[this post has been updated]
A blistering essay from the ex-wife of Scott Weiland on Monday was aimed straight at the heart of the music culture, music critics and fans who celebrate their drugged and inebriated heroes.
Weiland died in Bloomington last week. Although no official cause of death has been determined beyond cardiac arrest, reports have suggested drugs may have been involved.
“The outpouring of condolences and prayers offered to our children, Noah and Lucy, has been overwhelming, appreciated and even comforting,” Mary Forsberg Weiland wrote in Rolling Stone. “But the truth is, like so many other kids, they lost their father years ago. What they truly lost on December 3rd was hope.
“As a society we almost encourage it,” she said of her ex-husband’s death and of other deaths still to come. “We read awful show reviews, watch videos of artists falling down, unable to recall their lyrics streaming on a teleprompter just a few feet away. And then we click “add to cart” because what actually belongs in a hospital is now considered art.”
She appeared to blast the fawning coverage offered by the music press, which said Weiland had kicked drugs and loved to spend time with his kids. He hadn’t. And he didn’t.
When Scott did move on to another relationship, I hoped it would inspire him to grow. I had often encouraged him to date a “normal” girl, a woman who was also a mother, someone who had the energy that I no longer had to love him.
Instead, when he remarried, the children were replaced. They were not invited to his wedding; child support checks often never arrived. Our once sweet Catholic boy refused to watch the kids participate in Christmas Eve plays because he was now an atheist. They have never set foot into his house, and they can’t remember the last time they saw him on a Father’s Day.
I don’t share this with you to cast judgment, I do so because you most likely know at least one child in the same shoes. If you do, please acknowledge them and their experience.
Offer to accompany them to the father-daughter dance, or teach them to throw a football. Even the bravest girl or boy will refrain from asking for something like that; they may be ashamed, or not want to inconvenience you. Just offer – or even insist if you have to.
It’s too late for her own kids, she writes, but not for others, and not for us.
Noah and Lucy never sought perfection from their dad. They just kept hoping for a little effort. If you’re a parent not giving your best effort, all anyone asks is that you try just a little harder and don’t give up.
Progress, not perfection, is what your children are praying for. Our hope for Scott has died, but there is still hope for others. Let’s choose to make this the first time we don’t glorify this tragedy with talk of rock and roll and the demons that, by the way, don’t have to come with it.
Skip the depressing T-shirt with 1967-2015 on it – use the money to take a kid to a ballgame or out for ice cream.