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Members include Dean DeLeo (born August 23, 1961, in New Jersey), guitar; Robert DeLeo (born February 2, 1966, in New Jersey), bass; Eric Kretz (born June 7, 1966, in Santa Cruz, CA), drums; Scott Weiland (born October 27, 1967, in Santa Cruz, CA; married Janina; divorced; married Mary Forsberg, 2000; children: Noah, Lucy), vocals. Addresses: Record company--Atlantic Records, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10020. Website--Stone Temple Pilots Official Website: http://www.stonetemplepilots.com.
The Stone Temple Pilots (STP) spent their early career fighting the perception that they were a "Seattle" band. Their 1992 debut album, Core, invited comparisons to a host of other current alternative rock acts from the Pacific Northwest's burgeoning music scene, but the Stone Temple Pilots actually paid their proverbial dues in southern California. The group is often pejoratively lumped together with Seattle grunge rock success stories like Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains, but in reality were all part of a wave of new bands whose roots lie in a bizarre allegiance to both the power-chord arena rock of the 1970s and a modern-day punk rock aesthetic. James Rotondi of Guitar Player described STP's work as "memorable, tough rock songs backed by anvil-heavy grooves and rich, unflashy guitar parts."
Core spent over a year on the music charts, won a slew of awards, and eventually went multiplatinum. The Stone Temple Pilots toured during most of 1993 and put in appearances as an opening act for heavy metal goliaths Megadeth as well as an MTV Unplugged show. In the summer of 1994, they released their sophomore effort, Purple, another instant series of hits. Between the two albums, STP became a permanent fixture on the album rock charts. Despite their unparalleled success, the band members felt frustrated by the criticism that often accompanies such accomplishment, but album and concert ticket sales offered somewhat of a balm. "Being a musician, you're so used to what's going on in the industry," guitarist Dean DeLeo responded to the snarkiness in a 1993 Rolling Stone interview with Kim Neely, "but when you get fan mail and you read what real people are saying about you, that's what really counts."
Stone Temple Pilots formed around the Los Angeles-San Diego axis in the late 1980s. Two of its members, brothers Dean and Robert DeLeo, were transplanted New Jerseyites living in San Diego. They had played professionally once before, back home in a cover band called Tyrus. Robert came across singer Scott "Weiland" Weiland at a Black Flag concert; the two realized they had been dating the same woman. Nevertheless, a friendship developed and they started to mess around with their guitars and an eight-track recorder. Californian Eric Kretz, then playing drums in another band, soon joined them. Kretz and Robert DeLeo relocated to Los Angeles, and Dean followed after a few years to help out with a demo tape. The brother decided to stick around, and the band officially formed as Mighty Joe Young.
Hesitated Before Signing Contract
The first-ever show of Mighty Joe Young happened at the legendary Whiskey-A-Go-Go in Los Angeles. The band soon tired of the Los Angeles music scene and returned to San Diego, where they wrote music and schlepped equipment to local bars for the next two years. In 1992 a representative from Atlantic Records came to one of their shows and soon the label was expressing interest in signing them. Yet the quartet was leery of a big, major-label contract until they talked with industry-insider Danny Goldberg, then managing Seattle grunge-rockers Nirvana.
Mighty Joe Young signed the contract on April Fools' Day of 1992. They headed into the studio with Brendan O'Brien, erstwhile producer of such bands as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Black Crowes. Shortly before their debut album's scheduled release, their lawyer discovered that the name Mighty Joe Young was already being used by an aged blues artist and they would need a new name. The "Stone Temple Pilots" moniker originated in the "STP" motor-oil logo sticker that the young Weiland's bike had sported. They invented the name from the letters.
Core began climbing the charts following its release in September of 1992. A video for the first single, "Sex Type Thing," made its first few appearances on the MTV metal showcase Headbangers Ball, then garnered heavy rotation during the rest of the programming week. The Stone Temple Pilots arrived on the scene just as other up-and-coming bands--especially the Seattle triumvirate of Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains--also began rocking the alternative charts and stations with a similar edgy, guitar-based sound. Fans assumed the Pilots hailed from the Pacific Northwest, too.
