Stone Temple Pilots is an American rock band that has been around since the late 1980s. However, its line-up has seen some significant changes over time. For those who are unfamiliar, Stone Temple Pilots was founded with Scott Weiland as lead vocalist, Dean DeLeo as guitarist, Robert DeLeo as bassist, and Eric Kretz as drummer. Internal tensions caused Weiland to be fired in 2013. After which, the remaining band members started looking for a replacement. Their first choice was Chester Bennington of Linkin Park fame. That partnership ended in an amicable manner in 2015 because of Bennington’s desire to focus more on his original band. As such, Stone Temple Pilots carried out an online audition, with the result that they picked their current lead vocalist Jeff Gutt. Unsurprisingly, this means that Stone Temple Pilots have seen a lot of ups and downs over the course of their career. Still, they have managed to put out eight studio albums and counting. A body of work that shows clear evolution over time. Simply put, grunge might have died in the 1990s. However, Stone Temple Pilots did not.
8. Stone Temple Pilots (2010)
Stone Temple Pilots has released not one but two self-titled studio albums. The first one came out in 2010 while the second one came out in 2018. This is important because this means that Weiland was the lead vocalist for the first Stone Temple Pilots while Gutt was the lead vocalist for the second Stone Temple Pilots. For that matter, it should be mentioned that the first one was a comeback in its own right. After all, Stone Temple Pilots broke up for a time in the 2010s, which is why there was an almost decade-long gap between said studio album and its immediate predecessor. In any case, 2010’s Stone Temple Pilots wasn’t bad but it wasn’t capable of matching up to that line-up’s earlier releases.
7. Stone Temple Pilots (2018)
This means that 2018’s Stone Temple Pilots was the first release with Gutt as lead vocalist. It had its issues as well. However, this Stone Temple Pilots showed a fair amount of promise. It had clear similarities with the band’s earlier releases without being a slavish imitation, which was extremely important because of the need to emphasize that Stone Temple Pilots were still Stone Temple Pilots. However, the studio album nonetheless managed to remain fresh in spite of these considerations.
Perdida is what one might call unusual. For starters, it is an acoustic record, which isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind for most people when they think of Stone Temple Pilots. Moreover, the band wasn’t willing to settle for making a generic acoustic record but instead spent a fair amount of effort challenging perceived limits, as shown by the incorporation of influences that ranged from orchestral pop to Mariachi folk music. Not everyone is convinced that Perdida succeeded at its intended task. However, it is nonetheless an interesting look at where Stone Temple Pilots might go in the times to come.
5. No. 4
No. 4 came out in 1999. By that point in time, grunge was already dead. However, Stone Temple Pilots made an interesting choice to return to their hard rock roots anyways, which proved to be more than worthwhile. For proof, consider the fact that No. 4 went platinum in the United States in spite of a lack of promotion. Something that can be blamed on Weiland’s jail sentence related to his drug addiction.
4. Shangri-La Dee Da
Shangri-La Dee Da was the last studio album from Stone Temple Pilots before the band broke up. As such, it can be considered the end of an era because the sheer passage of time meant that even 2010’s Stone Temple Pilots was made by much changed people in much changed times. Regardless, the band were convinced that they could put out enough material for a double album, but in the end, the record label’s resistance convinced them otherwise. Still, what we got was quite decent, though it failed to find the same kind of commercial success as its predecessors.
3. Tiny Music . . . Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop
This studio album came out in 1996. As such, it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that it was one of Stone Temple Pilots’ more experimental releases, featuring influence from shoegazing as well as neo-psychedelia. Thanks to that, it managed to stand out quite a bit. At the time, there were some people who loathed it. However, there were also plenty of people who saw the studio album as a sign of Stone Temple Pilots’ capability to evolve. An opinion that has become stronger and stronger in the time since.
The name Core is a reference to the fruit of the tree of the knowledge, which tends to be depicted as an apple by Western Christianity-influenced media. As such, it makes sense that Stone Temple Pilots’ debut studio album would cover some serious topics. To name an example, “Sex Type Thing” has outright been stated to be about the abuse of power as well as the treatment of women as sex objects. Similarly, “Naked Sunday” is a shot at organized religion. Regardless, Core was an excellent example of the splits that can sometimes happen between critics and consumers. It was criticized by plenty of critics. Simultaneously, it was embraced by plenty of consumers. Amusingly, this once resulted in the band being deemed both the best and the worst new band by Rolling Stone’s readers and critics respectively.
Core was a surprisingly confident release for a debut studio album. However, it was still a debut studio album, as shown by how its follow-up Purple improved on its tricks while also branching outwards by showing external influences. As such, there was no such split between critics and consumers for Purple. Instead, it was met with a positive reception from a much wider range of sources than before, not least because those external influences enabled Stone Temple Pilots to defuse a previously often-used criticism by differentiating themselves from the rest of grunge.