By: Jaime’ En Fuego, Phoenix Concerts Examiner
We’ve all heard that old saying about those who don’t learn from the past being doomed to repeat it! Far too often life is cyclical in that aspect and the following definitely qualifies as another deja vu type moment for music fans across the globe. Except in this situation, we aren’t exactly talking same song second verse but the third time for alarm as Scott Weiland has once again been kicked out of the celebrated 90’s grunge group STONE TEMPLE PILOTS and the latest instance seems to be the absolute strangest separation yet.
Arriving on the mainstream scene shortly after many grunge stalwarts from Seattle had already established themselves, STP were often unfairly criticized upon their emergence in 1992 as genre copycats, most notably with accusations of frontman SCOTT WEILAND trying his damndest at an Eddie Vedder impersonation, despite forming five years before Ten was even released. The immense immediate success of their debut album Core, that boasted the four big time hits “Sex Type Thing,” “Wicked Garden,” “Plush,” and “Creep,” likely had a lot to do with the hate parade processions and that counterbalance was perfectly juxtaposed in January 1994 when they were simultaneously voted “Best New Band” by Rolling Stone readers and “Worst New Band” by the magazine’s critics. Undeterred, they received a Grammy Award for “Best Hard Rock Performance” later that year which helped legitimize themselves to those throngs of detractors before their follow-up Purple entered the Billboard Hot 100 at the top spot, selling a whopping three million copies, back when people still bought albums, in just the first four months after it’s release. It would ride the surge of support for stellar singles like “Vasoline,” “Big Empty” and perhaps their biggest hit “Interstate Love Song” seen here: http://www.mtv.com/videos/stone-temple-pilots/10126/interstate-love-song…, sitting atop the singles rock track charts for a staggering 15 straight weeks! Unfortunately, this would prove to be the pinnacle for the Pilots as cracks in the foundation became noticeable soon thereafter.
Achieving prosperity, especially at a rapid rate, always comes entailed with its fair share of responsibility, and some handle it better than others. While the Stone Temple Pilots were busy becoming one of the biggest bands in the rock and roll world, vocalist Scott Weiland was falling victim to an increasing narcotic appetite as evidenced by various law enforcement run-ins and a growing reputation as someone for authorities to keep a watchful eye upon. This dire dilemma derailed many plans to promote their third album Tiny Music…Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop, including canceled touring plans while Scott received treatment, prompting the decision for his bandmates to form a new project called Talk Show, which was essentially STP’s other three members with a different man on the microphone. That turn hit a dead end quite quickly and as the decade came to a close fences were mended and their ‘Captain Obvious’ titled fourth outing No. 4 became a platinum performer once again yet those pesky problems persisted for Scott with the same results of jail time and rehab ending touring attempts before the unit officially disbanded in 2002 after album numero cinco proved a major commercial disappointment. Yet Weiland went on to ginormous continued success soon after pairing with members of Guns N’ Roses to form Velvet Revolver and join the ranks of Audioslave as a premier supergroup of the new millennium. STP’s guitarist/bassist brothers Dean and Robert DeLeo attempted a similar approach by forming Army Of Anyone with Filter frontman Richard Patrick with less than satisfactory results so when contentiousness was coming to a head between Weiland and the We Are V.R. members in 2008 a STONE TEMPLE PILOTS hatchet burying session ended up making the most sense for everyone involved, and for a time it did. Audiences missed STP more than even the band themselves likely expected and their 65-date North American reunion tour was received so enthusiastically that work on a new album began immediately, though it soon became apparent that lightning rarely strikes the same place twice!
A far cry from the hard rock heft that had made them superstars, the STONE TEMPLE PILOTS self-titled sixth release was unleashed in 2010 to quickly fading fanfare. It peaked at number two on the Billboard charts but quickly plummeted in subsequent weeks as rumors of internal turmoil circulated once again. Assertions that Scott’s deteriorating vocal capabilities hindered a 20th anniversary celebration of Core drew the ire of fans and rumors ran rampant that Velvet Revolver were set to reform as well whenever Weiland was ready. In an attempt to prove those accusations false Scott Weiland did something both peculiar and perhaps impetuous by announcing a solo tour called ‘Purple At The Core’ while still claiming to be a member of Stone Temple Pilots even as an official statement was released by his other three bandmates claiming he had been terminated and was no longer with the group. Yet this third split with Scott took on far more weight upon the announcement that as opposed to forming a new group with another vocalist as had been the tactic both times in the past the DeLeo’s definitely sent out a feeling of finality by deciding to replace their frontman for over two decades with Linkin Park ‘Good Cop’ Chester Bennington to in his words “make music, we’re gonna make a lot of it” and actually continue calling themselves STP. They also moved quite quickly to make this momentous message resonate by recording and releasing a new track with Bennington right away entitled “Out Of Time,” which when you listen to after hitting the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjnR-73BfzA, shows harmonizing production of the LP singer’s voice that’s obviously trying to sound similar to Scott. If blood was what his now former bandmates wanted this time around it’s safe to say they got it and the fight will likely be dreadfully drawn out if Weiland’s response to the press is any indication: “I learned of my supposed ‘termination’ from Stone Temple Pilots this morning by reading about it in the press. Not sure how I can be ‘terminated’ from a band that I founded, fronted and co-wrote many of its biggest hits, but that’s something for the lawyers to figure out.” In the end, it’s a sad twist of fate for one of the 90’s most beloved rock groups. Big empty indeed!
STONE TEMPLE PILOTS will let you be the judge of Scott’s stand-in this Thursday, September 26 when the Linkin Pilots stop at Marquee Theatre on their tour that’s currently criss-crossing the country!
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