Stone Temple Pilots
|Stone Temple Pilots|
Stone Temple Pilots, from left to right: Dean DeLeo, Scott Weiland, Eric Kretz, and Robert DeLeo
|Also known as||STP, Mighty Joe Young, Swing|
|Origin||San Diego, California|
|Genres||Alternative rock, hard rock, grunge, post-grunge, alternative metal, neo-psychedelia|
|Years active||1986–2003, 2008–present|
|Associated acts||Velvet Revolver, Camp Freddy, Army of Anyone, Talk Show, The Magnificent Bastards, The Wondergirls|
|Past members||Scott Weiland|
Stone Temple Pilots (often abbreviated STP) is an American rock band from San Diego, California that consists of brothers Robert DeLeo (bass guitar, vocals) and Dean DeLeo (guitar), and Eric Kretz (drums, percussion). The lineup included Scott Weiland as lead vocalist until his alleged firing in February 2013.
After forming in 1986 under the name Mighty Joe Young, the band signed with Atlantic Records and changed its name to Stone Temple Pilots. STP found immediate success in 1993 after releasing their debut album Core (1992), and went on to become one of the most commercially successful bands of the 1990s. The band released four more studio albums: Purple (1994), Tiny Music... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop (1996), No. 4 (1999) and Shangri-La Dee Da (2001) before separating in 2003, after which the band members partook in various projects, most notably Velvet Revolver and Army of Anyone. STP eventually reconvened in 2008 for a reunion tour, released a new self-titled album in 2010, and actively toured until Weiland was fired from the band.
While initially displaying a sound typically identified as grunge early on in its career, further releases from the band have shown a variety of influences, including psychedelic rock, bossa nova and classic rock. The band's evolution throughout the 1990s and early 2000s involved several tumultuous periods of commercial highs and lows, brought about in part by Weiland's well-publicized struggles with drug addiction.
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Formation and early years as Mighty Joe Young (1986–1992) 
Two conflicting stories of how frontman Scott Weiland and bassist Robert DeLeo met have been described by the band; one was that Weiland and DeLeo met at a Black Flag concert in Long Beach, California in 1986. They began discussing their girlfriends, only to realize they were dating the same woman. However, instead of letting this come between them, they developed a bond and formed a band after they each subsequently broke it off with the girl. Weiland presented a different version of meeting Robert in his autobiography, stating that Weiland and his high school friend, guitarist Corey Hicock, pursued Robert after witnessing him play live.
Nevertheless, Weiland, DeLeo, and Hicock would eventually form a band with drummer David Allin, called Swing. However, after witnessing drummer Eric Kretz play in a local Long Beach club, the band opted to replace Allin, convincing Kretz to join the band. Guitarist Hicock eventually left the band; in need of a replacement and auditioning many guitarists, Robert suggested his older brother, Dean. At the time, Dean was a successful businessman who left behind his days as a musician, but still played as a hobby. The band managed to convince Dean play guitar for Swing, completing the current lineup. Dean DeLeo is reported to have said "I refused to be in a band called Swing," and shortly the band changed their name to Mighty Joe Young. The band recorded a demo tape that was completed around 1990. The Mighty Joe Young demo features tracks that would go on to be re-recorded for the band's first studio album, as well as some musical styles not featured on any of STP's albums, such as funk and yodeling.
Mighty Joe Young played several gigs in the San Diego area, building up a fanbase. Their first show was supporting Henry Rollins at the Whisky a Go Go. The group then began to work on their debut album with Brendan O'Brien. During the recording, they received a call from their lawyer who informed them that there was a bluesman who had already claimed the name Mighty Joe Young. Inspired by the STP Motor Oil stickers that the band members were fans of in their youth, various spins on the initials "STP" were tossed around, including "Shirley Temple's Pussy". They eventually settled on the name "Stone Temple Pilots."
