had it all - great musicianship, uncanny songwriting, untold
ambition - until the walls came tumbling down. In a stark
and candid conversation, Robert and Dean DeLeo pay their
last respects to Stone Temple Pilots.
BOB GULLA, Photography by Chapman Baehler.
Trial Continues Due to Drug Treatment" (7/16/03)
"Weiland Pleads Innocent to Drug Charges" (6/3/03)
"Scott Weiland Arrested for Drug Possession" (5/19/03)
"Scott Weiland Out of Jail Drug Rehab" (1/5/00)
"STP's Weiland Gets One Year in Jail" (9/3/99)
"Weiland Makes Court Date, Still in Rehab" (6/26/98)
are headlines ripped from news services going back five years.
We could have gone back a lot further, but the point doesn't
need any more emphasis. The devastating impact that drugs
have had on Scott Weiland's life has been, for all but the
most oblivious rock fan, pretty obvious. So has the impact
that Weiland's narcotic escapades have had on the health and
future of his band, the much-respected Stone Temple Pilots.
fact, if you read between the lines, you'll begin to understand
the real devastation - not only the damage Weiland did to
his own life and career but also to those around him. How
many livelihoods were compromised? How many families affected?
How many careers derailed? The reason why so few of us had
a chance to witness STP, one of the great rock bands of the
'90s, on the road during their 12-plus years together was
because Weiland so often turned up missing. Where in the hell
was Scott? The question became a joke, then an insult. Of
course, everybody knew where he was, but still you had to
planned seven-month tour ended up lasting only six weeks.
Big investments in time and money were squandered, a large
staff awaited work, a talented band was dying to play, then
nothing... a holding pattern. Everything was off. Done. Over.
When your frontman, the one who serves as a visual focal point
for the band, goes AWOL, the show simply cannot go on. Period.
One man's weakness becomes everyone's problem.
course, for those affected, it's a bitter pill to swallow,
expecially now that the band has decided to call it quits,
closing the book on a career rife with promise both fulfilled
and denied. Now, for Robert and Dean DeLeo, along with drummer
Eric Kretz, the other three members of STP, the key is to
suppress the frustration and focus on the accomplishments.
It doesn't take a spin doctor to know that for a few years
in the mid-'90s, when they were hitting their stride musically,
STP was one of the best bands in the world.
STP story began with a chance meeting. Weiland and Robert
DeLeo met at a Black Flag show in 1990. (Correction:
1986 - Rik) After discovering they both went out with
the same girl, they formed a songwriting partnership. Reinforced
by drummer Kretz and Robert's brother Dean on guitar, the
band moved from L.A. to San Diego to hone their hard-rock
chops on the much freer S.D. scene. Their first album, Core,
hinging on the aggressive single "Sex Type Thing,"
sold 7 million copies worldwide. Purple, released in
1994, found the band eluding the Pearl Jam/Led Zep comparisons
that dogged them with this heavily psychedelic, almost experimental
pop album. It debuted at #1 and stayed there for three straight
weeks. The elaborately arranged and ambitiously written Tiny
Music... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop, was equally
successful. It alse proved that the band wasn't content to
rest on its laurels. Unfortunately, the trouble started in
1995, before this album came out, and the band encountered
its first obstacles - roadblocks that sucked the momentum
out of the band like a parasite.
Weiland engaged his demons (miraculously putting out his own
deranged solo album, 12 Bar Blues), the DeLeo brothers
and Kretz bided time by forming Talk Show with singer Dave
Coutts. The experiments failed for both. Still, despite the
rise of the seven-string school of manic rap-rock, the demand
for rock-solid melodic music remained. Weiland emerged from
rehab, and the band reformed to make the crushing No.4.
Then, in what had become a frustrating pattern, Weiland was
sentenced to a year in jail for violating his probation. In
2000, after going public with his intention of cleaning up,
the band returned to form on Shangri-LA DEE DA, only
to self-destruct once again before ever really mounting a
the end, what had begun as a fortuitous meeting at a rock
show between two mega-musicfans had grown into a wall magical
rock 'n' roll. Unfortunately, it was a jerry-rigged wall that
came tumbling right back down again.
we spoke, bassist/guitarist Robert Deleo and lead guitarist
Dean DeLeo were busy seguing into a career of production projects.
They had just finished the Alien Ant Farm album and were now
concentrating on a band called Monterey, signed to the Maverick
So how do you feel about closing the book on this band?
It was time to move on to other things. Life and personalities
and brotherhood took its course. Everybody's got cool stuff
going on. Scott is about to embark on a new experience. Eric
built a nice home studio. It just ran its course, I suppose.
I was honored to be in a band that had a chemistry with three
other guys; we were unstoppable. To be that fortunate, allows
you to express yourself and come out with songs that you're
happy with at the end of the day. That's a real accomplishment.
Musically, it doesn't go that easily with most other bands.
A lot of people have trouble just getting a band together.
Classifieds up the ass here in L.A., people trying to find
the right chemistry.
This band was something that I dreamed of and aspired to do
for a long time. STP was a great place to go and visit, actually;
I relish all of it.
Can you tell me about some of the milestones the band experienced?
