There are a number of reasons why Stone Temple Pilots decided to reunite after nearly five years apart — some are obvious, and others, not so much.
Of course, the financial windfall of reviving the grunge stalwarts for an extensive U.S. tour was too good to pass up, and bassist Robert DeLeo readily admits as much. And then there are the fans, the ones who had been with STP since the very beginning as well as those who discovered the band only after it first split back in 2003 and who, woefully, have yet to catch the Pilots live.
On a more personal level, though, Stone Temple Pilots' resurrection was purely selfish, and very much an anticipatory (not to mention optimistic) move on the band's part: If, after the months and months of rumors and denials, there ever is a full-on Led Zeppelin reunion tour, STP wanted to be ready to offer their services as an opening act.
"Believe me, that was one of the reasons," laughed DeLeo. "We thought, 'We should get together now, in case Zeppelin does tour.' I'm serious, man. That would be one hell of a bill: STP and Led Zeppelin. I mean, we could play a doghouse, out in the middle of the ocean, and if I got to play with Zeppelin, that would be a highlight of my life."
Yes, DeLeo — and the rest of the band — had several reservations about raising STP from the dead — a feat DeLeo jokingly referred to as "Mission Impossible." For the band's members, the idea of regrouping was terrifying at first, but with time, the boys settled their differences and tried to think positive.
"For me, it was about putting down some of the things that I was used to getting bitten by," explained the bassist — who, with guitar-playing brother Dean DeLeo, has been collaborating with Peter Frampton on material for his next LP. "After you get bitten, it's hard to go back. I wanted to go into this with an open frame of mind and a positive attitude and just have fun with it. We should have fun with it, which God knows we didn't always have with our career when we were younger. If that's all I can say, and that's what I can get out of this reunion, great.
"I think I speak for all of us when I say there's a lot of unfinished business that we didn't get around to the first go," he continued. "Enough time has gone by, and it feels really good to be back. I don't really want to put too much thought into how it feels — I'm just kind of going with it and keeping a good positive attitude about it. I just needed to get over the things that we all needed to get over, and that's been working so far. If everyone shows up and does this thing, I think it's going to be really amazing."
DeLeo claims that during recent rehearsals, STP were "sounding as good as ever," and he credits sobriety as part of the reason the band's in tip-top shape.
"My brother's going on four years of sobriety," he said. "We have a lot more clarity in the band now, and I think with clarity comes appreciation. I saw that the other night, when we played [a secret gig in Los Angeles]. I saw it in my eyes, and in the eyes of the rest of the band. There's a lot more rock in this band now."
As for an STP record, DeLeo is not 100 percent sure that's going to happen. The goal for STP over the next few weeks, he said, is to reacquaint themselves with their songbook and prepare for their return to the road. Once the band is back in that mindset, the bassist said new STP material is very possible.
"I've always got stuff written, and there's always a long list of songs that are always there — it's a matter of timing," DeLeo said. "If time allows, there will definitely be new music. I think it would be silly not to release new music. I'd like to believe we still have a writing relationship, but the first step is getting reacquainted with what we know."
While STP were on hiatus, frontman Scott Weiland teamed up with Velvet Revolver, and the DeLeo brothers joined forces with Filter's Richard Patrick for Army of Anyone — who are now on hiatus after releasing a poorly received self-titled LP. Does DeLeo foresee an AOA reunion somewhere down the line?
"You never know," he said. "It's just like STP — I didn't know if I was going to return. Whether we get back together and do anything, I think we made a great record, bottom line. That's all that matters to me. If we make another one, I want to make sure it's great, and that applies to STP and anything I do. But I was pretty heartbroken over [the feeble response to AOA's album]."