Core and Purple (1992–1995) 
Stone Temple Pilots developed a fan base in San Diego clubs in order to steer clear of the Los Angeles corporate music scene and build up their technique and following in the clubs. In 1992, Stone Temple Pilots signed with Atlantic Records. Their first album, Core, was released on September 29, 1992, and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Albums Chart. Core was a big success, producing hits "Sex Type Thing", "Plush", "Creep", and "Wicked Garden". While the album was a major commercial success, the music press criticized the band as "grunge imitators." Also in 1992, Scott Weiland and Dean DeLeo played an acoustic version of "Plush" on the MTV show "Headbanger's Ball." This is considered one of Weiland's greatest vocal performances.
Despite hostile reviews from critics, Stone Temple Pilots continued to gain fans. They toured for four weeks, opening for heavy metal bands such as Rage Against the Machine and Megadeth. 1993 brought continued success on the road, with the band headlining a two-and-a-half-month American tour, often performing at benefits for pro-choice organizations.
In 1993, the band filmed an episode of MTV Unplugged, where they debuted the song "Big Empty." In a January 1994 Rolling Stone poll, the band was simultaneously voted Best New Band by Rolling Stone's readers and Worst New Band by the magazine's music critics. The following month the group won Favorite Pop/Rock New Artist and Heavy Metal/Hard Rock New Artist at the American Music Awards. In March 1994, the group won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance for the song "Plush."
In the spring of 1994, Stone Temple Pilots returned to the studio to work on their second album, Purple. Completed in less than a month, Purple debuted at number one in the United States upon its release on June 7, 1994. The radio-friendly "Interstate Love Song" quickly became a big hit, spending a record-setting fifteen weeks atop the album rock tracks chart. Other hits from the album included "Vasoline" and "Big Empty" (the latter also being featured on the soundtrack to the film The Crow). By October, just four months after its release, Purple had sold three million copies.
Tiny Music, hiatus, and return (1995–2002) 
In October 1995, the band regrouped with Weiland to begin recording its third album, renting out a mansion in Santa Barbara, California for the band to live together during the recording process. Stone Temple Pilots released the album Tiny Music... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop, on March 5, 1996. The album's sound marked a drastic change from their previous outings, oriented more in the direction of glam rock and psychedelic music than that of the hard rock/grunge sound that propelled them to popularity; critical reception, at the time, was mixed. Rolling Stone, a magazine known for its initial dismissal of the band's music, held a favorable opinion of the album, regarding the release as the group's best effort to date. They expressed surprise, however, at "the clattering, upbeat character of the music" given Weiland's much-publicized run-ins with drugs and the law. Stone Temple Pilots were also featured on the cover of issue No. 753 in February 1997.
The band was unsuccessful in being able to fully tour in support of Tiny Music.... A short tour in the fall of 1996 ensued in the U.S. but final dates at the end of December in Hawaii had to be cancelled, including a further tour in 1997; as a result of Weiland's personal issues, Stone Temple Pilots went on hiatus. The band, sans Weiland, recruited Dave Coutts, the frontman of Ten Inch Men, and performed under the moniker Talk Show. Talk Show released one eponymous album in 1997 before dissolving. Meanwhile, pursuing his own musical interests, Weiland released his first solo album, 12 Bar Blues, in 1998. Although both albums received moderate critical praise, neither was commercially successful.
In 1998 the band regrouped and began work on a fourth Stone Temple Pilots album. Released in 1999, No. 4 was conceived as a "back-to-basics" rock album in the vein of Core or Purple. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic compared the albums sound to contemporary alternative metal bands and wrote in his review "it's as if STP decided to compete directly with the new generation of alt-metal bands who prize aggression over hooks or riffs." STP scored one of its biggest hits since the success of Core and Purple with the single "Sour Girl", fueled by a popular music video starring Sarah Michelle Gellar of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame. The band also recorded an episode of VH1 Storytellers, and went on a summer tour with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. No. 4 would eventually be certified platinum by the RIAA.
