Best Of '99: 'I'm Alive,' Scott Weiland Says From Jail

STP frontman addresses public for first time since he was sentenced to 12 months for probation violation.

[Editor's note: Over the holiday season, SonicNet is looking back at 1999's top stories, chosen by our editors and writers. This story originally ran on Monday, Sept. 20.]

Philosophizing on the meaning of freedom, Stone Temple Pilots singer

Scott Weiland made his first public statement Monday (Sept. 20) since

being sentenced to a year in jail for violating probation on a 1998

heroin conviction.

"I'm alive," Weiland said in the statement issued through Stone Temple

Pilots' management office. "This is not a life sentence."

Though Weiland was sentenced Sept. 3 to spend a year in Los Angeles

County Jail, he has been behind bars since Aug. 13. He was granted 35

days of credit at his sentencing for time already served. He will be

in jail when Stone Temple Pilots release their fourth album, No. 4,

Oct. 26.

The statement, which STP manager Steve Stewart said Weiland dictated

from jail, reads:

"I'm alive. Are you? Sixty days into my sentence, just a message to

let you know that I still breathe, think and have not lost the freedom

to write.

"What can I say about jail? It is one of the travesties of mankind to

lose one's freedom, to be locked and bound behind bars of steel, but

if the wheels of a man's mind are free to turn and the wings of his

spirit cannot be clipped, then is a man truly in chains? And is any

man truly free? Are you free? Free to shop at the 7-11, I suppose, or

free to fill your car with gasoline, ever a slave to the oil companies

that dangle inflation and deflation in front of your nose like a

carrot.

"What control do we really have? What choices can we truly make to

shape our own destiny? Choices and decisions of the mind and spirit,

I am coming to find, is where my power lies. My power lies in having

no power at all. A bewildering paradox but one I'm learning to be true.

True passion.

"Do you live to breathe or breathe to live? Are you just a feather

blowing on the wind? This is not a life sentence."

One STP fan, 21-year-old Tricia Goodman of Santa Barbara, Calif.,

wrote in an e-mail that Weiland's statement reflects a man who is

trying to discover himself after realizing that freedom is more

valuable to have on the inside than on the outside.

"I think he's realized that he's been his own prisoner for a long

time," she wrote. "But now that [Los Angeles County] is forcing him

to be a prisoner, he's realizing that he used to have a choice not to

be one. And I think by saying, 'My power lies in having no power at all,'

he's admitting that he never would have realized that if he didn't go

to jail."

Sean Conrad, 20-year-old webmaster of STP fansite "The Resurrection,"

wrote in an e-mail, "Plain and simply this goes to show us the man

behind the music can be deep and thoughtful ... even when [he's] not

under the influence of his demons. It was great to hear that Scott is

keeping his head up throughout this process. I think we all just hope

he knows that he has millions of fans standing behind him."

No. 4, featuring the single "Down," is Stone Temple Pilots'

follow-up to Tiny Music ... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop

(1996).

The band, whose platinum-selling, Grammy-winning sound ranges from

hard rock to '60s-inspired pop, burst onto the music scene in 1992

with Core. The album went platinum shortly after its release

and scored a Grammy for the single "Plush"

(RealAudio excerpt).

Two years later, STP released Purple, which debuted on the

Billboard 200 albums chart at #1.