ARTISTdirect.com editor Rick Florino recently conducted an interview with STONE TEMPLE PILOTS/ex-VELVET REVOLVER singer Scott Weiland's wife Mary Forsberg Weiland about her new book, "Fall To Pieces: A Memoir Of Drugs, Rock 'N' Roll, And Mental Illness", released on November 10 via William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishers. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
ARTISTdirect.com: What was it like to reach that far back into your life and re-live it for the book?
Mary: Well, to be honest, my memory is horrible, but the things I do remember, I remember really well. Because I have a horrible memory, I did a lot of research on myself. I talked to a lot of people and had to ask a lot of questions because I'd remember something but it'd be a little bit off. So I had to go to other people to have them fill in the blanks. That's what I did a lot. I literally interviewed people about me. I'd be like, "I need to know about four-year-old me, can you tell me that? I have this in my head, but is that right?" I learned a lot about myself.
ARTISTdirect.com: Was it hard to balance some of the book's humor with a lot of the serious subject matter?
Mary: My family — especially my mom and my siblings — has this whacky sense of humor where a tragedy occurs and we're making a joke of it. It was hard for me to not make as many jokes as I did because I didn't want it to be a comic book. But, I can't take myself that seriously. You have to laugh at yourself. Also, I didn't want to write a medical dictionary. The reason I set out to do this is I wanted to get the word out on "bipolar," try to reduce the scariness of the words "mental illness," talk about addiction and hopefully help people but I didn't want to put them in a coma. So I had to throw in little celebrity bits and make it funny, because I don't want to read a medical journey.
ARTISTdirect.com: The book plays out like a movie. It's very visual and cinematic. Were you watching any films while writing?
Mary: Thank you! It's music! Sometimes I would write with my headphones on, and it makes for a mess. You go back and you read what you wrote and go, "Really? I'm going to fix that!" [Laughs] But music inspires. You can connect with a past memory through a certain song, and that was really helpful.
ARTISTdirect.com: What were you primarily listening to while writing?
Mary: STP is going to be an obvious band! I was also listening to different songs from different periods of my life. If I knew there was a song out during a certain time, I'd listen to it a lot. "It's So Easy" from "Appetite for Destruction" [GUNS N' ROSES] was one. It still stirs up the exact same thing that it did years ago. After Noah was born, it was some RADIOHEAD. If it was an intense moment, I needed something to be intense. There was my METALLICA moment too, and I'm embarrassed to say, there was a WINGER moment in there [Laughs]. There's the side of me that's a rock chick, and then there's a slow jam side to me — the whole hip hop, LISA LISA side [Laughs]. There's so much that doesn't belong on my iPod. It's not necessary [Laughs].
ARTISTdirect.com: There haven't been very many books that cataloged L.A. during this period. You cover the club scene, the rock scene and the movie scene. Did all of these worlds blend together?
Mary: I think they are separate, but I think I have good crossover. I have this group of friends, and then I have this group of friends. Part of that comes from moving so much in Junior High and High School. I could always make new friends wherever I went, and I never had a specific crowd that I hung with. I was pretty friendly with just about everybody. That came with me to L.A., and I don't want to limit myself.
ARTISTdirect.com: Would you want to write another book?
Mary: I actually have two more ideas. I want to go back to school. I started school and then I started this book. I want to finish school and hopefully move into drug and alcohol counseling and see where that goes. As you know, trying to find time to write a book and do anything else is sleepless nights! I didn't sleep very much writing this. I wrote at night because you can't really write with kids running around [Laughs].
ARTISTdirect.com: Is there anything that you want people to take away from the book on a philosophical level?
Mary: I think it would be great — and I don't know if someone is going to get this from actually reading it or if they need this information when they read it — but I put a lot of love into this book, whether it was for my family, for Scott, for my kids or somebody else that might be going through what I went through. It grew from love — trying to be authentic and hoping that somebody could connect. That was what I took with me every day when I sat down to write. I think it's a special vibe to have now when there are so many negative things out there.
ARTISTdirect.com: Are there any STP songs that you've always identified with?
Mary: I love "Kitchenware and Candybars". I love "Adhesive" too. I'm really into "Shangri-La Dee Da". There were a lot of Scott and Mary songs — it's not necessarily because of that, but I thought it was a really amazing album and they just went to a different place. I think Scott's brilliant! He's an amazing songwriter, and he's an amazing frontman. He aims to entertain and give you honesty. He's a really honest person. When he goes to do a show, he's going to give you your money's worth. Their idols were different. David Bowie would give you a show, and Scott loves Bowie. They give more.
Read the entire interview from ARTISTdirect.com.