During the summer of 2001, the band released its fifth album, Shangri-La Dee Da, which produced one modest rock radio hit in "Days of the Week". Despite promotion of the album by going on tour with Linkin Park and Godsmack on the Family Values Tour, Shangri-La Dee Da was a commercial disappointment. At that point, marketing support from their label was reportedly minimal, and the band decided to put a hold on any future albums. However, the band recorded "All in the Suit That You Wear," a song intended to be the lead single on the soundtrack for the 2002 film Spider-Man. However, the band eventually opted out of the song's inclusion on the soundtrack due to Chad Kroeger's song "Hero" ultimately being chosen as the lead single.
Separation and other bands (2002–2008) 
Despite reports that the band began work on a sixth studio album in 2002 that reportedly would go back to their Core-era sound and planned on releasing it in 2003, the band had dissolved by the end of 2002, after reports of an altercation between Dean DeLeo and Weiland after the last show of Stone Temple Pilots' fall 2002 tour. As a capstone to the band's career, Atlantic Records released a greatest hits album, Thank You, with a bonus DVD of archive material and music videos, in 2003.
Weiland first became associated with former Guns N' Roses members Slash (guitar), Matt Sorum (drums), and Duff McKagan (bass) and former Wasted Youth guitarist Dave Kushner in 2002, who were looking for a singer to start a band. After the STP break-up Weiland joined them in 2003. The supergroup named themselves Velvet Revolver and released two albums Contraband (2004) and Libertad (2007). Likewise, the DeLeo brothers formed the supergroup Army of Anyone with vocalist Richard Patrick of the industrial rock band Filter and session drummer Ray Luzier. The band released its self-titled in 2006 before going on "indefinite hiatus" in 2007. Eric Kretz, however, kept a low profile during this time, operating his own studio, Bomb Shelter Studios, and drumming for the band Spiralarms.
Reunion and self-titled album (2008–2011) 
According to Dean DeLeo, steps toward a Stone Temple Pilots reformation started with a simple phone call from Weiland's wife, Mary Forsberg. She invited the DeLeo brothers to play at a private beach party, which led to the reconciliation of Weiland and the DeLeo brothers. In 2007, Dean DeLeo and Weiland discussed a concert promoter's offer to headline several summer festivals. Subsequently Weiland left Velvet Revolver in April 2008 and the following month, Stone Temple Pilots announced they were reuniting for a 65-date North American tour. The group officially reunited for a private gig at the Houdini Mansion and held their first public show on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on May 1. Stone Temple Pilots toured throughout the summer and fall, headlining the Virgin Mobile Festival in Baltimore on August of that year as well as the 10th annual Voodoo Experience in New Orleans. The band's six-month reunion tour wrapped up on Halloween 2008 in Pelham, Alabama.
After taking a short break to allow Scott to support his recently released second solo album, production for the band's sixth studio album began in mid-2009. The band showcased new material at South by Southwest in 2010, and also appeared at England's Download Festival 2010 in June, as well as at the Hurricane Festival and the Southside Festival in Germany. The band also performed during the Final Four Concert Series in Indianapolis on April 2, 2010. The band appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman for the first time in ten years on May 19, performing "Between the Lines." The band's self-titled sixth album Stone Temple Pilots was released on May 25, 2010, debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard 200.
Towards the end of 2010, STP announced they were rescheduling several U.S. tour dates so that the band could take a "short break." STP toured Southeast Asia for the first time in 2011, playing in Philippines (Manila), Singapore, and Indonesia (Jakarta). Following this, the band played successful shows in Australia, including sold out performances in Sydney and Melbourne.
