Noah Weiland Is Ready To Make A Name For Himself
Noah Weiland is in a good place.
It’s been a little more than a year since he made headlines for being fired from the band Suspect208 and called out publicly for having a drug problem.
Today he is doing what he loves – making music – and slowly putting it out in the world.
“I have a sponsor, I go to meetings, I’m better with family,” Weiland, 21, told iHeartRadio.ca in a Zoom call from Los Angeles.
“For a long time… I would not be doing this. I just didn’t want to show my face because I felt so ashamed and I felt like I just wanted to disappear,” he admitted. "I finally feel like I have my confidence back and it’s good.”
In January 2021, Weiland’s Suspect208 bandmates – London Hudson (son of Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash), Tye Trujillo (son of Metallica’s Robert Trujillo) and Niko Tsangaris – posted a statement on Instagram in which they said Weiland “was heading down a dark path of drug use that got in the way of our friendship as well as the band” and “was not writing lyrics or lifting his weight in the band for two months before we let him go.”
Weiland said “it just felt like a backstab” because “music-wise and art-wise I really did everything for that band.
“It wasn’t even my main focus at the time to have that band be like my main priority but I knew they really liked it and I wanted to get them involved and I wanted them to come up with me because they were some of the first few people to see something in me musically.”
Noah Weiland (second from right) in Suspect208.
He was also hurt by the assumptions of complete strangers. “People want to see me be a statistic so bad, I feel like,” he said. “There were so many posts when the band ended and all the comments were, ‘Oh, just like his dad, just like his dad.’”
Weiland’s dad, you may have guessed, is Scott Weiland, the former Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver singer who died of a drug overdose in 2015 at the age of 48. (His mother Mary Forsberg Weiland has gone public with her own addiction battles.)
He is determined to have a different life.
“I don’t know, it’s a little drive that makes me want to do better and say even if you’re born into a family with addiction you don’t have to fall to the statistics. You can be great. You can even be greater than your parents, it doesn’t matter,” said Weiland.
But, was the statement from Suspect208 accurate? Had his drug use, in fact, become a problem?
“This is the thing that people don’t know: I wasn’t even addicted to anything when that whole thing happened,” Weiland said. “I didn’t get addicted to stuff until months after. That’s what made me so mad.
“It made me mad because yeah, I did end up getting addicted but before that I was not a drug addict and they made it seem like I was and for awhile, when I really wasn’t, that’s when it hurt me the most.”
The band that kicked him out packed it in four months later.
Any lingering animosity Weiland has about the drama is squarely towards Hudson, a childhood friend with whom he reconnected in 2020. “We became really, really close. We were like brothers. We did everything together,” he said.
“Tye had nothing to do with any of that. He did not know. He really wasn’t even a part of the band that much. He just liked us and he liked what we were doing and he just wanted to do it for fun, really. Niko, I was never really close with him.”
Weiland recalled Hudson suddenly left the Airbnb rental where they were staying with a friend. “I finally asked him where he was and he went on a crazy rant saying like ‘You need to stop doing drugs, you’re the reason why I relapsed’ and all this stuff. He was just going off.”
Weiland alleged Hudson was projecting. “He was using some hard stuff that I didn’t approve of, like, I didn’t want him to do the specific thing that he was doing,” he claimed. “I would be there a lot of the time to get him to, like, chill.
“He didn’t like what I was doing also so he just kind of called me out and totally didn’t even think about the fact that he has problems, too.”
Months after he was fired from the band, Weiland sought treatment for an addiction to opiates at a rehab facility. “Actually, I went a couple of times because it’s hard when you’re young. You don’t realize how serious this type of stuff is.”
The journey has not been without some bumps.
In an Instagram Story last October, Weiland shared: “For once, in a long time, I can finally say I love life.”
But, he said, “around that time, not long after… I did go down a little.”
He admitted: “I never stuck with a program and around the right people. But, I mean, I probably was happy then but right now how I feel… I really haven’t felt this good since I was in that band but the thing is now it’s my own music and I feel like it’s my time to shine. I got a little taste of what success is like – a very tiny, tiny little taste – and I’m glad that it didn’t take off because I wasn’t around the right people.
“I realized I couldn’t be going crazy and living the life I was living while there were people trying to invest money in me and while the spotlight was coming more and more on me.”
THE BEST REVENGE
Weiland is hoping to put the Suspect208 experience behind him and focus on making his own music.
“In the end it was hurtful but it also made me learn a lot and grow up a lot and also make a lot better music out of spite,” he said. “At first it was out of spite and then once I started getting on a roll and putting that resentment into my music… I feel like a lot of my greatest songs come from me making music out of spite – whether it’s a girl or a situation like that or someone else who’s hurt me in a certain way.”
Earlier this month, Weiland released “One Day,” a track he said came together in less than 45 minutes.
“To me, it’s like a music comeback but it’s also like a life comeback and like a new fresh beginning,” he explained. "It’s kind of similar to my old music but at the same time it’s different – the vocals are a lot different, like the tones. It feels more like me, like the kind of stuff I actually listen to.”
Weiland doesn’t shy away from singing about drugs and admitted this could be triggering for some people.
