Inevitably, the week in metal continues to be dominated by the recent tragedies that have shaken our world. Scott Weiland was buried on Thursday at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, but as the week opened, the singer’s ex-wife Mary Forsberg Weiland wrote a hard-hitting open letter in Rolling Stone – with the help of the couple’s two teenage children Lucy (13) and Noah (15) – calling on fans and friends of musicians with drug problems not to ignore or condone their addictions as ‘artistic’, and revealing that the ex-Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver frontman had effectively left his children in the past when he moved onto another relationship.
“December 3 is not the day Scott Weiland died,” she writes, “it is the day the public will use to mourn him, and it was the last day he could be propped up in front of a microphone for the financial benefit and enjoyment of others.” Although appreciative of “the outpouring of condolences and prayers offered to our children,” she insists “the truth is, like so many other kids, they lost their father years ago. What they truly lost on December 3 was hope.”
She continued, implicating Scott’s fans in his demise: “You might ask, ‘How were we to know? We read that he loved spending time with his children and that he’d been drug-free for years!’ In reality, what you didn’t want to acknowledge was a paranoid man who couldn’t remember his own lyrics and who was only photographed with his children a handful of times in 15 years of fatherhood.” Although, to be fair to his fans, they’re unlikely to know how many times he’d been photographed with his kids, or what level of paranoia he’d reached in his personal life; in either case, it’s hardly up to the fans to stage an ‘intervention’ on the basis of some forgotten lyrics or an illegible stage rap. She concludes: “I don’t share this with you to cast judgement. I do so because you most likely know at least one child in the same shoes. If you do, please acknowledge them and their experience… Skip the depressing shirt with ‘1967-2015’ on it – use the money to take a kid to a ballgame or out for ice cream.”
Lamb Of God’s Randy Blythe has been opening up on his own drug-and-alcohol-fuelled depression this week. “If someone is clinically depressed they can come from a great background, they can have money in the bank and even have a beautiful wife and family,” the frontman explained to the Rock Foundation. “But that doesn’t matter. I was a broken man internally, mentally, spiritually. Physically, somehow, I was still alive. But sooner or later, with the way I drank and the things I would do when I would drink, I would end up dead. I was an idiot.”
In a sad parallel with Weiland, Blythe attempted to “tough it out by myself for so long and it just wasn’t working. I didn’t know where to start.” After eventually getting sober, Blythe found himself suffering from deep depression: “I did not want to go on any medication whatsoever because I had worked so hard to get rid of all the drugs and alcohol out of my life.” When his psychiatrist explained that the singer needed to “rewire the neurones in your brain” Blythe relented, and eventually weaned himself off the prescribed medication after two years, and is a healthier, happier person as a result. After the fallout from Weiland’s tragic death, it is encouraging to hear that these situations can be reversed.
In other positive news, Eagles Of Death Metal returned to Paris this week for their first live performance since the Bataclan massacre, as special guests of U2. The bands joined together onstage to cover Patti Smith’s People Have The Power, in an act of solidarity with the 89 victims of the atrocity. Bono announced to the audience at the AccorHotels Arena: “We are all Parisians tonight. If you believe in liberty, Paris is your home town.” Of EODM, he said: “These are our brothers, our fellow troubadours. They were robbed of their stage three weeks ago, and we would like to offer them ours tonight.” After a performance of EODM’s I Love You All The Time. Hughes told U2: “We love you so much for giving us this opportunity. I look around and see all my friends. I will never stop loving you.”