Yesterday I had a Stone Temple Pilots song stuck in my head (it was “Trippin On A Hole In A Paper Heart” in case you were wondering). While I had that song replaying in my mind, I found myself delving into the very underrated and unsung masterpiece album that is Tiny Music… From The Vatican Gift Shop (which I will get into on another day because that album is truly great). During that time in 1996, while out promoting the album, Stone Temple Pilots stopped by the Howard Stern show for an interview and performance. Howard, who you can tell is a fan of the band and had them on the show throughout their career, as well as just Scott Weiland, mentioned that he loved their recent cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Dancing Days,” and low and behold, STP would go on to perform it that day on the show (they also performed “Seven Caged Tigers” as well). I truly think this cover is spectacular. I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to this version over the years but, it’s definitely up there. I just love the honest and pure approach STP had to their music and time together. It’s performances like this that make me miss Scott Weiland. What a talent and voice! You are missed Scott!
Stone Temple Pilots (Led Zeppelin)- Dancing Days on Howard Stern:
There are always albums in a bands career and catalog that will define them but there are certain ones that will always stand out among the rest. Stone Temple Pilots have that type of catalog. Their debut album, Core is a quintessential rock album every rock music fan should own but, the one that should really be in every collection is their second album and their masterpiece, Purple. We all now about the year 1994 and all the great albums that came out and Purple is most definitely on that list. Through the years as I’ve listened more and more to this album, there are always specific songs and moments I always go back to. For example my favorite song on the album “Lounge Fly” is such an amazing song. And the other song that has been a close second favorite “Silvergun Superman” has one of the best guitar solos on an STP album. Guitarist Dean DeLeo is not only underrated as a player but his style of play looks so flawless. When you hear him play it’s distinctly him. You can tell the difference especially if you listen to Velvet Revolver try to play STP songs, the guitar tones and styles don’t match Dean (and that’s not a knock on Slash, he just doesn’t have the same “feel” as Dean, especially for these songs. Solo wise on “Silvergun Superman” it’s got this really cool late 60’s early 70’s psychedelic rock vibe to it with a bit of a southern charm a la The Allman Brothers and a dash of Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin. After you are done with delving into the greatness that is “Silvergun Superman” go back and listen to Purple, and you’ll hear why it’s a true masterpiece.
Stone Temple Pilots- Silvergun Superman (Album Version):
Stone Temple Pilots- Silvergun Superman (Live 1994):
It’s always fun to take songs of the same name and put them on back to back and contemplate about which one is better. There are so many of them out there and some are definitely better than some. One that I did recently were the songs “Sin” by Nine Inch Nails from Pretty Hate Machine and by Stone Temple Pilots on their album Core. Now these are both totally different but are quite good songs. The NIN one will always take the top prize for me. “Sin” the NIN version is in my top 10 all time favorite NIN songs.
I woke up this morning with Stone Temple Pilots in my head. Specifically the song “Atlanta.” So naturally I did what I always do and put that song on and then just let Number 4 start from the beginning. While listening to STP it got me thinking about their B-sides. Check out their B-sides over the years and songs that were previously unreleased.
Only Dying (from Core- Originally intended to be on The Crow Soundtrack):
All In The Suit That You Wear (from Thank You- Originally intended for the Spiderman Soundtrack):
The wounds are still fresh and the scabs haven’t even begun to form. Now is not the time. Since Scott Weiland’s passing late last year, the surviving members of Stone Temple Pilots have taken it upon themselves to continue on. On one hand I totally understand their need and want to get back out there, but it’s just too soon. Their failed attempt to move on while Scott was still alive was atrocious. Their picking of Chester Bennington was awful. Have you seen the footage of it? I mean seriously, what are you guys thinking? The clips that I saw just showed Chester trying to emulate Scott all the way down to dying his hair pink, and swaying and moving on stage just like Scott would. Not too mention that Chester’s voice is too high and sounds nasally. It’s as though they created a tribute band already with the addition of Chester. At least when the band took a hiatus in the 90’s, the guys had the decency to start a new group under a different name. Remember Talk Show?
With enough time, I think that people would welcome an STP return. Look at Alice In Chains. When Layne passed away, they all did their own things and came back when enough time had passed. Granted there were quite a few doubters, but those that took the time to see the new Alice, saw that it’s a breath of fresh air that does the band justice. Jerry, Sean and Mike found the right guy in William DuVall. And now people are loving what William has done for the band.
What I’m saying is that now isn’t the time to get back out there. Let the people have the chance to get over Scott’s passing. Dean, Robert and Eric take some time and do something else. By getting STP going again, you are tarnishing the memory of what a great band you were. All people will think is that who ever you pick to sing for the band, it isn’t Scott and won’t come close. Start up Army Of Anyone again. I’m sure Richard Patrick from Filter would be down to get that rolling again. Or just start a new band and call it something else. You can play a few songs from your STP catalog, but don’t make an entire set from it. With enough time the wounds will heal enough for you guys to get the band back together with the right person.
As it says in the song “Creep”… “Take time with a wounded hand, cause it likes to heal.”
Every band has their entire life to write their first album. The one after that can be the hardest. You don’t want to repeat what you just did, and you want to grow as a band. The 90’s were a great time for this and one album in particular managed to do just that. Stone Temple Pilots album Purple. This album pushed the band away from the “grungier” sound of their debut Core and brought in more of a southern rock and psychedelic rock feel to the way they wrote. The use of slide guitar throughout the album really adds another dimension to the tone of the guitars. Scott Weiland’s vocals and lyrics stepped up leaps and bounds. First track “Meatplow” is bluesy complimented with a laid back feel. “Vasoline” is a grooving hard rocking song with great melody. It’s also the only song on the album that drummer Eric Kretz got writing credit on. “Lounge Fly” really evokes the psychedelic feel. This is one of my favorite STP songs. “Interstate Love Song” is the one of the bands most popular songs. It also has a great video to accompany it. The southern rock vibe is very present on this song. The vocal melody is one of the best they’ve ever created. “Still Remains” is a great song to follow “Interstate.” It also shows a more vulnerable side of Scott Weiland. “Pretty Penny” takes it down further, stripping it down. “Silvergun Superman” brings the album back up to the rocking side of things. The chorus melody of this song stays with you for a lifetime. The guitar riff is chunky and heavy but mixed in perfectly not to cause a rumble. “Big Empty” which was actually first heard on STP’s MTV Unplugged, utilizes the slide guitar perfectly and the guitar solo, oh my. I still remember this song best from The Crow (RIP Brandon Lee). “Unglued” is another strong rock song that gets your head bopping and it also has a slight tinge to it that can make you dance. ” Army Ants” goes back to that psychedelic sound in the intro then kicks into high rock gear. Closing out the album is “Kitchenware and Candybars” which again strips the band down and puts Weiland back in the vulnerable state which he embraces. The subtle nature of this song has lots of introspective components foreshadowing a bit in to the future of the band.
Brendan O’Brien’s production and mixing on the album is absolutely flawless. the arrangements of the songs and flow of the album have yet to be duplicated by the band. Scott Weiland cemented himself as a great lyricist and singer on this album. Dean De Leo’s guitar work and tone is unrivaled. Take a listen to Slash try to play STP songs, it just doesn’t sound right at all. Robert De Leo is a fantastic bass player and his ability to harmonize with Scott is tremendous. Eric Kretz is a seriously underrated drummer. This also marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Purple. And in the 20 years it sure does hold up.