When Grunge ruled the 1990s, San Diego’s Stone Temple Pilots crashed Seattle’s party and basked in some flannel glory of their own creation, enjoying multi-platinum album sales while paying the price with some of their own drug-induced trauma. The roots of Stone Temple Pilots reach back to 1985 and a group named Mighty Joe Young, founded by brothers Robert (bass) and Dean DeLeo (guitar), together with vocalist Scott Weyland and drummer Eric Kretz. Fast-forward half-a-decade and the long struggling quartet was finally making serious career inroads, signing to Atlantic Records and starting work on their debut album, Core, before their lawyer informed them that Mighty Joe Young was already copyrighted by a bluesman, and so the Stone Temple Pilots moniker was officially adopted. Now things really started moving quickly, as Core climbed to No. 3 on the Billboard Charts and spun off a spate of popular singles in “Sex Type Thing,” “Plush” and “Wicked Garden,” each of which saw Weiland’s intriguing lyrics and Dean DeLeo’s metallic guitar tone slicing through the alternative rock scene like hot knives through butter. Though accusations that STP were shameless opportunists, hitching their wagon to Seattle’s Grunge donkey, abounded, music buyers were clearly not dissuaded from pushing 1994’s sophomore Purple straight to No. 1. The following year’s Tiny Music didn’t fare as well commercially but, ironically, it earned STP a respite from critics, who were impressed by its loose vibes and ‘70s glam/psych nuances. At the same time, though, Weiland was facing charges of buying crack cocaine, resulting in a year’s probation that put STP on ice; leaving a California-bound Scott to work on a solo LP while his bandmates recorded and toured as a new band, Talk Show, with singer David Coutts. 1999 saw Stone Temple Pilots reunited, however, and recovering some of their career momentum with that year’s No. 4 and, to a lesser degree, 2001’s Sangri-La Dee Da, before grinding to a halt yet again. This time, their hiatus wouldn’t end until 2010’s self-titled sixth album, by which time band members had indulged in numerous side projects and Weiland had recorded a pair of blockbuster albums with Velvet Revolver (all of it interspersed with numerous drug busts, rehabs and relapses). Then, in early 2013, the DeLeos and Kretz officially fired Weiland and replaced him with Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington, going on to record a new EP, High Rise, later that year.
- Selected Discography: Core (1992), Purple (1994), Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop (1996), No. 4 (1999)
- Related Artists: Velvet Revolver, Talk Show, Army of Anyone, Scott Weiland, Linkin Park
- Further Reading: 10 Best Stone Temple Pilots Songs, Scott Weiland on Stone Temple Pilots Ousting: ‘It’s a Shame How It Happened’