Substance abuse problems have hindered the careers of too many musicians to count. Either they pass away well before their time, or the band simply cannot move forward from rehab stints, abuse scandals or crazy nights on the road. Today’s featured band has worked through a lot of issues with their lead singer and made a lot of great music, but ultimately had to part ways in recent years.
Stone Temple Pilots had a very amusing story with how they formed. Scott Weiland and Robert DeLeo met at a concert in Long Beach, California in 1985. Upon discussing their girlfriends with one another, they came to realize they were dating the same woman. Instead of causing a rift, they turned it into a bond and eventually a band after both broke it off with the woman. After picking up a couple other members, they began experimenting with STP names because they had loved the old motor oil logo from their youth. After various ideas, Stone Temple Pilots was born.
Core was released on September 29th, 1992. As noted in my Nirvana review, the early 90’s was the grunge era through and through. That Seattle sound was all the rage, and here STP came in as this southern California band trying to capitalize on the movement. They were singled out as imitators and had a hard time really breaking through. Ironically, it was an acoustic version of the hit ‘Plush’ that really seemed to change minds of critics. Weiland showed he wasn’t just the lead of a guitar heavy band, but a true vocalist. To this day, that performance is widely regarded as his best of all time.
Singles finally started to hit the radio in mid-1993, and the band was turning the corner in popularity. Trying to shed those initial poor reviews was difficult, but the band continued forward and released a few music videos for MTV. ‘Plush’ would go on to become one of the most played videos on MTV during the 1990s and one of the most recognized videos of all time. They also filmed an episode of ‘MTV’s Unplugged’ that year, which would lead to even more respect and popularity. They debuted the track ‘Big Empty’ during that show, which would release on the band’s sophomore effort. The music world was taking notice, and the entire struggle seemed to be paying off.
While their sound is easily described as alt rock, with a grunge feel, their music for me is so much more. They were a band that could rock your face off with a track like ‘Crackerman’, but then slow it down and capture your interest with a quasi-ballad track in ‘Creep’. The album from a lyrical standpoint is deeper than most people give it credit for. With Weiland’s diverse life, he wrote this album reflecting on the darker side of humanity, and his adoration of that world, not focusing on all things happy. When you listen to ‘Plush’, you just sit back and wonder what kind of place he was in mentally when he wrote the lyrics.
Friendships inside the band have been very up and down over the years, especially the struggle to help control Weiland’s substance abuse. It certainly stopped the band from making as much music as they could have, but today we salute their debut effort. No question the band made their mark on music history, this album is ranked in the top ten of Guitar World’s top ten guitar albums of all time. A few tracks are still staples of rock radio stations to this day. No question this one is worth $5 bucks, and it’ll help rock your Tuesday away.
Top 3 Tracks:
- Dead And Bloated