SCOTT WEILAND NOT DEAD & NOT FOR SALE BOOK REVIEW
WRITTEN BY GRUNGEREPORT.NET OWNER BRETT BUCHANAN
I just finished Scott Weiland’s book Not Dead & Not For Sale, I probably read it 15 minutes at a time over the span of several days. In total it took me an hour and a half to read. The book has some very good stories, including Scott’s childhood growing up in high school, and then moving back to Orange County for high school. He talks a lot about his tough relationship with his birth father, and also tells the infamous story of being raped by a 20 year old that everybody has heard about. Scott mentions hanging out in many locations where I’ve been frequently throughout my life living in Orange County, so I found his high school stories about hanging out in Newport and Irvine (my hometown) a lot of fun. One fun story in particular is about Scott’s parents finding pot and coke in his room and Scott, at school, getting taken and then strapped to a gurney and sent to a mental ward for 3 months. I also though his descriptions of his early days in music was fun and the evolution of STP, I would have liked though if he used specific years at least to clear up STP’s early days timeline.
Back in 1992 in an interview Scott claimed that he and Robert DeLeo met at a Black Flag show in 1986, and then mentioned that at some point they figured out they were dating the same girl and moved into an apartment. He could have been making this up back then, since there’s no reference of it in this book. He mentions that he and STP’s original guitarist Corey Hitchok saw Robert play live and met him, but they weren’t able to get him to join their band until at least a year or so after meeting him. Then after Robert joined they found Eric, and a photo is shown of an early STP lineup featuring Scott, Robert, Eric, Corey, and another guy whose name escapes me. A confusing thing is that Scott claims he talked with Robert about joining and Robert insisted that Scott kick out Corey and the other guy from the band, and Scott obliged. Yet there are pictures of STP, featuring Corey Hitchok on guitar, performing live in early 1990. I wish Scott had been a little more clear about the order of events. He said Dean originally helped the band book gigs and was retired as a musician, but they were able to eventually get him to join the band. He said the first time they jammed with Dean they wrote “Where The River Goes.” I’m guessing this was in 1990, Scott seems to hint it was 1989 but that doesn’t make sense because of the picture with Corey on guitar in 1990. Despite some of Scott’s confusing series of events, I thought the book up to this point was pretty good with information I had never heard before and rare photos of STP’s early evolving lineup. Scott says that STP wrote a lot of Core during their early days with Dean in the lineup in 1990/1991, he claims Plush was written around then.
Something random I thought was worth mentioning is Scott definitely seems to be a big Nirvana fan. He mentions that the first conversation he really had with Mary, his second wife, was telling her he was going to put in a cassette of Nirvana’s Nevermind and Mary saying she liked it. Scott also mentions Soundgarden when talking about how STP were categorized early on as metal but he didn’t think that would hurt them that bad since Soundgarden was categorized as metal early on. He also talks about how in March 1994 he was looking to get clean and go to rehab, and he was about to go to the rehab where Kurt Cobain and the singer of the Butthole Surfers were at, but decided against it because he and the Butthole Surfers singer had used a lot during STP’s 1993 summer tour. Who knows what would have happened if Scott had gone there and met Kurt, who ultimately ended up escaping rehab and killing himself days later. Scott says that Kurt’s death devastated him. He also quoted the Nirvana song “Frances Farmer” in the book when talking about the passing of his brother Michael. In the book Scott seemed pretty fond of the Grunge/alternative era that was kicking in the 90’s, he’s not as cynical about it as others are. Scott also writes briefly about spending a month in a hotel with Courtney Love in 1995, he claims they didn’t have sex but that whenever Courtney would nod out she would spread her legs. He mentions it made him think of the Rolling Stones sing starfucker.
Regarding STP, Scott doesn’t really go in detail about the recording processes of any of the albums. He does talk about the meanings of certain songs (there are factual errors, like “Creep” is called “Creed” and the author says at one point that Shangri LA DEE DA came out in 2002). Regarding his relationship with the band, he says it got strained in 1996 when they called that press conference when Scott going to rehab caused them to cancel gigs. He said they demanded he pay them for the money they’d lose and bashed him in the press, Scott claimed this caused a strain on their relationship that even lasted when they regrouped for No. 4 and Shangri LA DEE DA. He even says ultimately his anger about it came out in his near fight with Dean that caused STP’s breakup in 2002. He said the fight was instigated by Dean saying Scott sang like shit right after a show after some weird looks.
Scott’s Velvet Revolver story is a funny one. He said he didn’t really have interest in joining another band when STP were in turmoil again in early 2003, but Mary kept bugging him and he ended up listening to a demo. Scott thought the demo sounded like shit, like Bad Company. Scott doesn’t like Bad Company. He then got a new demo that made him reconsider and once being told they could make a lot of money off of a soundtrack deal, he decided to jam with them. The jam turned into a big wig record label type meeting that sort of made him join the band. Scott says the first record is good but there were big commercial motivations behind it, they wanted to be big. When talking about Velvet Revolver’s downfall he says the band was a “manufactured product” that wasn’t formed for artistic purposes. He seems very happy about STP’s reunion, he says he wants to grow old with them and keep STP going for a long time. He mentions quite a few times how great it is for STP to be back together again, while he alludes to money playing a part in the reunion, it seems like they WANT to be together rather than just a cash grab.
Overall, the book has some good stuff, but it seems more like a good basis for a book. While the book claims to be around 240 pages, there are TONS of blank spaces and every page has extra blank space on the top you wouldn’t normally see, and there are big block words used to fill space. The book is organized more by short stories than chapters, which leads to even more ways to fill pages. Scott has just lived such an extraordinary interesting life and had such a great career, that it seems like the book only scratches the surface. I’d like to see him talk more about his individual relations with Dean, Robert, and Eric. What was the story behind that show at the PNC in New Jersey in 2008 when he had a meltdown? I could have just used a bit more detail on certain parts and also some tighter editing. David Rits (the co-author) doesn’t know much about STP, Scott has said this in interviews. I think having somebody who is knowledgable about Scott’s musical history could have made the continuity of the book a little easier to understand. I think we would get a more complete story of STP if Robert, Eric, and Dean were involved. I understand that Scott wanted to tell the story of his life and STP, but he even admits there is a lot he has forgotten.
Overall, despite the book being a letdown in the sense that many things are skipped over or only briefly mentioned, the book does have some great stories and it makes you understand Scott a bit more. He actually has a good sense of humor, especially in a story about how he was almost murdered by thugs in late 2007 in Paris. He basically decided to go to a party with some strangers and in the car he realized things were going to get bad, and he jumped out of the car and ended up fighting them and escaping death. The hilarious part is at the end of the story he tells his managers that despite all of this, he’s staying in Paris for another 4 days. At the end of the book there are random photos, drawings, and little things from Scott and one is a pasted news article that says “Pilot Weiland Crashes” and Scott wrote “Fuck off” on it.
The sad part is near the end Scott talks about how miserable he’s been over the last couple of years, even when he has downtime from touring. As the book ends Scott says he is 2 months sober (he got sober in late September, so I’m guessing he finished the book in late November or December) and hopes that he is still sober when the book is out. Sadly Scott said on Howard Stern he is drinking, so it makes the ending a bit depressing rather than happy.
The book is a fun read, but far too short and lacking in detail. Mary Weiland’s book Fall to Pieces was far more in depth regarding Scott’s life from the late 90’s to present day. Obviously it’s from her perspective, but she had some really whacky stories like about Scott and Dave Navarro hanging out about 10 years ago and other things. Also her timeline seemed more coherent than Scott’s.