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Single by Stone Temple Pilots
from the album Purple
  • "Meat Plow"
  • "Andy Warhol" (live from MTV Unplugged)
  • "Crackerman" (live from MTV Unplugged)"
ReleasedJune 1, 1994
FormatCD single
Songwriter(s)Music: Robert DeLeo, Dean DeLeo, Eric Kretz
Lyrics: Scott Weiland
Producer(s)Brendan O'Brien
Stone Temple Pilots singles chronology
"Big Empty"
"Interstate Love Song"
Audio sample
Music video
"Vasoline" on YouTube

"Vasoline" is a song by American rock band Stone Temple Pilots from their second album, Purple. The song was the second single of the album (and also the second most successful, only behind "Interstate Love Song"), reaching #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart for two weeks.[2] The song's odd-sounding intro was created by Robert DeLeo, who ran his bass through a wah-wah pedal to get the said effect. The song's lyrics were written by vocalist Scott Weiland. "Vasoline" also appears on the greatest hits compilation album Thank You. A live version also appears on The Family Values 2001 Tour compilation.

Composition and meaning[edit]

During STP's performance of "Vasoline" on VH1 Storytellers, Weiland says that the song is about "feeling like an insect under a magnifying glass." During an interview with Greg Prato from on October 14, 2014, Scott Weiland confirmed that the key line in this song came from a misheard lyric: His parents put on the Eagles song "Life in the Fast Lane", and Weiland thought they were singing, "Flies in the Vasoline."[3]

In his autobiography Not Dead and Not For Sale, he adds that it "is about being stuck in the same situation over and over again. It's about me becoming a junkie. It's about lying to Jannina [Castaneda, first wife] and lying to the band about my heroin addiction."[4]

Perhaps one of the strangest things about this song is the use of syncopation in the riff that the guitar and bass play. By itself, the riff sounds something like swung eighth notes alternating between the musical notes F natural and G natural. The riff, however, is an alternating sixteenth and eighth note pattern as part of a 3-beat rhythmic figure played over a drum beat in 4/4 time, creating a rhythmic tension and release that is characteristic of such figures.

The over-the-counter balm after which the song appears[citation needed] to be named is spelled Vaseline. Alternatively, it is believed that the name is a portmanteau of "Vaseline" and "Gasoline", which may be an allusion to a chemical mixture that is popularly known to be the composition of a flammable compound similar to, if not that of, Napalm.


(1994–95) Position
Canadian RPM Singles Chart 21
UK Singles Chart 48
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Airplay[5] 38
U.S. Billboard Album Rock Tracks[6] 1
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks[7] 2

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Vasoline" - 2:56
  2. "Meatplow" - 3:39
  3. "Andy Warhol" (David Bowie) [Live] - 3:09
  4. "Crackerman" [Live] - 4:03

Music videos[edit]

The music videos (directed by Kevin Kerslake) were in heavy rotation on MTV when the single was released in 1994.[8] There are at least three different versions of the video, labeled "X Version", "Y Version", and "Z Version". All versions are similar, using parts of the same footage with some minor differences and shown in different orders. The single album art is taken directly from the music video.


  • X Version - begins with a shot of flypaper and then a laughing clown [Robert DeLeo]
  • Y Version - begins with a butterfly-catching girl [Deanna Stevens] skipping up to the camera
  • Z Version - begins with a man using a sharpening stone wheel

Notable appearances[edit]


  1. ^ Michael Danaher (August 4, 2014). "The 50 Best Grunge Songs". Paste.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 607.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Not Dead and Not For Sale (Scribner, 2010), pp111
  5. ^ "Radio Songs – Stone Temple Pilots". Retrieved 2013-03-08.
  6. ^ "Mainstream Rock Tracks – Stone Temple Pilots". Retrieved 2013-03-08.
  7. ^ "Alternative Songs – Stone Temple Pilots". Retrieved 2013-03-08.
  8. ^

External links[edit]