Music News

Happy Birthday, Scott Weiland!

Scott Weiland has not only been an iconic frontman for several juggernaut groups but he is the poster boy for rock 'n' roll excess and a sad example of what it takes to disable a career.

Born October 27, 1967, Weiland has built a legacy that is quite successful on paper. After helming Stone Temple Pilots and helping to bring them to the top of grunge rock's first graduating class, he went on to join a bad-boy supergroup of sorts, Velvet Revolver, with Guns N' Roses alumni Slash, Duff McKagan, and Matt Sorum. And he assembled a pair of well-received solo efforts.

Yet his attempts are marred by relapse into his habitual heroin use and enough returns to rehab to qualify as a revolving door. It's sad indeed but unfortunately not without precedent. Perhaps it's an occupational hazard, but whatever the reason, there are far too many examples of musicians who have fallen prey to excess. So today, as we celebrate Weiland's 44th birthday and wish him well, we also offer fair warning and examples of those whose demise was attributed to drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both:

* Frankie Lymon of the '50s doo-wop group the Teenagers, 25 (1968) 

* Guitar guru Jimi Hendrix, 27 (1970) 
* Singer Janis Joplin, 27 (1970) 
* Rock 'n' roll pioneer Gene Vincent, 36 (1971) 
* Lizard King Jim Morrison, 27 (1971) 
* Guitarist Danny Whitten of Crazy Horse, 29 (1972) 
* Billy Murcia of the New York Dolls, 21 (1972) 
* Brian Cole, a member of the folk pop band the Association, 28 (1972) 
* Singer Ron "Pigpen" McKernan of the Grateful Dead, 27 (1973) 
* Gram Parsons, the original Cosmic Cowboy, 26 (1973) 
* Drummer Robbie McIntosh of the Average White Band, 23 (1974) 
* Singer/songwriter Tim Buckley, 28 (1975) 
* Guitarist Tommy Bolin, 25 (1976) 
* Gary Thain, bassist of Uriah Heep, 27 (1976) 
* Elvis Presley, the King of Rock 'n' Roll, 42 (1977)
* Who drummer Keith Moon, 32 (1978) 
* Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, 21 (1979) 
* Folk poet Tim Hardin, 39 (1980)
* Drummer John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, 32 (1980) 
* Malcolm Owen of the punk group the Ruts, 24 (1980) 
* John Panozzo of Styx, 24 (1980) 
* Guitarist Mike Bloomfield, 37 (1981) 
* Guitarist James Honeyman-Scott of the Pretenders, 25 (1982) 
* Bassist Pete Farndon of the Pretenders, 30, (1983) 
* Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy, 35 (1986) 
* Will Shatter of the punk band Flipper, 31 (1987) 
* Guitarist Hillel Slovak of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (1988) 
* Keyboard player Brent Mydland of the Grateful Dead, 38 (1990) 
* Bassist Ric Grech of Blind Faith, 44 (1990) 
* Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone, 24 (1990) 
* Johnny Thunders of the New York Dolls, 38 (1991) 
* Steve Clark of Def Leppard, 30 (1991) 
* Kristen Pfaff of the band Hole, 24 (1994) 
* Bob Stinson of the Replacements, 35 (1995) 
* Shannon Hoon of the band Blind Melon, 28 (1995) 
* Brad Nowell of Sublime, 28 (1996) 
* Dwayne Goettel of the band Skinny Puppy, 31 (1996) 
* Jonathan Melvoin of the Smashing Pumpkins, 34 (1996) 
* Singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt , 52 (1997) 
* Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, 50 (2009) 
* Singer Amy Winehouse, 27 (2011)
Indeed, there are those who defied the odds and bounced back -- Keith Richards, David Crosby, and Peter Doherty immediately come to mind -- and the fact that Weiland has survived up until now bodes well for his chances of survival. It's also worth noting that he's lived longer than most who succumbed to their addictions. For rock stars, the average age at the time of death from an OD is only 29. So while it may seem macabre to put the spotlight on those who died from misadventure, we offer it only as a cautionary tale in hopes that Scott can avoid a similar fate. Hopefully he will and we'll be able to wish him many more happy birthdays and continued happy returns.

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Lee Zimmerman