Stone Temple Pilots Biography
The band found immediate success with the release of their debut album Core in 1992, which is certified 8× platinum by the RIAA. 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. The band has had 16 top ten singles on the Billboard rock charts, seven of which peaked at #1, and one #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 #40 on VH1's The 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.
Weiland's continual drug offenses caused multiple concert cancellations and band separations. These setbacks resulted in the creation of various alternate bands by each of the band members (see The Magnificent Bastards, Talk Show, Army of Anyone, Velvet Revolver) and two solo albums by Weiland. Kretz would go on to launch Bomb Shelter Studios in Los Angeles. The band's separation in 2003 lasted five years. Stone Temple Pilots reunited in April 2008 with a successful 71-date tour and the band's eponymous sixth studio album was released on May 25, 2010.
Stone Temple Pilots can trace its beginnings to a Black Flag concert in Long Beach, California in 1986, where Scott Weiland met Robert DeLeo. They began discussing their girlfriends, and, after realizing they were dating the same woman, developed a bond. They each subsequently broke it off with the girl, who left town, whereupon Weiland and DeLeo moved into her vacated apartment. Immediately, Weiland and DeLeo formed a band with two of Scott's friends from Edison High School, Corey Hicock (guitar) and David Allin (drums). After Allin's departure, drummer Eric Kretz joined the band. Soon after, Robert DeLeo's brother, Dean DeLeo, decided to play guitar in the band replacing Hicock, completing the quartet. They then named their band Mighty Joe Young. The band recorded a demo tape that was completed around 1990.
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 blues man who had already claimed the name Mighty Joe Young. They changed the band's name to Shirley Temple's Pussy, but changed the name again due to record label pressure. They liked the initials STP and eventually settled on the name Stone Temple Pilots. They were first seen nationally on MTV's 1990 Spring Break concert, in support of Living Colour.
Stone Temple Pilots built 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, later reaching #3 in the Billboard Charts and producing hits including "Sex Type Thing", "Plush", "Wicked Garden", "Creep", and "Dead & Bloated."
In spite of hostile reviews from critics, Stone Temple Pilots continued to gain fans. Bringing their music to the people, they toured for four weeks, opening for Rage Against the Machine, and then played a 40-date tour supporting the heavy metal band Megadeth. 1993 brought continued success on the road, with the band headlining a two-and-a-half-month American tour. Around this time, Stone Temple Pilots also performed at benefits for pro-choice organizations.
Also in 1993, the band filmed an episode of MTV Unplugged, where they debuted the song "Big Empty."
Despite commercial success, the music press criticized the band as grunge imitators. Jon Pareles of The New York Times wrote in a 1993 concert review, "The San Diego band has climbed onto the Seattle grunge bandwagon. Its slow songs, with heaving riffs and half-speed vocals, are second-rate Pearl Jam; for variety, there are some midtempo groans that imitate Nirvana." Weiland told Entertainment Weekly in 2008, "It was really painful in the beginning because I just assumed that the critics would understand where we were coming from, that these just weren't dumb rock songs." 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.
Although the band's success continued into 1995, it would not be a good year for the band. Two weeks of recording session work had to be scrapped in February, and in May, Weiland was arrested for possession of heroin and cocaine in Pasadena, California, when police found the illegal drugs in his wallet. Facing up to three years in prison, Weiland pled not guilty, and a trial date was set the next year.
Following Weiland's arrest, the Pilots separated. Weiland formed a temporary side unit called The Magnificent Bastards, which contributed a song to the movie soundtrack of Tank Girl and a cover song to a John Lennon tribute album. By October 1995, however, 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 their third album, Tiny Music... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop, on March 5, 1996. Fans again showed their support of the band when the album debuted at number four on the U.S. charts. Critical reception, however, was mostly mixed. David Browne of Entertainment Weekly wrote: "None of it ... has a distinct personality." Rolling Stone was more favorable, 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 #753 in February 1997.
However, Weiland's drug addiction again became a serious obstacle to the band's success. 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. The band issued a statement saying that: "[Weiland] has become unable to rehearse or appear for these shows due to his dependency on drugs. He is currently under a doctor's care in a medical facility."
Weiland's entry into a drug rehabilitation program was not voluntary. In April 1996, he was ordered by a Pasadena judge to spend up to six months under 24/7 medical supervision. After Weiland completed five months in a drug treatment program, the charges of cocaine and heroin possession were dropped in October 1996. Weiland's 1996 stay in a rehabilitation center proved unsuccessful and in January 1997 he checked himself into another drug treatment center. This resulted in another canceled tour.
In September 1997, while Stone Temple Pilots were on hiatus, Weiland began recording a solo album, 12 Bar Blues, which was released in March 1998. While Scott worked on and promoted his solo album, the remaining members of Stone Temple Pilots formed the short-lived band Talk Show, with former Ten Inch Men singer Dave Coutts. Neither release did well commercially, but both received some critical acclaim.
Stone Temple Pilots soon reunited, releasing No. 4 in 1999. Singles released from the album included "Down" and "No Way Out", but they scored one of their biggest hits since the success of Core and Purple with the single "Sour Girl". "Sour Girl" was inspired by Weiland's failing relationship with his then wife, and peaked at number 78 on the Billboard Hot 100, thus becoming the band's most successful single to date. The popular music video for "Sour Girl" featured actress Sarah Michelle Gellar. Shortly after No. 4's completion, Weiland was sentenced to a year in a Los Angeles county jail for violating probation.
