Drugs Didn’t Kill Scott Weiland. Touring Did…

Scott Weiland
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Scott Weiland, in an interview on Howard Stern, 2011:

Howard Stern: “Ya know, isn’t it crazy? Everyone looks at your life and thinks, ‘wow, this guy must have it all’.  I mean seriously — the same with like Kurt Cobain — I mean I look at you and I go, ‘oh my God, if I could be the lead singer in a band, a band that actually wrote really great music, like STP.”

Robin: “And performs it like you do.”

Stern: “And it’s effortless.  I look at that from the outside and go, ‘what could be better than the rock star life?'”

Robin: “‘That’s gotta be fun.'”

Stern: “And yet it just seems miserable to you.”

“…we didn’t have to tour as much…”

Scott Weiland: “Well touring, that’s what I was getting at, is…  touring, now, has become — it used to be that there were only a few nights where you felt like you were punching the time clock.”

Scott Weiland
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Stern: “Right.”

Weiland: “But touring has kind of become a punch-the-time-clock kinda gig, because, if –”

Stern: “–why?”

Weiland: “– because, we didn’t have to tour as much, because –”

Stern: “–because you could sell records.”

Weiland: “– we were selling, 40 million records, between all my bands.  Ya know, it’s like.  Aaagh.. and then, so that meant multi-million dollar advances, and publishing, and –”

Stern: “– you make a great point.”

Weiland: “– and record advances.”

“There’s no more record business.”

Stern: “– you make a great point.  That a band used to have time off the road to re-group, write new music, you didn’t have time to chill out –”

Weiland: “– chill out, spend time with your family.”

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Stern: “And now it’s like we don’t have that source of income anymore.  There’s no more record business.”

Weiland: “The only way to make money is touring.”

Stern: “[simultaneously] touring.  And so –”

Weiland: “For those that are lucky to even be able to tour.”

Stern: “That’s right, because you had the following from when records were being sold.”

Weiland: “Yeah.”

“Now, it’s four nights a week.”

Stern: “And so you’re one of the lucky few.  But I see your point.  That now you are a touring act, that if you’re gonna make money, and really make this into a business, and you’re splitting it with all the guys in the band, you gotta be out there on the road.  How many nights a week were you touring.”

Weiland: “Now, it’s four nights a week.”

Stern: “Is it almost impossible to get up for the concert?”

Weiland: “– no, it’s uh –”

Stern: “– automatic –”

Weiland: “I look young for my age, but I’m still 43 years old.”

Stern: “You’re no spring chicken.”

Weiland: “I just, you can’t do that to your voice every night, when you’re playing an hour-and-a-half, to an hour and forty-five minutes.”


Scott Weiland died on December 3rd while on tour with the Wildabouts.  His dead body was found inside his tour bus, surrounded by a collection of cocaine, weed, and a medley of pills that included Xanax, Viagra, sleeping pills, and Ziprasadone.  

The full interview is here.

Top image: Scott Weiland with Velvet Revolver, 2007, by HeavyMezza89 (public domain); second image by ‘Kreepin Deth,’ licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Generic.

9 Responses

  1. Eric H Bonner

    All I can say is an artistic life is filled with medical dependencies . . .: Half the time you got to drug yourself to keep your tooth from aching because there’s no check in sight for the dentist. : : : We do it for real inside the ‘ Spoken Word Poetry Mall ‘ we live in poverty for real and we make untold billions for real. We write spoken word audio books , move musical super stars on mobile platforms deep into China. We embrace terrorist like , Jihadi John , singing poetic songs with him while he behead a motherfucker —the point I’m trying to make is my resume inside the digital music business ; I’m the ‘ Legend Of The X ‘ and I don’t give a fuck about you or what you think !

  2. ja

    Just another life claimed by Google.

    Hey when are we going to see the article about how Google continues to steal all of the entertainment industry’s money with its incredibly successful two decade plus piracy facilitation?

    They’re so artist friendly they put you on a list like the Gestapo now if you dare make a request for them to exclude a website that has your hard work making money for them and their accomplices through web advertising.

    God Google is so cool, I wish I was Google! They have offices with no cubicles! So cool.

  3. FarePlay

    Thank-you Paul.

    In what at first appeared to be a sensational click bait headline is an important post that uses a tragic death to tell an important story. Touring is a grind. Especially in today’s record business where artists are no longer fairly compensated for writing and recording music.

    Contrary to the current perception that touring is the new music business, people don’t take into account why people actually pay to see live shows. It’s the music stupid.

    It is the music that drives people to live shows and keeps them coming back. It is the music, the writing and recording of the music that is the juice that fills the seats. Sadly, we’ve flipped that around by gutting the earnings from recorded music to the point that it is nearly impossible to justify taking the time to write and record great music. To write enough bad songs to get to the great songs or to work on tracks until they’re the best they can be.

    Sometimes lightening strikes and a band or singer-songwriter walks into a studio or turns on their computer and everything in the universe lines up and they walk away with a great recording. And that has always been the case, the first Led Zeppelin record was recorded in two weeks and is still one of my favorite records by the band. But more often than not the truly great records that endure the test of time take thousands of hours to record, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to record and are usually collaborations with a producer.

    I’m not saying that big budget recordings are the only way to make great music, but why should the listener be deprived of them? So Spotify can burn through 100s of millions of debt financing?

    The making of Born to Run is the story of an artist who believed he had one more shot with his label after making two records that failed to sell. Springsteen spent a year working on fourteen songs,

    The reason why some of us rail so tirelessly and passionately about the new record business and why it’s lousy for artists is because the real money has shifted from the artists to the streaming services.

    The most extreme example are the websites that exploit artists by using their work to make money with no compensation. But not far behind are the interactive streaming services, who pay the artist practically nothing to use their work, primarily to raise investment capital with an eye to the real payoff an IPO.

  4. Jeff Robinson

    In the studio when we were working, Scott Weiland used to refer to Eddie Vedder as ‘Beddy Wetter’ because he was supposedly such a complainer in Scott’s eyes. Scott complaining about touring 4 days a week (yawn) kind of makes him guilty of the same thing. Oooooh, the irony…

  5. salty

    “Contrary to the current perception that touring is the new music business, people don’t take into account why people actually pay to see live shows. It’s the music stupid.”
    I hope this is true most times.
    Going to gigs is not what it used to be, people are so addicted to their phones
    and not psyched enough to see, they have to be the audience and give attention and be excited.
    You do see a lot of people going to gigs, recording snippets to make fun of a performer (WHY?) and include footage of themselves to make themselves important (WHY?) instead to involving themselves with the music.
    It’s sad.