At some point in the mid-90s, I turned down the chance to interview Stone Temple Pilots: I had already written too many profiles of heroin addicts, and right then, I couldn’t listen one more time to stories of the drug and its inevitable toll on human lives. A decade later, I ended up spending a couple of days with Velvet Revolver for a Rolling Stone article, so I heard some of those stories anyway. A decade after that, Scott Weiland is dead. It always sucks, no matter how unsurprising it is.
When I heard the news late last night, I went back to my interview transcripts from 2004 and reread my conversation with Scott (previously unpublished excerpts from that interview are now on the Rolling Stone website as “The Lost Q&A.”) He was smart, he was creative, he was skittish. He didn’t like living out his addiction dramas in public, and had declared that after talking to me he would be taking six months off from talking to the press, but even when I would bring up other topics of conversation, he always ended up talking about heroin and its consequences. The gravitational force of the drug was too great.