10 Years Ago: Stone Temple Pilots Abruptly Fire Scott Weiland
"It's just a shame how it happened." That's what Scott Weiland once said of his firing from Stone Temple Pilots, the band he'd served as lead singer for a collective 20 years.
He'd known the band "since I was a teenager," added Weiland, who fronted Stone Temple Pilots from 1989 to 2002, and again from 2008 to 2013. "Crazy things happen, especially when you end up getting different management." Weiland was formally dismissed on Feb. 27, 2013, and the band issued a single-sentence news release: "Stone Temple Pilots have announced they have officially terminated Scott Weiland.” But of course, things were more complicated than that.
The day before the release, Weiland emphatically denied Stone Temple Pilots were breaking up. The rumor started a few months prior after an off-hand comment by Slash. "STP has not broken up. I haven’t quit. I haven’t been fired," Weiland told Rolling Stone. "Slash doesn’t know anything about STP. We’re talking right now about when we want to tour next."
The following day, Weiland learned of his dismissal the same way the rest of the world did: via the media. "Not sure how I can be 'terminated' from a band that I founded, fronted and co-wrote many of its biggest hits," he told Rolling Stone, "but that’s something for the lawyers to figure out."
In the year or so before Weiland's firing, there was little if any indication of what was to come.
In January 2012, Weiland chatted enthusiastically about the band's upcoming plans, which included a possible 20th-anniversary celebration for Core, their debut album. "We're doing a lot of special things," Weiland said back then. In May 2012, he once again assured fans that a Core anniversary tour was on the way. It would launch in the fall and feature the band playing the album in its entirety, Weiland added.
Stone Temple Pilots did hit the road, but the celebration of Core never materialized. Then, just a few shows into the tour, STP arrived nearly two hours late at Abbotsford, British Columbia, then played a shortened set with no explanation. They later released a statement saying Weiland had been ordered to go on 48 hours of vocal rest because of strained vocal cords.
Despite the drama, it's unclear whether any of the band members knew that their final concert with Weiland would take place on Sept. 23, 2012, at the Aftershock festival in Sacramento, Calif.
Watch Scott Weiland Perform His Last Show With Stone Temple Pilots in 2012
Weiland subsequently recalled offering an alternative to the nixed Core tour. "I said, 'Okay, then we need to make a new record because we can't go on just playing the greatest hits set. It's not going to work. We're losing fan base. Our guarantees are starting to go down.'" he said in 2015. "So I assumed we were all on the same page when we left tour and it turned out not so and they got different management and things just soured." The others later said Weiland chose to go ahead with a solo Core anniversary tour, a clear breach of previous legal agreements that laid out what members were permitted to do outside of the band.
"It was a very difficult decision to terminate the face of your band," STP bassist Robert DeLeo admitted to Rolling Stone about six months after Weiland's firing. "Dean [DeLeo], Eric [Kretz] and I have been saddled by someone for a long time. We've always looked out for Scott’s best interests and tried to be a great friend to someone who really didn’t care to be friends with us. ... And I don’t think we had any other choice."
In another interview with Rolling Stone, Dean DeLeo added: "I'm very proud to have had the honor to have worked with Scott in the past – really, at a time when there was no one better, in my opinion. I'm really, really excited about what we carved out, and I'm just as honored and just as proud of what we're embarking upon right now."
Stone Temple Pilots had sued Weiland the previous May, alleging chronic tardiness and misuse of the band name. "Enough is enough," the suit stated. "Without relief from the court, Weiland will continue violating STP’s rights, misappropriating STP assets and interfering with the band's livelihood." The suit also cited previous agreements from both 1996 and 2010 that said no previous member of the band may use the Stone Temple Pilots name.
Weiland countersued, accusing his former bandmates of conspiring to remove him. "How do you expel a man from the band that he started, named, sang lead on every song, wrote the lyrics, and was the face of for 20 years?" he argued in the suit.
Stone Temple Pilots essentially answered, returning with Chester Bennington of Linkin Park in 2013. "I really respect the decision these guys have made," Bennington told Rolling Stone. "I also understand how incredibly difficult having that conversation would be."
Bennington performed his last show with Stone Temple Pilots on Nov. 9, 2015. Less than a month later, on Dec. 3, Weiland was found dead of an accidental overdose on his tour bus. STP released a statement following the news that spoke positively and sensitively of Weiland: "Together, we crafted a legacy of music that has given so many people happiness and great memories."
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