Stone Temple Pilots Trade Control For Democracy On New Album

'We needed to learn how to be in a band again,' Scott Weiland says of recording process.

After nearly a decade out in the wilderness — a time spent releasing solo albums, forming new bands and getting arrested once or twice — the [artist id="1020"]Stone Temple Pilots[/artist] return to their musical home on Tuesday (May 25) with their self-titled sixth album. The roiling, rumbling, hard-rocking release recalls the band’s late-’90s glory years, while also forging a new sonic territory, one that’s awfully indebted to Let It Bleed-era Rolling Stones.

Yes, it’s a brand-new era for STP. It kicked off on a high note with a well-received run of shows earlier this year and continues today with a single, “Between the Lines,” that’s burning up the Modern Rock Radio charts. But, to hear the band tell it, this new era almost didn’t happen. There was a time not too long ago when Stone Temple Pilots seemed like they were done forever.

“We produced this album ourselves, but we had some help from Don Was,” frontman Scott Weiland told MTV News. “It came at a point where we were sort of stuck, and he was great. … He got us all together and had us play the songs live. And that was important. We had been doing our own thing for so long, we needed to learn how to be in a band again.

“Making a solo album is kind of easy,” Weiland continued. “Being in a democracy is difficult, because everyone has their own ideas, and you have to be able to respect those ideas. So making a solo album, or these guys doing what they’ve done on the outside, it’s like, you get a lot more control; you do what you want to do. And sometimes those things need to be done in order for a band to get back together and appreciate what it’s all about.”

And that joy of reconnecting is readily apparent on the band’s sixth album. There’s a sense of STP rediscovering their old magic (like on “Between the Lines”), while also trusting one another enough to push the boundaries (the bluesy stomp of tracks like “Huckleberry Crumble” or “Hickory Dichotomy,” the country leanings of album closer “Maver”). The delicate balance that required STP to embrace their past — warts and all — and look boldly forward too. There were some stumbles, but once they found their footing, everything else simply fell into place.

“We’ve all been trying to get away from the guy in the mirror for quite some time now … but when it comes down to it, we’re all kind of the same,” guitarist Dean DeLeo said. “I was just laughing about this with a friend of mine, and I was like, ‘You know, we all still laugh at the same old things, and still kind of dig the same sorts of fashion and music.’ And it’s like, ‘Are we going to be 70-year-old guys still laughing at the same old things, and driving down the same old streets and going to the same old bars?’ I don’t know. I suppose we’re creatures of habit in that respect, but I’m pretty comfortable doing it.”

“I think the older that we’ve gotten, we’ve kind of gone back more to our roots, the Beatles and Stones and Zeppelin … but there’s still that urgency to step outside your comfort zone and write a song like ‘Maver,’ ” Weiland added. “That’s why we’ve had such a long career; we never ape ourselves. We don’t want to steal from ourselves. I think that everything we’ve done in between has added to what we are right now.”

Which era of Stone Temple Pilots is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comments.