During the summer of 2001, the band released their fifth album, Shangri-La Dee Da, which produced two modest rock radio hits: "Days of the Week" and "Hollywood Bitch". The band began work on a sixth studio album in 2002 that reportedly would go back to their Core-era sound and planned on finishing it in January 2003, but when Dean DeLeo and Scott Weiland nearly got into a fistfight during the last show of Stone Temple Pilots' fall 2002 tour, it marked the end of Stone Temple Pilots.
In 2003, Stone Temple Pilots separated, which Dean DeLeo would later describe as a respite. On November 11, 2003, Atlantic Records released a greatest hits album, Thank You, with a bonus DVD. The compilation included a previously unreleased single called "All in the Suit That You Wear". The bonus DVD included an acoustic performance of "Plush" filmed in 1992 on MTV's Headbanger's Ball.
That same year, Weiland joined the successful supergroup Velvet Revolver, composed of former Wasted Youth guitarist Dave Kushner and former Guns N' Roses members Slash, Matt Sorum, and Duff McKagan, eventually releasing two albums, Contraband in 2004 and Libertad in 2007. Contraband became one of the most successful rock albums of 2004, selling over 2 million copies.
The DeLeo brothers formed Army of Anyone with vocalist Richard Patrick, from the industrial rock band Filter, and drummer Ray Luzier. The band released its only album on November 14, 2006. Army of Anyone went on "indefinite hiatus" in May 2007 after Richard Patrick announced he was working on a new Filter album. Eric Kretz kept a low profile during this time, operating his own studio, Bomb Shelter Studios, and drumming for the band Spiralarms.
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. Despite clearing the brief tour with his Velvet Revolver bandmates, Weiland would be ostracized and, as a result, in the middle of a Velvet Revolver show on March 20, 2008, Weiland announced that it would be his last tour with the group.
The following month, Stone Temple Pilots announced they were reuniting for a 65-date North American tour. During one of these shows, Weiland hinted at a possible future album, stating that he had "lots of new songs in his head". Prior to the tour's start, Weiland was ordered by a court to serve an eight-day jail sentence on charges from the previous year for driving while intoxicated.
In June 2008, Atlantic Records filed a lawsuit against Weiland and Kretz for trying to end their contract to the label early. (The DeLeo brothers had been released from their contract in late 2003 for pursuing separate careers.) Although the band recorded six albums for the label, Atlantic wanted Stone Temple Pilots to record a seventh album, in addition to two more albums if the label decided to release the records. The band released a statement hoping for "negotiations to continue in a positive spirit rather than under a dark cloud of hostility."
Stone Temple Pilots headlined the Virgin Mobile Festival in Baltimore on August 10, 2008, as well as the 10th annual Voodoo Experience in New Orleans on the weekend before Halloween. This marked one of their biggest and most successful performances since reforming. The band's six month reunion tour wrapped on October 31, 2008 in Pelham, Alabama.
Scott Weiland released his second solo album, "Happy" in Galoshes, on November 25, 2008, and toured throughout 2009; this was his first solo tour since 1998.
The compilation album Buy This was released on November 27, 2008, exclusively through Best Buy.
Stone Temple Pilots played at the nineteenth annual KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas on December 13, a New Year's Eve show in Los Angeles on December 31, and a show in Las Vegas on January 2, 2009.
On December 19, Weiland signed a publishing deal with Bug Music allowing him to "receive funding to pursue the development of creative projects and writers for Bug Music through his co-founded label, Softdrive Records." The deal includes Weiland's share of the Stone Temple Pilots catalog and future solo projects.
Recording for Stone Temple Pilots began in mid-2009. By June 2009, the band had written 18 songs, twelve of which were planned to be released on the album.
STP embarked on a short summer tour that kicked off in July as well as touring in the fall before returning to the studio. To complete work on the album, the band postponed tour dates set for the months of December 2009 and January 2010. In addition, Weiland stated that, while "the fans love to hear the hits... it's more fun playing stuff you just wrote." Robert DeLeo stated that the overall sound of the album will have a "'60s vibe." Stone Temple Pilots is scheduled to be released on May 25, 2010. The band performed at South by Southwest in March, debuting four new songs live, and will also appear 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".
Musical style and influences
The band's sound is considered a blending of modern alternative rock and hard rock of the 1970s, creating a form of arena rock. While Core and Purple resembled a strong grunge-inspired sound, later albums would include elements of psychedelic rock, glam rock, and bossa nova. Dean DeLeo's trademark guitar sound is considered to be "crunchy" and especially distorted. DeLeo's playing has received critical acclaim, as Stone Temple Pilots' second album, Purple, was ranked number 73 on Guitar World magazine's list of the 100 greatest guitar albums of all time. Stone Temple Pilots has covered several popular classic rock artists live and in the studio, such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Kiss, The Doors, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, and even reggae artist Bob Marley.
Though critics claimed Weiland's vocal style to be similar to that of Eddie Vedder and the late Layne Staley, Weiland has said his vocal style is inspired by the late Jim Morrison of the Doors, and has also cited David Bowie as a major influence.
While mainly an alternative rock band, the band has incorporated a large number of musical styles throughout their career, including hard rock, psychedelic rock, jangle pop, and funk rock. Guitarist Dean DeLeo uses heavily layered and distorted guitar playing, and bassist Robert DeLeo draws influences from genres such as rhythm and blues, lounge music, and ragtime. Weiland is the band's primary lyricist. In a February 2010 speech, Craig Kallman, Chairman and CEO of Atlantic Records, compared the band to Led Zeppelin.