I went to see Scott Weiland the week before he died. It was his second to last show. I suggested my son go to see him; Scott being one of the great rock voices of all time. Mr. Weiland’s gravelly pipes and larger than life presence on the rock scene couple of decades ago was an American dream. His Stone Temple Pilots were right up there with Nirvana (Kurt Cobain), Soundgarden (Chis Cornell) and Pearl Jam (Eddie Vedder) as vocalist-centered superior bands that walked Grunge to the fore of the American consciousness.
But Mr. Weiland’s voice was not the same toward the end of his life. My son scratched his head a little when hearing Plush and other songs sung in a higher register. Sans gravel. Sans primordial ooze.
Mr. Weiland’s voice was his brand. Addictions aside, it must have been hard to lose his most important performance asset. Pitchers lose their fast ball, football players lose their legs, finger-pickers lose their dexterity. So when we refer to people as brands (it’s a thing) we aren’t being fair. People age and their skills diminish. Beauty Kim Novak aged. Patty Smith aged. Some do so gracefully and allow their sso-called brands to do so as well.
People are not brands, however. I just wish Mr. Weiland had realized it and allowed himself to evolve and reinvent before his final act. He was a great. A historic great.