Growing Up With Scott Weiland

 

I have a funny kind of memory.  I’ve always been the kind of person who looks at the trees rather than the entire forest.  I can tell you everything I had for dinner the day I received my Masters Degree, the arcade machines at the Eagle Rock Lanes when I bowled every Saturday morning from grade school to college, and all the stores in the Headquarters Plaza Mall during the late 80s and Early 90s during our weekly trips to the movies.  I can remember all these small minute details but I can’t tell you where I was or what was playing the first time I heard my all time favorite band, Stone Temple Pilots.  It’s a shame because now as an adult I not only embrace STP’s music as art and an early gateway to similar artists, but also the soundtrack to my life staring in my teens up until my mid-thirties.

I know I wasn’t an early adopter of their music; I didn’t own a CD player until Christmas 1994 (sophomore year of HS) and even then my early CD collection was various volumes of “Scott and Todd Phone Scams”, music from the video game “Secret of Mana” (I totally hit it off with all the girls), and a copy of Aerosmith “Big Ones” which I only bought because I overheard the girl I had a crush on tell her friends how much she liked the band (guess she didn’t have Nintendo).  The first time I even knew of Stone Temple Pilots (STP) was in spring of 1994.  I rushed to CD World because my favorite musician at the time, Hammer, had a new album out titled “The Funky Headhunter.”   While I was at the register I noticed STP’s debut album, Core, on display near the far aisle.  I took note of it because of the band’s unusual name and the artwork stood out; I didn’t buy the album that day- in fact I never actually purchased a copy of Core or the band’s follow up Purple.  A few years later my taste in music had evolved a bit.  I had developed a habit of going to bed while watching 120 Minutes on a Sunday night.  During this time I was afraid to share my music with others and unfortunately, was too intimidated to expand my circle of friends.  Had I done this, I probably would have discovered STP earlier.  My best friend growing up had taken a liking to classic rock, funk, and electronic music and my sister had moved on to more rap and dance music.  Although I appreciated all these other forms of music, and still do, I lacked the communal feeling a fan develops from listening to music with others.  I would come home and draw (my favorite after school activity) while listening to CIV, Everclear, Soundgarden, Presidents of the Untied States of America, Bush, and others.  One afternoon my sister was cleaning out her room and getting rid of CDs she stopped listening to.  I picked through one of the boxes she was discarding and rescued a trove of musical treasures.  My haul that day included Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica, Ozzy, Pantera, and my beloved STP.   If my sister never gave me another Christmas or birthday gift again, I would be OK with it because her discarded tunes are a residual gift that has enriched my soul for years.  Around this time, my Language Arts teach assigned the class a paper to write about and dissect our favorite song.  We would present our papers to the class and get a change to share the actual song in the class.  By this time STP’s second album Purple was almost 2 years old and had become (and still is) my favorite album of all time.  I had memorized every note, riff, and lyric of the music and eagerly wrote about my favorite track, Vaseline.  Being that I didn’t share my love for music with any of my classmates I didn’t know the single had been played to death nor did I realize the album was considered passe by now.  After I read my paper and played my song in class, someone had commented, “really? this song is so old.”  I don’t know why the comment bothered me but it did.   I didn’t discuss music with anyone until midway in the fall semester of Freshman year at college.  Despite this, Purple, had a permanent spot in my CD player for the next decade or so.  Later the same year, STP’s third album “Tiny Music…Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop” was released.  The weekend before the album was released, I was on vacation in Florida with my best friend’s family.  When we piled into the rental car for the first time and flipped the radio on, the DJ announced in anticipation of the new album the station would broadcast Tiny Music… in it’s entirety all weekend long.   By the end of the trip, I was hooked and Stone Temple Pilots had become cemented in my mind as my favorite band.  I had planned to get tickets to see STP when they came around but as many know, the tour never happened as Scott was arrested and incarcerated for drug possession.

