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Story and photos by Phil BonyataScott Weiland has burned the candle at both ends. He's fronted one of the pioneering alt/grunge bands in Stone Temple Pilots, been plagued by heroin addiction for years, suffers a nasty bipolar disorder, has been arrested several times and even dabbled for a few years with most of the Guns 'n Roses boys with the band Velvet Revolver. One might question why Weiland is touring solo with the recent reunion and success of STP, but to rationalize his actions would be an insult to megalomaniacs everywhere. On a very base human level we all love to hate Scott Weiland...but like a moth, we are drawn to his flame.
Weiland, sporting a crumpled dress shirt with tie and tight brown pants, sauntered on stage at the half-filled Pabst Theatre three minutes into the lusciously opaque "Reel Around." The band built a sonic foundation for which Weiland could build his craft. Standing center stage and barely moving his body (something Weiland fans aren't used to) his voice took on a more lilting introspection...something akin to Morrissey. The song's swirling wall of sound filled The Pabst like an ominous dirge.
On "Killing Me Softly," from his recent second solo release Happy in Galoshes, the guitarists clashed in unison as Weiland became the familiar peacock again. Engaging all his bandmates while strutting for the crowd with his familiar prance and preen. Weiland, in a gesture to the less interested in his solo work, kicked off the dust for a rambling version of STP's "Vasoline." "Paralysis" roared with confident authority and "Mockingbird Girl," from his first solo record 1998's 12 Bar Blues, witnessed the shaky and slurred lyrics spat out in daring fashion. Weiland, as a solo artist, seems more interested in experimentation, then with his last two bands. "Big Black Monster" found the guitarists strangely picking and plugging their strings into a beautifully weird distortion and Weiland's sometimes confusing lyrics oozed with back alley charm.
With all of the attention Weiland has gotten with STP and Velvet Revolver, it's a shame that more people aren't paying attention to his indurate, yet spacey cabaret style of music.
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