Stone Temple Pilots

Stone Temple Pilots Biography

SINCE the release of their debut album, Core, in 1993, it's been one thing after another for the members of Stone Temple Pilots. Blasted early on as little more than a Pearl Jam clone, S.T.P. eventually shed that label only to be blitzed by bigger problems involving their frontman, Scott Weiland. In 1996 alone, tour dates were canceled, dirty pictures surfaced, and Weiland bounced in and out of drug rehab more frequently than Robert Downey, Jr. Yet, even in the wake of Weiland's struggles, the band continues to gain critical respect. The questions surrounding S.T.P. these days are no longer in the vein of "Who are they ripping off?" or "Are they actually talented?", but fall closer to the classic: "Will their quick rise to fame ultimately destroy them?"

It was only natural that a band would come out of the first encounter between Weiland and bassist Robert DeLeo. What else can you do when you bump into a guy at a Black Flag concert in Long Beach, and discover that you're both dating the same woman? Rather than knocking heads, they started jamming together, and when the femme fatale moved to Texas, the pair moved into her apartment. Weiland was a West Coast post-punker, DeLeo an East Coast classic rocker, and together they forged a grungy hard-rock sound akin to what was already gaining popularity in the Pacific Northwest. Drummer Eric Kretz was coaxed out of another band, but the trio still lacked a guitarist. In sheer desperation, DeLeo lured his brother Dean out from New Jersey for a demo session, and although he had vowed never to live on the left coast, the climate and a new girlfriend agreed with him, and soon Dean was calling San Diego home. The rest of the band followed him south, because they believed that record labels were only interested in L.A. bands that sounded like somebody else.

Going by the name Mighty Joe Young, the future S.T.P.-ers played their first gig at the Whisky in L.A. in 1990, and two years later, Don Mullen, a booking agent for Triad Artists, caught their act and led them to Atlantic Records. On April Fools' Day of 1992, they signed to the label, and before long found themselves in the studio, laying down tracks for their first record, with producer Brendan O'Brien. In the midst of recording, their lawyer called and let them know that an elderly bluesman had already claimed Mighty Joe Young as his moniker, and after some brainstorming, the S.T.P. Motor Oil logo provided the inspiration and the acronym for the band's new name, which, incidentally, doesn't mean a thing. Core, their first album, was released in September of 1992, and included the hit singles "Sex Type Thing" and "Plush." Although critics compared them to Pearl Jam mercilessly, the album climbed the charts, and has since sold over six million copies.

The following year saw Stone Temple Pilots join Megadeth's European tour and served up a chance for the band to open for Aerosmith. Most bands would have jumped at the opportunity, but S.T.P. decided smaller venues were still their scene, turning down Aerosmith to share a tour bus with the Butthole Surfers on the Bar-B-Que Mitzva Tour. In 1994, the band released its second record, Purple, which landed on the charts at No. 1, and held off all challengers for three weeks. There was still plenty of Eddie Vedder-wannabe criticism leveled at Weiland, but the number of detractors had decreased.

In 1995, Scott Weiland began publicly experimenting with two side projects--the first was the splinter group the Magnificent Bastards, and the second, unfortunately for his fans and bandmates, was an addiction to heroin. In May of 1995, he was busted for buying rock cocaine, and when searched, the cops came away with more coke and some smack. He was given a year's probation, during which time the band managed to record its latest album, Tiny Music . . . Songs From the Vatican Giftshop, which was released in April of 1996. While it has not sold as well as its predecessors, Tiny Music earned the band its finest reviews ever.

Things were looking up, to be sure, but it turned out Weiland hadn't kicked his habit, and on the eve of the band's summer tour, a judge ordered him into rehab for a period of four to six months. Weiland had let down his fans and his band, but that still wasn't enough to compel him to straighten out his act. He made headlines again by disappearing from the treatment center Impact House in the middle of his stint, returning voluntarily the next day. To top it all off, just before his release in October, some, well, suggestive photos of Weiland and Courtney Love surfaced, a potentially embarrassing problem that was taken care of by Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, who refused to publish the images.

Finally, the kind folks at Impact House opened the doors and let Weiland out, and Stone Temple Pilot's fans rejoiced as the band took to the road November 4 in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, before the end of the year, Weiland was back on the Impact House doorstep, which forced the band to cancel more shows and disappoint their fans once again. S.T.P.'s manager has squelched rumors of an impending breakup by stating that Weiland hasn't been fired, and with the singer out of rehab again in early 1997, another concert tour is planned to start in April. Suffice it to say that despite that good news, the band's future depends on Weiland's mental and physical health.

Stone Temple Pilots Bio from Discogs

Alternative Rock / Modern Rock band formed in 1986 in San Diego, California

Previously known as "Mighty Joe Young". Changed their name to "Shirley Temple's Pussy" before settling with "Stone Temple Pilots".

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