Purple was a really interesting time. We felt as
a band we always had so much to offer, not like one of those
bands that felt stifled artistically or had someone come in
to help us write material. Purple was an amazing time.
We got off the read from touring after 14 months and went
in to make that record. Robert brought a lot to that record.
Plus, we made it, mixed it, and mastered it in under four
The thing I really think about is the people I got to meet
- playing with Neil Young and Robert Plant, working with Glen
Campbell on "Wichita Lineman," writing with Aerosmith
- all these people we grew up on. That's the biggest thing
to me. I remember meeting Keith Richards, and I didn't know
what to say at all, so I said "Thanks for raising me."
Nancy Wilson of Heart, too. I was jamming their 45 of "Crazy
on You" when I was 10 years old.
What do you feel were some of the keys to STP's success?
Whenever I took the stage, I wanted to be the best we could
be. I took pride in that. We knew how to craft a song and
knew how to deliver it. But when that started becoming clouded,
it got to be more and more difficult, a real drag.
For me, the bottom line is songs. I hate being known as the
band known for heroin. It really bums me out. The strength
of the songs is what has kept us out there. It's all a learning
process. We're huge fand of music and the music we grew up
on. The rock scene is hard to watch these days. The downturn
that "talent" has taken - it's a lost word. It doesn't
seem to matter anymore. It's sad to see. I must sound like
I'm getting old!
I don't believe in luck either, man. In life, no matter what
you embark on, whether it's to be a nuclear physicist or a
drummer, you know what you're meant to do. The people that
don't are the ones we see on the street. You follow what you
feel inside of you. If you do it right, if you feel it's more
important than your next breath, then you're going to succeed.
With all this potential progress in front of you, there must
have been equal amounts of frustration as well.
A lot of frustration. Absolutely. Now, when I step back and
look at all we accomplished, I can't believe it. There are
so many people out there trying to achieve what we've achieved,
and it's amazing to think that we did as well as we did.
Every time we were going to enter into something really beautiful
and extravagant, like going on tour, somebody doesn't show
up. That's a drag! We employed 20-25 people who had families,
and I have to see the look on their faces when I tell them
it's all off. It got to be really frustrating.
Tell me about your feelings for Scott right now.
I ran into Scott just recently for the first time in a year.
Velvet Revolver was working at the same studio as we were
with the band Monterey. When we left the last tour, we wanted
to kill one another. But now it was like looking at someone
with totally different eyes. Without being involved with one
another professionally, we were able to look at each other
with an entirely different view. If he and I had been affiliated
now, the state of mind he was in the other night when I saw
him would have really affected me in a bad way. But it didn't.
When I think back about Scott, I remember that we almost didn't
get through Purple. We should never had started that
third record either, with the state Scott was in. We only
toured it for two months. All I can say is, man, drugs ain't
a good thing. I'm not trying to be square. They just ain't
a good thing. It got in the way... It got in the way. Denial's
a strong thing. We all got very frustrated.
Will Scott ever get his life together? You know, I don't know.
I love making music with the guy. There's no one better. But
it just got really hard to do. Something so easy and beautiful
as making music - what we all dreamed and aspired to do -
became really hard. Now, I don't take a single day for granted,
what I've been able to do in my life. What's the odds, like
one in 20,000 people who actually do what they want to do
for a living? I just felt like there were people taking STP
So is this really the end of STP?
Well, we're putting out a record called Thank You!
So, yeah. I'd have to say it is closing the book. Dean and
Eric and myself, I think, all feel a sense of sadness, relief,
anger, melancholy about it... but to try and go on and accomplish
something with this band after we've already peaked is a bit
cheesy. There's a cheese factor with guys hitting 40 trying
to recapture glory. There's no way to go but out. If you're
driving a car and it goes off the road, it's hard to steer
that car back on the road. I'm proud to look back at our career.
I feel we've made a valid contribution to music. I guess putting
out a greatest hits set is cheesy, but the strength of the
songs is there.
Twelve years in a career is valid. The hits record is cool,
plus with the DVD, there's a lot of this live stuff that people
have never seen or heard before, songs up to 1994. It adds
insight into the band. It's stuff we'd like to see if we were
Any final words about the STP band experience?
[After a long silence, and a sigh]It's all bittersweet,
man. Along with the beauty of STP there was a dark trail that
went right along with it. For Purple, we had a beautiful
stage set designed and great music to play, and the tour imploded
after six weeks. It could have been a really nice time in
our career. We've been doing this band for 12 or 13 years,
and there's not much I can look back on and say I really enjoyed
- without wondering if the floor was gonna drop from under
I hope for Scott and Eric that STP is something to move on
from, so that everyone can find something better. Dean and
I are thrilled about what's going on, and I want to see those
guys go on and better what we've already accomplished.
You Notes: the DeLeo brothers tell the tales behind some of
their greatest hits.
Core (Atlantic, 1992)
This song reminds me of being in the studio; it was the first
song I wrote that made me feel like the songs I really enjoyed
That song brings me back to 1990: being in a rehearsal room
in North Hollywood. It was a fresh and new experience for
us. We lived together because we didn't have homes. We had
a kitchenette, and the four of us cooked on a single burner.
