Weiland and DeLeo allegedly assaulted a fan in July.
Stone Temple Pilots, the San Diego-hatched band that became the darling of MTV and a mainstay on the Billboard record charts, lias gotten into big trouble. On May 6, a district court in Boston heard the second of two assault cases against two members of the band, stemming from a violent incident involving a fan at a concert near Boston last year.
Lead singer Scott Weiland, the band’s charismatic, formerly pink-haired frontman, and bassist Robert DeLeo allegedly assaulted a fan during the band’s outdoor performance at the Polish American Beach Club in Gardner, Massachusetts, in July. Reportedly upset that people in the crowd were throwing debris at the stage, Weiland, who refers to himself only by his last name, threatened to hurt anyone spotted throwing anything toward the band. According to several witnesses who filed statements with the court, Weiland singled out Scott Brown, 22, of Middlesex County, and asked that he come up to the stage. According to court documents, when Brown got to the front, Weiland and DeLeo were alleged to have violently attacked him, leaving him bloodied and disoriented.
Mike Gibeault, who works at Boston radio station WBCN, attended the concert that night. In a statement later incorporated into a $5 million lawsuit Brown filed against the group, Gibeault said, "[Stone Temple Pilot’s] lead singer... stated in substance that anyone caught throwing shit on stage would be hunted down by the band and security, brought on stage, strung up with guitar strings and they [the band) would piss on their heads.
“There was a rude reaction from the crowd. The band then started playing. On the song after their hit song ‘Plush,’ the band stopped in the middle. At this point, the lead singer pointed out a man in the crowd wearing a green tank-top. I later discovered that this man was Mr. Brown. The lead singer told this man that he had a personal invitation to come up on stage. This was given as a taunt. Mr. Brown appeared confused as to if the statement was directed to him. The lead singer said, ‘Yeah you,’ and at that point Brown was lifted by the crowd and pushed toward the stage.”
Gibeault said in the court document that when Brown was about halfway to the stage, “I realized what was going to happen.” Brown’s lawsuit alleges that as he “reached the security area between the crowd and the stage, the defendant, Scott Weiland, jumped from the stage into the security area and with his hands, fists, and shod feet did violently assault and batter the plaintiff about the head and body.
“As the defendant, Scott Weiland, was violently assaulting and battering the plaintiff, the defendant, Robert DeLeo, jumped from the stage into the security area and also assaulted and battered the plaintiff. In the course of the assault, DeLeo struck the plaintiff in the head with a dangerous weapon, to wit, a guitar and further assaulted and battered the plaintiff about his face and body with his fists and shod feet.”
After the incident, according to Gibeault’s statement, “three or four security persons in blue short-sleeve shirts then assisted Mr. Brown, who was taken to the side. Mr. Brown was holding his head with his right hand, and blood was on the back of his head and shoulder...
Brown was taken to Nashoba Community Hospital (Massachusetts), where radiologist Dr. Nahid Rathore said, “There is evidence of a depressed skull fracture of the right parietal bone adjacent to the midline. One piece of bone is noted to be separated from the calvarium and lying anteriorly."
Brown’s lawsuit alleges “the plaintiff sustained serious personal injuries, including..^ fractured skull.”
Brown, a broadcasting student at Wachusett Junior College and a singer in a Boston-band called Stain Glass Buzz, says, “I had no clue why Scott [Weiland) picked me out of the crowd. I didn’t throw anything at the stage, ever, and that’s the truth. I didn’t hear what he said to the crowd before. I thought I was going to get to hang out with the band on stage. I went willingly. I definitely didn’t know they had violent intentions.” Adds Brown’s Boston-based attorney, George Leahy, “They picked Scott out for evidently no other reason than because he was wearing a bright, lime-green shirt. That was it. He didn’t do anything. He just stuck out.”
Brown subsequently filed charges of assault and battery with a deadly weapon against DeLeo and simple assault charges against Weiland. In a court-sanctioned agreement, DeI>eo, who appeared in court in April, and Weiland, who appeared on Friday, May 6, were both ordered to pay restitution to Brown for medical costs stemming from the attack. The total so far is about $2400, but, says Brown, “that will definitely go up.” DeLeo and Weiland were also ordered to give a 45-minute free concert at Gardner High School with the band — it will take place sometime this fall — and give an anti-drug and anti-violence talk to the Gardner high schoolers, according to Brown’s attorneys.
Despite the fact that the court ordered DeLeo and Weiland to pay restitution, give a free concert and an anti-violence talk, there was no finding of guilt or innocence. According to DeLeo’s attorney, Oliver Mitchell, the case was continued without a finding until April 1995, at which time it will be reviewed. If in the next year DeLeo and Weiland are not involved in any more violent incidents, Mitchell says, the case will be dropped.
Joe Abromovitz, Brown’s co-counsel, thinks that decision is “ridiculous. Obviously there’s more than enough evidence to find them guilty, or they would have simply dismissed it and not held it over. But if they’re good boys for one year, they’ll throw out the case completely, as if nothing ever happened. This is nonsense. They beat my client over the head, they crushed his skull and could have killed him, but they are totally absolved of any criminal responsibility. We weren’t even told of the decision, either. And neither was Mr. Brown. Why they chose to do this is beyond me.”
Stone Temple Pilots’ management did not return phone calls. Reached at his Boston office, Mitchell said, “This type of decision is not unusual for someone with no criminal record. It is designed to help first-time offenders avoid a felony criminal history. It assumes people can be rehabilitated.” Mitchell said he is aware that Brown wanted his client and Weiland to be more severely punished. “Brown is entitled to his view," Mitchell said, “but no one familiar with the law thinks this is a miscarriage of justice.”
Stone Temple Pilots has had a very busy year. The band, which many people think sounds similar to Seattle grunge gods Pearl Jam, has enjoyed quick commercial and critical success. Formed seven years ago as Mighty Joe Young, STP has gigged in clubs throughout San Diego and Orange County. Other members of the band besides defendants DeLeo and Weiland are DeLeo’s brother Dean on guitar (sources say he still lives in La Jolla), and Eric Kretz on drums.
Scott Brown filed a civil lawsuit on May 16 against DeLeo and Weiland in United States District Court, district of Massachusetts, he says. “Obviously 1 don’t like the band anymore. I was a big fan, I liked their music a lot, but I can’t listen to them now without associating the music with what happened.”