Interview: Mary Forsberg Weiland
Mon, 21 Dec 2009 09:18:21
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Mary Forsberg Weiland's book, Fall to Pieces: A Memoir of Drugs, Rock 'n' Roll and Mental Illness, is the best gift that you can give this Christmas.
Mary's memoir bleeds truth on every page. It's an honest examination of her life infused with equal does of humor and heart. She discusses her modeling career, the entertainment revolution of the '90s, struggles with drugs, marrying legendary Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver singer Scott Weiland and being a mom. Mostly though, Fall to Pieces is about growing up and never losing the spark for life.
Mary's in tune with feelings just like your favorite musicians, and she tells her tale with the cadence of a great rock song. This really is a gift that keeps on giving…
Mary Forsberg Weiland sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino to talk about Fall to Pieces, her favorite Christmas memories, Santa Claus and so much more in this exclusive interview.
Do you have a favorite Christmas memory that you reminisce about during the holidays?
It doesn't sound like something that you would look back on with a smile, but there is one memory that comes to mind. I was either four or seven-years-old. It was one of those two Christmases because we lived in the same apartment. We were there when I was four and we moved back when I was seven. I'm not sure which one it was. We just moved in, and we didn't have any money. My mother went outside, cut a branch off of a tree and that was our Christmas tree. Our Christmas tree was a branch! [Laughs] I always think about that. I think about how little we had but my mom still always made Christmas awesome! I never walked away from a Christmas morning bummed out, and I don't know how she did it. I'm just baffled by her, especially being a parent now. I don't know how she made every Christmas awesome. I never felt like I didn't get what I wanted even though I didn't really get what I wanted [Laughs]. My Christmases are awesome! For somebody who has spent so much time in depression, the holidays make me feel good. I know for a lot of people they do the opposite. I get all Martha Stewart every holiday season, bust out all of my Christmas gear and get down with over-wrapping gifts [Laughs]. I don't stress out. I still have a lot of things that I want to do this year, but they always happen. Christmas will come, and Christmas will be good. I'm one of the few people that doesn't stress about it.
How has Christmas changed since you've become a parent?
It's a lot of work now [Laughs]! It's a lot of shopping and trying to find what your kids are looking for—especially when they want the hot item. You've got to shop while they're in school, go home, wrap the gifts and then hide them until Christmas. Then they can't go to sleep on Christmas Eve, so you have to wait until they go to sleep—which is forever—to put everything out and do your Santa thing. Then they wake up at the crack of dawn when you've been up all night long [Laughs]. To see their faces and how excited they are is great though. I'm feeling a little bit of devastation because I feel like my nine-year-old is going to stop believing in Santa next year. He's already asked me a bunch of questions like, "Are you Santa?" I just said, "Do I look like a guy?" [Laughs] I gave him all of these reasons that I'm not Santa. "Mommy's not a guy first of all and secondly when do you think I have the time to do all of that? That's a lot of work, and I don't have any elves. Lastly, at what time when I'm with you, do you think I fly around the world and deliver presents to everybody? You're crazy, kid! Of course, there's Santa." I have a feeling next year there won't be Santa for Noah, but hopefully he won't spill the beans to Lucy!
Do you enjoy the holidays even more that you have kids now?
I do! I want to go sit on Santa's lap [Laughs]. I enjoy them because you're kind of forced to get involved. Once you actually get involved, it's like going to the gym. I never want to go, but once I get there, I'm glad I went there. Once you dig into Christmas, you're like, "Oh, I love Christmas."
In Southern California, is it easy to get in the Christmas spirit even though it's perpetually summer?
Well, it makes shopping easier because you don't have to drag everything through the snow [Laughs]. I'm used to it. I grew up in Southern California, so it makes sense to me.
Any Christmas traditions you like to uphold with your kids?
We always do a Christmas Eve trip to Disneyland. The kids like that whenever there are actual festivities at Disneyland. We try to go some place where there's snow just outside of LA to get that in too. I don't really travel during the holidays, just because I like the fact that everybody's gone from LA, and it's a bit of a ghost town. When you have kids and they believe in Santa, I can't imagine going anywhere because that would require draggin a bunch of stuff all over the place. The best day to go to Disneyland though is New Year's Day, because everyone is hungover and the last thing they want to do is go get on a ride. I do amusement parks on New Year's Day because no one's at them! I'm just handing out tips [Laughs]
Is there a Stone Temple Plilots song that sums up Fall to Pieces?
The obvious song is "Black Again" from Shangri-La DEE DA. It's based on my depression, the things I was going through and how difficult it was for me to even get out of bed. That one's pretty obvious. Scott has a song called "Bi-Polar Bear," which is about his own struggle. For some reason, I really related to that song, and I related to that song prior to even having my own diagnosis. I could always understand that track. In connection with the struggles we had in our marriage, also from Shangri-La is a song called, "Hello, It's Late." It's a combination for me. I love that song, and it's so beautiful. At the same time, it's so sad. I still love it though. I listen to it a lot actually. It's just pretty, which sounds like an odd thing to say about an STP song, but it's pretty. I love that. It's so pleasing to the ear. That's my favorite album. I love all of their music, but that album stands out. It was done at a really sad time, but it's still my favorite.
Did you feel particularly close to it?
I just relate to the music for some reason. I feel like the place they went to was somewhere new. They didn't rely on what they knew was going to be popular. I like that they were able to go out on a limb and branch out to some other places. They did something new—not that they didn't on there other records—but I liked the idea of not-staying-in-the-box.
That "out-of-the-box" mentality has been a part of your whole life.
Even when it comes to work, I'm generally an out-of-the-box person. I get bored with doing what's expected. I like thinking that way. I always think, "What can I do that's different?"
This book is really going to help people because of that.
I'm not a big crier, but I probably cry at least once a day now reading the messages that I get on Facebook from people that I've never met before that have gone through so many of the things that I went through. It's so baffling, whether it's someone who struggled with bi-polar, with addiction, with a spouse who was dealing with an addiction, with love addiction, etc. It's crazy how many people have been able to connect and it feels awesome. It's exactly the reason I wanted to write the book—to help people.
Have you been writing anymore? Are you cataloging all of these reactions?
With the Facebook stuff, I have an entire file of these great things that people write to me because their responses are so touching. It inspires me to want to do something else. It inspires me to make sure I go back to school next semester. I have a few other ideas for books. Because the experience turned out to be so positive, I feel like I can do it again. I was so scared and nervous, but to get all of this great response has given me a lot of confidence to want to do something else. Now I'm excited to write again.
Do you have a favorite Christmas song?
I do! Scott covered it one time. It's the song from the Charlie Brown Christmas—"Christmas Time Is Here." I loved his cover!
Check out Rick Florino's new novel Dolor available now for FREE here…