Scott Weiland: 1967-2015

Scott Richard Weiland

Scott Richard Weiland

Compiling a list of adjectives to describe Scott Weiland is no easy feat, but in light of his recent passing I feel compelled to do so. The beleaguered soul, forever destined to be remembered as the troubled frontman of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver was many things: vocalist, lyricist, music video chameleon, husband, father, addict, rape victim, but above all else he was a bona fide rock star, gifted with immeasurable talent and unparalleled stage charisma. Unfortunately, there seems to be some sort of cosmic prerequisite of pitfalls and trappings that all too often seem to curse the lifestyle of immensely talented performers.

For a moment, let’s forget all the negative connotations and remember what made Scott Weiland a permanent part of our musical landscape. Not only did he possess one of rock music’s most unique and instantly identifiable voices, he also had an amazing ability to assemble a group of ordinary words into profound poetry. His body of work is both enigmatic and contrasting, including hits “Interstate Love Song,” “Sour Girl,” “Plush,” and “Slither.”

I was lucky enough to witness Scott Weiland’s brilliance twice during his tenure with STP; once in 2002 while standing ankle-deep in mud during the band’s turbulent Shangri-La-Dee-Da era, and again in 2008 during the band’s reunion tour. Both shows are permanently etched in my memory as two of my all-time best concert experiences, showcasing on-point and captivating performances by Weiland, which made all of us in attendance feel lucky to be in the presence of greatness.

In retrospect, it’s almost unfathomable to comprehend all Weiland was able to accomplish despite his obstinate addictions in addition to his all too obvious bi-polar diagnosis; sold-out live performances, multi-platinum albums with both Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, four solo albums, a side project collaboration with Art of Anarchy, and his final incarnation as Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts.

Sadly, some artists are born destined to shine with a white-hot intensity, sustainable only for a brief flicker in time. Scott Weiland, the embodiment of an unadulterated rock star, was one such artist.

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Sounds of the Season

Kylie

Kylie Minogue: Kylie Christmas – After previously teasing us with a few holiday treats in the past, Australian singer, songwriter, and actress Kylie Minogue finally delivers her delightfully eclectic full-length Christmas album. The internationally celebrated pop star’s long-awaited release fulfills its yuletide promise with playful classics and delightfully charming originals. Highlights include the Chris Martin-penned “Every Day’s Like Christmas,” a posthumous duet with Frank Sinatra, a celebratory cover of The Waitresses’ “Christmas Wrapping” (featuring Iggy Pop), as well as a surprisingly gorgeous duet version of Yazoo/Yaz’s “Only You” with James Corden.

Brian Setzer

The Brian Setzer Orchestra: Rockin’ Rudolph – Brian Setzer and company return with another snazzy jazzy Christmas offering. This latest holiday set (the band’s first in over a decade) once again finds the former Stray Cats vocalist and guitarist in full tilt yuletide mode. Rockin’ Rudolph‘s sprightly big-band bombast and holiday cheer is guaranteed to have your friends rockin’ around the Christmas tree. Noteworthy moments include “Rockabilly Rudolph” alongside the cleverly arranged “Yabba-Dabba Yuletide,” which puts a refreshingly festive holiday twist on the classic Flintstones theme. The BSO’s latest is a welcome addition to the band’s seasonal canon and is surely destined to be a full-fledged swingin’ hit at any Christmas gathering.

Patty christmas

Patty Smyth: Come on December – Former lead singer of rock group Scandal (and wife to tennis legend John McEnroe) returns to music after a lengthy 16-year absence with eight tasty seasonal melodic morsels. The songstress, best known for 80s hits “The Warrior” and “Goodbye to You,” gifts us with five traditional favorites alongside three originals, all of which are nicely nestled within a warm acoustic timbre. This short but sweet set is the perfect holiday soundtrack companion for Christmas tree gazing and fireplace cuddling. Completists will also want to seek out Smyth’s delicate but dazzling version of “Silent Night,” which is still available as a digital download at PattySmythAndScandal.com.

Train

Train: Christmas in Tahoe – After seven studio albums and selling 10 million records, Train’s latest effort is the band’s first full-length Christmas recording. The celebratory 15-track set features the band’s three original songs intermingled with a mix of holiday classics and cover tunes including: Chrissie Hynde’s “2000 Miles,” Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas,” Joni Mitchell’s “River,” and John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War is Over).” But don’t waste precious seasonal moments looking in stores for this holiday treat because it is available exclusively at Amazon.