Q&A: Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots

The singer on why his band doesn't sound like Pearl Jam

Scott Weiland Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc

He comes complete with all the accessories of a happening rock guy. One name. A furrowed brow. Hot-pink hair. A platinum record. All he needs now is a bit of respect. But it just ain't coming easy.

You see, since the debut record by Stone Temple Pilots, Weiland (first name: Scott) seems to have been walking around wearing the alternative-rock equivalent of a Kick Me sign.The criticisms range from complaints that Stone Temple Pilots take themselves too seriously to that they're just a calculated, poor-man's Pearl Jam (the Stone Gossard Pilots?).

Then again, who cares? A platinum record is, after all, platinum. Weiland is in the process of buying a house in San Diego and in the midst of organizing a rape-relief benefit concert. His band is about to start working on album No. 2. And now, Rolling Stone is on the line, offering him a chance to bare his soul.

When you dyed your hair, what other colors were in the running?
I don't know. I just do things to amuse myself. Like Madonna, I always find the need to reinvent myself when I get bored.

So we should be waiting on your sex book?
I'm trying to figure out some way to express my sexual preferences that will shock the whole rock world. I'm waiting to find out if it has anything to do with animals.

The image that most people have of you is very dour and brooding. What makes you laugh?
Different things. Same kind of things that make me cry or make me want to have sex.

Hmm. OK, well, tell me a joke.
I've never been a real joke teller. I find humor out of everyday things that happen in life that seem to not necessarily be overtly funny but just kind of strike me in a dark comedic sense.

Stone Temple Pilots have been put up as a political band. If you could work for only one issue, what would it be?
I really don't have a vested interest in anything other than having the freedom to pursue happiness. Any political issue having to do with equal rights and people enjoying certain freedoms. But there isn't necessarily one cause that I would feel the need to champion, although one thing we've never done is a benefit for AIDS awareness, and that is something I'd be very interested in doing.

What's the worst gig you ever played?
The first show we did right before the record came out. We got this offer to play a couple of the Lollapalooza shows on the side stage. I hadn't sung all summer, and in rehearsals I blew my voice out. We went to do the show, got in the van, and when we got onstage, I had no voice. We only played three songs, and we left the stage, and I felt humiliated.

If you had a gun and one bullet, who would you shoot?
If you asked me this two days ago, I would have said the person that just held me up. I was with a friend outside this bar that I frequent, and two guys pull up asking, "Where's Melrose Boulevard?" I said, "Man, you're on it." The guy runs around us, pulls out a gun and says, "Give me your fucking wallets." At that moment, if I did have a gun, who knows what would have happened. I hate to say that, but that was the scariest thing that's ever happened to me.

You seem to shoot for an image of the '90s sensitive male. Is that accurate?
My girlfriend thinks of me that way. Just because I regard myself as a feminist doesn't mean I'm anti-sexual. It doesn't mean that I don't love women and love to fuck.

Have you ever been on a blind date?
I had this driving job, and this girl started working there, and I asked her to come to this barbecue my friends and I were having. I pulled up, and she's sitting in her car with a thermos of malt liquor. Then we go to my house, and within the first 15 minutes, I go to the bathroom, and she had gone next door and was doing tequila shots with these guys who played in a Southern-rock band. Later at a party, she turned the fuse box off, pulled the for sale sign out of the front yard and started running from me down the street. Then she ran right out in front of a car, put her hands out and her head back. The car slammed on the brakes and jumped the curb. She never showed up for work again.

If you had to form a band that only covered songs by one group, what would it be?
It'd probably be a mixture between old New Wave – like Devo – and maybe Bay City Rollers, Cheap Trick and Stiff Little Fingers.

That's four.
Just that early-'80s cheese pop.

Do you ever listen to your music and say to yourself, "You know, we do sound a lot like Pearl Jam"?
This blows me away. I don't think there's any similarities in our bands at all. Not discounting Pearl Jam, but to me they're a modern-day Buffalo Springfield or something, a classic-rock band. I don't mean that in a derogatory sense. We're on a totally different trip.

Well, your voices sound very alike.
It's funny, when we were recording the record, I was listening to a lot of Doors, and I was worried about the fact that people would say I was trying to sound like Jim Morrison. I never thought there was going to be this Pearl Jam thing. I never thought it would blow up the way it has.