I developed a theory, more of a policy really, stating I won’t consider myself a fan of a band or musician until I’ve seen them perform live at least once.  I formed this theory because of STP and the emotional impact their live show had on me.  Five years after my trip to Florida, I was all in when it came to STP.  I had all four albums, posters, magazines, bootlegs, everything!  My first tattoo is of the cover of Purple, a baby riding on a dragon in a distinct Japanese style.  Surprisingly enough I hadn’t seen STP live yet, due to lack of opportunity.  The closest I came was seeing Scott Weiland perform a short set to support his solo album 12 Bar Blues during K-Rock’s Dysfunctional Family Picnic II tour.  I was supposed to see the band on tour with the Red Hot Chili Peppers at PNC Bank Arts Center earlier in the summer but a freakishly harsh rainstorm slowed traffic down to a crawl.  By the time I walked into the venue, I heard the band saying their goodbyes to make way for the Chili Peppers.  The opportunity to see them finally arose in fall of the same year, at the Asbury Park Convention Hall.  I remember walking into the small venue, a far cry from the stadiums and arena the band had played previously.  The entire show was all general admission allowing my sister and I to get close to the stage, but not precluding me from having to protect my sister from grabby guys around us.  On this evening, I believe I experienced what it truly means to feel the power of music and how it can effect one’s soul if allowed.  It was akin to a religious experience where one can understand an aspect of the human condition that may have eluded them before.    Somewhere between the guitar parts of Interstate Love Song, the soft quiet stillness of Atlanta, and a magnificent cover of Shine On You Crazy Diamond I felt like I had found the answers to every question I ever had.  I went on to see STP play eight more times at the PNC Bank Arts Center, Susquehanna Bank Arts Center, Stone Pony Summer Stage, and lastly NJPAC (the single best show I’ve ever seen in my life).  I sang every song, I danced around like a fool, I listened intently as fellow New Jersians Robert and Dean DeLeo told the crowd the same story every single time they played in NJ: their first concert ever, The Carpenters at the Garden State Arts Center.

Then there was Scott. Outside of his work in STP I’ve seen Scott perform with Velvet Revolver on three occasions, completely solo once, and with his final band, The Wildabouts, four times.   At one point in my life I knew I had seen Weiland once too many in too short of a time when I found myself thinking of wearing a scarf in the summertime (thankfully I didn’t).   Scott was the kind of artist who projected his emotions into his performances so heavily at times it drowned out the music. When he was happy, the entire venue felt his intensity, it was like what I would imagine watching an artist like Jackson Pollack create one of his masterpieces.  When he was stressed, we all felt it.  I had seen the shows were he showed up 3 hours late slurring his words and almost falling off the gigantic speakers adorning the stage.  I’ve been to hundreds of concerts in my life and seen a wide variety of artists from Metallica to the Dave Matthews Band, Beastie Boys to Paul McCartney, and Less Than Jake to The Cherry Poppin Daddys but no one has ever matched the amount of emotion Scott Weiland brought to the stage.  The last time I saw Scott Perform turned out to be one of his final shows- November 28th 2015 at the Wellmount Theater in Montclair, NJ.  The show itself wasn’t his best but not his worse either.  He started the show acting a little subdued and quiet but by the end the rock star I had come to admire was in full effect.  In my mind, it was noticeable his fame was fading and I had decided he would reunite with Stone Temple Pilots soon.  His last album, Master Blaster, showed he still has the talent, both parties needed each other, it made perfect sense.   After the show, Scott was doing meet and greets for $300 a couple.  I had discussed it with my girlfriend and decided to pass, as it was a lot of money right before the holidays.  Had I known he would be dead less than a week later, I would have certainly paid the money.

The purpose of my rambling post isn’t to glorify Scott Weiland’s death.  Even though I had secretly hoped it wasn’t the case I, like everyone else, knew the case of death would be drug related.  I would rather celebrate the music, memories, and understanding Scott gave me. His music was like a friend, holding my hand during turbulent times and celebrating with me during the fun times. Our heroes are never perfect, they are humans with very real problems and trials just like you or I but their work lives on and resonates with us long after the final encore.  If I ever had the opportunity to speak to Scott Weiland I’d like to think I wouldn’t gush or get nervous like I tend to around those I admire, I’d thank him for helping me understand more about myself by writing and singing about himself.   I’d like to end with these thoughts, a quote from my favorite film Almost Famous, “Music, you now, true music – not just rock n roll – it chooses you. It live in your car, or alone listening to your headphones, you know, with the cast scenic bridges and angelic choirs in your brain. It’s a place apart from the vast, benign lap of America.”

