It was January 30, 1993. I was the 16-year-old host of a cable access show in Davenport, Iowa called “ZTV,” and there I stood in the cold with my friend Scott, awaiting someone to open the back doors of the Palmer Auditorium. Holding our video gear, we were at the Palmer with the purpose of my interviewing MEGADETH frontman Dave Mustaine as the band was then in the midst of their COUNTDOWN TO EXTINCTION Tour. The opening act was a little-known crew that hardly matched the metal of Megadeth, but they had just hit the scene and were blowing up with a single and video called “Sex Type Thing” from their debut album, CORE. That band was STONE TEMPLE PILOTS.
As we awaited our meeting with Megadeth Tour Manager Skip Rickert, around the corner came a man who could’ve under other circumstances been mistaken for one of the local homeless – if not for his bright red hair.
“Hey, do you guys know how to get in this place?” he said, dark glasses covering his eyes as he carried his belongings in a black plastic garbage bag tossed over his shoulder like Santa Claus. “You’re Scott Weiland, right?” I ask, getting a grin and a raspy “yes” as the STP frontman joined us in the waiting game. I don’t remember much of the specifics, but Weiland waited with us for about a half hour or so, shooting the breeze until the door opened and we all walked inside.
It was in the empty venue that STP’s manager (whose name escapes me) introduced us to the DeLeo brothers – Robert and Dean – and drummer Eric Kretz. He’d asked if we’d like to do an interview, and in my novice way I stated that it “wasn’t cleared by the label,” but he said it was totally cool. I was able to jump in the photo pit (for the very first time!) armed with a Ricoh 35mm camera, capturing my first concert photos. Later that night, while Megadeth was on-stage, I’d interview Eric with an appearance by Dean. Just off camera, Scott Weiland was enjoying some herbal refreshment via a Pepsi can with holes punched in it.
I never crossed paths with Weiland again, but I was a longtime fan of his work with STONE TEMPLE PILOTS, VELVET REVOLVER and beyond. Like many, I was often saddened by news of his personal struggles, much of which centered on addiction.
When I logged into Facebook this morning, I was saddened to be greeted by news of his death, delivered via his official Facebook page. It was surprising, yet not shocking, as it’s news that many would’ve expected to have heard long ago.
Despite the hard life that Weiland lived, it’s hard to see another fixture in the music world that’s gone too soon. Last night, around 9pm, Weiland was found dead in his bunk on his bus, moments before he was scheduled to take the stage. The saddest part is that Weiland was a fellow “Rock Father,” leaving behind a son and a daughter, as well as a wife.
Rest in Piece.