In 1994, when Pavement made a mark on ’90s rock by mocking both the Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots, I, like many fans, didn’t quite understand. Like many music fanatics at a young age, I was impressionable and at the time STP was reveling in commercial success; it was all very Angela Chase. But after all these years, STP still has a place in my iPod.
Mighty Young Joe, Stone Temple Pilots, STP . . . whatever you know them by, the quartet consisting of vocalist Scott Weiland, bassist Robert DeLeo, guitarist Dean DeLeo and drummer Eric Kretz, has seen highs and lows, make-ups and break-ups throughout their years together. And whether it’s near-fistfights, drug and alcohol addictions or court-mandated rehabilitation orders, it seems this band, like a turbulent relationship or zombie, just won’t die.
The band released their sixth full-length last year, a self-titled album debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, and the group is currently on tour, making at stop at the Fox Theater Pomona for a sold-out show on Saturday. And while its website boasts of an energetic, happily reunited group, it’s been a long, hard road for the guys.
When the band’s released its first full-length in 1992, STP benefited from the grunge bandwagon and gained major fanatic love. Core, boasting favorites “Sex Type Thing,” “Plush” and “Creep,” rose to No. 3 in the Billboard charts. While critics were less than friendly about the album, fans were more than enthusiastic. The Pilots went on to tour with the likes of Megadeth and Rage Against the Machine, release a sophomore record (Purple) and win an American Music Award for Pop/Rock New Artist and a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance for “Push.” Everything seemed in place for the new band.
Then in 1995, Weiland faced the first of a chain of many arrests involving drugs. This arrest, like many that would follow, led to the band’s first separation. It wasn’t long before the guys regrouped and went on to record 1996’s Tiny Music . . . Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop. But over the next few years, history would seem to repeat itself.
The later part of the tour in support of Tiny Music was cancelled in light of Weiland’s drug and legal issues. He was then ordered to enter rehab for his 1995 arrest, which prompted the cancellation of another tour and put STP on hiatus. This allowed each member to work on separate projects, though none of which was really successful. Then STP regrouped. Again.
In 1999, No. 4 was released. I was in the eighth grade and I remember listening to “Sour Girl” and thinking that I still liked this band. It was very much like how a kid roots for his parents to stay together and make it, but Daddy just won’t get his act together and Mommy’s had enough. Shortly after the album’s release, Weiland was sentenced to jail for violating probation.
Another album (Shangri-La Dee Da) release later and the band took its longest break in 2002. It wasn’t until 2008 that the band re-formed and went on to record the current, eponymous Stone Temple Pilots.
“We’ve all become parents, we’ve matured and we’ve learned how to simplify things so they’re running somewhat smoothly,” bassist Robert DeLeo recently declared on band’s website. “There are not many bands from our era with all the original members, and there is chemistry to this band after being together for so long.”
After such a turbulent ride, it’s hard to predict or even think of what is store for this band. But make-up or break-up, “Creep” and “Interstate Love” will probably stay on the playlist.
Then again, so will “Range Life.”
Stone Temple Pilots at Fox Theater, 301 S. Garey Ave., Pomona, (877) 283-6976; www.foxpomona.com. Sat, Feb. 26. Doors open 7PM. Tickets $49.50 advance, $52 at the door.