Friday, December 04 2015 09:30

In Memoriam: SCOTT WEILAND (1967-2015)

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It was January 30, 1993. I was the 16-year-old host of a cable access show in Davenport, Iowa called "ZTV," and there I stood in the cold with my friend Scott, awaiting someone to open the back doors of the Palmer Auditorium. Holding our video gear, we were at the Palmer with the purpose of my interviewing MEGADETH frontman Dave Mustaine as the band was then in the midst of their COUNTDOWN TO EXTINCTION Tour. The opening act was a little-known crew that hardly matched the metal of  Megadeth, but they had just hit the scene and were blowing up with a single and video called "Sex Type Thing" from their debut album, CORE. That band was STONE TEMPLE PILOTS.

As we awaited our meeting with Megadeth Tour Manager Skip Rickert, around the corner came a man who could've under other circumstances been mistaken for one of the local homeless - if not for his bright red hair. 

"Hey, do you guys know how to get in this place?" he said, dark glasses covering his eyes as he carried his belongings in a black plastic garbage bag tossed over his shoulder like Santa Claus. "You're Scott Weiland, right?" I ask, getting a grin and a raspy "yes" as the STP frontman joined us in the waiting game. I don't remember much of the specifics, but Weiland waited with us for about a half hour or so, shooting the breeze until the door opened and we all walked inside.

It was in the empty venue that STP's manager (whose name escapes me) introduced us to the DeLeo brothers - Robert and Dean - and drummer Eric Kretz. He'd asked if we'd like to do an interview, and in my novice way I stated that it "wasn't cleared by the label," but he said it was totally cool. I was able to jump in the photo pit (for the very first time!) armed with a Ricoh 35mm camera, capturing my first concert photos. Later that night, while Megadeth was on-stage, I'd interview Eric with an appearance by Dean. Just off camera, Scott Weiland was enjoying some herbal refreshment via a Pepsi can with holes punched in it.

Scott Weiland - 1993

I never crossed paths with Weiland again, but I was a longtime fan of his work with STONE TEMPLE PILOTS, VELVET REVOLVER and beyond. Like many, I was often saddened by news of his personal struggles, much of which centered on addiction. 

When I logged into Facebook this morning, I was saddened to be greeted by news of his death, delivered via his official Facebook page. It was surprising, yet not shocking, as it's news that many would've expected to have heard long ago.

Despite the hard life that Weiland lived, it's hard to see another fixture in the music world that's gone too soon. Last night, around 9pm, Weiland was found dead in his bunk on his bus, moments before he was scheduled to take the stage. The saddest part is that Weiland was a fellow "Rock Father," leaving behind a son and a daughter, as well as a wife.

Scott Weiland - 1993

Rest in Piece.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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