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Stone Temple Pilots get back to work

After a tumultuous 10 years together and five years apart, Stone Temple Pilots have reunited.
/ Source: The Associated Press

After a tumultuous 10 years together and five years apart, Stone Temple Pilots have reunited.

On Monday, they celebrated their upcoming 65-city North American tour, which starts May 17, with a private performance at the famed Houdini House in the Hollywood Hills. The Grammy-winning band performed a tight, 30-minute set, and it felt like the ’90s as they rocked hits including “Plush,” “Vasoline” and “Big Empty.”

The quartet — singer Scott Weiland, guitarist Dean DeLeo, bassist Robert DeLeo and drummer Eric Kretz — each took on solo projects during the band’s split. Weiland’s group, Velvet Revolver, was arguably the most successful. That group, which includes former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, announced on April 1 that Weiland was no longer a member: Slash claimed Weiland’s “increasingly erratic on-stage behavior and personal problems have forced us to move on.”

Weiland was arrested several times for drug possession and did a few stints in rehab during his time with Stone Temple Pilots. He pleaded innocent last month to charges of driving under the influence of drugs stemming from a November car crash.

After a brief sound check and before taking the stage for their first show in five years, Weiland and his bandmates sat down with The Associated Press to talk about the past and future of Stone Temple Pilots.

AP: Why was now the time to reunite?

Weiland: Well I kept on dropping hints in the press constantly. Every time I did an interview and everyone would always ask...

Dean DeLeo: And I usually read Scott’s press, so I was getting the signals.

Weiland: (They’d say), “Do you ever think you guys will reunite?” And I’d say I can’t really see the story being over. I always picture another bookend.

AP: You felt like a reunion was inevitable?

Weiland: I did. After everything we’d achieved, as close as we’ve been, the way that we got together and it’s really quite an interesting story. For it to end the way it did was very kind of anticlimactic. I feel like one of our best albums we ever made was our last album (“Shangri-La Dee Da”). The people that we’re working for us and with us did not get where we were coming from and tried to market it as a completely different record and so it never got the chance that it should have gotten. That record feels very special to me, as I know it does to all of us. So I felt like the story’s not finished. There’s more to be revealed. There’s more to be told. And I thought that because as much everyone really does care about each other that one day it’ll all kind of come around and we’ll talk and we’ll air things out and we’ll end up wanting to play music together again.

AP: What sort of things had to happen before you could get back together?

Robert DeLeo: A lot has happened over the past five years. We’ve individually accomplished a lot in our lives. I think we’re all proud of that. We’re proud of each other. And, you know, things happen for a reason. I don’t think there’s really any coincidence in life. And this was something that felt — I don’t know if right’s the word — but it felt like we should get together and do this.

AP: Do you feel the passage of time?

Dean DeLeo: I think it’s about getting on stage with these guys and playing loud rock and roll. It feels like no time has gone by. It still feels the same.

Weiland: Except I think we’re a bit smarter, a lot more wiser. Because the music business has shrunken so much and has eaten itself, those survivors out there, they’re a lot more cutthroat. You definitely have to watch your back and you have to be smart in order to not get taken advantage of. So I think we’ve all learned from those experiences.

AP: Are you going to record after this tour? Do you see yourselves putting out another album?

Weiland: Yeah.

Dean DeLeo: That sounds great. Love to.

AP: What happened with Velvet Revolver?

Weiland: This happened very organically. It wasn’t people trying to angle and beg. It just happened the way it sort of happened. I got a call from Dean. I was on tour. He said, “Man, are you sitting down?” I said yeah. He said, “I was talking with our agent, and some offers came through.” We’d all been starting to talk more often. I had talked to Slash, mentioned it to him, and things were cool for a while. And this last tour, things just disintegrated really badly. I just came to the point where I decided that ... if I’m going to commit the next 10 years of my life to touring ... then I want to do it with people I want to make music with. People who I get inspired by making music with. ...I have to start weeding out stuff. It’s kind of like going through your closet going, “Eh, I don’t need this anymore. It takes up too much space.” Certain things don’t feel good, although it may put money in your bank account, but it doesn’t feel good at the end of the day. It became one of those situations.

This feels good, it feels right. It’s always inspiring. It’s always that high.

AP: What about the drugs?

Dean DeLeo: You got any? I shot some good dope in the ’70s.

Weiland: I was never in New York in the ’70s. It all began in 1992 for me. I think I have the world record for detoxes though.

AP: Yeah, how many?

Weiland: I couldn’t count but I think it’s over 40. That’s a good song title, though, “What about the drugs?”