Scott Weiland, the gruff-voiced former lead singer of the hard rock band Stone Temple Pilots who wrote angst filled 1990s anthems like “Creep” and “Big Empty,” was found dead on Thursday in a tour bus in Bloomington, Minnesota, where his new band the Wildabouts were scheduled to play a show. He was 48.
The singer’s manager, Tom Vitorino, confirmed the death, but the cause was uncertain. A statement posted on Weiland’s Facebook page said Weiland had passed away in his sleep.
“At this time we ask that the privacy of Scott’s family be respected,” the statement added.
The group was scheduled to perform at the Medina Entertainment Center in Medina, Minnesota. The show was canceled.
Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro was the first to break the news on Twitter. “Just learned our friend Scott Weiland has died,” he wrote. “So gutted, I am thinking of his family tonight.”
Weiland, who long struggled with addiction, assured fans he was clean earlier this year, after a shambolic show in Texas with the Wildabouts had fans wondering about the state of his sobriety.
He blamed the bad performance on a combination of stress and tiredness, as well as a problem with his in-ear monitors.
“That show the other night where I didn’t have any in-ears, so I couldn’t hear myself, and people were saying I was back on drugs, which is absolutely not the case,” Weiland said. “It’s been 13 years.”
Jeremy Brown, guitarist for the Wildabouts, died on March 30 of multiple drug intoxication, according to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, just one day before the release of the group’s debut album “Blaster.” He was 34.
Stone Temple Pilots is best known for its string of MTV hits, “Sex Type Thing”, “Plush” and “Wicked Garden,” from its 1992 debut, “Core,” which was certified eight-times platinum by the RIAA. Despite its commercial success, the group faced critical derision for watering down the heavy grunge sound of bands like Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains.
In his candid autobiography, “Not Dead & Not for Sale: The Earthling Papers,” which came out in 2011, Weiland went deep on the reality of being in one of the biggest bands of the 1990s - an experience that led to countless rehab stays, the dissolution of two marriages, and physical and mental scars that lasted a lifetime.
He never took the burden of being a rock star lightly.
“I like to challenge people’s imaginations,” Weiland told the Chronicle. “If it freaks people out, I’m happy to bend their minds. That’s what rock ‘n’ roll should be all about. I don’t think it should be something that’s homogenized. I think it should be something that makes people question things, makes people question ideas, makes people question themselves. Doing that from a musical and fashion standpoint is all part of the same thing.”
Weiland parted ways with the Stone Temple Pilots in 2002, joining the supergroup Velvet Revolver with former Guns N’ Roses members, guitarist Slash, bassist Duff McKagan and drummer Matt Sorum.
“Everyone in this band has been strung out,” Slash told the Chronicle at the time. “We’ve all managed to function one way or another, although it’s been difficult. He’s an amazing singer, an amazing lyricist. He shows up every day and wants to work.”
Velvet Revolver released two albums and lasted until 2008, until Weiland resumed an on-again-off-again relationship with Stone Temple Pilots, while maintaining a solo career on the side.
In 2011, he released “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” an album consisting entirely of Christmas music.
Things came to a head in 2013, when the members of Stone Temple Pilots sued Weiland, claiming he sabotaged a 20th anniversary tour by turning up late for performances and missing promotional gigs.
Weiland was born Scott Richard Kline on October 27, 1967 in San Jose, California. His mother, Sharon Williams, and father, Kent Kline, divorced two years later. He changed his name after he was adopted by his stepfather David Weiland at age 5. He grew up in Ohio and Southern California, attending Edison High School in Huntington Beach and Orange Coast College.
He formed the band Mighty Joe Young with bassist Robert DeLeo in 1986, later recruiting guitarist Eric Kretz and DeLeo’s brother Dean on drums and changing the band’s name to Stone Temple Pilots, setting off on a prosperous, rocky career in the spotlight.
Weiland’s stardom was marred by a series of arrests. In 1995, he was convicted of buying crack cocaine and sentenced to one year’s probation. In 2001 he plead guilty to battering his second wife, model Mary Forsberg, and was once again sentenced to probation and paid a fine. Her served jail time in 2007 on a DUI convocation, getting four years probation, enforced enrollment in an 18-month alcohol education program and a fine.
Weiland and the Wildabouts were scheduled to perform at City Winery in Napa on December 19.
His first two marriages ended in divorce.
He is survived by his wife, Jamie Wachtel; a son, Noah, and daughter, Lucy, from his second marriage.
Aidin Vaziri is the San Francisco Chronicle’s Pop Music Critic.. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @MusicSF
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