 

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Philip A. Maenza aka “Philtastic Phil” is an internet entrepreneur and consumer behavior professional whose interests include art, film, music, stand up comedy, fitness, and comic books. Phil is also a dedicated community volunteer and always open to connecting with like minded optimists.  Scott truly flew without no feathers.

What the film Hudson Hawk Taught Me

It was May of 1991 and I was a 12 years old sixth grader who was an action and adventure junkie.  I’d like to tell you I found adventure every weekend riding dirt bikes or going to karate but the truth was I was more into Nintendo and Ninja Turtles than anything else.  The highlight … Read more

Why is Everyone Mad at U2 ? – Part 2 – an update! Sharon and Ozzy Clarify Their Stance.

A few months ago I posted a blog entitled,”Why is Everyone Mad at U2?”;- discussing the surprising blow back from Apple gifting digital copies of the bands latest release,”Songs of Innocence.”  In the piece I noted Sharon Osbourne was particularly vocal, and in my opinion hypocritical, in her criticism of the band on Twitter stating .  “U2 you are business moguls not musicians anymore. No wonder you have to give your mediocre music away for free cause no one wants to buy it.”  For my full blog post go to:     http://wp.me/p4kPiy-69

Last week both Sharon and Ozzy appeared on the Sirium XM’s “Opie and Jimmy Show” to discuss upcoming projects including Ozzfiesta, a possible special to commemorate the anniversary of their realty show, and the future of Black Sabbath.  During the interview the subject of Sharon’s recent thoughts on U2 came up, although Sharon noted after she made her initial remarks, the members of U2 sent Ozzy a “lovely” hand written note.  Her issue was not with the band but she felt calling the album a “gift to the world” deceptive because the band was paid by Apple, rather than recording the album for free.

A video of the interview is below, U2 question is around the 22 min mark. 

Sharon’s issue is more of a business issue, making it sound when massive artists like U2 give away their music for free it does a disservice for new struggling artists to be heard. With all due respect to Sharon, who is a savvy businesswoman and mogul in the recording industry, as a consumer I strongly disagree.  To reiterate my point in my first post on this subject, record labels gouged customers by overcharging on albums (in all forms) for years and still do.  Record labels devalued their own product by creating an inflated market for it and then trying to over saturate their target market. The advent of MP3s and digital music dealt a significant blow to the industry in a way corporate music labels still haven’t recovered from.  Case in point, the new AC/DC album debuted as the best selling rock album last week,but sales were a third of their prior release. Record labels profit more off of licensing the music to movies, commercials, video games, and other mediums then to the actual music sales.  I surmise this is why its’ so damn expensive to purchase an actual concert ticket these days.

Consumers themselves have become apathetic to music as well.  High School and College students, who were once the top customer for record labels, are now opting for services like Spotify or Pandora rather than owning an actual album.  Music is no longer a valuable piece of cultural currency rather it is a disposable commodity used to sell cars and life insurance.  This is why as a consumer and music appreciator I will gladly download a free album by one of my favorite artists just as I won’t for an artist I don’t care for.  In a case like this, where Apple, pre-loaded the next release of IOS with the album, I can understand if someone feels something is being forced on them but you can either quietly delete it or hit the skip button.  This is hardly the first time a mp3 player or phone came pre-loaded with an album or track.  Rather than cause a stir, I would like to see how other artists of the same magnitude promote their music in new ways.

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In closing, let me make special mention Sharon and Ozzy have been trail blazers in introducing new artists to the public, often using Ozzfest as a way to expose upcoming bands to music fans around the world.  If anyone in this business knows how to bring new artists to the forefront it’s Sharon Osbourne.

Philip A. Maenza aka “Philtastic Phil” is an internet entrepreneur and consumer behavior professional whose interests include art, film, music, stand up comedy, fitness, and comic books. Phil is also a dedicated community volunteer and always open to connecting with like minded optimists.  Not only does he love the new U2 Album, he is very excited to see them live this summer at Madison Square Garden!

