Rocker Scott Weiland holds back nothing in memoir
“Not Dead & Not for Sale” (Scribner), by Scott Weiland with David Ritz
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Countless rockers have written memoirs, and they invariably include many of the same topics: unexpected commercial and critical success; rampant drug use/sex; band infighting.
Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver frontman Scott Weiland’s offering in the genre, “Not Dead & Not for Sale,” hits on all those themes.
The difference here is that Weiland explores the whys of the choices he has made. He invites readers “into the middle of my life and the middle of my head.”
It’s a fascinating place to be.
Born Scott Kline, Weiland’s parents divorced when he was 2.
His mother remarried, his surname was changed to match his stepfather’s and the family moved from the West Coast to the suburbs of Cleveland — a figurative and literal transition from which Weiland hasn’t recovered.
“Kent’s the father I wanted to be with,” he writes. “At age 42, I’m still looking to connect with him.”
Add to that the deaths of two siblings and a long-repressed childhood rape, and Weiland’s repeated attempts at self-destruction — drug addiction, run-ins with the law and two failed marriages — can be better understood.
Weiland digs deep and holds back little in his description of these painful events.
“I’m not afraid of documenting details about the life I’ve led. I have nothing to hide,” he writes.
“Not Dead & Not for Sale” isn’t all about Weiland’s woes, however.
Certainly, the drugs and sex sections are well-represented, but there’s also plenty of tales of rock ’n’ roll to read about, too.
Weiland recounts the grunge-era genesis of Stone Temple Pilots and how he later joined Velvet Revolver, the supergroup that featured former members of Guns N’ Roses, including guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan. Both produced top-selling albums, and Weiland walks through the recording process and how his personal travails found their way into his lyrics.
One nugget: The song “Too Cool Queenie” off STP’s fifth studio record, “Shangri-La Dee Da,” was written about his friend Courtney Love, widow of fellow grunge pioneer Kurt Cobain of Nirvana.
Weiland is back with STP these days, and the band has had renewed successes both on disc and on the road. Still, he reports having fallen off the wagon on the current tour, and he’s again striving to stay sober.
Clearly, Weiland’s story isn’t over, but the four decades’ worth of material he crams into “Not Dead & Not for Sale” makes for a compelling and worthwhile read.
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