Friday, January 09, 2009

An Open Apology to Scott Weiland

He'll help ticket sales to the gun show

Dear Scott Weiland and Stone Temple Pilots,

I'm gonna level with you here. I have ripped on your band for most of my adult life. When you debuted with Core in 1992, I tabbed you as opportunistic sell-outs, repackaging heavy metal in grunge shrink wrap. I hated your red goatee thingy Scott, hated your Metallica rip-off videos, hated your fans, and hated the local Cincinnati radio station that constantly played your music (WEBN, Shut Up and Rock! Fuck Yeah!). In my neck of the woods, you guys were the "alternative" band that it was okay for everyone to like. A sure recipe to garner my haughty, high-school music-snob disdain, if ever there was one.

There was only one problem with my blanket hatred of all things STP back in the 90's. I secretly loved your music. Sure I used to sarcastically imitate Scott's vocals on Big Empty while driving a carful of freshman to high school every morning (Tiiiime to take her hooooome, her daaaisy age is constant ladeeee.....), but, while I appeared to be making fun of the song, I was actually enjoying singing along. Imagine that, a teenager pretending not to like something he really likes. Shocking I know.

I am no longer that slightly cocky-yet-insecure teenager driving kids to high school. But I still do have a far amount of haughty, high-school music-snob disdain (I don't own any Killers albums; old habits die hard). Recently though, thanks to the addition of my Lady Friend's Ipod to my music library, I have been reintroduced to a certain STP album called Purple. I never owned the album personally, and really, there was no need to back then. Almost every song got radio play, and the ones that didn't you were bound to hear anyway. The album was everywhere, playing in someone else's car, or at a party, or blasted in the high school's weight room, or being shittily covered by a high school band, etc. etc. The album was omnipresent in 1994 and then subsequently totally forgotten about. Usually that's the sign that a band or a record was just a product of its time and place, lucky to have scored with a good formula for success (I'm looking at you Seven Mary Three, Toadies, and Candlebox). This was not the case with Purple.

So I'm at the gym today scrolling through the foreign Ipod for some workout music. I settle on Bonnie Prince Billy and quickly realize that folksy Appalachian warbling just isn't gonna help me push through into the "burn zone". Then I find Purple. This album is literally the most perfect album to work out to in the history of the world. All those meatheads in high school apparently had the right idea (and maybe the reason why I've never been able to get ripped is my tendency to listen to New Order at the gym, but I digress). I can hardly get from one exercise to another quickly enough. I feel like Lou Ferrigno on an eight ball of coke listening to this shit.

Purple is not super complex or nuanced by any means, but it has probably the tightest, most entertaining collection of rock songs of its decade. Vasoline, Interstate Love Song, Pretty Penny, and Big Empty were all mainstream hits, and they all hold up pretty damn well fifteen years later. Lyrically Scott, you are no Shakespeare, but you've got some catchy phrasing, a great sense of timing, and a surprising amount of depth. And you all even have a sense of humor! There's the hilarious, loung-ey "hope you enjoyed this album" hidden track at the end of the album. I honestly think Purple is the removal of a few filler songs away from perfect really.

So there you go Scott Weiland and the rest of STP. I'm sorry you guys were mercilessly ripped on by critics, music snobs, and me throughout the heyday of your career. I hope our combined efforts had nothing to do with your later addiction problems. I'm sorry I didn't realize back then that music could be popular and good. I also hope that at some point you guys get the credit you deserve for making arguably some of the best rock music of your generation (and unarguably, the best weight lifting music ever). And thanks for shaving the goatee. Sincerely,

This Charming Fan

1 comment:

Susan said...

Is this Andy Breving from Amelia?? If so, hi and AMEN to your article!