Stone Temple Pilots’ Robert DeLeo on ‘High Rise’ EP, Fan Reaction to New Lineup + More
Stone Temple Pilots have undergone a significant change in 2013, incorporating Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington into the fold while a legal dispute with their estranged vocalist Scott Weiland continues. While disruption is never ideal, Stone Temple Pilots have made the most of the situation, just releasing their new EP ‘High Rise’ and already generating the chart-topping single, ‘Out of Time.’
Loudwire recently chatted with Stone Temple Pilots bassist Robert DeLeo, who discussed the transition from Weiland to Bennington, the current atmosphere within the band since the change and the development of their newly-released ‘High Rise’ EP.
Having caught you guys recently at your L.A. rehearsal, one of the obvious things is how loose things are — having fun, joking around in the studio. Talk about the atmosphere surrounding STP these days.
It’s definitely changed a bit. I guess the first thing I can say is it’s nice to be constructively creative again with four people in the room doing it. It feels really good, man. I really think about it, I feel pretty blessed to be able to consider having music as my livelihood. I never take it for granted. It’s really a gift to be able to make music for a living. I’ve always held that and I always will hold that. I think it’s really come to light, with what we’re doing right now. It feels great, man. It feels like how I felt when I picked up an instrument.
Plenty has been said about the split with Scott Weiland, but how did you know when Chester Bennington came in that he was the right person to continue with? When did you know it was going to work out?
There are many ways to look at that. Whether it be fate or coincidence, or whatever we all call it. I think it was clear that Chester has been a fan of this band; he grew up with this band. Who better to have than someone who grew up with our music? It was pretty clear from the beginning when we got together whether it was writing the first single ‘Out Of Time’ or whether it was going over some of the old catalog. It just felt right, man. It felt like we could continue with making some great music as well as honoring the past.
I like what Chester does with the classic STP songs. What has been the biggest surprise so far?
Well, it’s a completely different vibe. You don’t really notice things until you do them. We just got back from being on the road for a month, what I realize is that he’s present. He’s there. I realize that I spend a lot more of my energy where it should be onstage performing instead of wondering if someone is going to make it to the show. I’m out there doing what I’m supposed to do. I’m out there giving all my energy for that hour and a half onstage, which is really — that’s what I leave home to do, man. That’s what we all leave home to do. I always look at it this way; I didn’t go all that way to suck. I think Chester bringing that, that he’s present and he’s there and he’s a pro.
You just got off of tour, which came before the EP’s release. Bands tend to have to hold onto music nowadays until their disc is out. When you tour again, are there things you want to add in from the new EP?
Yeah, I think we’re playing ‘Black Heart’ and ‘Out of Time.’ I think it’s a matter of going over and seeing what’s going to work. It’s the same thing with the old songs too. It’s what works. There are songs we made a list to do and it’s just a matter of time, things have been going very quickly. We’ve been trying to hold on to the reigns. That goes as well as getting songs together. I think it’s a matter of sitting down and really sussing out what’s going to work live. Yeah, we’re going to dive into everything as time goes by and see what works.
You had a limited amount of time to crank this new EP out. Take me into those first sessions with Chester. Did someone take the lead? Were things already sussed out even before Chester came into the picture?
We started fresh. I think it was a good opportunity to really kind of drop the bags and pick up new and make this a new chapter of where we’re at. It’s always inspiring getting in a room with someone new, especially when it works. We just started doing our thing together man. That doesn’t always happen. I’ve been in rooms writing or producing and there is a chemistry that may or may not be there. It just felt like we were moving ahead doing our thing.
‘Out of Time’ was the first thing we put together and we did that, the recording and writing at my house here. In my studio here. That was just a dream come true to have everything come full circle. For me personally, there was a moment there where we were putting together some songs and I kind of had to stop and said, “Do you guys realize where we’re at right now?” They didn’t understand what I meant; we were down in a basement. We’re grown men and we’re in a basement. It took me back 35 years to when I was young and I guess when music bug hits us all, when we’re younger. It’s either the garage or the basement. Here we are coming full circle this many years later. We’re putting it together in my basement. It felt really cool, man. To be doing that. We had a good atmosphere about what we were putting together. It felt great.
Taking it from the basement to where it’s been — the top of the charts. Couldn’t have been any better…
It’s pretty humbling, man. I’m kind of laughing about it. My wife is, too. There were many times where I was like trust me, we’ll get a new bathroom soon, let me just build this studio. Trust me. Now it’s like, she kind of gets it now. Hey we did this here! It went to No. 1, that’s cool. Isn’t it?
Very cool. What was it like playing your first show at Weenie Roast? You had this big secret, and boom — now here it is.
We were all quite nervous about that whole thing. We put things together pretty quickly, man. That energy was there to get it done. That was something that Dean, Eric and myself haven’t felt in a long time. Believe me, man. We were hungry for that. We were really hungry and looking forward to that, let’s go. Let’s go. There was definitely a feeling of, let’s do this. We were all pretty nervous about it. I’m sure Chester was, too. That’s a big secret, man.
Now, obviously having a chance to get out there and do a full tour, talk about the reaction you’re getting from STP fans.
Look man, people are going to say what they want to say and the Internet allows that to happen. You can’t stop that or control it. I don’t go on and read what people have to say, most of the people that go on and read and say stuff are for the majority it’s a lot negative stuff no matter what or who you are. It’s human nature, man. I think the people that come out and see the show, they get it. I think they get it. It’s really rewarding to see people enjoying what we’re doing. I feel like, I’m out there and I have a big smile on my face because I’m able to do, we’re able to do what we’ve wanted to do for quite a long time now. That’s really giving the audience, people a great show.
I feel in the past that wasn’t always the case. It was pretty embarrassing sometimes. Very stressful on top of it. By the time we would go out on stage, I’d be burnt out just from the whole day full of stressing over things that really shouldn’t have been there in the first place. It kind of goes back to what I was saying; Oh, now I have twice the energy to go out and do what I’m supposed to do now. Go out and give people the best show that we can give them. It feels amazing.
I know you’re limited on what you can say regarding Scott Weiland and the current legal action. But can you give an update on where things stand?
Things are moving forward. I think legally I can’t say much about that. Hopefully things will be resolved soon. That’s the goal. But we’re going to continue doing what we’re doing. That’s the goal, too. So, things will work out. They’ll work out. I feel positive about that.
What is on the horizon for STP? Obviously Chester goes back to Linkin Park for a bit, but anything you can talk about?
We’ve got Japan in a few weeks. That’s going to be the first time we’ve been there since 1993, STP. We’ve only been there once. It’s amazing what drug busts will do about allowing you into the country. We’ve only been there once and we weren’t really allowed back. So, this is a really cool thing to be able to go back there 20 years later. Did I just say that? 20 years, holy s—. We’ve got a couple of shows there and a lot of press. Time to go over and visit some fans that really missed out on a lot of STP, it’s a shame.
After that, we go to Australia. Back to Australia, which I’m really looking forward to. Another place that we’ve only been to once in our whole career. Once again, it’s amazing what drug busts will do to allow you into countries. Looking forward to getting back there again. Really love it down there. We have several shows down there; we’ll be covering that territory down there. I think after that probably come back and doing some more writing and getting some songs together and just continue to do that.
Our thanks to Stone Temple Pilots Robert DeLeo for the interview. The band’s ‘High Rise’ EP is out now and can be purchased here.