December 2015: Music Is a Gift

**I had a December column all written and tied up with a nice bow to publish today and then the news of Scott Weiland’s passing came through last night and hit me like a ton of bricks.  He’s not the first musical hero I’ve lost, nor will he be the last…but this one resonated with me. Hard.  My initial reaction is HERE. Hence, what you see below.

On a lonely tour bus cruising across the Minnesotan winter highways, Scott Weiland was found unresponsive in his bunk.  The man that had battled so many demons carried over to the next plane in a dream state. A fitting end for a tortured soul.  Some of the best art comes from the most conflicted beings.  Scott Weiland was no different.

Among the myriad of memories and remembrances floating around today was this from our very own Ryan “Tank” Hargrave: “…and really, is there anything more we can ask for in life, as creators, than to be remembered for our creations? Thanks for everything, Scott.”

Music is a gift that is given to us in a variety of ways and by all manner of people.

When we receive the gift of music there is the immediate connection to it.  The euphoric high of connecting with melodies and words in a way that stirs your soul in some way.  The cool thing about the gift of music is the manner in which it is eternal.  There is a rediscovery process that happens.  It’s the toy that you might grow bored with at some point, only to reconnect with later under different circumstances and realize new ways it’s cool.

For example, I burned up so much gasoline to STP’s Core and Purple in the mid 90’s that they were easily in my top 10 most played of the decade.  Over time and life, some of those deep cuts had faded from the easily crafted modern playlists I and others so finely tuned.  Yet, upon hearing the news last night and delving back into the STP catalog I relived those songs and still knew the lyrics word for word and the nuanced melodies by heart.  Of the deep cuts I hadn’t heard in nearly 20 years (dating myself yes), it was if I’d just listened to them yesterday morning.

Scott Weiland gave me the gift of his music.  I will always remember him.  He will always be a part of me in some way.  And it’s that way for millions of others too.  Seems like I just wrote this piece for Jani Lane.  And articles have been written about fallen musical heroes for decades.  Unfortunately that will continue.  Fortunately for us, cliche though it may be…the music and memories live on forever.

Closer to home, there is a fantastic musician named David Zycheck currently battling some health issues.  Ted Nugent is headlining a benefit for the man commonly referred to as Z-Man.  A Texas rock legend, one of the best producers and guitar players this state has ever seen.  David Z has given the gift of music to untold numbers over the past 40 years and now the gift of music is returning it back to him.  Music is pulling him through a rough patch after years of allowing his music to pull other people through their tough patches.  Music is cool and reciprocal like that. It lifts us up and brings hope.

Music is perhaps the most dynamic gift one can give.  It’s versatile and unpredictable, as well as steady and forever.

Scott Weiland’s gift of music helped bring joy, comfort, healing, solace and peace to thousands.  And although he couldn’t nedessarily enjoy those emotions for himself in this life, it’s gratifying to know that he’s reaping the benefits now.  He’s at peace and his gift will keep on giving forevermore.

Music is a gift.  Give it this Christmas and always.

I’m off to crank “Big Empty” and ponder the holiday season.

As I said on Facebook…”This Unplugged performance is hitting the note. Shows off his versatility, genius, madness, whimsy and songwriting.”


-Our year-end “Favorites of 2015” will be posted next week.  It’s our version of a best of list and I bet you can guess some of the names you’ll see there.

-The Cowboys couldn’t even make it out of November this year.  Not surprising.  Is it baseball season yet?

-No matter how many times I see them, certain Christmas specials/movies elicit a must-watch:  Christmas Vacation and claymation Rudolph.  Dropping everything and fully invested each time I come across them.

-During the STP online memorials last night, I was told on Twitter in reference to a STP Unplugged link I posted that “acoustic is perfect for melancholy.” Truer words…


-The wettest November on record doesn’t bode well for winter.  Anyone want to go to the beach? (As I’m planning my Hangoutfest itinerary).

-Texas music peeps in Ireland right now and on the horizon:  Steamboat and Red River.  LJT and Greenfest before you know it.

-House concerts are quickly becoming my favorite way to see music.

-This month’s recommended album is: Cody Canada & Mike McClure:  Chip and Ray – Together Again for the First Time.  A rollicking time spent with two of Red Dirt’s founding fathers in an atmosphere as electric as it is emotionally contagious.  Songs and stories laid bare.  Relationships explained through song.

-“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” -Mark Twain


Brad Beheler

Raised in Waco, refined in the Hill Country, escaped from DFW. I've worked in just about every facet of the music business for 20 years. I like to write about it all. e-mail Brad Editor-in-Chief

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