I fell in love with a boy for the first time while listening to Stone Temple Pilots’ Purple.
The album was released in June 1994, less than two months after Kurt Cobain’s tragic death. I was 15 years old.
Purple consoled my high school sweetheart and me from the immense loss; the album turned us on, too.
But Stone Temple Pilots had my heart with Core, which, ironically, was certified 8x platinum on that boyfriend’s birthday in 2001. A lot of time has passed since then.
When I woke up today to read that Scott Weiland passed away on a tour stop in Minnesota, my honest reaction was equal parts sadness and acceptance. Denial doesn’t factor into the news anymore. Not when it comes to the stars who’ve burned out, breaking my heart all through my formative years.
After Cobain, my more morbid friends and I wondered out loud who would be next to commit suicide, either on purpose or by self-destructing. Some of us said Trent Reznor would slash his wrists, while Marilyn Manson threatened suicide and bomb threats delayed shows.
I burst into tears, turned my car and my newly licensed self right around to run screaming up my boyfriend’s steps, when I heard about Shannon Hoon’s death. Hoon had a newborn baby and the song “New Life” on Soup convinced me Hoon would be okay. He would heal from the wound of addiction. Hoon died on October 1995, less than two weeks after I got my driver’s license. I had my wings.
And Scott Weiland continued to fly under the radar, avoiding overdose while staying sickly thin. We all knew he struggled, but most of us went on to college, started listening to different bands and otherwise settled down. Weiland piqued my interest again in Velvet Revolver, with “Slither,” but it felt like a bad relationship. One where I knew I’d end up hurt. I wished him well and moved on a long time ago.
This morning, Cobain’s words haunted me.
That sentence rocked my tormented teenage brain because I started to think of suicide as a way out; a way to control intense emotions and cope with the uncontrollable pain in the world.
But I eyed Cobain’s comment cynically. Until today.
I’m sorry to admit that I didn’t feel the blow as sharply as before. Maybe I’m too old. Maybe I’ve become my dad, thinking all rock stars are dope addicts and destitute sinners. But I loved Weiland. I mouthed his words and fell in love to his melodies.
I’ll miss him. I’ll miss the feelings Weiland, Cobain and Hoon gave me in their music. I’m thankful it doesn’t hurt anymore and I hope he’s found peace.