What I Think Of When I Think Of Scott Weiland

Photo: Paul Bergen/Redferns.
I guess my brother Andrew and I weren't really old enough to be at The Eagle bar in Fall River, Massachusetts on a Friday night. I was nine years old and Andrew was 11. But it was the '90s, before a picture of children at a bar would have gone viral with clickbait-y headlines about bad parenting. Plus, we were with the band.

My parents spent most of that decade playing in '90s alternative cover bands. My experience with their hobby was mostly restricted to when the guys would come over and practice, or the occasional listening to a cassette tape of their previous performances in the car on my way to school. But this time Andrew and I would get to see The Tahitian Pearl Divers (or were they called Catch 22 that year?) perform our favorites live, including songs from Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and of course, Stone Temple Pilots.

When news broke early this morning that Scott Weiland, former singer for Stone Temple Pilots had died, my family and I began our emotional upheaval. "No words," my mother wrote on Facebook along with a picture of Weiland. My sister and step-dad went for more musical tributes, posting clips of their favorite songs, like "Pretty Penny." Scotty — as we called him colloquially — was gone.

My heart was broken. Of course we didn't know Weiland personally, but it felt like he was a childhood friend of ours. Purple, Core, and Tiny Music...Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop were almost always on rotation in our home. No matter how my parents' band changed in membership and name over the years, Stone Temple Pilots was always in their set.
When I read about Weiland I was instantly transported back to that bar in Fall River. I remember feeling that I wasn't dressed right for the occasion — a concern I had even at such a young age. I remember feeling afraid that a drunk woman dancing uncontrollably on the second level of the venue would fall to her death. I remember thinking I had cool parents. And, I remember Stone Temple Pilots songs.

Weiland's death comes as a shock, not only because he was so young at just 48-years-old, but because it feels like a part of your own experience has died with him. I guess it's kind of like the way we mourn TV characters who die. We let musicians into our homes — into our bedrooms, even — so we form a special relationship with them. That's why, when Alice in Chains' Layne Staley died, my parents got a plaque made for our music room. That's why there's been a wall-sized framed picture of Kurt Cobain in our living room for the past 20 years. Now, Wiley will undoubtedly join his fallen heroes on the walls of my parents' home. And I will write about how I went to a bar before I was even double digits.

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