Thanks to Omo Misha for writing this and sending it in:
It was 2014 when I awakened to the realization that Scott Weiland had been making great music for more than three decades (my entire adult life!), that he was still alive and, arguably, still relevant. I had missed the previous several years of his enterprise, so I dedicated some time to catching up on his solo projects, interviews, and various other creative and professional undertakings. In the face of highly-publicized bouts with substance abuse, law enforcement and marital problems, my conclusion was that there had been no break in his productivity – not even a hiccup. The result of my research yielded a 40″x 50″ oil painting that I dreamt he, and an audience of his fans, would one day enjoy. That painting – “A Life in Rock & Roll (Portrait of Scott Weiland)” remains on view at MIST Harlem, where it was when Weiland lost his life last month at age 48.
Art should bring you closer to understanding something that you didn’t before. That is the mantra behind every portrait I create. It is the thinking that compelled me to paint Fidel Castro in shades of crimson and pink, and why Florence Ballard appears in vivid color as the subject of a 6′ oil painting, while The Supremes fade to monotones. When I want to inspire a different perspective on a person’s life, I paint. If my time and resources permit, these paintings will be larger than life. If my aim is fulfilled, my viewers will ask, “Why?” and, just by looking, have their answers revealed. This is what I set out to accomplish with Weiland’s portrait – a work of art that I hoped would embody all that he was and had been, and all he had sacrificed in the name of keeping us entertained. I had no idea he was living in his last days.
Since joining the pantheon of those gone too soon, Weiland’s personal failings, as outlined by his ex-wife Mary Forsberg in Rolling Stone, have nearly overshadowed his notable artistic achievements – which include leading two major rock bands (Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver); more than twelve albums, including four solo albums; two Grammy wins as well as multiple Billboard and VMA awards; writing and performing for movie soundtracks and side groups including Wondergirls, Magnificent Bastards, and Art of Anarchy; and, a New York Times Bestseller, Not Dead and Not For Sale. When the grunge era faded, Weiland lunged ahead; he morphed with the times, explored artistically, and continued to push even his own creative limits. Indeed, this “junkie” gave more, created more and produced more than all who criticized him. The powerhouse bands he fronted were even too small to contain him.
I will never get to share my painting with Weiland in this life but, at least half of the dream will be realized on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 when East Coast fans, art enthusiasts. and Rock & Rollers are invited to MIST Harlem for A Scott Weiland Tribute Party. The event will include Weiland, STP and Velvet Revolver music and videos on multiple screens and projection walls throughout the venue, an art exhibition which includes his 40″x50″ portrait. a live art component that invites guests to participate by contributing their favorite Weiland lyrics to an multi-media artwork being created on-the-spot, live tribute band performances in the venue’s state of the art theater, special invited guests, house specials on tap beer throughout the night, and souvenir give-aways. A rarity for Harlem, the Rock & Roll event is free to attend and open to the public. Out of state and international fans have already begun sending in their lyrics for inclusion in the live project, via Scott Weiland fan pages and a Facebook event listing.
As many of the end-of-year round-ups of those we lost in 2015 have even failed to mention Weiland, this event is all about what he did right, the hearts he electrified with his performance, and the melodic trail he left for all to savor in his absence. There has been no closure for those of us who simply want to relish in the man and his music, sans the talk of demons and imperfections.
Although, Weiland admittedly caused a lot of pain to those who knew and loved him, he never killed a person, molested a child, stole from anyone, or beat a woman. In fact, having sat through countless interviews, I never even heard him say an unkind word about those who criticized him most. This was not a wicked person to be punished and diminished posthumously for evil deeds. And, not even his harshest critics have denied his thirty year musical contributions. Only the future will determine how Rock & Roll will choose to remember Scott Weiland, but on January 12th, I hope we can come together to begin healing and shaping a legacy that his children can be proud of – one that will place him squarely in the company of the greatest of the greats of Rock & Roll.
Bring your favorite lyric!
Harlem, NY 10026