If you look at Noah Weiland‘s life from a certain vantage point, he’s the definition of a nepo baby. The 23-year-old is the son of Scott Weiland — the tragic former lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver — and spent his childhood years traveling the world on Velvet Revolver tours, flying on private jets, and staying in luxury hotels. He’s an unsigned artist that just started making his own music a few years ago, but he’s already generated worldwide press and tens of thousands of views for his YouTube videos, including for his brand new song “Yesterday,” largely due to his family name.
But once you peer more closely into his life, the story becomes much more layered. Noah Weiland’s parents split when he was seven, and his father largely vanished from his life before overdosing eight years later in 2015. Money has been extremely tight about as far back as he can remember: He didn’t inherit a dime from his dad, who was almost completely broke when he died. Weiland has worked blue-collar jobs since he was 16, battled an opioid addiction a couple years back, and spent the last four years couch-surfing around L.A., unable to afford even a tiny studio apartment of his own. He records his music on his iPhone.
“I’m not a trust fund baby or anything like that,” he tells us via Zoom, standing on the front porch of his maternal grandparents’ home in suburban Dallas during a holiday visit. “I always get annoyed when people say that type of stuff. My dad was millions in debt when he died. My mom has always worked a normal job. And truthfully, even if my dad’s estate ever does get out of debt, I don’t even want that money. I want to make a career out of myself as much as possible.”
That career started in 2020 when he teamed up with drummer London Hudson (son of Slash) and bassist Tye Trulio (son of Metallica’s Rob Trujillo) to form the next-generation-rock supergroup Suspect208. But after releasing a couple of songs — which sounded like lost Velvet Revolver tracks from 2005 — the group parted ways with Weiland via a terse public statement.
“Noah was not writing lyrics or lifting his weight in the band for two months before we let him go,” the group said in a statement. “He was heading down a dark path of drug use that got in the way of our friendship as well as the band…we did as much as we could to help him.”
To rock fans familiar with the sad story of Scott Weiland, it felt like a dark echo of the past, especially since London’s father fired Noah’s father from Velvet Revolver back in 2008 for identical reasons. And even though Noah admits that he was indeed taking opioids back then, he says the truth is more complicated.
“I wasn’t necessarily an addict at that time,” he says. “But they made it seem like they were trying to get me help or get me into treatment. They never did anything like that. That’s why I’m so confused.”
Once the news hit that Suspect208 fired him over drug issues, Weiland’s life spiraled out of control. “Everyone already thought of me as a drug addict,” he says. “I was like, ‘If everyone already thinks I am, then what’s the point?’ I just gave up and actually became a drug addict. I felt like all the hard work I put in just vanished, and there was nothing I could do about it. That’s obviously a very childish mindset, but it’s where I was at the time.”
IT TAKES A FEW SECONDS for Weiland to conjure up positive memories of his father since most of them come from the blur of early childhood. “We used to talk about superheroes a lot,” he says, smiling at the memory. “We were always comparing them like, ‘Who would win in a fight, the Red Power Ranger or Spider-Man? The Hulk or Superman?’ That’s a wholesome memory.”
Back in those days, Weiland, his sister India, and their mother, Mary Forsberg Weiland, would join Velvet Revolver on tour. “I don’t really remember much of it since I was five or six,” he says. “I do remember my sister and I fighting over who would get the top bunk on the tour bus. One time, I came onstage and sang with Velvet Revolver while dressed as Spider-Man.” Another time, he sang the opening to “Dead and Bloated” with his father during a 2010 Stone Temple Pilots gig.
Things changed dramatically when Weiland was seven and his parents split. He moved from L.A. to the small suburban town of Murrieta, about an hour outside of San Diego. “My mom wanted my sister and I to have a better life because L.A. is just so trashy,” he says. “She wanted us to have an actual childhood. But nobody ever comes out of it and does big things. It’s just a very hateful place.”
Weiland developed a love of skateboarding and had a few close friendships, but he always felt like an outsider. “I spent most of high school just trying to survive high school,” he says. “People always wanted to have beef with me. Some people were just the opposite, overly nice, but I realized they were just looking for benefits from me, like meeting celebrities or getting free concert tickets. The funny thing was that I lived the exact same way they did. I didn’t have any connections.”
In the first few years after the divorce, he saw his dad on a somewhat regular basis. According to Noah, that changed in 2013 when his father married Jamie Wachtel, his third wife. “I barely saw him after that,” he says. “I still hold a grudge because I feel his new wife drove him further away from us.”
In the final year of his father’s life, Weiland saw him just one time. “We went to a diner and something just felt off,” he said. “I remember trying to show him some new skateboard tricks in the parking lot I had just learned, but he wasn’t really paying attention. It was like he wasn’t really there. He was falling apart. I knew it was going to be the last time I saw him.”
