Interview from November 23, 2009, reposting it since we moved to a new host and lost everything.
AlternativeNation.net’s third interview is finally here, and it is the most candid interview I have done yet on the site. Mary Forsberg Weiland, the estranged wife (soon to be ex-wife) of Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland, has just released her brand new book Fall to Pieces: A Memoir of Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Mental Illness. The book is by far the best Scott Weiland/Stone Temple Pilots related book I have ever read, it also tells Mary’s great story of how she went from growing up in a poor family to becoming a model and marrying Weiland. Mary is very honest when it comes to describing her battles with drug addiction and mental illness; this book is not at all a Scott hatchet job like many fans originally assumed when the book was announced. Mary is very critical of herself and admits many of her mistakes. There are also some sadistically entertaining stories about Scott including his drug induced adventures with Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro and an incident where Mary punched Scott in the face and dragged him home. I recommend this book not only to every Stone Temple Pilots fan, but to anybody who wants to read an intriguing and inspirational story. Here is my interview with Mary where she discusses the future of Stone Temple Pilots, her current relationship with Scott, her reaction to the fan backlash regarding her book, and some of her future projects.
Why the title Fall to Pieces. Did you consider any other Stone Temple Pilots or Velvet Revolver songs for the title?
Mary Weiland: At first I resisted using anything Scott related for the title. I looked for something simple and to the point. I did like the song title of the old song by the Guess Who, Undun. But there was another book with a similar title. My publisher suggested “Fall to Pieces.” I ran it by Scott and he liked it. I reached out to the guys in Velvet Revolver and they all thought it fit my story. What was most important to me was the subtitle. The words “mental illness” had to be there. The reason for writing the book was not just to help other people, but to lighten the heaviness and the jarring stigma that those words carry. When I saw the whole title, it all fit together.
How are you progressing with your desire to assist those with addiction struggles?
Mary: My focus is spreading a positive message. To bring a little hope to those who think their situation is hopeless. My life is beautiful now and the darkness and depression have lifted. Once I’m finished promoting Fall to Pieces, then its back to school. I want to resume my studies and get certified as a drug and alcohol counselor with a focus on co-occurring disorders. If you suffer from addiction, your chances of also having a mental illness or personality disorder run very high. I have some opportunities to intern at treatment centers in the LA area as well. I’d like to try that out too.
Anymore book signings coming up?
Mary: I don’t think so. I just finished the last one here in LA. I was overwhelmed by how much support and love was in the room. I’m so grateful that it wasn’t me, my mom and the sound of crickets.
How have fans been so far at those?
Mary: They’ve been amazing at the signings. On the internet — not so much. Most people have chilled out after reading the book. It’s not some jet-set memoir, or a diatribe by somebody with a big score to settle. My score is settled. This is my story, and if it reaches people at all, it’s probably because it feels true. It is true. I tried to write the kind of book that I would have liked to find when I needed some truth, and felt so alone in the world.
Any crazy people asking for locks of Scott’s hair?
Mary: No. If I did have locks of his hair I would share them. Scott’s fans are extremely loyal to him.
Why release the book now, were you aware of the previous October 27th release date (Scott’s birthday)?
Mary: As I got closer to my deadline I read that October 27th would be the on sale date and I nearly had a heart attack! I called my editor and had a mini freak-out. She had no idea it was his birthday and we were able to change it. It would have been a tacky move to take away from his day. Birthdays are a big deal to me.Â Most of all, though, I think Scott’s generosity with the title, and his support for the book that’s all I could have ever hoped for. His birthday is for his own book! Or he can put his book out on my birthday. I’d be honored.
What are the telltale signs of bipolar disorder?
Mary: Everyone has different symptoms. That’s part of the reason it’s so difficult to diagnose. My symptoms were high-highs and extreme lows. The depression was crippling. At first the highs made me productive, energized and creative. Until my meltdown in 2007, I thought my problem was just depression.
You mention in Fall to Pieces that bipolar medication has made you less funny and a bit mellower; do you feel that medication is necessary for people who are Bipolar?
Mary: I’m not a doctor so I don’t want to suggest a remedy and there is no cure, but medication will be a part of my life forever. It does slow me down, sometimes it affects my creativity and it’s a pain in the ass taking it twice a day. The worst part was my mother suggesting that I’d lost some of my natural sense of humor. I was always kind of proud of it! I’m just grateful that it worked right away. That’s not always the case for other people searching out the right cocktail of meds. It can be frustrating and many give up. Sometimes the side effects can be devastating.
How did you react to the initial backlash from STP and Scott fans online after the book was announced?
Mary: I hate to sound like a baby, but it did hurt my feelings and on more than one occasion I cried. I’ve always been a fan of Scott’s fans and followed the message boards so that I could give him feedback. I started Fall to Pieces while we were still together so accusations that I was trying to be destructive or just cash in were painful. It’s not the most lucrative job, and frankly I’m still in the hole. It’s worth it to me; I didn’t do it for money. Scott’s fans are very loyal so it’s somewhat understandable, but assuming I’d disrespect him without reading the book was something I wasn’t prepared for. I was shocked when I heard fans thought I’d changed my name to Weiland just to sell books. My legal name has been Weiland for over nine years. I have a Facebook page where I use Forsberg so that I can connect with old friends. Until Noah and Lucy are college age, I plan on sticking with Weiland and even then I may never change it. Not everyone will like the book or connect with my story and that’s okay. I hope it’s obvious how much love went into this process. I really appreciate the chance to clear the air on that one.
The backlash was intense, especially with the combination of the book and Scott accusing you of having an affair, which you deny in Fall to Pieces.
