Although it came out back in 2011, I only got around to reading Not Dead & Not for Sale this week. The late Scott Weiland’s hard-lived life was a well-known one, and it was cool to really get into it all in his autobiography.
Despite the book being pretty old, I’ll try not to get into too many spoilers. However, *spoiler alert* it’s pretty old so I’m only so worried about that. Stop reading if you don’t want to know anything at all!
Not Dead & Not for Sale (named of course after a line in Stone Temple Pilots‘ “Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart”) starts with Weiland’s early years growing up in California and Ohio. Besides living apart from his biological dad, his first real tragedy was the loss of his stepbrother, Craig, as a teen. Also, did you know Weiland was raped by an older boy? He said that was a suppressed memory until a later rehab stint, and that was indeed a bombshell. His youth years also saw the first drug experimentation, which would sadly largely define the rest of his life.
I found that first part of the book a little choppy to read, but Weiland (and co-author David Ritz) settled in once they focused on the music career. You likely know about not only the success of STP, but Weiland’s tumultuous and fractured tenure with the band. Velvet Revolver filled the void once, and solo work took up most of the rest. The other theme of the book is his on-again, off-again relationship with Mary Forsberg, who was his soulmate for better or (often) worse.
Scott Weiland was just 48 when a drug overdose killed him in 2015. Tragically his was a death not that surprising, and that leads to really the main thing I took from his autobiography: drugs are BAD. (Obviously, but seriously.) Like, it’s almost intriguing the way Weiland and others describe the euphoria that certain ones make you feel, but holy shit they will destroy you. Scott Weiland was an immensely talented human being with a good heart, but could never truly beat the habit.
Not Dead & Not for Sale ends with a bunch of Scott Weiland’s sketches, newspaper clippings and other personal pictures. They provide a poignant end to his story, one that really did end too soon. He was one of the great rock frontmen of the 90s, and every awesome, terrifying, unnerving and sad moment he experienced makes Not Dead & Not for Sale a compelling read.