Meanwhile, some critics assailed the overnight explosion of similar-sounding bands--for years the alternative scene had been a healthy industry unto itself with neither major-label interest nor support--but now the behemoths had stepped in and found a way to market one particularly accessible sound to a wider spectrum of youthful listeners. By mid-1993 the Pilots were fed up with the issue. "What is mainstream, and what's alternative?" fumed bassist Robert DeLeo in the Rolling Stone interview with Neely. "I mean, you can't really control who's gonna buy your album. You can't put an alternative sticker on it and say, 'This is for cool people only.'"
The Stone Temple Pilots began a heavy tour schedule, making stops in both the United States and Europe. They turned down a slot as openers for Aerosmith in part because of the legendary act's traditional treatment of women as sex objects. Core's first single, "Sex Type Thing," was a strident message against date rape written by Weiland that nevertheless was sometimes read the wrong way as being pro-date-rape. The vocalist told Rolling Stone reporter Neely that he put himself in the frame of "the typical American macho jerk" as he was writing the song's lyrics from a first-person stance and was a bit stunned that some took his intent in a completely opposite way.
Demons of Success Came Calling
More criticism was heaped on the Stone Temple Pilots' second single, "Plus"; the track was easy to mistake for a Pearl Jam tune due to its riffs and Weiland's vocals. But Guitar Player's Rotondi tried to put the similarity in perspective, saying, "A generation that grew up discovering the joys of the Doors and Led Zeppelin in the wake of the punk explosion are bound to see and hear things similarly. If ... Weiland sounds like anybody, it's Jim Morrison, whose moody baritone has been appropriated by everyone from the Cult's Ian Astbury to Billy Idol to Glenn Danzig to Layne Staley to, well, Eddie Vedder--all, like Weiland, talented, charismatic figures."
The Stone Temple Pilots began racking up an impressive array of awards as their debut album was selling millions. "Plush" remained on the charts for a record-setting 77 weeks from 1993 to 1994, and won the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal as well as a Billboard award for number one rock track; indecisive American Music Award voters gave them honors for favorite new pop/rock artist and favorite new heavy metal/hard rock artist; Rolling Stone readers voted them the Best New Band and Weiland the Best New Male Singer of 1994; they also won an MTV Music Video Award for Best New Artist.
But the success as well as the pressure nearly dissolved the band, as Weiland admitted in retrospect to RIP reporter Mick Wall in early 1995. "A year ago, well, it just got to the point where we just really did not have the energy to communicate with each other. There were problems ... [like] the lack of respect that we had gotten from the music press, which we had always paid attention to." As a band they had been secure in their songwriting abilities, he explained, and at first were indifferent to what others were saying, but "then after a while I think it started running on us and we were thinking like, 'Maybe they're right,' you know? 'Maybe people are right. Maybe there's something wrong with what we're doing.'"
Critics Assailed, Fans Adored
But the Stone Temple Pilots managed to keep their heads up long enough to duck back into a studio in Georgia in early 1994. Working again with Brendan O'Brien, they wrote much of the material for the next album in the studio and got it down on tape in less than a month. The DeLeos wrote the music and Weiland the lyrics, and many of the 12 tracks on Purple could be termed somewhat brooding and introspective. "I guess I tend to find the darker shades of life more attractive than the yellows and oranges," Weiland told Neely in the Rolling Stone interview about his muses. "I know it's something that I relate to when I listen to music." Robert DeLeo looked forward to getting the album released in an effort to silence their critics. "I think the new album is going to be our only savior," he told Rotondi in Guitar Player in early 1994. "Hopefully, it will dispel a lot of the demons that are following us around."
Purple debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 200 in June of 1994. Its first singles were "Vasoline" and "Interstate Love Song," each quickly becoming staples on both alternative and rock radio. Critical reaction was mixed. Reviewing it for Entertainment Weekly, David Browne called it "rock & roll utterly without roots or, despite the pseudo-underground sheen, a real, defined sense of time or place." People writer Tony Sinclair made the usual Pearl Jam comparison and also likened STP to a sort of modern-day Grand Funk Railroad. Lorraine Ali of Rolling Stone was less judgmental, however. She described Purple's lyrical content as "cryptic and sensitive" and lauded "mystical interludes and acoustic melodies [that] could be hokey but instead are naively pretty." Critical barbs aside, Purple was an unqualified success. It went triple platinum in less than six months, and "Interstate Love Song" held at number one for 15 weeks on Billboard's album rock charts, a rather rare feat.
