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Downed Pilot

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WHEN THE PHONE RANG IN MID-AFTERNOON, addiction counselor Bob Timmins recognized the distraught caller’s voice. “Bob,” blurted Stone Temple Pilots lead singer Scott Weiland, “I’m frightened and I need help.”

There seemed no doubt on either point. Last May, Weiland, 28, colorful front man of the Grammy-winning alternative band, was arrested for allegedly buying drugs in Pasadena, Calif., and avoided conviction only by entering a court-ordered treatment program. Still, the Pilots managed to release a new album, Tiny Music…Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop. All seemed well—until Weiland phoned Timmins to say he had quit treatment and was again using drugs.

Weiland’s co-Pilots—the DeLeo brothers Dean, 34, and Robert, 30, and Eric Kretz, 29—immediately canceled plans for a series of free concerts to precede a big summer tour. Five days later, Pasadena Municipal Court Judge Elvira R. Mitchell effectively canceled any immediate summer tour plans by ordering that Weiland spend the next four to six months in a residential drug-treatment center. Though he made no public comment, Weiland is upset, according to his lawyer, Steve Cron, that he again let down his bandmates and his wife, Janina. Last year he apologized to fans in a contrite letter read over an L.A. radio station by Courtney Love. “I have a disease,” it said in part. “It’s a disease called drug addiction.”

Timmins, who began treating Weiland last summer and whose other clients include members of Aerosmith, believes the singer’s call two weeks ago may be a good sign. “Sometimes an addict will just disappear,” Timmins says of drug-dependent rockers such as Love’s husband, Kurt Cobain, who killed himself in 1994. “But not Scott. He wants help.”