When I read Fall to Pieces by Mary Forsberg Weiland, Scott Weiland’s now ex-wife, I devoured it. It was such an insightful and awesome biography – I loved, loved, loved it. I think it goes without saying, therefore, that I was highly anticipating Scott Weiland’s memoir, Not Dead & Not for Sale, with sky high hopes.
Those high hopes were quickly dashed.
Dancing Around Insight
Not Dead and Not for Sale tiptoes around stories already easily found in the press about Weiland, his troubled relationship with his ex-wife, his troubled relationship with Stone Temple Pilots, his troubled relationship with Velvet Revolver…that list could go on and on. The book reads like a rapid fire rebuttal to all the headlines, mishaps and intimacies provided by Forsberg Weiland in her book. Where are the gory details? The nitty gritty, down and dirty about all the band in-fighting, the make-ups and break-ups, the sex, drugs and rock & roll I’ve come to expect from a musician’s memoir? (It’s shocking I would expect that, I know) All still locked in the vault of the mind, apparently. The entire book reads like an overview. A very, very brief overview.
Weiland starts to go there but can’t quite commit, circling back to his love of drugs, drink and, of course, Mary. He provides about four “in-depth” anecdotes in a 288 page span, and they wade in quite a shallow pool. They don’t seem to contribute to the larger arc of what the public already knows to be the Scott Weiland story of love, drugs and second, third and fouth chances, either.
Perhaps the book should’ve been called Between the Lines, the first single off their latest album. Weiland vollies between adoration for his ex-wife and getting his digs in in the very next sentence. A product of a wound that is still fresh? One would almost hope. The hurt is there, the love is there, the struggle to call a truce between the two is there, but Not Dead leaves the reader wanting. It’s understandable desiring to keep some things sacred and private. Don’t write a memoir.
To boot, the book is loaded with fillers – two inch margins at the top of every page, pictures throughout instead of featured in the usual mid-section, and text in a 64 pt font appear on every other page. Song lyrics are peppered throughout, as well, but, again, every STP/Velvet Revovler fan knows the songs and, again, Weiland isn’t telling his readers anything we don’t already know.
“What’s real, and what’s for sale?”
Like the lyrics in the STP song, “Vasoline,” it’s hard to dissect the truth, especially if you’ve read both Fall to Pieces and Weiland’s memoir.
A big beat in the Mary-Scott decades long plotline is the day Forsberg Weiland torched $80,000 worth of Weiland’s wardrobe on their front lawn in Toluca Lake, California. Forsberg Weiland starts the story off by saying the family was moving from one home to the next, and she needed Weiland to take their two children to a hotel so she could concentrate and pack. She didn’t realize it at the time, but she was having a major psychotic break with her bipolar disorder.
Weiland has a wildly different take on how that story began. He writes that he was already moved out, the couple had already broken up and Forsberg Weiland wanted him back after hearing he was dating someone new. She kicked him in the face and later strangled his mother – some heady accusations and not hard to imagine why she would leave those out. So which is the truth? Fall to Pieces came first and was a better read. First impressions count the most. By the time you reach this point in Not Dead & Not for Sale it’s the final nail in the coffin.
Weiland’s memoir is an entertaining read for any Scott Weiland/STP fan, but if you’re looking to get behind the curtain and see the magical, all-powerful Oz, look elsewhere. I so wanted to love this book, but sadly, Not Dead & Not for Sale left this fan wanting more.