The current tour represents the umpteenth time the band has reunited and attempted to tour over the course of its history. Lead singer Scott Weiland’s problems with substance abuse are well documented — and even now they still haunt him. Just prior to starting the current 65-date tour in May, according to the New York Times, Weiland was sentenced to eight days in jail for driving while intoxicated.
Just as famous as Weiland’s run-ins with the law are the group’s catchy rock songs. The most recognizable of their tunes, however, now almost qualify for the oldies station. The Pilots hit the scene in 1992 with the album “Core,” featuring the group’s first big hit, “Plush,” which garnered the 1994 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. While rock critics panned the band as grunge wannabes, the public disagreed and voted Stone Temple Pilots as Best New Band in a Rolling Stone magazine poll.
When the group’s second album, “Purple,” came out in 1994 it debuted at No. 1, highlighted by the songs “Interstate Love Song” and “Vaseline.” The album sold 3 million copies in its first few months after release, but along with that success came trouble for Weiland. He was arrested in Pasadena, Calif. for possession of heroin and cocaine. After his arrest and plea, the band split up.
Those of us who only paid attention to the radio hits and didn’t follow the band much after that probably won’t recognize the albums or singles the band had from 1997 to 2002. A few tunes got some radio play, according to Web reports. But then in 2002 Weiland and Dean DeLeo, one of the band’s founding members, got into a fight on stage at the end of the tour, marking the end of the band — for a while.
Weiland’s substance problems persisted, though he saw some success as the front man for the group Velvet Revolver, comprised of former members of Guns ‘n’ Roses. But Weiland’s behavior was too much even for the former bandmates of Axl Rose, and Weiland was fired from Revolver earlier this year. Through some family intervention, according to MTV.com, STP members were reunited at a beach party and the seeds were planted for the current reunion tour and — according to hints dropped by Weiland to the press — another album.
“It’s been five years we’ve been apart, and there’s all these young kids who had older brothers who were STP fans, and now they’re these little hipsters 18, 19, 20 years old and they’re STP fans,” Weiland told MTV. “These kids come up to me all the time and tell me they loved the band, that they have all of our records. To be appreciated by a whole ‘nother generation of fans, all of a sudden discovering you, it’s kind of what I did with the classic bands I love the ones that influenced me.
“The ultimate goal of this band was to leave a legacy, to have our songs make an impact, to be on the radio still 30 years down the road, and to be enjoyed by people, whether it’s something that gives them a feeling of heartache, or something that they relate to because of a struggle they went through in their life. Music is just something that makes you feel, believe and be inspired that was the goal always, to have our music out there and for it to continuously, over a period of years, inspire.”
The band is also scheduled to be one of the headliners for the Voodoo Music Experience, Oct. 24-26 in New Orleans — though if the band has proved anything it’s that a lot can happen in a short time. Thinking ahead just a few days to the Reno show on Friday, older fans are going to want to hear the songs that made the band famous in the first place and, according to the New York Times review of a June show in New Jersey, they won’t be disappointed. That night’s performance was lackluster, if you take the words of reviewer Nate Chinen, but considering the problems the group has had just staying together, Nevada fans should probably just be happy to see them walk out on stage without breaking into a fight.
Stone Temple Pilots will perform Friday night at 8 p.m. in the Grand Sierra Resort’s Grand Theatre. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased online by going to www.grandsierraresort.com or calling 1-800-648-3568.