Mary: Scott wasn’t in top form when he made those comments. It hurt because regardless of our separation, our marriage was sweet and filled with love and those words tainted something beautiful. He posted a message acknowledging that it wasn’t true. I cried when I read it. It put the light back in our time together.
You mention in the book that you made a pledge to stay clean when your son Noah was born in 2000. With the drama you have been through the last few years have you ever been close to relapsing?
Mary: Drugs are so far behind me that I almost can’t remember what they felt like. Alcohol took me a bit longer to quit. I never assumed it was that big an issue until 2007. Sobriety feels amazing. No regrets, but many lessons learned.
What are your thoughts on Scott’s upcoming book, has he told you anything about it?
Mary: I’m excited for Scott and I look forward to reading his book. He’s given me a handful of pages and I loved them. I guess my dream, as fan of his, is that his book reads like his music feels. Like his lyrics, they can be real and true and also transport you to another place. I’m sure his book will be powerful. What I read sure was.
You mention in the book living with Scott and the rest of STP when they were recording Shangri LA DEE DA. Do you remember the documentary that was being shot and did you participate in it?
Mary: Noah was a new baby and I was so sleep deprived. My memory isn’t that great regarding what the band was actually working on. I do remember them filming something. I haven’t seen it. Maybe someday.
Do you know why it wasn’t released?
Mary: I haven’t a clue, sorry.
Scott has mentioned in interviews that he has been there in the past for you when you have had troubles, but whenever he does you shun him. How do you respond to this?
Mary: You can’t believe everything in an interview, including this one. (Just kidding.) I’m not sure how well he was doing when he made those comments. There have been times when we haven’t been there for each other. When I became a mother my priorities changed. I’m pretty sure the countless times I helped Scott into rehab or attended meetings and therapy sessions with him have to count for something. In a long-time marriage, you switch roles quite a bit.Â You also have to give each other room to grow or change or rage. I think we both know each other well enough to give each room to get things wrong before we figure out how to get things right again.
You mention in the book that Robert and Dean DeLeo are quite the characters; do you have a specific funny story about them you’d like to tell?
Mary: I can’t think of one story in particular, but everything that comes out of their mouths is comedy. They always have me laughing. The DeLeos are classic guys, and I think a lot of the chemistry of that band is anchored in their very particular and hilarious perspective on life and love and of course Rock.
According to Fall to Pieces you got the ball rolling on the Stone Temple Pilots reunion. Knowing the band like you do, how long do you see them lasting?
Mary: I’m not sure. If they ever part ways, I’m sure it will be for very different reasons that it might have been in the past. They’ve all grown and have different interests. If I were in a band, regardless of how successful it was I would want new experiences. I would hate the idea of never attacking a new opportunity. I know they are really passionate about new challenges, and hitting new peaks with the next album. And they will do it.
How is your relationship with Scott right now?
Mary: It is so much better than I ever imagined it could be. Iâ€™m not sure that weâ€™d be this close if it werenâ€™t for the kids. It took a lot of work to get here, but it feels great.
Does he seem to be happy?
Mary: He does. He’s on the road a lot so I can’t measure his mood on a daily basis, but I’m proud of him.
In Fall to Pieces you discuss your many break ups and reconciliations with Scott, with your history do you envision yourself ever getting back together with him?
Mary: I’m surprised how many times I’ve been asked this question. It’s sweet that people are keeping their fingers crossed. Right now I think we are exactly where we’re meant to be. How I feel about Scott, and our powerful time together, is a big part of the book. That’s probably where the question comes from.
Are you worried about your children Noah and Lucy growing up and finding out about your and Scott’s past problems?
Mary: This question can be answered with one word –Google
Do you ever want them to read this book?
Mary: I’m sure they will read it before I think they’re ready. I’ve thought a lot about how old they should be before they read the book. I’ve decided on 40.
Do you have any upcoming projects following this book? You mention in the book running a business with Velvet Revolver guitarist Dave Kushner’s wife Christine.
Mary: I’d love to write another book one day, but I’m going to focus on finishing school first. Writing is not an amateur endeavor. Like making music, it takes time and dedication and a real desire to lock the world out and focus on what you need to say. It’s always best when it comes from way down deep, as this book did. I love David Sedaris, and the way he captures everyday life in his work. I’d love to get close to that kind of truth when I write another book. Christine and I are on break from Double Platinum. I was writing and she had a baby. Christine is pregnant again so it may take awhile to relaunch. Go Christine!
Thank you for doing the interview. I was quite skeptical before reading the book being a big fan of Scott and Stone Temple Pilots, but after reading it I can honestly say it’s one of the most honest memoirs I’ve read in a long time and it has no agenda. With all of the bullshit that is out there about you and Scott it was nice to finally hear the truth. You honestly talk about your struggles along with Scott’s and it’s a very inspirational story about overcoming addiction and mental illness.
Mary: I’m so happy you were able to connect with Fall to Pieces. I wanted to write a personal and helpful account of what it was like to live through such a dark period. I feel like we grew up in public. The tabloidy reports had only a kernel of truth, but that’s the world we live in. I think most people know that about the tabloids they read, it’s the flashy and largely untrue side of celebrity. It has nothing to do with the things that are truly important, which is what makes you a fan of the music or art or people that you love. Google anyone and you’ll just see the glare of celebrity. I wrote from a place of love. For Scott, Noah, Lucy, my family and for all those people who live under a dark cloud and dream about sunlight again. Thanks for these great questions. Very Best, Mary.
Interview conducted by AlternativeNation.net owner Brett Buchanan, e-mail AlternativeNation.net at grungereport @yahoo.com, if you’re reading this Scott Weiland you are welcome to do an interview anytime on the site! More AlternativeNation.net exclusive interview are available in the Interviews section, which includes an interview with former Nirvana drummer Chad Channing