Continued touring and split with Weiland (2011–present) 
In December 2011, Dean DeLeo told Rolling Stone, "what I'd like to see happen is the band go out and do more intimate shows – really lovely theaters around the country." Dean also commented on a possible extended reissue of Core including live archived material, "We have tons of live recordings from that era, and we didn't multi-track record that stuff. There's no fixes, so they'd sound incredible if we just master them,". On January 2, 2012, Scott Weiland also commented on the 20th anniversary of Core, saying "Well, we're doing a lot of special things. [There's] a lot of archival footage that we're putting together, a coffee table book, hopefully a brand new album - so many ideas. A box set and then a tour, of course."
Despite the band's claims that their fall tour would be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Core, this did not happen. On September 17, at a show in Abbotsford, British Columbia, STP took the stage nearly two hours after their scheduled time, and cut their set 30 minutes short, angering many fans. The following day, the band released a brief statement announcing that that night's show in Lethbridge, Alberta was cancelled due to Scott Weiland being ordered to go on "48 hours complete vocal rest due to strained vocal cords."
On September 19, in an interview with 93.7 KCLB Rocks, Dean DeLeo hinted that the band would continue to rely on a "greatest hits" setlist for their shows and would possibly embark on a tour celebrating Core in 2013. DeLeo also stated that he finds it "unrewarding" when the band plays lesser-known songs in concert and receives an indifferent reaction from the audience. DeLeo also made no mention of any plans for STP to record new material.
On December 7, in response to a public declaration from Weiland that he was "completely open" to returning to Velvet Revolver and a radio DJ's questions about the state of that band, Slash, Weiland's former bandmate with Velvet Revolver, told Minneapolis/St. Paul radio station 93X that he had heard Weiland had been fired from Stone Temple Pilots, citing this as a possible reason for Weiland's eagerness to return to Velvet Revolver, an option that Slash quickly discounted.
On February 27, 2013, Stone Temple Pilots officially fired Weiland. Weiland responded with his own statement, "I learned of my supposed 'termination' from Stone Temple Pilots this morning by reading about it in the press. Not sure how I can be 'terminated' from a band that I founded, fronted and co-wrote many of its biggest hits, but that's something for the lawyers to figure out."
On February 28, 2013, Weiland told TMZ that he was still STP's frontman, the band was "not broken up", and that his firing was "a whole thing to try to boost ticket sales."
The remaining members of Stone Temple Pilots will perform together for the first time since firing Scott Weiland on May 30, 2013 at the MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit Concert in Los Angeles, California.
Musical style 
The band's sound is considered a blending of the alternative rock of the 1980s and 90s with the hard rock of the 1970s, though the band is known for making each of their records possess a unique musical style, despite having the "sonic blueprint" of the band, as Robert DeLeo describes. Particularly, the band Aerosmith was a large influence on the band collectively, with guitarist Dean DeLeo acknowledging the band's influence on songs such as "Huckleberry Crumble" off their self-titled record. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry joined the band onstage at a 1996 show in Madison Square Garden for renditions of the Aerosmith songs "Sweet Emotion" and "Lick & A Promise." All of the band members were Kiss fans during their childhood, and played shows at the Roseland Ballroom in 1993 dressed in Kiss-style makeup. During the taping of their VH1 Storytellers performance, Weiland acknowledged artists such as The Rolling Stones, Neil Young and Robert Plant as their musical heroes, being honored with the chance to perform with them throughout STP's career. The band has covered songs by artists such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Pink Floyd, James Brown, David Bowie and Bob Marley both live and in the studio.
Early in their career, the band was considered to be a part of the "grunge" movement; despite assertions by critics that their style in the early 90's was derived from contemporary artists such as Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam, the band maintained that the similarities were coincidental, due in part to having the same musical idols growing up. Much of the comparison was directed at Weiland's vocal style drawing similarities to that of Eddie Vedder's. Weiland has stated that his vocal style is influenced by Jim Morrison and David Bowie, who also serves as his main fashion influence. Weiland has been called a "chameleon" due to his ability to change his vocal and fashion style.
