Stone Temple Pilots are an American rock band from San Diego, California. Formed in 1986 by Scott Weiland (vocals) and Robert DeLeo (bass), they were later joined by Robert's brother Dean DeLeo (guitar) and Eric Kretz (drums).
They were, and still are, The '90s rock version of eclectic music, a band that constantly tried to break from the pack of the era's rock titans to establish their own fan base and sound. Writer Chuck Klosterman once claimed he had never met anyone who claimed to be a passionate Stone Temple Pilots fan, yet he had met numerous people who knew who they were.
At any rate, Stone Temple Pilots's first two albums sold 14 million copies combined, cementing their reputation as rock radio mainstays. Scott Weiland, the Face of the Band for all the wrong reasons, cited Jim Morrison and David Bowie as influences in his own singing. The band's line-up has remained the same throughout its active years, but has split twice, the first time in 1995, when Weiland was arrested and convicted for buying crack cocaine, and in 2002, when Weiland and Dean DeLeo got into a fistfight. They re-formed in 2008, to moderate success. In February 2013, Weiland was fired by the other members for a second time for unexplained reasons. Weiland claimed this was a joke to boost ticket sales; with the release of "Out of Time," featuring Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington (and the EP High Rise) this seems not to be the case.
In November 2015, Chester Bennington amicably parted ways with the band due to his commitments with Linkin Park (who was gearing up to record their seventh album, One More Light). However, hopes of a classic reunion vanished nearly a month later when Scott Weiland died at the age of 48 due to an accidental drug overdose; nearly two years later, Bennington, too, died in a suicide by hanging. After months of silence, the band began an online campaign to find a new vocalist. In November 2017, former The X Factor US contestant Jeff Gutt (formerly of Dry Cell) became STP's new lead singer.
The band's studio albums are:
- Core (1992) went eight times platinum, featuring songs the band is most famously known for, including: "Dead & Bloated," "Sex Type Thing," "Wicked Garden," "Creep," and "Plush." An acoustic version of "Plush" from MTV's Headbangers' Ball still gets airplay. The album was originally pilloried by critics, who called them a faceless, generic Grunge band and accused them of "ripping off" Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam. (Not to mention people who misinterpreted the lyrics to "Sex Type Thing.")
- Purple (1994) featuring: "Vasoline," "Interstate Love Song," "Big Empty," and "Unglued." This album ditched the Heavy Metal sound of their debut and thus improved their critical reception, introducing more Psychedelic Rock elements to their style, and relying less on what was perceived to be formulaic grunge songs. This was the first album where Scott Weiland was credited with his full name, since for the debut he was credited solely as "Weiland." (He also stopped bleaching his hair while at it.)
- Tiny Music... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop (1996), featuring: "Big Bang Baby," "Lady Picture Show," and "Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart." Probably the band's best example of Word Salad Lyrics. This album featured heavier influences from Psychedelic Rock and even Britpop, making it the first Stone Temple Pilots album to receive very good reviews. However, tensions within the band — caused by Weiland's drug habits — prevented a tour to promote the album and thus it sold less than the others (though 2x platinum in its own right), marking the downhill point in Stone Temple Pilots career success wise.
- No. 4 (1999), featuring: "Down" and "Sour Girl." This album returned to the grunge style of Core, making it their first (arguably) metal album since 1992, this time resulting in good reception. The video for "Sour Girl" included a cameo by Sarah Michelle Gellar since Weiland was a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan.
- Shangri-La-Dee-Da (2001) featuring: "Days of the Week" and whatever other songs diehard fans like. This album was a flop commercially and critically.
- Stone Temple Pilots (2010). The band's comeback album, featuring: "Between the Lines." This is the last Stone Temple Pilots album to feature Scott Weiland, who would die in 2015.
- High Rise (EP, 2013). The band's only recorded material with Chester Bennington, featuring "Out of Time."
- Stone Temple Pilots (2018). The band's first album with Jeff Gutt on vocals.
- Perdida (2020). A more soft, acoustic-oriented album.
This band provides examples of:
- The Band Minus the Face: The firing of Scott Weiland became this for Stone Temple Pilots. They had averted this during a previous hiatus by performing under the name Talk Show.
- Bowdlerized: The band name, actually. After changing their name from "Mighty Joe Young," they briefly went by the moniker: "Shirley Temple's Pussy." Even now, if you type that name into Wikipedia's search engine, the Stone Temple Pilots page comes up.
- Broken Record: The chorus of "Art School Girl" is: "I told you five or four times!" repeated over and over.
- Changed for the Video: The video version of "Creep" has the verses completely re-sung by Weiland while apparently keeping the original versions of the choruses.
- "Days of the Week" Song: Well, "Days of the Week."
