A month after playing a surprise gig at the Viper Room in Los Angeles, the Stone Temple Pilots have headed into a studio to start work on the band's new album, the long-awaited follow-up to 1996's "Tiny Music... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop."The group has tapped a familiar face to produce the new disc, which the band's label, Atlantic Records, is hoping to release this summer. Brendan O'Brien, who also produced the previous three STP albums, will man the boards for the as-yet-untitled project. The recent live reunion of STP's Dean and Robert DeLeo, Eric Kretz, and Scott Weiland marked the first time in almost two years that the group had played onstage together, dating back to the band's troubled 1997 spring tour. Since then, Weiland released a solo album, "12 Bar Blues," and struggled with legal problems related to arrests in New York and L.A. on various charges of drug possession. The remaining members of STP formed Talk Show with vocalist Dave Coutts, but that project
was put on an indefinite hiatus after the three parted ways with Coutts last year (see "Talk Show Silences Singer, Scott Weiland Readies Solo Album").