On Wednesday, the Stone Temple Pilots added another chapter to their annals of acrimony when they announced — via one of shortest press release of all time — that they had “terminated” frontman Scott Weiland, ending a partnership that spanned more than two decades and spawned countless hits.
Of course, that termination came as news to Weiland himself, who fired back with a statement his own that set the stage for what’s sure to be a rather epic showdown (“Not sure how I can be ’terminated’ from a band I founded,” he wrote, “but that’s something for the lawyers to figure out.”) Though, really, as any STP fan can attest to, drama is nothing new for this band: the relationship between Weiland and his mates was always a rocky one — as highlighted by Talk Show, a group the three other Pilots started while still technically in STP — and when things finally fell apart in 2002, there were reports of actual fights between the frontman and the DeLeo brothers.
Sure, they finally patched things up , but not even a reunion tour and a new album could truly heal old wounds … in fact, and just one day before he was fired from the band, Weiland was giving interviews saying STP was working on tour plans, a prime example of how large the divide between he and his bandmates really was.
So while we wait for the inevitable litigation, perhaps it’s time to add the Stone Temple Pilots’ split to the list of rock’s most dramatic breakups. It’s a pretty exclusive club … because while any band can call it quits, it takes true talent to flame out epically. Here’s a look at some of the all-time greats.
Guns N’ Roses: They burned bright, and have basically spent the past two decades setting the gold standard for breakups. It’s thanks in no small part to the supreme ego of one W. Axl Rose, the mercurial frontman who has forced out — or fired — the band’s most talented members (he famously fired Slash via fax), worked eternally on an albatross of an album , continued to tour as GN’R and never, ever apologized for any of those things. And when the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year, Rose penned an open letter that not only demanded his name not be mentioned, but guaranteed we’d never see a reunion of any kind.
Oasis: The Gallagher brothers battled each other while they were still in the band, and they’ve proudly continued that tradition since the Britpop greats called it quits in 2009 (a result of one final, epic fight at a French festival). They’ve exchanged no shortage of pleasantries in the press — Noel called his brother Liam “a squeaky toy that swears a lot,” and earlier this year, Liam proclaimed “F— Oasis and f— Noel Gallagher” — and there was even a libel suit involved (not to mention a countersuit). Both men have since formed other bands, but will they ever settle their differences and re-launch Oasis? We’ll just have to wait and see.
The Smiths: The interplay between guitarist Johnny Marr and fabulously wrought frontman Morrissey made them one of the all-time greatest bands, and the acrimony between the two since they split in 1987 has earned the Smiths their rightful place on this list. Marr grew frustrated by Morrissey’s attitude (and love of Cilla Black tunes), while the Moz has proclaimed he’d rather devour his own testicles than re-form the band. There were also disputes over royalties involving members Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce. Of course, none of that has slowed rumors of a reunion … but we wouldn’t hold our breath. Or our testicles.
Van Halen: No list of splits would be complete without Van Halen, who shuffled through frontmen, replaced longtime members with teenagers, reunited, fell apart, and then reunited all over again. Iconic lead singer David Lee Roth left in the mid-80s, only to be replaced by Sammy Hagar (to their credit, VH still scored plenty of hits with him), who was in turn replaced by Gary Cherone (only after a brief dalliance with Roth, that is). They would eventually reunite with Roth on a full-time basis, but then booted bassist Michael Anthony in favor of Eddie Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang. Somehow, they even managed to put out an album last year and tour … which they’d eventually cancel, of course.
The Beatles: Hey, they’re the greatest band of all time … so, of course, their split would have to be appropriately epic. Towards the end, the friction between Paul McCartney and John Lennon had taken on legendary proportions, and when the band finally split in 1970, it took more than four years of legal wrangling to make it official (McCartney had filed for a dissolution of the Beatles contractual partnership). The two men would continue their spat via songs, like “Too Many People” and “How Do You Sleep,” and though Lennon died in 1980, McCartney kept things burning for more than two decades, famously reversing the hallowed “Lennon-McCartney” songwriting credit on his 2002 live album.
What do you think of the STP/Scott Weiland split? Let us know in the comments below.