NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, December 4, 2015, 2:54 AM
Scott Weiland tears up the vocals at Stone Temple Pilots’ Nassau Coliseum gig on Nov. 26, 1996. One Newser “was floored by how badass” the show was.
I just looked up the setlist for the one Stone Temple Pilots show I attended — Nov. 26, 1996 at the Nassau Coliseum — and was floored by how badass it was. 24 songs, nary a clunker. OK, maybe one or two.
But then I made the mistake of looking up the show the night before at MSG that a co-worker here said he attended, and saw that he caught the band’s one-and-only performances of “Sweet Emotion” and “Lick and a Promise” WITH Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. Instant jealousy.
STP had hits. Lots of them. More than you’ll remember at first blush and plenty you could still sing if someone gave you just a few notes. That’s a lot of brain matter still taken up by 20-some-odd-year-old songs. That’s the impact Scott Weiland and his mates’ work had and has.
Weiland was the face and gravelly-throated soul of a band that is sometimes forgotten as part of the grunge/alt landslide of the early 90s, when I was in my formative musical years. I was a senior in high school when “Core” dropped, a freshman in college for “Purple.”
By the time “Tiny Music Songs … ” came along, I was a full-fledged rock n’ roll college deejay cranking the monitors in the studio. STP was a crankable band. “Sex Type Thing.” “Plush.” “Big Bang Baby .” “Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart.” Turn it up and rip the knob off, FTW.
Yet they also penned slower jams that could hit you deep. Many 90s acts failed here. They were one-trick ponies. Three-bar-chord-cowboys. But STP had Weiland, who was a crooner at heart. Go back and listen to “Big Empty.” Listen to “Creep.” They’re haunting.
Weiland (seen in 2000) was best known for his work with Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver.
Then there’s my personal favorite kind of STP song: the crankable ballad. “Interstate love Song.” “Seven Caged Tigers.” “Still Remains.” Boozy, measured, mellifluous lounge club vocal performances by Weiland, ensconced in perfectly cohesive rock ‘n’ roll songs. Genius.
Unfortunately, Weiland’s life went off the rails after those first three albums. It’s the reason you need a minute to remember all his songs. It’s the reason he’s now gone at 48. The man was only eight years older than me. Yet, STP helped provide the soundtrack to my late teens and early 20s. I remember specific car rides with them blasting — moments in time. I haven’t thought of them a lot since, but every time they come on I sing along.
For 20 years, Weiland’s been a cautionary tale. And that’s sad. But man, could he wail. And that’s what I’ll remember.