Scott Weiland, former Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver vocalist, died Thursday in his sleep. Rolling Stone reports that Weiland, 48, was in Minnesota on tour with his current band, the Wildabouts. Several artists have expressed their grief and condolences to Weiland’s family—including one erstwhile STP detractor, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan. In a eulogy posted to Smashing Pumpkins’ website, Corgan admits that he initially dismissed the band, but writes that its third album, “a wizardly mix of glam and post-punk,” changed his mind. “I confessed to Scott, as well as the band many times, how wrong I’d been in assessing their native brilliance,” Corgan writes, adding later that “if you asked me who I truly believed were the great voices of our generation, I’d say it were he, Layne, and Kurt.”
Corgan writes about how much he enjoyed getting to know Weiland in the moments when they got to speak to one another behind the scenes, away from the spotlight. “It may seem trite in reflection,” he writes, “but I’d try to make him giggle when I saw that the manic whirl of the dumb parties we were at (in Hollywood, no less!) might be causing undue stress.” “Manic whirl of dumb parties” is a pretty evocative description of two rock stars’ shared social milieu. Overall, Corgan’s eulogy might be the most heartfelt, vivid tribute to Weiland yet.
Corgan admits that part of his motivation to get to know Weiland better was to make up for how critical he was of the band during its early years, “when they appeared on the scene like some crazy, man-fueled rocket.” “Man-fueled rocket” might not exactly make sense, but it’s certainly a colorful image. And on top of Weiland’s good looks and vocal chops, Corgan praised how he, like any great actor, “gives a real and different voice to each character played.”
There’s even a direct comparison to David Bowie: Corgan writes that Weiland shared Bowie’s skill for “phrasing that pushed his music into a unique, and hard to pin down, aesthetic sonicsphere.”
Read the rest of Corgan’s eulogy here.