But it was a beautiful time. The band was young and excited
about what we were going to encounter.
Core (Atlantic, 1992)
When I hear this, I think of being in the studio and listening
to basic tracks. I remember going, "Shit, man, we have
something going on here."
This song reminds me of "In The Light" by Zeppelin.
I was in my driveway and heard that riff, so I went inside
and came up with this, all the time totally prompted by "In
Purple (Atlantic, 1994)
This is one of the only songs that I really like thinking
about the video. A lot of videos ruin songs, but this was
one of my favorites. Our video director, Kevin Kerslake, had
a great time with this, as did we. That little wah thing you
hear in the intro is me putting my bass through a wah. I also
remember recording the drums with a couple of mics in a vocal
"Vasoline" was actually an instrumental we used
to open with when we were a band called Mighty Joe Young.
So that song reminds me of different clubs we played in around
Purple (Atlantic, 1994)
I suppose I could say that I think this is one of the best
things I've ever written. It started out as a bossa-nova song,
believe it or not. I like pulling from different areas when
I'm writing. It keeps everything fresh. The chord structure
here is an Antonio Carlos Jobim thing.
Well, the song speaks for itself. When you sit there with
nothing but an acoustic guitar and a voice, you can really
see the genius behind the song. We were in Atlanta touring
Core, and Robert was playing around with the chordings
and the melody, whistling the melody in a hotel room while
he was playing. I was stunned by how beautiful it worked together.
I had a great feeling about that song immediately.
Tiny Music... Songs From The Vatican
Gift Shop (Atlantic, 1996)
I remember our recording technique on that record. We made
that record out in Santa Barbara at a big, beautiful house.
There was a big cedar closet, like an attic, and we put Eric
in the attic to record the drums.
I'm reminded of the Rickenbacker 12-string I played on this
song. I wish we had mixed it more like "Plush";
the guitar is vaguely hard right on the verse. I wish I had
mixed it differently.
Tiny Music... Songs From The Vatican
Gift Shop (Atlantic, 1996)
On this song we recorded drums outside on the lawn. We practised
so many different recording techniques at the house in Santa
Barbara. Because we lived together, it was so much more creative,
a real nice vibe.
The house in Santa Barbara was amazing. I liked the communal
living thing - eating together, laughing together. I dig that
vibe, and that's what we had going on there. I remember Robert
playing that riff in the middle section. Most of the time
we had our mouths shut lyrically and let Scott run with the
lyrics and melody. It's always nice to get it back with a
larger return than you expect. This time Scott came back with
something really touching. To have your music embellished
upon like that, there's no questions asked. He did a beautiful
job, just beautiful. This song is the heartbeat of the record
No.4 (Atlantic, 1999)
We had some songs that we wanted to rock to kinda get the
band going again after a lay-off. I've always been the motivator
for that. I'll bring a song into pre-pro, show everyone the
riff and beat, and turn it up to 10. That's what we were going
We went into pre-pro for No.4. It was the first song
we worked on day one for the album. And we worked on "Sour
Girl" the same day,
No.4 (Atlantic, 1999)
Dean wrote this one, wrote the bass line, too. It turned into
a cool McCartney thing along with those beautiful chords Dean
was playing. Probably one of the coolest songs on the record.
String section, really nice playing.
I wrote that piece in my garage, I was really moved by the
chordings on this. I had a good feeling that it would be something
really special. I had a melody in mind but didn't bring it
to the table to show Scott. Robert and Scott were talking
about relationships and previous marriages, and it really
lit off a spark in Scott's mind and he started writing and
came up with the lyrical content right there. As a guitar
player, you try to come up with a melody, but it's kind of
guitar-centric. But a singer looks at a song differently.
It's usually nit a hard win: Scott would always beat whatever
I had. He's a really talented guy, man.
Of The Week"
Shangri-LA DEE DA (Atlantic, 2001)
That was one of the first songs Dean presented as his for
this album. I approached it bass-wise like an old Joe Jackson
song. I dig those old songs, the tine and movement of the
bass. It was that and a little Chris Squire kind of thing.
I stole this directly from "Indian Summer," a song
written by Joe Walsh. I ripped it off blind. After I wrote
that song, I received a phone call from Sheryl Crow saying
she wanted to get together, so I kind of wrote this one for
her. But when Scott heard it, he wanted to keep it for ourselves.
In The Suit That You Wear"
Recorded back in 2000 (should be May 2002,
-Rik). We did it for the soundtrack for Spider-Man,
but we didn't get it as a lead track, so we kept it for ourselves.
There are quite a few songs we never released over the years.
We never exploited the publishing of STP. We didn't want to
sell out. Led Zeppelin always had a mystique. I highly respect
that. So we turned everything down for publishing to maintain
a mystique of our own.
We had heard that the Spider-Man film wanted a track, so we
wrote this in the studio. Robert had the verse riff; I had
the chorus. We thought it would be kind of a cool title for
Spider-man, being about a "suit" and everything.
We put that song together - wrote it, cut it - in a day and
--Guitar One / Big Empty