There was a time in the 1990s—following the death of Kurt Cobain and Shannon Hoon, and amidst reports of heavy heroin use by Courtney Love, Layne Staley, and Scott Weiland—that it seemed as if half the alternative music scene would succumb to drugs. But while Staley did eventually die of an overdose of heroin and cocaine in 2002, Weiland, the former lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots, improbably enjoyed a second life as the frontman of the band Velvet Revolver, and, at the time of his death on Thursday, was in a new band called The Wildabouts. His manager said he died “in his sleep” while on tour in Minnesota, at the age of 48.
STP was hardly the most influential band to emerge out of the grunge era, but there was a time when their music was inescapable. And if you want a window into the aesthetic of popular mid-90s rock, which in many ways was a rejection of the leather-pants-wearing rock of Guns N’ Roses and their kind, then you can’t do worse than Weiland performing “Big Empty” in a rocking chair, as if he were on the front porch of his home.