“It was a traumatizing experience for me so it’s things I want to talk about in my newer music,” he said, adding that the music he has yet to release “is real and really descriptive of my life.”
Weiland insisted he is not trying to glamourize drugs. “When you’re going through a run and getting high and running amok all you think about is how great that drug is. You don’t think about anything else. You obsess over it. You listen to music if it talks about drugs, it gets you a certain feeling,” he explained.
“And then when you’re in more of a sad state and you’re looking back on all the messes you made – then there are other songs I have that are that mood, that are more reflective, I guess.”
Weiland is in no rush to put out a collection of songs. “I want to wait until there’s a lot more people looking at me before I think of a mixtape or an album,” he said, “because I don’t want to put my all into something and then it goes unappreciated.”
ARTIST VS. CELEBRITY
While he is anxious to get noticed and build a fanbase, Weiland wants it to be for his music. He uses social media sparingly and has not capitalized on his family name to become a celebrity.
“Very rarely I think, ‘That would be cool, if I was famous, to do that,’ but when I really think of the grand scheme of things, that would probably get tiring so fast,” he said. “I can’t talk to my dad about it, obviously, which sucks.”
Weiland accepts that comparisons to his rock star father are inevitable, especially because he has been told that “me and him are really similar.”
One of Weiland’s sponsors is Ashley Hamilton, who worked with Scott Weiland in the supergroup The Wondergirls in 1999.
“Me and him talk pretty much every single day. He says I’m exactly like my dad,” said Weiland. “It’s weird because being an adult I couldn’t really see that. I can’t see it because I only knew him as a little kid.”
That little kid always knew he would follow in his father’s musical footsteps. “I would get up on the coffee table. I’d watch his music videos and I’d sing and lip sync and just jump off the table and pretend like I was on stage,” he recalled.
“My mom and sister would always say I could sing but I really couldn’t sing at all.”
Weiland said he grew up in Temecula, which he describes as a “boring, conservative suburban” city about an hour north of San Diego, and delved into music by crafting trap tracks with hints of R&B.
“I would make trap songs and then I’d go and I’d smoke a joint and I’d get in my car and I’d completely forget the entire song I just made,” he recalled. “I’d listen to it and it would sound completely fresh.
“Every time I would do it I would notice the tiny differences and I’d be like, ‘Huh, this is a lot better than I did before, it sounds way better.’ Over time I just made so many weird noises with my voice I kind of just learned how to sing.”
That’s when Hudson pitched him on working together on what would become Suspect208. “He just assumed I could sing,” said Weiland. “Once I started realizing how much fun he was having doing this serious and we posted a few songs, I was like, ‘Ok I have to do this.’”
HIS FATHER'S SON
Weiland knows his surname opens doors and ears but he is keen to be his own artist. He admitted that on stage “there are certain things that remind people” of his father but “it’s not like I’m trying to do that.
“I feel like I’m more of a jumpy person on stage. I want to run around and move super fast but at the same time I haven’t done enough shows or rehearsals to really know what my style is.”
Weiland is okay with the comparisons – for now. “Sometimes it gets a little annoying because I want to be myself,” he said. “I know eventually people won’t only know for me that.
“When I see comments, when I’m in a sad mood [and] I post something, it does feel good. Hearing people say the nice things they say sometimes, it actually does feel really good.”
In the days following Scott Weiland’s death, his wife Mary penned a candid open letter for Rolling Stone in which she detailed his troubled life and revealed that he spent very little time with his children.
“Noah and Lucy never sought perfection from their dad,” she wrote. “They just kept hoping for a little effort.”
Six year later, Weiland backs this up.
“I remember my mom would get upset a lot because she’d see him in interviews saying that we’d always be spending time with him and they’d say bad things about my mom all the time,” he said. “There’s so much lies and rumours on the internet.
“I’ve been in some bad situations, I’m not going to lie, the older I’ve gotten, and it’s not because my mom doesn’t care about me, it’s got nothing to do with my mom at all. It has to do with me trying to find my own journey in life and trying to figure things out on my own.”
Weiland admitted he and his sister were estranged from their father.
“The last year my dad was alive I think we saw him once and it was for maybe like an hour, and it was at a restaurant in the Valley,” he recalled. “The energy I could remember, because I was 14, was he just felt so off and so drained. All I can remember is him seeming in so much pain.
“Looking back, it felt like it was the last time I was going to see him.”
Weiland said his relationship with his father is different now. “Because I’ve had to go through the same thing, the addiction, I feel closer with him,” he shared.
His own man now, Weiland is ready to step into the spotlight and make his father proud.
“I’m really just trying to focus on getting more of a fanbase and getting people back on to what I’ve got going on,” he explained. “I have dropped songs here and there over time since the band ended but it’s never been anything official.”
Weiland believes there is an audience for the music he is creating, even though he struggles to label it.
“I can’t make rap at all but I mostly listen to rap and the reason I like rap is it puts me in a very confident mood and it makes me feel super excited,” he said. “I want to bring that energy from rap music, from new rap music, into pop punk or alternative rock or even alt-pop.
“I love every song I make. It has to be mind blowing and game changing. It’s got to just inspire people.”