Guitarist Dean DeLeo uses heavily layered and distorted guitar playing, while bassist Robert DeLeo draws influence from genres such as rhythm and blues, lounge music, and ragtime. Although the band's early demo recordings displayed a funk rock sound, the band's first album Core was a straightforward display of hard rock. After reconvening in the studio for their second album, Purple, the band's style developed, taking influence from psychedelic rock, country music, and jangle pop. The band continued to divulge in various genres and influences; for example, songs like "And So I Know" on Tiny Music... have a distinct bossa nova sound. Regarding the evolution of the band's sound, Weiland commented that "the transformation from Core to where we ended up before we took that time off, when I started with Velvet Revolver, was enormous."
Weiland is the band's primary lyricist. His style has changed with the band's evolution; much of the lyrics on Core were written about societal issues such as religion, abuse of power, and isolation. The band's breakthrough single "Sex Type Thing" polarized critics with its lyrics, some interpreting it as advocacy of date rape. Weiland intended it as a feminist anthem, with its lyrics written in mockery of the narrator. As Weiland began to deal with substance abuse, his lyrics became more personal and intricate; songs like "Interstate Love Song" deal with his addiction's tolls on his relationship with his then-wife, Janina. The lyrics of the band's fourth album were written to provide closure to his marriage and addiction to heroin. Following the band's reunion in 2008, Weiland once again evolved as a songwriter, explaining: "[In] the '90s, I was so overwhelmed with my heroin addiction, and so a lot of the stuff was just from my point of view. Now, I tend to look at some of the greats like Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. I look at their storytelling [and] I try to tell stories. Every song doesn't have to be narcissistically written about how I feel on that day."
Core, certified 8× platinum by the RIAA, drove the band to popularity. STP went on to become one of the most commercially successful rock bands of the 1990s, selling nearly 40 million records worldwide, including 17.5 million units in the United States, before their dissolution in 2003. The band has had 16 top ten singles on the Billboard rock charts, eight of which peaked at No. 1, and one No. 1 album for Purple in 1994. That same year, the band won a Grammy for "Best Hard Rock Performance" for the song "Plush" from the album Core. Stone Temple Pilots were also ranked No. 40 on VH1's The 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.
Despite being unpopular with critics in their heyday, Stone Temple Pilots have proved to be a popular and influential act. In retrospect, MTV writer James Montgomery published an article questioning the validity of music critics opinions of the band during the 90's, saying, "All I'm suggesting is that perhaps it's time to admit that we were wrong about them from the get-go — that we treated them unfairly." In a review of the band's 2003 greatest hits collection Thank You, Allmusic critic Stephen Erlewine wrote that "STP made music that sounded great at the time and even better now," and that "this music has stood the test of the time," calling Thank You "nearly perfect." Erlewine also wrote that "STP was the best straight-ahead rock singles outfit of their time."
Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins noted the band's importance in the early 2010s, saying "If you look at the popular bands of our generation, like Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, Nine Inch Nails, Hole, Nirvana and others, you see now clearly that the bands were very influential, very important not only for music but for culture, fashion…"
The band's music has left an impact on many younger bands. Chris Daughtry and Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington are self professed STP fans; Chester joined the band on stage for renditions of "Dead & Bloated" and "Wonderful" in 2001. Bands such as Seether, Evanescence, and The Academy Is... have covered Stone Temple Pilots songs. Following STP's 2008 reunion, many younger bands of that time period performed with the band, including Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Cage the Elephant, and Hurt.
- Core (1992)
- Purple (1994)
- Tiny Music... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop (1996)
- No. 4 (1999)
- Shangri-La Dee Da (2001)
- Stone Temple Pilots (2010)
|1993||"Plush"||MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist||Won|
|1994||—||American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock New Artist||Won|
|1994||"Plush"||Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance||Won|
|1995||"Big Empty"||MTV Movie Award for Best Song From a Movie||Won|
|1997||"Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart"||Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance||Nominated|
|2001||"Down"||Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance||Nominated|
|2010||"Between the Lines"||Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance||Nominated|
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