Best and worst cover songs.

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I read somewhere people stopped appreciating new music at some point in their late twenties.  Since hearing this I’ve been proud of the fact my thirst and passion for new tunes has yet to be extinguished.  Music, to me, is the great communicator.  It is a language echoing messages across different languages, religions, ethnicity, and levels of understanding.  It has the power to bring friends and families together or comforting the listener when you’re all alone.  It is a time machine transporting appreciators across decades of memories in seconds like a Delorian streaking across the sky.  I started seriously listening to music later than most, my senior year of high school.  Up until then my CD collection consisted of Scott and Todd phone scams, movie soundtracks, and a few Aerosmith albums I picked up to impress a girl I had a crush on Sophomore year (it didn’t work).  My love for the medium was galvanized in college when I was introduced to punk, heavy metal, and ska by two gentlemen I am blessed to call friends today- Mark and Nik (not a typo). Many of my weekends were spent in a noisy club reeking of stale beer and cigarettes or peroxide because we didn’t know to use hair dye back then.

Nik is the one in red, Mark is the one in black/grey, I'm the one in blue pleased with myself after nailing another friend, Dave, in the coin purse seconds before the picture was taken.
Nik is the one in red, Mark is the one in black/grey, I’m the one in blue pleased with myself after nailing another friend, Dave, in the coin purse seconds before the picture was taken.  Guess which one is Dave?  By the way, we’ve all lost significant amounts of weight since and Dave has children, so everything worked out just fine.

I’ve been addicted to the HBO series, Sonic Highways, chronicling the Foo Fighters road trip to recording studios across the country while they are recording their new album.  The show is also a journey through history of music in each particular city in only a way a true musician can appreciate.  Each episode is like a love letter to the medium and has turned many viewers, myself included, onto songs artists and musical genres they would never have even thought of listening to prior to the show airing.  In my case I am finding myself scouring You Tube searching for songs by the Zack Brown Band, Tony Joe White, and other country artists after watching the Nashville episode of the series.  What appealed to me the most about this episode is country’s heavy reliance on cover songs throughout history.  I’ve always been a big fan of the well done cover song. I embrace a well done cover song or tribute album as not only something familiar to bop your head along to but also as an opportunity to discover a new or old artist.  During my college years it seemed every punk band had at least one cover song they would either improve or utterly destroy.  The songs that improved on their predecessor were always a special treat and a great gem.  Like that seen in High Fidelity:

Some of my favorite cover songs:

1. “And Then She Kissed Me” – Kiss

A great example of taking a song and making it your own. One of my all time favorites.

2. “Cum on Feel The Noise” – Quiet Riot

I would normally out his under guilty pleasure but it was the first heaven metal song to reach #1 and it’s chock full of 80s music video cliches.

3. “16 Tons” – The Nightwatchmen

Tom Morello best known for his work with Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave brings us a surprisingly jazzy version of the song about corporate oppression. Surprised this has never been used in a tv series. Speaking of Tom Morello…

4. “Paper Planes” – the Street Sweeper Social Club

This cover I actually prefer to the original by MIA. I blast this every time my iPod shuffles to it.

5. “Your Song”- Elle Goulde

This is so well done I almost wish it was an original song. Very delicate and delicate sounding. She’s got a great voice.

6. “Common People” – William Shatner and Ben Folds

This is the song that made me like Ben Folds and respect Shatner – sorry not a Trekkie

7. Enocium – entire cd Great collection of tribute and cover songs.

My personal favorites on this are:

“Dancing Days” performed by my favorite band Stone Temple Pilots,

“Going to California” by Never The Bride,

and “Hey Hey What Can I Do” by Hootie and the Blowfish

8. “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” – Al Green

This song makes me wish I could sing.  I would sing this every freaking day!

9. “The Man Who Sold The World” – Nirvana

If you grew up in the nineties you couldn’t escape this song. It holds up and is every bit as haunting as the Bowie original.

