My thoughts on Stone Temple Pilots
Stone Temple Pilots is one of those bands that upon even hearing the first note, you would know exactly who they are. From their signature guitar riffs, vocal melodies and just how they were put together, Stone Temple Pilots is without a shadow of a doubt one of the all-time greatest bands ever for those given reasons alone. They rose to prominence during the early 90’s with their major label debut ‘Core’ and were first categorized as a popular alternative-rock band. In time their distinction and recognition grew immensely to the point that nowadays one can readily classify their music as classic-rock. In the succeeding years, the band was able to successfully cross other genres and further incorporate musical elements that would eventually become their famed “STP sound”. Stone Temple Pilots would become highly influential to many younger bands even then and until now and lot of them have no problem admitting that.
Well, with every great band that comes along, sadly it is almost inevitable that trials would hound them which would cast doubt over its longevity and staying power to keep performing and releasing music for their fans and the masses who consume rock music every single day. Most of us know of the lingering problems that the original frontman Scott Weiland has had with alcohol and drug abuse, problems that would plague him on and off for many years making it difficult for Stone Temple Pilots as a whole to perform, record new music, and tour ! It just did not look good for Scott, his voice was also already “shot”, there were certain songs of STP that he could no longer deliver without frankly looking like a “train wreck” onstage. It pains me to say those about one of the most charismatic, flamboyant and vocally gifted rock frontmen who ever existed–Scott Weiland–but the uploaded videos online and confirmed reports don’t lie.
To mention too, it was alarming for me to see the way he was physically already, his deteriorating condition brought back bad memories for me of the late Layne Staley from Alice In Chains fame when the latter was in the final years of his life. The possibility alone that Scott Weiland could be ending with the same fate of Layne is a scary thought ! As a music aficionado, I would not want to remember him that way, but rather as the way he was when they were performing songs like “Creep”, “Vasoline” and “Interstate Love Song” at the height of their popularity. That is how I would always want to remember Scott Weiland.
Then it happened. I still remember when I got to read a few years ago the confirmed reports–not just hearsay or malicious rumors–that the original lead vocalist of Stone Temple Pilots, the one and only Scott Weiland, was abruptly fired from the band. This breaking news did upset a lot of people and the loyal fans of Stone Temple Pilots had to face the reality that this band could be no more ?!
At first, I was asking myself: “Wait, how could they possibly fire a frontman of such a popular and influential band this way ?”. Well, after watching a ton of interviews conducted with the three remaining original members of STP, then it dawned on me that they had no other choice but to do it. There was just no other way around it. That if they wanted the band to continue, then they needed a reliable and healthy frontman to sing those classic songs of STP and down the line, work together with them to create new songs, tour to promote the new material, and let’s not forget to release new records once more. They found all of these and more with Chester Bennington of Linkin Park.
I still remember when I wrote about Chester Bennington becoming the new frontman of Stone Temple Pilots more than a year ago. Even then there was no doubt in my mind that this affiliation would not be short lived or a fleeting newsworthy moment that some music aficionados would just forget about.
Why so ? It is no secret that Chester is a huge fan of STP. He has gone on record numerous times over the years, when asked which bands had a major influence on him, Stone Temple Pilots was the band he would consistently mention to be on top of his list when it comes to modern bands, meaning bands that had played an important role in his formative years growing up in helping mould his musical tastes and preferences. I especially recall one particular interview where he said STP was the band that he has seen the most perform live. He would watch them on his off days from Linkin Park and even when he was on vacation, he would find the time to attend a STP concert every now and then. That says a lot of him as a fan !
That is an admirable quality because it proves that even when he had become a famous artist himself he did not lose that fascination and admiration for the band he grew up listening to. Plus, Chester did eventually become good friends with STP even when Scott Weiland was still the lead singer. So, his transition to becoming the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots, was a most natural progression–yet, a most amazing and quite incredible as things have turned out–and did not come out forced upon to those who are familiar with the camaraderie that Chester Bennington has with the band of which he is now also the lead singer.
After all, it can be said that he is not only the lead singer of Linkin Park, but he is also the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots. Undoubtedly, Chester is living out a childhood dream of being the frontman of two awesome bands, and he has managed to split his time with both bands. Proof of this, just fairly recently, Stone Temple Pilots finished their spring tour in the US. This, you can watch the many uploaded videos of it on YouTube.
Now, let’s discuss another sub-topic when it comes to Stone Temple Pilots. This has to do with the differences now of having Chester Bennington as the frontman of STP.
Scott Weiland and Chester Bennington for all intents and purposes are two totally different kinds of singers. We can enumerate a few of them. For one, Scott had a much lower vocal range while Chester has a higher vocal range. Secondly, Scott had a more sexy and groovy sounding way of delivering his lyrics, bringing in also a whole classic rock vibe along with it. On the other hand, while Chester was more focused on the emotion of the lyrics, being able to deliver the songs differently depending on how he currently felt at the moment.
To no one’s surprise, some people, the cynics mostly, immediately ruled out that Chester would not fit in well with STP because of his more aggressive vocal style. On the contrary, Chester has in fact meshed so well with the rest of Stone Temple Pilots from a performance and creative standpoint that they sound and look like they have been together as a band for years already… that is, to the uninformed.
To note, Chester Bennington has been with STP for around two years only, and yet given the relatively short amount of time they have been together, their productivity rate is like that of a “well oiled machine”, as they were first able to release their first single called “Out of Time”; and following that, an EP entitled ‘High Rise’; and now, a full length album is currently in the works and is reportedly in its final stages.
Indeed, when the stars align, everything will fall into its proper place ! Chester Bennington and the three remaining original members of STP, the DeLeo brothers, and Eric Kretz are living proof of that. These guys have found that much elusive band chemistry as these guys clearly get along and they enjoy making music together !
In the end, all those aforementioned things which sometimes are overlooked do matter for any band to last. This is definitely a new chapter for Stone Temple Pilots as many had thought they will never be able to work on releasing a brand new record again given the situation that the three remaining original members found themselves in prior to 2013.
I have to say that to many music aficionados like myself that even with the inclusion into Stone Temple Pilots of Chester Bennington from Linkin Park fame, this does not feel like a “rock super group” or a collaboration between two different artists representing two separate movements in rock, but this is a whole band which has found itself again ever since they asked Chester Bennington to become their new lead vocalist.
Whether some people want to acknowledge this or not, Stone Temple Pilots has been reborn!
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