The Weiland Comparison
Just who is Mary Forsberg? Hardcore grunge fans might be able to answer this question: Well, she was married to Scott Weiland, the musician. STP. Velvet Revolver. Junkie. But that doesn’t answer the question now, does it? In Weiland’s memoir Not Dead and Not for Sale, there is a photo of the two in plain Tees—Scott’s reads Rock Star, while Mary’s states Ornament. What may have seemed like an ironic joke to them at the time rings out as nothing but truth. Everybody has a tee-shirt to fill, right?
I picked up Mary Forsberg Weiland’s book Fall to Pieces in a discount bin at HMV. I knew a little about Scott; I knew nothing about Mary. But when I flipped open those first few pages I discovered what read like a mildly censored diary of a girl more sick than willing to admit. Her tale is an often humorous traipse through early ‘90s celebrity, chronicling her young modelling career with anecdotes featuring her many yet-to-be famous friends; people like Anthony Kiedis and Charlize Theron.
Life as a teenage model emancipated from her parents should have contained enough material to entertain a reader for hours, but shortly after her modeling career starts, Mary’s story ends, and Scott’s story begins. Who would have thought the young man who was paid to drive her to jobs would one day become a famous rocker, her husband, and partner in drug-induced crime?
I was nearing the end of Fall to Pieces, the drama and divorce insanity of her marriage still fresh in my mind, when I came across Scott Weiland’s own memoir Not Dead and Not for Sale. All I could think was I would love to read his side of the story. It was just like when you’re friends with both ends of a squabble, and you end up being privy to two different stories describing the same thing. I just had to know.
One thing the two books have in common is paramount; Mary’s book is about Scott, and Scott’s book is about Scott. Not Dead and Not for Sale is a scrapbook of Weiland’s life told with photos and song lyrics. Where Mary tells a story, Scott writes a poem. Where Mary is funny, Scott is introspective and isolating, and despite seeing both sides of their time addicted to heroin, only a few tales are really recounted—the rest seem to be lost in the haze of the drug.
What I was looking for—this he said, she said idea, I found toward the end of both works. I learned about Mary through Scott and vice versa. When Scott was high he complained he needed help Mary wasn’t offering, while Mary complained of his slips with drugs during which she was trying to raise their children in a healthy environment. Mary is crazy. Scott’s an addict. I quickly felt like their child relaying messages to and from.
But there was something intriguing in their portrayal of each other, and that was a type of competition of who loved who more. Weiland claims never-ending, obsessive love in the same paragraph as inadvertently calling his wife a gold-digger. He consistently diverts blame to anything he can, be it Mary or heroin or society. Conversely, Mary’s story is so focussed on Scott that it’s only in the last few chapters that she works on accepting herself as an addict and bipolar sufferer and on her will to recover and help others do the same.
Then again, according to her husband, her motto is lie, lie, lie. So who do you trust? Did Scott write his book as a labour of love, or did he do it simply to get in a few stabs at Mary that he couldn’t through his music? For someone claiming to hate media slander, he seems to do enough of it himself.
In conclusion, Scott Weiland is a walking contradiction. Even through his suffering he retains the image of pretentious, ego-boosted artist who sees himself and others only through his eyes. As for Mary, her new life seems to be just beginning as she lets go of Scott as her Svengali and shreds off her Ornament Tee, slipping into a new blank canvas free to paint on her own. Then again, coming clean is a process. Only time will really tell.
-Lindsay Leggett- www.burningtree.ca
Get it at Indiebound
Get it at Indiebound