10. “Hurt” – Johnny Cash

This video still chokes me up every time I see it. I think this was released shortly after June passed. Even though Nine Inch Nails released it, it feels like it was Cash song all along

11. “Take On Me” -Reel Big Fish

I listened to a good amount of punk and ska music in college. Every punk band had a cover song on their album. This was by far my favorite. It makes me miss ska music. Even though the video is goofy and missing the signature animation of the original, it’s just a lot of fun.

12. “Love Me Two Times” – Aerosmith

Great bluesy classic !  They also have a great cover of Come Together if you feel like searching for it.

13. “I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston

It’s a shame how she passed but when this came out I was shocked to learn its a cover of Dolly Parton. She had such a wonderful voice.

14. “Chauffeur” – Deftones

Deftones are known for their heaven guitars, pounding drums, and guttural screams but this Duran Duran classic really proves their musicianship.

15. “Cat Scratch Fever” – Pantera

I saw an interview once with Dimebag before he passed where he proclaimed Ted Nugent as a huge influence on him and Vinny Paul. The arrangement and care with this track is a meticulous testament to their admiration of the song.

16. “Desolation Row” – My Chemical Romance

I’m not a fan of My Chemical Romance and I don’t know of Bob Dylan is either but when I hear this song I don’t care lol. The official video is boring so I went with a fan made one using footage from the film The Watchmen, based on the graphic novel of the same name. This song appears on the soundtrack.

17. “Girl You’ll Be A Woman Soon” – Urge Overkill

The Pulp Fiction soundtrack cemented Tarantino’s knack for mixing music with motion picture to invoke emotion, like Scorsese before him. This was the only cover on the soundtrack but a stand out track.  When I was in high school I copied the track onto a mix tape. I didn’t realize this was a cover song until the manager at the indoor amusement facility I worked for, Dimitri, borrowed the tape.

18. “Don’t Think Twice” – Mike Ness

The Social D frontman really showed off his musicianship with this classic. Exactly what you wouldn’t expect from punk, that’s why it’s so punk.

19. “Airbag” – Richard Cheese and Lounge Against The Machine

If you don’t know who Richard Cheese is you need to go to iTunes and download all his songs RIGHT NOW !!! Swankified versions of rock amd rap hits. Hilarious and well done.

20. “The Man in Black” – The Bouncing Souls

Hands down my favorite cover !!!! From the best band out of NJ!! Bon who ?? Boss of what ?? That’s right I said it !!!

Honorable Mentions:

1. “Keep Me Hangin On”

Vanilla Fudge

and Kim Wylde

I kept both versions to illustrate how the same cover from 2 different artists can have two totally different moods.

2. “Sweet Dreams” – Marilyn Manson

Turns the 80s dance song into a creepy nightmare.  

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He later did a cover of “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell and “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode.

Both of which….sucked.

3. “Got The Time” – Anthrax

4. “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue” – Hole

Remember the film, “Crow:Salvation” few do.  It was direct to video fodder you can’t even find in a bargain bin today.  The soundtrack, however, was fantastic and included this tune.  Hole also had a great cover of “Gold Dust Woman” on the Crow: City of Angels soundtrack, which was also great too.

5.”Come on Eileen” – Save Ferris

Monique Powell was supposed to be Gwen Stefani before we knew who Gwen Stefani was.  Campy video but great sound.

6. “Land of Confusion ” – Disturbed

Great song but apparently they tried to cover the video of Pearl Jam’s song Do The Evolution too, including hiring comic book artist/legend Todd McFarlane to design the video  but failed 🙁

Todd McFarlane with his biggest creation, Spawn.
Todd McFarlane with his biggest creation, Spawn.

7. “Holy Diver” – Kill switch Engaged

Great song. Terrible video. I’m assuming they were trying to spoof Dio’s video for Rainbow in the Dark by visiting a Midevil Times

8. “Teenager in Love” – Red Hot Chili Peppers

9. “Imagine” – Blues Traveler

10. “Don’t Stop Me Now” – The Vandals

11. “Turn The Page” – Metallica

A noticeably darker version takes on a whole different meaning than the original. I would have listed it under my best but it was overplayed.

