Leavin’ On A Southern Train

Toronto, ON, Canada / SayRadio

Scott Weiland didn’t leave this earth on a southern train…he died on a tour bus in Bloomington MN. With his passing I find myself feeling nostalgic, and reminiscing on the effect that the Stone Temple Pilots had on my life.

I first fell in love with Scott in Grade 7 when I obsessively listened to the songSour Girl”. After downloading the song  and putting it on every CD that I used to burn I decided that it was time to explore the Stone Temple Pilots in more depth. One hot summer before the 9th grade I went to the mall and bought “Thank You”– the Stone Temple Pilots’ “Best Of” CD. I loved it, listened to it repeatedly and used Wikipedia to find out everything about the band, and it’s flamboyant frontman- Scott Weiland.

Thank You- Stone Temple Pilots Album Cover

“Thank You”- my most prized CD at one point in my life.

The Stone Temple Pilots were heavily entwined with my OCD back then- if I was watching hockey, I had to listen to the same song on repeat or the Montreal Canadiens were going to lose (at least in my mind).  I would listen to the music to help me fall asleep, and the songs would often be the soundtrack of the many basketball, volleyball, and hockey trips spent driving from Timmins to various high schools around the province.

I would look for deeper meanings in every song, and thought “Sour Girl” was the most depressing, and romantic song in the world. “Days of the Week” had a happy, upbeat atmosphere but was in reality a tale of heroin addiction. “Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart” sounds so messed up- and it is, it’s about a bad acid trip.

It got to a point where I had ruined every burnt CD by listening to the same STP songs repeatedly, and with the demise of those CDs I then began to overuse my “Thank You” CD. My  OCD creates obsessions in me that come and go- and surely enough my love for the Stone Temple Pilots began to wane, and I moved on to what I liked to call the “Brit-Pop” phase of my life. I began to replace my Stone Temple Pilots listening sessions with non-stop Oasis, and slowly but surely I stopped googling Scott Weiland. He had in the meantime left the band, and moved onto Velvet Revolver- a band that I could never get into (though I did enjoy hearing “Slither” on the radio).

Despite the fading of my once burning hot love, I still do listen to the Stone Temple Pilots on occasion- usually it’s “Sour Girl” (which is the most listened to song on my iTunes by a mile). When I saw on TMZ that Scott Weiland had passed away December 3rd, I was a little sad- he was one of my first musical crushes, and he clearly had demons that he could not fight.

In the days following his death his ex-wife with the help of their two children wrote an open letter that essentially laid out how terrible of a father Scott was, and how sick he was. She calls for people to stop supporting and glorifying celebrity train wrecks: “Let’s choose to make this the first time we don’t glorify this tragedy with talk of rock and roll and the demons that, by the way, don’t have to come with it.” Read the full letter here.

A great, sad letter that explains why exactly we shouldn’t be romanticizing celebrity addiction and mental health- or making it some spectacle to watch and laugh at. I know Scott Weiland was far from perfect, and I no longer think he’s a “cool” guy- but, I will still occasionally listen to STP and I’ll still google the meanings to lyrics that I don’t quite understand.

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