Not long after that, he was driving in the car with his mother and sister when he smelled cigarette smoke in the air. “The smell came completely out of nowhere,” he says. “I was like, ‘It smells like Dad,’ since he was always smoking cigarettes.” It was at that moment that his mother’s phone started blowing up with messages of condolences. “She knew instantly what it was about,” Noah says. “She didn’t even have to read the whole thing. She just turned the radio on to try and distract us. When we got home, she called us into her room and broke the news to us. And yeah…I don’t remember too much after that.”
Looking back now, Weiland realizes that his life was never the same. “It made me grow up a lot faster,” he says. “Before that, I just cared about skateboarding and doing super kiddy shit. I just felt way more innocent. After that, I started having sex. I started smoking weed. I started drinking. My mom got freaked and started to say, ‘You’re acting just like your father!’”
At 16, he began working at Lowe’s and the Yellow Basket Diner, paying little attention to his schoolwork, and partying late into the night. “My mom was super strict,” he says. “I got kicked out of the house the day after I turned 18. I had to couch-surf with friends for the last little bit of high school, and I barely graduated.”
Weiland suffered a gnarly leg break after skateboarding in an empty pool, causing him to put the skateboard aside, and focus on music. As a little kid, he listened mainly to rock bands like Nirvana and Green Day. But when he got a bit older, he moved onto pop and rap, inhaling everything from Justin Bieber and One Direction to Kanye West, Young Thug, and Tory Lanez.
He met Soundcloud rapper Hella Sketchy online, learned how to make beats from him, and briefly tried to become an R&B rapper. But Hella Sketchy died of a drug overdose in 2019, right around the time that Weiland moved to L.A. and got back into rock music when he formed Suspect208. Having nowhere to sleep some nights, he briefly crashed on the floor of the studio where London worked with his father.
“My time was up on a couch and I had nowhere to go,” says Weiland. “Slash saw me and was like, ‘You can’t be staying here.’ I was like, ‘Where else am I going to go? I’m not saying on the streets.’ And he said, ‘Well, I’ll put you in this sober living house until we can figure it out.’”
He wasn’t an addict, but the sober house provided him a stable environment to live while the band plotted their early moves. They posted a video for their song “All Black” online and were stunned to see it rack up tens of thousands of YouTube views with almost no promotion. “After feeling like such a loser in high school, I finally felt like I was somebody,” Weiland says. “It felt good having a purpose for once.”
But after releasing just two songs and playing a single show in Huntington Beach, they fired him. The whole thing lasted just about eight weeks. In the months that followed, Weiland started abusing opioid pills — never once turning to needles, he says — and wound up in rehab.
The is when Ashley Hamilton enters the story. The actor/comedian may be best known as the son of George Hamilton and ex-husband of both Shannen Doherty and Angie Everhart, but he’s also a musician who worked with Scott Weiland. Noah’s mother introduced him to Hamilton when he was in rehab. They quickly bonded, and Hamilton became both his sponsor and music co-manager.
The Velvet Revolver-style throwback sound of Suspect208 never felt like a natural fit for Weiland, and Hamilton started him on a path of making music he characterizes as “gritty alternative pop” that’s reminiscent of latter-day Justin Bieber. “I wanted to be more experimental,” he says. “And Justin Bieber is a huge influence on me. I tried to make a grittier version of his style of music.”
His new song “Yesterday” was inspired by a woman he dated during the lowest period of his drug addiction in 2021 and 2022. He recorded the vocals on his iPhone, and his co-manager Kevin Watterson sent them off to Alex Goodwin who has worked with Nicki Minaj and Panic! At the Disco. “He took the isolated vocals I sent him and produced around it,” ways Weiland. “It came out really good.”
In late November, he posted a video for “Yesterday” that he shot at the Mustang Motel in South Central Los Angeles. It’s been viewed 10,000 times in a little over a week. “I’m so stoked,” he says. “My other videos took a lot longer to get that high.”
It’s the culmination of a very good year. Weiland says he’s been 100 percent clean from opioids, though he still smokes weed and drinks socially. He regularly attends AA meetings, has a new job lined up at a warehouse, and hopes to move into his own apartment soon.
“This is the happiest I’ve been in years,” he says. “My goal now is to become financially stable with music. I mean, I could say I want to be the biggest artist and take over, but realistically, I’m doing one thing at a time. I’m not in a rush to blow up overnight. I want to build a cult fan base. I’ve played a few concerts, and I want to make them feel like parties.”
And even though his opioid period was a demoralizing battle, he says it actually allowed him to relate to his father on a deeper level. “It made me finally understand his situation,” says Weiland. “It made me realize it wasn’t his fault. He was just in too deep. He had too many demons. They caught up to him. It actually made me forgive him.”