LOS ANGELES With singer Scott Weiland in jail, the other
members of Stone Temple Pilots are sorting out the band's immediate
future during what drummer Eric Kretz called a "strange" but "exciting"
Strange because "without our quarterback being here, it seems real empty,"
But the excitement Kretz and bassist Robert DeLeo spoke about Thursday
at Los Angeles' Chateau Marmont hotel was focused on No. 4 (Oct.
26), STP's first album in more than three years.
They may not know when they'll tour again or what lies ahead regarding
Weiland. But DeLeo said that he, his guitar-playing older brother, Dean,
and Kretz had overcome their anger about Weiland's situation when they
all got together to record the new album after an 18-month separation.
"We ... got that [anger] out, and things started really turning around,
with us realizing the chemistry that we have together ... and realizing
the time that's gone by," the younger DeLeo, 33, said.
Weiland has been in the Biscaluz Recovery Center of Los Angeles County
Jail since admitting Aug. 13 to violating probation on a felony
heroin-possession conviction stemming from a 1997 arrest. On Sept. 3 a
Los Angeles Superior Court judge sentenced Weiland to a year in the facility,
giving him 35 days of credit for time already served.
The singer last week released his first public statement since his jailing,
in which he reflected on the meaning of freedom.
"Choices and decisions of the mind and spirit, I am coming to find, is
where my power lies," Weiland said. "My power lies in having no power at
all. A bewildering paradox but one I'm learning to be true. True passion."
Weiland's drug problems have been in the public eye since May 1995, when
he was arrested in Pasadena, Calif., following an alleged drug transaction.
Since then, he and the other members of STP have addressed his addiction
"I think we were one of the first bands to come out and say, 'You know
what, our singer doesn't have a sore throat,' " DeLeo said. "[When you're]
dealing with someone who has a drug addiction, you're dealing with two
different people. While they're clean, you're dealing with a real person.
When that person is high, you're not dealing with the same person.
Sometimes you're not even dealing with a person at all."
In late 1996, after a period in rehab, Weiland suffered a relapse that
derailed STP's plans to tour behind Tiny Music ... Songs From the
Vatican Gift Shop. That led the band to splinter and pursue separate
projects. Weiland released his first solo album, 12 Bar Blues
(1998). Kretz and the DeLeo brothers formed Talk Show with former Ten
Inch Men singer Dave Coutts.
DeLeo said he, his brother and Kretz barely spoke to Weiland during their
year-and-a-half hiatus, and when they did, their talks were brief and
It wasn't until each toured, Kretz said, that they noticed the missing
chemistry. "Working without Scott, we just really missed the energy and
the performance level," Kretz said. "When he started touring, he would
call up and say, 'This is really f---ing weird. This is not the same.
The bandmembers eventually met up in September 1998 to discuss their
future together. They addressed their individual concerns, including
Weiland's health, and they discovered they shared a vision "to make a
rock album," Kretz said.
Their first rehearsal, the drummer said, affirmed that the STP chemistry
was working. They turned out two songs off the bat, including what would
become the hard-hitting first single from No. 4, "Down."
"We did 'Down' and 'Church on Tuesday' within like an hour and a half,"
Kretz said. "It was like, 'OK, this is a good day, and it isn't even
lunchtime yet.' It's like riding a bike ... you get right back on it,
everyone's got their own designated positions, and it's like, 'Boom!'
It's stupid it's so simple, and that's the way it should be."
The bandmembers found they were so prolific they toyed with the idea of
releasing a double album or finishing two separate CDs to be released a
few months apart. But their eagerness to have a finished project eventually
took over, and STP decided to finish 15 songs, marking the first time
they've had material left over after cutting an album. Whether the extra
songs will turn up on an EP or their next album is undecided, Kretz said.
Both DeLeo brothers wrote the music to five songs apiece on the album;
Weiland wrote all the lyrics. One tune, "No Way Out," was a collaboration
among all the bandmembers. Kretz said Weiland introduced the initial idea
for the tune, a deviation from their previous work.
"It's so great to watch [Scott] play something on guitar, because when
most people pick up the guitar, they're pretty relaxed, especially if it's
just one chord," Kretz reflected on the beginnings of "No Way Out." "But
Scott had veins popping out of his neck and his head, and he was so
intent on trying to play this one chord. Not to be mean, but we were all
laughing a little bit, and then he started playing the melody, and, it
was like, 'OK, there you go.'"
DeLeo is responsible for much of the harder material on No. 4,
while his brother's contributions lean more to the lighter side. "The
heavy songs are more of an attitude we get angry, we get mad, we
get happy, we get sad," DeLeo said. "And hopefully our record covers all
of those areas. 'Down' just happens to be one of those songs that comes
from the area where I'm pretty pissed off."
While Tiny Music saw STP exploring their pop tendencies through
a wide range of styles, No. 4 is most similar to their 1992 debut,
Core, which featured the Grammy-winning single "Plush"
excerpt). DeLeo and Kretz said the bandmembers initially questioned
the album's resemblance to their early work.
"With every other record, especially the first single, we always wanted
it to sound not like us," Kretz said. "It's weird, because at first you
question it, but then it's like, 'This is who we