check out early is never a fun thing.
And second is a general sadness around the lost quality of Weiland the musician and spectacle. He had a family and issues and loves and losses, all of which were more important than any contemplation that I might sputter on about. But his value as a rock’n’roll front man was, I believe, historically important.
He was a throwback to the 1970s golden age of classic rock personas, larger than life, troubled, slithering and pan-sexual. I’m going to miss his expressive voice and his weird, mesmerizing stage presence. In a perverse way, I could not stop watching the way his face changed over the years, as the drug abuse tore away his flesh, leaving a poetically animated living skeleton.
So in his honour, here are my top 11 favourite Scott Weiland songs…
#11 “First Kiss On Mars“, partly because he sounds so much like David Bowie:
#10 “Plush“, because it’s the hit:
#9 “Days of the Week“, if for no other reason than the hip movements in the video:
#8 “Lady Picture Show“, for its broad, classic rock anthem riffs:
#7 “Big Bang Baby“, if for no other reason that Weiland looks relatively healthy in the video:
#6 “Vasoline” because, well, you know… it’s “the other hit”:
#5 “Interstate Love Song“, because of all the great STP songs, this one reminds the most of the heydey of classic American southern rock:
#4 “Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart“, because at brief moments Weiland sounds vaguely happy:
#3 “Sex Type Thing“…. look at him in the video. He looks well fed!
#2 “Sour Girl“, because it’s a sweet, memorable, and hummable song. Plus the video has Buffy in it:
#1 “Fall To Pieces“, because I dare you to listen to it or to watch the video, knowing of Weiland’s death, without feeling the gravity of the words and images:
“Fall To Pieces” was presumably written by Slash originally for Guns’N’Roses. So maybe with their upcoming reunion, we can finally hear Axl Rose sing it. That would be acceptable.
Three Honourable Mentions:
…all Weiland’s covers of David Bowie songs, which just confirms my hypothesis that he really wanted to be Bowie. And, really, who doesn’t?
(a) I’ve always liked Weiland’s interpretation of Bowie’s Andy Warhol. (Look at that, three pop culture icons represented in one performance!)
(b) Lesser known Weiland attempt to cover Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes“:
(c) And this is pretty crappy, but it’s Weiland’s version of Bowie’s “Fame“:
And a Not-So-Honourable Mention
Bowie and The Stone Roses are two of the musical acts closest to my heart. So I was thrilled to learn that Weiland had covered both of them. Then I heard his version of the Stone Roses’ “I Am The Resurrection.” I wish I hadn’t: