Maybe there is such a thing as bad publicity. Scott Weiland is one of rock’s great frontmen. He is also a great frontman overshadowed by the attention he receives in the media, most recently for being “fired” from Stone Temple Pilots, the band he helped found and a claim Weiland refutes.
Perhaps the petty nature of all this back and forth between him and his now ex-bandmates is one reason why attendance was so low last night at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where Scott Weiland performed, backed by his solo band, the Wildabouts.
To start, Weiland took the stage forty minutes late, making his lateness as much of a signature as his onstage swagger. A review in the Lehigh Valley Times cited Weiland as saying he was late because he was watching The Hobbit. How very rock n’ roll of you, Scott Weiland. I heard the word “Hobbit” come out of his mouth, but the garbled string of words surrounding it was lost on me…and I was standing four people deep from the stage.
The tour, aptly titled “The Purple to the Core Tour” features hits from Stone Temple Pilots’ first two albums, Core and Purple, respectively. But last night, the covers had it. Jane’s Addiction’s “Mountain Song,” the Libertines’ “Can’t Stand Me Now,” with bassist Tommy Black sharing vocals, and even a cover of the Doors “Roadhouse Blues” were hands down highlights, although the latter was a bit cringe-worthy as Weiland, supposedly sober but appearing not so, sang about “grabbing himself a beer.” It’s a song, and an iconic one at that, I do realize, but it still felt in poor taste given Weiland’s aforementioned incoherence.
Lead singers’ solo careers tend to succeed marginally more than the former bands they fronted, but seeing Weiland perform STP standards like “Sex Type Thing,” “Crackerman” and “Creep” with the Wildabouts proves STP is only as good as the sum of its parts.
Scott Weiland’s Wildabouts are a talented pool of musicians, and the new arrangements of old STP favorites were good, but they weren’t…STP. They lacked the chemistry and charisma that made Stone Temple Pilots one of the most famous hard rock acts of the 90s. Weiland, himself, even seemed lost and out of place among it all.
I so very much wish Weiland and his former STP bandmates, Eric Kretz and the DeLeo brothers, Robert and Dean, would resolve and rise above their issues to reclaim their spot as a tour-de-force rock band who made kick-ass rock n’ roll once upon a time.