Scott Weiland was best known as the singer of Stone Temple Pilots and supergroup Velvet Revolver. During his two spells with the former, he appeared on six studio albums, including the multi-platinum releases Core (1992) and Purple (1994).
Over the course of a 30-year career, Weiland went from grunge whipping boy as Stone Temple Pilots became one of the most hated bands in rock, to one of rock’n’roll’s most charismatic, if troubled, stars.
He was one of those artists who polarised opinions. Fans loved him for all his ‘eccentricities’, while critics and certain band members balked at his legendary unreliability and emotionally charged outbursts.
"When I’m burnt out from touring I describe myself as the dark clown," he told Classic Rock. "But then I also think of myself as someone that tries to bring light into people’s lives. Music is a universal language and what gets me off is that one and a half hours onstage where I can be someone else, from song to song.”
In 2015 he told us about his favourite songs from his own career.
Stone Temple Pilots – Plush
“This song kinda wrote itself: Robert [DeLeo, STP bassist] came in to the studio with this guitar riff and set of chords and the melody just came right out. I had working lyrics that I used initially and then finished off once we had a demo recorded.
"When the song was released we were actually on tour supporting Megadeth, and by the time Plush became a hit there were more people coming to see us than Megadeth, which rather changed the whole vibe of the tour: at the start we were playing to heavy metal fans who didn’t know what to make of us, but by the end we had our own crowd."
Stone Temple Pilots – Interstate Love Song
“This is a great song, and a very important song for us: it was a number one single on the rock charts, which really helped the album sales, and it’s still played on radio all the time.
"We wrote the whole Purple album really fast: some of the ideas were floating around while we were touring Core, but most of the songs came together really quickly during a two week pre-production stint in a rehearsal studio, before we flew to Atlanta to record with Brendan O’Brien at his Southern Tracks studio. I think we recorded the whole album in ten days, it really flew by, but the songs stand up great."
Stone Temple Pilots – Big Bang Baby
“This was definitely a departure from what we’d done on Core and Purple, and showed some of our glam rock influences. With that album we wanted to do something lo-fi and under-produced – we recorded drums for one song on the studio lawn - and I think it worked out great.
"I love this video because it’s so tongue-in-cheek, as is the song, and I still play Big Bang Baby with my band The Wildabouts. People didn’t always get the humour in STP, but songs like this and Art School Girl were quite playful.”
Scott Weiland – Barbarella
“I started working on this song on a four-track recorder, and the drum beat loop was something I did on a cheap drum machine. We took the demo to a big 24-track recording studio, and I worked with an engineer friend of mine, Tracy Chisolm, and my ex-brother-in-law Tony Castaneda to build the song up into the finished version.
"I happened to be in the lounge of the studio watching Barbarella on TV which gave me the idea for the lyrics, which are a kind of tribute to the film."
Masters Of Reality – Jindalee Jindalie
”[Masters of Reality frontman] Chris Goss produced some songs for me with my first side band, The Magnificent Bastards: we went into the studio with him a couple of times to record music, including the theme song from the Tank Girl movie, Mockingbird Girl.
"I was a huge fan of Masters Of Reality, so working with them was cool: it was quite a liberating experience and it was something I felt I needed to do at the time, in order to get a breath of fresh air."
Stone Temple Pilots – Days Of The Week
“When I first heard this I thought it was a catchy tune, but maybe a little too pop heavy: as far as the lyrics and melody go I decided to take a Beatles-style approach, and that worked out well. Looking back, I think we probably shouldn’t have released it as the first single from Shangri-La Dee Da because typically we started with a heavier song first, and I think this would have made a better second single. But it seemed right at the time, I guess."
Velvet Revolver – Set Me Free
“This was actually the first song we wrote together, and it was a huge hit for us. We wrote it in the studio, then got our record deal off that one song: we did a showcase for a real who’s who of the music industry in our rehearsal space in Los Angles and that was the only song that we had, but it was enough to start a bidding war for the band.
"This was on the Hulk soundtrack, and it was kinda amazing to have a song be that successful from a soundtrack album, but along with Slither this was one of the songs that really turned people on to Velvet Revolver.”
Velvet Revolver – She Builds Quick Machines
“I love this song. At the time I was listening to a lot of Queens of the Stone Age, in fact all of us were, because we were playing on a lot of festivals with them, and I think the main riff to this has a Queens-type of vibe, and a really cool melody.
"Libertad wasn’t as commercially successful as Contraband but I think the music on that album is great – even better than Contraband on some songs – and Brendan O’Brien’s production is fantastic, so I really have a lot of affection for this album."
Scott Weiland – Winter Wonderland
“I know this album took people by surprise, but I’ve always wanted to do an album of Christmas standards in a traditional style. It was a really excellent experience recording that album, a lot of fun to sing with a full orchestra, strings, brass, piano and upright bass. I’ve always felt that if I’ve had an inclination to do something artistically I should follow my instincts and this one worked out well.
"For me, it’s absolutely essential not to get stagnant creatively and to keep re-inventing things, but this wasn’t ever going to take me away from rock ‘n’ roll permanently."
Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts - Modzilla
“Working on Blaster was a great experience, probably the most fun I’ve had since making Core with STP: it’s been a lot of fun starting over. This is a great rock song, with an amazing guitar riff, and it really sets the tone for the album. I’m almost rapping the melody here in the verses, spitting out a lot of syllables over the beat, and I think that makes it a really original song. I think it’s a good entry point into the album: if you like this, chances are you’re gonna enjoy the rest of what we’ve done.”