Tag Archives: stone temple pilots

Not wild about Scott Weiland’s performance at the Bethlehem Sands Casino

15 Mar

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.

Scott Wldabouting

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.

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JetStream: What I Did on My Summer Vacation

25 Aug

It can be a rare feat for an opening band at a concert to captivate an audience, and an even rarer feat for the first opening band. But California based JetStream has the ability to hold their audience in rapt attention. The three man band is definitely big on talent, which makes people stand up and listen on its own merit, but the fact that they are not even in their twenties makes an audience’s collective jaw fall open once they start unleashing said talent. And what did the band, who consists of Garrett Zeile, Kevin Grimmett and Ben Zelico, get to do on their summer vacation? Open for Stone Temple Pilots.

This is a rock & roll fantasy scenario only dreamt of by bands in basements and garages across the country, but these guys made it happen for themselves. While rehearsing one afternoon at Mates Studios in North Hollywood, JetStream had the good fortune of landing the rehearsal room next to the Stone Temple Pilots and caught the ear of bassist Robert DeLeo. DeLeo immediately took an interest in their music and initiated some discussion with the band members about writing and producing some songs together, as well as bringing the band out on tour.

Initially, JetStream’s manager, and Grimmett’s father, John, was a bit nervous when DeLeo said he wanted to invite the guys to come out on tour with them. Sure enough, though, DeLeo called, and JetStream joined them for 14 shows over a 27 day period. “Robert is a man of his word,” the elder Grimmett says, and added that STP’s people and crew working on the tour were all really nice to the guys.

“It’s really exciting to see the excitement that’s been building from that,” John says of the tour and watching the positive comments roll in from their rapidly growing Facebook fanbase. They even hired someone to accompany them on tour to handle all their social media, including a Vlog on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1sT3QvUgdI&feature=related) that documents the entire journey from start to finish.

The band’s been touring without an EP to support and, to compensate, have kept themselves busy in their hotel rooms burning and labeling CDs to hand out at shows. That, and Grimmett and Zeile have taken up golf. Grimmett says, “We get outside and it takes up all day.” As for Zelico, “Ben sleeps a lot,” Zeile adds with a chuckle that is chorused by the other two.

JetStream got together four years ago in Agoura Hills, California. They were the first to enroll in the School of Rock there and, after running through a laundry list of cover songs, Zeile, Grimmett and Zelico decided they wanted to do their own thing.

“We grew up with both old and new,” Zeile says of their influences, “We’re rooted in Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, but we also take influence from Muse, Foo Fighters, the Strokes and Kings of Leon.” The latter of whom’s “Molly’s Chambers,” JetStream covers in their live show. Their own sound is a reflection of the melding of the old with the new. It’s a little bit grungy, a lot loud and rockin, and the way they move and interact onstage is so tight, if you closed your eyes, you’d think they’d been playing together for decades.

This summer was, however, their first tour, and during the school year, they play shows mostly on weekends and rehearse in between sports and schoolwork. Grimmett pulls double duty, running from baseball practice every day afterschool to band rehearsal three times a week.

What’s next for the band once they get back to California? “Reality,” one of them says, with the slightest hint of disappointment in their voice. Zelico started community college as soon as they got home, and Grimmett was going for his learner’s permit. Musically, putting out an EP is a priority, “Out of necessity,” Zeile says, “we need to make a record or EP.” They’ve already recorded several songs with DeLeo, and there is talk of recording more, but scheduling conflicts have caused the project to stall. As teenagers, the guys of JetStream have nothing but time on their side, especially since they’ve already got the talent.

Scott Weiland Scratches the Surface with Memoir

18 May

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.

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