When Stone Temple Pilots made the jump from one-hit grungsters to superstars thanks to their second single, "Plush" it was easy to blame it on Scott Weiland, his baritone shaped into a growl that nearly mimiced one Eddie Vedder, who career had already gone supernova with Pearl Jam. Catching the video on MTV made it even tougher to separate the two, with Weiland's anxious posture, arms wrapped tight around his frame, a mirror image of Vedder behind the mic. At that moment, the grunge movement became a money making commodity.
History has been surprisingly kind to Stone Temple Pilots, if not to Weiland himself. When the group reformed last summer, it was a welcome relief, if only because it offered a memory of a more tasteful time, when Weiland was just another post-Cobain success story, rather than a tormented drug addict and leader of the unbearably awful Velvet Revolver (whose Gun N Roses backing band should have been killed off by the very alternative rock Weiland had ridden to the top.) Now a solo performer, it's interesting to look at Weiland without the distractionbls of sea change rock moments or super group expectations. What's left is that growl, although you're starting to hear some rust on those pipes. Weiland is no longer an Eddie Vedder wannabe. But you might, for a moment, wish he still was.