12. “I Will Survive” – Cake

That’s right ladies, we’ve taken it back l!

13. We’re a Happy Family – A Tribute To The Ramones Entire Cd
Great Ramones covers from U2, Rob Zombie, Kiss, and Pete Yorn.  Although Red Hot Chili Peppers version of “Havana Affair” is my favorite, I’ve included Garbage’s cover of “I Just Wanna Have Something to Do”

14. “Strutter” – The Donnas

Let’s face it –

Brett Anderson of The Donnas

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looks a lot better as the Star Child

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Than Paul ever did

15. “Save a Prayer” – Eve’s Plumb

16. “Kick Out The Jams” – Rage Against The Machine

17. “Heroes” – The Wallflowers

Literally the only good thing about the Godzilla film from the late 90s. Jacob Dylan’s explanation of this song ruined it for me ” The Wallflowers are playing despite the city being destroyed cause that’s what we do for our fans ” yacht !!

18. “Big Hard Sun” – Eddie Vedder

19. ” Polk Salad Annie” – Elvis Presley

20. “Let Down” – Scott Weiland

21. “Thank You” – Chris Cornell

22. “Ring of Fire” – Social Distortion

23. “Tired of Waiting for You” – Green Day

24. “Everybody Wants to Rule The World” – Patti Smith

When I hear this I think of watching Dennis Miller’s show on HBO with my Dad. 🙂

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25. “Summer Nights” – Less Than Jake

If you aren’t familiar the punk band put out an album titled Greased covering all songs from the Grease soundtrack. Some love it some hate it. I’m in the first category

26. “Hotel California” – Kid With Man Head

Most of you probably don’t know this one but it holds a special meaning for my friends and I. Every time I hear this I think of Freshman year at Rutgers, Nicholas Hall, E Wing and our times together.  This post is dedicated to you 🙂

Here’s a list of some to avoid like the plague at all costs

1. “Fame” -Tommy Lee

Someone told Tommy Lee he should try to sing. I hope that someone has since lost their hearing

2. “Feel Like Making Love” -Kid Rock

I love Kid Rock but this one hurts.

3. “Stayin Alive” – Ozzy Osbourne

Starts with “all aboard the disco train!!” —- I’ll take the next one

4. “Sweet Child of Mine” – Sheryl Crow

5. “Papa Don’t Preach” – Kelly Osbourne

Not even auto-tune can save it

6. “Dancing With Myself” – Blink 182

Just annoying

7. “Squeeze Box” – Poison

Painful

8. The Most Wonderful Time of Year – Entire Cd – Scott Weiland

The video for Winter Wonderland was great a nice call back to Bing Crosby. His version of Silent Night is long and labored.

9. “Billy Jean” – Chris Cornell

Chris is a great singer but he slims like he’s in pain through half this song

10. “The Boys Are Back In Town” – Everclear

Boring

11. “I’m a Believer” – Smash Mouth

So sweet and sugary it will make u a diabetic

12. “It’s My Life” – No Doubt

Bland

13. “You Spin Me Right Round” – Dope

Also bland

14. “Bullet The Blue Sky” – POD

A mess

15. “Another Brick in the Wall” – Class of 99

It’s a shame this is the last recording we have of Layne Stanley.

Guilty Pleasures
1.”Word Up” – Korn
2. “Smokin in the Boys Room” – Motley Crew
3. “Cleveland Rocks” – The Presidents Of The United States of America
4. “Street Fighting Man” – Rage Against The Machine
5. “Blue Monday” – Orgy
6. “Revolution” – Stone Temple Pilots
7. “Faith” – Limp Bizkit
8. “Legs” – Kid Rock
9. “Smooth Criminal” – Alien Ant Farm

10. “Going Back to Miami” – Blues Brothers

What’s your favorite cover? Did I miss one?  Let me know!

Philip A. Maenza aka “Philtastic Phil” is an internet entrepreneur and consumer behavior professional whose interests include art, film, music, stand up comedy, fitness, and comic books. Phil is also a dedicated community volunteer and always open to connecting with like minded optimists.