Scott Weiland’s arrest on drug charges Sunday came as no surprise to those who know the singer. Instead it was the latest sad movement in the symphony of misery and addiction that the Stone Temple Pilots frontman has lived for most of the past decade.
“I was a junkie for 31 years, but I was never crazy enough to do the things he does and the amounts [of drugs] he does,” said Buddy Arnold, co-founder of the Musicians’ Assistance Program, which helps provide treatment for musicians addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Arnold, who has worked closely with Weiland in the past, said he’s disturbed by the singer’s recent backslide and that he fears for Weiland’s life. He said MAP helped place Weiland in a rehab facility within the past two weeks but that Weiland left early after failing a drug test.
“The thing I’m worried about is waking up one day and hearing a news report that he’s dead,” Arnold said. “I think it’s possible for anyone to get clean, I just hope he does it before he overdoses and dies, because that’s where he’s going.”
Weiland was arrested early Sunday morning when police found cocaine and heroin in the BMW he was in (see “Stone Temple Pilots Singer Weiland Arrested For Drugs” ).
According to a spokesperson for “The Project,” a supergroup with whom Weiland has been collaborating, the drugs did not belong to the singer, but to a female he was with. The Project includes ex-Guns N’ Roses members Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, and the band has recorded two songs with Weiland (see “Slash/ Duff/ Matt Coming Soon, Axl Nowhere In Sight” ).
Regardless of whether the drugs were Weiland’s, the singer is in need of serious help, Arnold said. “She may have bought the drugs, but what was he? Her chauffeur,” Arnold said. “He spends more time detoxing than he does doing drugs. He comes out of one detox center and two days later he’s in another. He’s been in at least six different detoxes in the last 45 days.”
Stone Temple Pilots manager Peter Katsis recently confirmed that the 35-year-old singer had been enrolled in several drug rehab programs.
“The last time I saw him,” Arnold added, “I couldn’t get him to sit down or look at anything, he’s so wired all the time. He needs to be somewhere for quite some time so they can address what’s wrong with him psychologically.”
In addition to his struggle with addiction, Weiland suffers from bipolar disorder, a serious mental illness (also known as manic depressive disorder) for which he said he refuses to take medication due to its dulling effects on his personality.
Weiland is due to be arraigned June 2 and faces up to a year in county jail if convicted. A spokesperson for the district attorney’s office said his prior convictions on drug charges in California could “more or less preclude him from being diverted” into a drug program to avoid jail time.
The STP frontman has been arrested three times in the past for possession, twice in California. Weiland was arrested in 1995 for possession of heroin and cocaine and was spared jail time on the condition that he undergo drug counseling. He received court-ordered hospitalization related to those charges in 1996 (see “Weiland Back In Rehab” ).
Following his 1999 incarceration on heroin charges, Weiland remained sober for a full year, sources said, including six months of touring behind STP’s No. 4 album. After years of frustration with Weiland’s struggles, the period of sobriety marked a high point for the band’s personal relationships and opened new possibilities artistically, which the group sought to capitalize on by immediately beginning work on its fifth album. It also marked a high point for Weiland, who married model Mary Forsberg in May of 2000 and welcomed their first child, Noah, later that year.
STP rented a Malibu mansion to record Shangri-La Dee Da, but the sessions were plagued with band strife. By early 2001, Weiland had relapsed and was taking prescription painkillers, and sources said he has consistently struggled since then.
It was an attempt to get his hands on prescription medication, Mary has said, that sparked a November 2001 argument that ended with Weiland being arrested on battery/domestic violence charges (see “STP’s Weiland Ordered To Attend Counseling After Guilty Plea” ). The couple filed for divorce last September.
Sources close to the Project said Weiland’s drug issues are a source of frustration for the rest of the bandmembers, several of whom have also previously struggled with addiction. Should Weiland be selected as their singer, plans are being made to help lessen the risk of a relapse, including methadone treatment and 24-hour supervision.