This Week In Metal (30/11/15 - 6/12/15)

Unfortunately the Grim Reaper continues to dominate The Week In Metal.

On Thursday the ex-Stone Temple Pilots/Velvet Revolver frontman Scott Weiland died after a cardiac arrest on a tour bus in Minnesota. His body was discovered moments before his band The Wildabouts were supposed to take the stage. Cocaine was discovered near his body (in June, Weiland claimed that he had been drug-free for thirteen years. Nine months ago Wildabouts guitarist Jeremy Brown also died as a result of “multiple drug intoxication”). Shortly after Weiland’s death, Wildabouts bassist Tommy Black was arrested for drugs possession.

“I don’t know how I felt initially,” admitted Matt Sorum, who played with Scott in Velvet Revolver from 2002-2008. “I can’t say I was in shock, but I wasn’t expecting it. I felt like Scott was going to be here longer than this… We did great things together. We travelled the world together. Scott made the music come to life.” Sorum, who also drummed for Guns N’ Roses and The Cult, added: “Of anything I’ve done, that was the highlight for me. I think it’s because it was something we all built together. The odds were against us. Scott came in and really put the icing on the cake.” Despite the acrimonious nature of Scott’s split from the band, he and Sorum were able to make friends before the singer’s death. “He apologised, I apologised,” Sorum says. “We made amends. We were able to say, ‘Hey, man, let’s move forward – let’s just let the old stuff go.’ In the end, I just want the world to know that I feel like I made my peace with him.”

STP released a statement thanking Scott “for sharing your life with us. Together we crafted a legacy of music that has given so many people happiness and great memories. The memories are many, and they run deep for us. We know amidst the good and the bad you struggled, time and time again. It’s what made you who you were. You were gifted beyond words, Scott. Part of that gift was part of your curse.” Velvet Revolver posted a tribute to their fallen brother: “We experienced a good chunk of life with Scott, and even in his darkest times, we all had hope and love for him. His artistry will live on, of that there is no doubt.”

However, thankfully it turned out that rumours of Motorhead guitarist Phil Campbell’s death had been greatly exaggerated. After a mystery illness and three cancelled shows, the guitarist was back in action onstage at Gothenburg; the band posted pics from the gig with an admonishing announcement for the perpetrators of the morbid gossip: “For all members of the media who engage in the modern-age bloodsport of celebrity-death-watch-by-internet-rumour-spreading, we hope you feel the shame and shoddiness of your ‘work’.” With Lemmy approaches his 70th birthday this Christmas Eve, he has also spoken out against the obsession with his health, telling Classic Rock: “I’m sick of the fucking ‘Are you going to die?’ line of questioning. It’s getting really old, that question. I’m alright. I’m going out there and doing my best. I have good days and bad days but mostly I’ve been doing alright… It’s when you get to 60 when everything starts to go pear-shaped. Everyone thinks that becoming an older guy is easy, but you never consider it fully. It comes as quite a shock. But the thing is, I don’t want to give in to it.”

Meanwhile, King Diamond - another metal legend who combatted health problems to return in triumphant style (and who gave Motorhead drummer Mikkey Dee his big break) - had to cancel the last three dates of his US tour due to acute laryngitis. “We are not making this decision lightly,” read a band statement on Friday, “but as we are looking into the complications of laryngitis, among them the possibility of haemorrhaging of the larynx and the chance of irreparably damaging King’s voice, we just simply are not willing to take these risks… We are deeply sorry for what has happened.” In more positive news, it was announced that King Diamond will play a one-off London show at the O2 Forum in Kentish Town on the 21st of June 2016, performing their 1987 horror classic Abigail in its demonic entirety.

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.