Bassist: STP Getting High On Weiland's Sobriety

Robert DeLeo says now that lead singer's 'a new person,' band can tour overseas, record double album.

ANAHEIM, California — Rock and rollers used to say that drugs opened up new musical vistas. But having a lead singer who's not using drugs is what's done the trick for Stone Temple Pilots.

"We're hitting territory that I've always wanted to accomplish and reach," bassist Robert DeLeo said Saturday, and he gave the credit to a sober Scott Weiland.

"Scott's in a space right now where we're not cramming to just get a single record done — he's in a space where I think a double record is possible."

We're all in this really amazing house that we rented, and I was looking out of my bedroom window this morning and saw Scott holding [his son] Noah out on the edge of this cliff, [and I said] to myself, 'Man, what a change — what a new person.' "

The band began preproduction on the follow-up to 1999's No. 4 in a rented Malibu, California, home about two weeks ago. Longtime producer Brendan O'Brien is aboard once again for the LP, which the band hopes to release in the summer.

STP so far have hammered out five new songs — three written by Robert DeLeo, one by guitarist Dean DeLeo and one by Weiland. Robert DeLeo said he has songs whose origins date to 1993 that he's exploring for the first time with his STP bandmates. The midtempo "You Can't Drive Me Away" and the experimental "Heed the Water Whisper," which the band put to tape last spring, also may make the album.

"There's no shortage of material," Robert DeLeo said. "Between the four of us, there's going to be probably enough material for a triple album."

Stone Temple Pilots had considered making No. 4 a double set, but they were unable to because of Weiland's drug-related incarceration. He was released in late December after serving 153 days in Los Angeles County Jail.

The band plans to head to Europe after the album's release and then follow with a North American tour. DeLeo said the band is particularly excited about touring Europe, adding that Weiland's drug problems have prevented STP from doing an overseas tour since 1994. "It was tough enough just trying to tour America, so getting him over to the other side of the pond wasn't working."

DeLeo attended the National Association of Music Merchants trade show in Anaheim on Saturday to sign autographs at Schecter Guitars' booth. The company has made all of his basses, and DeLeo even worked as a salesman for Schecter prior to STP getting a record deal in the early '90s.