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: "Sex Type Thing", written from the perspective of a rapist and meant to deconstruct their misogynistic thought processes. Weiland wrote it after an ex had been the victim of a gang-rape in high school. Unfortunately, like other similar examples such as "Diane" and "Polly", it gained a Misaimed Fandom, but it's also been reappraised in recent years as one of the first big hits to make a serious attempt to examine the subject.
- Design Student's Orgasm / Minimalistic Cover Art: Between Tiny Music and No. 4 their cover art swung from one extreme to the other.
- Disappeared Dad: "Pop's Love Suicide," an obliquely autobiographical song written by Scott. According to his ex-wife, Scott himself was very much this to his own children.
- Early Installment Weirdness: They formed in the '80s as "Mighty Joe Young," where they were a Funk band. Check out the song "Piece of Pie" (which, aside from the name, bears no resemblance to the Core song).
- Epic Rocking: "Where the River Goes" and "Kitchenware & Candybars."
- Grunge: Their most cited genre. Regardless what genre one cites, they certainly rode the same zeitgeist as Pearl Jam and company to superstardom, though their critical reception only improved when they added more Psychedelic Rock influences.
- Hidden Track: "My Second Album," at the end of Purple, a lounge jazz number which name drops Johnny Mathis. Unusually, it's not even performed by the band, but by Richard Peterson, a Seattle street musician.
- Greatest Hits Album:
- Thank You.
- Buy This, basically a very condensed version note of the above, which was originally exclusive to Best Buy stores.
- Instrumentals: "Press Play" and "Daisy," both from Tiny Music.
- Last-Name Basis: In Core's liner notes, Scott Weiland was credited solely by his last name.
- Lead Bassist: Robert DeLeo is a Type A, as he is known for his technical ability and his complex, melodic basslines that frequently take a lead role and play a substantial role in their core sound.
- Long-Runner Line-up: With an hiatus in-between.
- Long Song, Short Scene: When Tiny Music was reissued on vinyl, an extended four and a half minute version of "Press Play" was used instead of the previously available version that fades out after a minute and a half - this is apparently how long the song was on the original master tapes for the album. However, this version quickly starts repeating itself, so there aren't really any additional sections not included on the minute and a half version.
- Miniscule Rocking: "No Memory," "Wet My Bed," and "Press Play."
- Misogyny Song: Subverted in the case of "Sex Type Thing." The song uses misogynistic lyrics ironically to show how demented they are. This irony was lost on many people, who originally treated it as an advocacy of date rape, but it's actually a Take That! against rapists, rape apologists, and the general treatment of women as sex objects.
- Mushroom Samba: "Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart", about an extremely bad acid trip (that, judging by the lyrics, involved ego death) that Scott Weiland had.
- New Sound Album: Famously, this applies to virtually all their albums. Purple, a lighter hard rock album with a lot of synths, is a drastic change from the heavy metal grunge album Core, whereas Tiny Music is 1960's rock album in the vein of The Kinks in all but the decade it was released. No. 4 is generally another grungy metal album in the vein of Core — with some late '90s alt-metal thrown in — but some select songs (such as "Sour Girl") wouldn't be out of place on the latter two.
- Non-Appearing Title: Several of their most popular songs are examples, including "Sex Type Thing", "Plush", "Big Empty", "Interstate Love Song", and "Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart".
- Non-Indicative Name: Many of their songs, although "Sex Type Thing" stands out. As Weiland put it, it's "really not about sex at all. Its about control, violence and abuse of power."
- Power Ballad: "Creep" and "Big Empty" are probably their most famous.
- Refrain from Assuming: Most of their big hits get this, because almost all have Non-Appearing Titles. So, for instance, "Creep" is not called "Half the Man I Used to Be" (or "Half the Man He Used to Be" - and Nirvana did not perform it). "Interstate Love Song" is not called "Leaving on a Southern Train". "Big Empty" is not called "Time to Take Her Home" or "Conversations Kill". And so on.
- Religion Rant Song: "Naked Sunday" sounds like a monologue directed at God:Weiland: It's about organised religion. About people who tell others what to do and what to believe. They switch off people's minds and control the masses. It gives me a feeling of isolation, when I think about it. Organized religion does not view everyone as equals.
- Signature Style: Oddly enough, the band does manage this. With the exception of the heavily grunge Core, all albums — while generally having different sounds — contain elements of psychedelic rock in them.
- Super Group: With the firing of Weiland and hiring of Chester Bennington, they essentially became a supergroup of themselves and Linkin Park. Scott, meanwhile, would become the frontman for an honest-to-god one with Velvet Revolver, which consisted of him and three former Guns N' Roses members.
- Uncommon Time: "Vasoline" has a 3/4 guitar and bass riff played over a 4/4 drum beat.
- Word Salad Lyrics: "Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart" has this in spades.
- Yarling: Weiland, like many Grunge singers, provides several examples. "Plush" is an excellent one: "And I FEEEE-HEEELETT, YEARGH!"