Rock star Scott Weiland was found dead Thursday night in his tour bus in Bloomington, and a small amount of cocaine was nearby, authorities said Friday.
One of Weiland’s bandmates was arrested on suspicion of cocaine possession, police said. The Hennepin County medical examiner, which confirmed the death, had not released the cause as of Friday night, and Bloomington police and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office are still investigating. Detectives said the cocaine was in the bedroom of the tour bus where Weiland was found.
Best known for fronting the multiplatinum 1990s band Stone Temple Pilots, Weiland, 48, had been scheduled to perform at a club in Rochester on Friday. He was dead when officers arrived at his tour bus outside the Country Inn & Suites at the Mall of America.
Bloomington police arrested Thomas Delton Black, 47, of Studio City, Calif., a member of Weiland’s current band, the Wildabouts, on suspicion of having an additional small amount of cocaine. Black is being held by Bloomington police pending charges.
The initial 911 call came in as a possible deceased person. On the police scanner, police are heard saying it could be cardiac arrest. Police reiterated Friday that they aren’t yet releasing a cause of Weiland’s death.
On Thursday night, his wife, photographer Jamie Weiland, confirmed the death to the Los Angeles Times. “I can’t deal with this right now,” she told the newspaper, sobbing. “It’s true.”
A statement on Weiland’s social media accounts said he “passed away in his sleep while on a tour stop in Bloomington, Minnesota, with his band the Wildabouts. At this time we ask that the privacy of Scott’s family be respected.”
Weiland and the Wildabouts had been scheduled to perform Thursday night at the Medina Entertainment Center. However, that concert was canceled 10 days ago because of slow ticket sales. The California group was to have performed in Rochester on Friday at the Wicked Moose.
Reports of Weiland’s death began to spread Thursday night after fellow Los Angeles rocker Dave Navarro tweeted about 11 p.m. Central time: “Just learned our friend Scott Weiland has died. So gutted, I am thinking of his family tonight.” That tweet was later removed.
Weiland fronted the San Diego-launched Stone Temple Pilots, best known for the hits “Plush” and “Interstate Love Song,” and later the ’00s Los Angeles supergroup Velvet Revolver, which featured three members of Guns N’ Roses.
Initially dismissed by critics as a commercial knockoff to heyday grunge acts such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots would go on to be one of the bestselling rock acts of the mid-1990s. The band’s debut album, “Core,” eventually sold 8 million U.S. copies.
While his STP sibling bandmates Robert and Dean DeLeo wrote more of their hits, Weiland was the unequivocal star in concert. He would constantly strut around the stage and writhe and shake his slender frame in the grand tradition of other lanky rock singers such as Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop and Steven Tyler.
“We were written off as the band of disastrous dysfunction with too many personal problems to survive,” Weiland wrote in his 2011 memoir, “Not Dead & Not For Sale.” “Or rather, I was written off as the guy whose hopeless addictions had — and would always — ruin everything for everyone.”
Rocking the Twin Cities
After a November 1992 booking with local favorites Run Westy Run at the 7th Street Entry, the band’s first big Twin Cities gig was opening for pioneering punks the Butthole Surfers with the Flaming Lips in July 1993 at Trout-Air amphitheater near Forest Lake, right after its first hit single caught on. By the next summer, Weiland’s band was headlining amphitheaters with the Surfers as openers.
Weiland’s arrests for drug possession and stints in rehab led STP to cancel tour dates and contributed to the band’s 2002 breakup. Weiland moved on, but never seemed to gel as well with Slash and his other Velvet Revolver bandmates, who made their Twin Cities debut in 2005 at the Quest nightclub and played two subsequent Xcel Energy Center concerts. In an interview before the 2005 show, the singer addressed his troubled reputation by insisting, “People would find out that I’m actually a fairly normal guy.”
“It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy and pleased these days other than my wife by my side at night,” he told the Star Tribune.
Just a few months after a rehabilitation stint, Weiland appeared healthy and focused again in 2008 when he came to Roy Wilkins Auditorium on STP’s reunion tour. They played there again in 2010 and kept rolling, but Weiland was fired by the band in 2013 amid more drug-abuse allegations.
Staff writer Kelly Smith contributed to this report.