Weiland Struggled with Addictions
The success of Purple was tempered by Weiland's growing heroin addiction and a rumored rift among group members. In May of 1995, Weiland was arrested for possession of heroin and cocaine in Pasadena, California. The misdemeanor carried a sentence of up to four years in prison, but Weiland was sentenced instead to a rehabilitation program. After he completed the program, the group recorded its third album, Tiny Music... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop. Weiland relapsed soon after the album's release, and he once again entered a rehabilitation program. Without their leader, the group was unable to tour in support of Tiny Music.As a result, the album was not the overwhelming success of Core and Purple, though it did enter the charts at number four and went multiplatinum in 1998.
Upset with his relapse and struggling to manage his addiction, Weiland recorded a solo album in 1998 called 12 Bar Blues. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of All Music Guide called the album "an unpredictable, carnivalesque record confirming that Weiland was the visionary behind STP's sound.... At its best, 12 Bar Blues makes a case for Weiland's talents as a songwriter and musician." The other members of STP formed the group Talk Show and released a self-titled album in 1997.
Much to the surprise of fans and critics, Stone Temple Pilots reunited and released the album No. 4 in 1999. The recording of the album was not without its problems, though. Still in and out of treatment, Weiland violated his parole for the third time in the spring of 1998 and was sentenced to a year in jail, bringing the production of No. 4 to an abrupt end. The band managed to record enough material for the album before Weiland's jailing and pulled together what Michael Moses of Los Angeles Magazine called a collection of songs with "stellar pop craftsmanship and melodic focus." Weiland was released from prison after three months served and helped his bandmates promote the album with secret performances and radio show appearances. The group also received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance for "Down," the album's lead track.
Stone Temple Pilots, with a sober Weiland, released Shangri-La-Dee-Da in June of 2001. The album "merges four-on-the-floor rock and roll and classic pop melodies with moments of glam, punk, space-pop and even bossa nova," according to Teri van Horn of MTV.com. The album reached gold sales in July of 2001.
by Carol Brennan
Stone Temple Pilots's Career
Group formed in San Diego, CA, c. 1987; originally named Mighty Joe Young; signed with Atlantic Records, April 1992; released first album, Core, 1992; appeared on MTV Unplugged, 1993; released Purple, 1994; group essentially disbands following the release of Tiny Music... Songs from the Vatican City Gift Shop and a relapse of Weiland's heroin addiction, 1996; group reunites for the release of No. 4, 1999; released Shangri-La-Dee-Da, 2001.
Stone Temple Pilots's Awards
Grammy Award, Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal for "Plush"; American Music Awards, Favorite New Pop/Rock Artist, Favorite New Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Artist; two BillboardVideo Awards; Billboard Music Award, Number One Rock Track for "Plush"; MTV Music Video Award, Best New Artist of 1993; Rolling Stone readers' poll, Best New Artist and lead singer Scott Weiland named Best New Male Singer, all 1993.
- Selected discography
- Core , Atlantic, 1992.
- Purple , Atlantic, 1994.
- Tiny Music... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop , Atlantic, 1996.
- No. 4 , Atlantic, 1999.
- Shangri-La-Dee-Da , Atlantic, 2001.
November 11, 2003: Stone Temple Pilots' album, Thank You, was released. Source: Billboard.com, www.billboard.com/bb/releases/week_3/rock.jsp, November 12, 2003.
- Billboard, December 10, 1994; January 14, 1995; March 4, 1995.
- Entertainment Weekly, June 10, 1994; August 11, 1995.
- Guitar Player, August 1993; February 1994.
- Los Angeles Magazine, November 1999.
- People, June 13, 1994; May 13, 1996; August 28, 2000.
- RIP, February 1995.
- Rolling Stone, August 5, 1993; February 10, 1994; July 17, 1994.
- All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (March 26, 2002).
- MTV.com, http://www.mtv.com (February 5, 2002).
- Record Industry Association of America, http://www.riaa.com (March 21, 2002).
- Richard De La Font Agency, http://www.delafont.com/music_acts/stone-temple.htm (March 25, 2002).
- Stone Temple Pilots Official Website, http://www.stonetemplepilots.com (March 26, 2002).
- Additional information for this profile was provided by Atlantic Records publicity materials.
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