Dean DeLeo

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For the postmodern novelist, see Don DeLillo.
Dean DeLeo
Dean deleo guitar ottawa 2009 cropped.jpg
Dean DeLeo performing in 2009.
Background information
Born (1961-08-23) August 23, 1961 (age 55)
Montclair, New Jersey
Genres Alternative rock, hard rock, grunge, psychedelic rock
Instruments Guitar, bass guitar
Years active 1977–present
Labels Atlantic, Machine Shop
Associated acts Stone Temple Pilots, Talk Show, Army of Anyone, Laughter Train
Notable instruments
Gibson Les Paul
Gibson Les Paul Junior
Fender Telecaster

Dean DeLeo (born August 23, 1961 in Montclair, New Jersey) is an American guitarist known for his work with rock band Stone Temple Pilots. Dean is also known for his role in the short-lived bands Talk Show and Army of Anyone. He is the older brother of Robert DeLeo, who plays bass for Stone Temple Pilots.

DeLeo's playing has received strong critical acclaim over the years. Stone Temple Pilots' second album, Purple, released in 1994, was ranked at #73 on Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitar Albums of All-time list.[1]

Early life[edit]

DeLeo and his younger brother Robert were both born in Montclair, New Jersey and raised in the Jersey Shore community of Point Pleasant Beach.[2]

Stone Temple Pilots (1985–2003, 2008–present)[edit]

Dean's younger brother Robert met future vocalist Scott Weiland at a Black Flag concert. Robert soon after introduced Dean to Scott and an idea of forming a band was brought up. Dean was a guitarist and Robert managed to convince him to join. They eventually hooked up with drummer Eric Kretz, and the band was formed. They took the name Mighty Joe Young, inspired by the movie of the same name. They played gigs in many bars around the Hollywood area, and eventually landed a record deal with Atlantic Records in 1992. However, they were forced to change their name, for the name "Mighty Joe Young" had already been taken. Weiland decided on the name "Stone Temple Pilots"; although he states that it has no real meaning, he just liked the initials "STP".

The band quickly rose to fame with the release of their debut album Core, which sold over 8 million copies.[citation needed] The record sales were propelled by the release of the singles "Sex Type Thing" and "Plush", and helped establish Stone Temple Pilots as one of the many popular grunge bands in the early 1990s. However, they were ripped by critics for jumping on the bandwagon and profiting from the grunge mania. With their second album Purple, they challenged critics and became a genuine commercial rock act. Stone Temple Pilots went on to record five studio albums and managed to sell over 30 million copies worldwide. In 2008, after over five years apart, the band reunited, On May 25, 2010 the band released their sixth album, Stone Temple Pilots, the first album released after the band reunited.

Talk Show and Army of Anyone (1997 – 1998, 2006 – 2007)[edit]

The band had many troubles, however, mostly stemming from Scott Weiland's continuous problems with drug addiction. The band was forced to cancel most of the tours after 1995, as Weiland popped in and out of rehab. The DeLeos and Eric Kretz eventually formed a new band, Talk Show, which released one album. Stone Temple Pilots soon reunited, released two more albums, and disbanded once again in 2003. Weiland became the lead singer of Velvet Revolver, Kretz opened a studio in California, and the DeLeo brothers began to work with Richard Patrick, lead singer of the band Filter to compose songs for Filter's fourth album. The end result was a song that the three liked, so they contacted Ray Luzier, a famed session drummer, and Army of Anyone was formed. The band's debut was released on November 14, 2006, and they broke up in May 2007.

Laughter Train (1998-1999)[edit]

DeLeo worked with Laughter Train in the late 1990s.

Equipment and style[edit]

DeLeo owns numerous guitars, and he is an avid collector of vintage guitars. Some of his more notable guitars include:

DeLeo's live equipment has been described as "simple yet effective", and allows him to replicate the sounds he gets in studios. He primarily uses a modified Dunlop Cry Baby and a BOSS CE-1 stereo chorus pedal. For a number of years his rig was switched via a Rockman midi pedal, has since been replaced by a RJM Mastermind midi pedal.[3]

His amp set up includes a Demeter TGP-3 three-channel preamp, preamp switching via Rockman Midi Octopus, a Rocktron Intelliverb and a VHT Classic stereo tube power amp that runs 100 watts per side into two Marshall 4x12 cabinets.[4] Part of the signal from the pedalboard is also sent to a Vox AC-30 2x12 combo amp, and DeLeo credits this amp with creating clarity in his crunchy guitar tone. In addition, since part of his rig broke down while he was in Japan, DeLeo's rig is now doubled, containing two of everything, as a backup in case of problems.[5] DeLeo also uses an S.I.B. Varidrive pedal for overdrive and distortion.[6]

DeLeo's crunchy guitar tone is a hallmark of Stone Temple Pilots' sound, and has a distinct tone. Not overbearing on distortion, his sound possesses a unique "crunch", and is often seen as spacey. He pays homage to many genres and tones, most noticeably hard rock with elements of "psychedelia, jangle pop, and other forms of melodic alternative guitar."[7]

A detailed gear diagram of DeLeo's 2007 guitar rig is well-documented.[8]


DeLeo and his younger brother Robert produced Stone Temple Pilots' 2010 album, Stone Temple Pilots. The DeLeo brothers also produced the album TruANT by Alien Ant Farm.


  1. ^ "Guitar World's 100 Greatest Guitar Albums of All Time". Rate Your Music. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  2. ^ McKeon, Therese. "Flying High",, August 21, 2000. Accessed January 26, 2015. "Robert DeLeo: 98! Actually we were born in Montclair but we grew up down in Point Pleasant Beach – down at the shore (Robert pronounces it 'shaw' in his best New Jersey accent)."
  3. ^ "Dean DeLeo's guitar rig" Guitar FX Depot. March 5, 2009
  4. ^ "Dean DeLeo" Music Toyz. February 9, 2006.
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ "Stone Temple Pilots - Dean DeLeo Guitar Gear Rig and Equipment". 2008-04-28. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  7. ^ "Tiny Music... Review". Allmusic. February 9, 2006.
  8. ^ Cooper, Adam (2007). "Dean DeLeo's 2007 Guitar Rig". GuitarGeek.Com.