It’s not clear if any member of Stone Temple Pilots knew their Sept. 23, 2012 performance at the Aftershock festival in Sacramento, CA was to be their last with frontman Scott Weiland. If they did, they managed to hide it behind showmanship – despite rumors that Weiland was back on drugs, and the suggestion that his timekeeping and performance had been slipping in recent months, the set seems to be good-natured.

Showmanship, of course, can hide a multitude of sins. On top of that, STP had been in a state of flux before. They’d fired Weiland in 2002 as a result of his behavior – reports spoke of a fight between him and guitarist Dean DeLeo as a key moment – and the singer had gone on to lead supergroup Velvet Revolver, before they fired him too in 2008 for similar reasons. A month later he was back in STP, and they went on to release their self-titled sixth album in 2010 – their first since 2001.

Despite, history repeating itself, if the rumors were to be believed, the four bandmates were said to be in high spirits as they played the Aftershock festival. They’d started about 20 minutes late but most of the other acts had also started late; and they only played for an hour, but that was because of a strict curfew. Nevertheless, at least one reviewer reported an impressive performance including deep cuts, and light-hearted conversation between Weiland and DeLeo laughing about wanting pizza, and bassist Robert DeLeo talking to the crowd more than usual. The young reviewer noted that the performance had been “well-worth the two hour drive and lack of sleep for tomorrow’s exams.”

You can watch STP in action at Aftershock below:

Before the end of the year, Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash had said Weiland was talking up a reunion of the supergroup because STP had fired him again. The move wasn’t confirmed until the following March, when a terse statement read: “Stone Temple Pilots have announced they have officially terminated Scott Weiland.” That announcement came the day after Weiland had claimed the quartet were in the midst of arranging a new tour.

Showmanship had indeed been hiding a multitude of repeated sins. The following year, despite legal action pending, Robert DeLeo admitted as much, saying, “It was a very difficult decision to terminate the face of your band, … That’s as big as it gets.” He continued: “Dean, Eric [Kretz] and I have been saddled by someone for a long time. We’ve always looked out for Scott’s best interests and tried to be a great friend to someone who really didn’t care to be friends with us… And I don’t think we had any other choice. I think Scott’s made it very clear, his path and his decisions on what he’s done with or to this band. … I want to have fucking fun, man, making music. I have the complete luxury of making music for a living. If I’m around people that don’t fucking get that, then I want to be around people who get that.”

By that time, STP had been joined by Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, but the partnership only lasted two years before Bennington bowed out, saying he had to focus on his main band. By that time in 2015, Weiland had recounted his own version of events, saying: “It's just a shame how it happened. … I felt we needed six months off in order to do a 20th-year anniversary tour and that 20th-anniversary tour didn't end up happening and I said, 'Okay, then we need to make a new record because we can't go on just playing the greatest-hits set. It's not going to work. We're losing fanbase. Our guarantees are starting to go down.' So I assumed we were all on the same page when we left the tour and it turned out not so and they got different management and things just soured.”

Just a few months later, Weiland was dead of an overdose, at the age of 48. His former bandmates could only reflect on the fact that they’d seen it coming for years, and had been powerless to prevent it. “He was so tenacious in his lust for life in the early years," drummer Kretz said. "I really hoped he would come back — and have a second chance.” Tragically, by the time STP introduced new frontman Jeff Gutt last November, Bennington had also passed, after taking his own life.