Stone Temple Pilots
On Friday the 13th of August, on the 13th floor of the L.A. Courthouse, Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland was sentenced to one year in jail after authorities learned that Weiland had been treated for a heroin overdose this summer, violating his probation stemming from a 1997 arrest.
Contrary to rumors, a spokesperson for Atlantic Records says there will be no tour before Weiland gets out. He’s scheduled to serve the full year (unless the judge decides differently).
For now, guitarist Dean DiLeo, along with his brother Robert and drummer Eric Kretz, is a frontman of sorts.
Today, Dean is overworked. In the midst of “shamelessly promoting the band’s new record,” it’s interview after interview. Quite possibly, this is going to be harder with no upcoming tour. Nevertheless, Dean is here. Although the inflections in his voice reflect excitement for the band’s new album, it’s tinged mostly with anger and sadness. Sadness for Scott. Anger at “the system.”
“It’s amazing how our country facilitates people with illnesses, whether it be a gambling addiction or a drug addiction, by throwing somebody in a jail,” DeLeo says. “Is that the best place for someone who wants to kick drugs?”
At press time, no one in STP’s camp could confirm whether or not Scott Weiland (who is also going through a divorce in which his wife of five years, Janina, cited “irreconcilable differences”) is in a jail cell alone.
One thing’s for sure, the only part of him fans will get to experience, for a while, is through the band’s latest album, the vocally Beatlesque No. 4 .
The first thought that I had about the album was that the guitars were overpowering Weiland’s vocals, especially on “Heaven and Hotrods.” As a result, the album has a chaotic atmosphere, and the only structure comes from the drums keeping time.
Dean DiLeo : Well, I don’t feel like that at all. I’m comparing this to Tiny Music now: I think, as people in a band together, we were worlds apart. There were a lot of walls up. And I don’t feel like we really connected musically and lyrically. Scott was deeply into what he was into, and I really wasn’t feeling — or should I say experiencing — what he was singing about. With this record, I felt we really connected. It was the last thing from chaotic. On this record, Scott was really fighting and working hard at his sobriety. It was probably one of the most pleasurable records we worked on altogether.
In light of what’s happened with Scott, what do you hope the album will accomplish for you in terms of public perception?
I rarely get recognized, but, when I do, I feel proud of my contribution when somebody says to me a song or record — or a show they’ve seen — has really touched their lives and is really dear to them. That’s about all I can ask for.
If Scott hadn’t landed in jail, this question would carry more weight. But do you see this album as a redemption for your (collective) past? Or does it now serve a different purpose?
There was such a long period of time between Tiny Music and this album. To get a song out of my system and on to tape, it’s so cathartic. It’s almost as though I need to brush something off my shoulder. To have Robert, Eric and Scott, it’s an inexplicable chemistry that’s extremely redeeming, rewarding and fulfilling to make music with this band. Fuck all this jail shit. What are we doing here? We’re making records, man.
Do you think [Scott] will get any help in jail?
In prison? Fuck no.
Have you visited him?
How are his spirits?
He’s accepting his responsibility. He’s not pointing the finger at anybody. He knows why he’s there. He’s handling it with extreme nobility. And that’s all he can do. I mean, he’s not happy to be there. I don’t think anybody would be. But he’s definitely not moaning and groaning. He’s taking full responsibility for his actions.
In between albums, there was a lot going on. During Purple , Scott was also battling drugs… We know that you emerged with this awesome album. But what hardships did you have? Did any one song focus on what was felt in you really deeply?
That’s funny, because when you listen to a song like “Interstate Love Song,” it’s very major keyed, as opposed to in a minor key. If you just listen to the music, it sounds very happy. Even melodically, it’s just a beautifully written pop tune. But if you listen to what is Scott is saying, he’s saying what a piece of shit he is. If you listen to those lyrics… it’s all right there.
The public never gets the full gist of everything, because that’s personal. I just wondered if there were something left out that explained how you were feeling at the time. I heard, at one point, that you weren’t talking to one another because there was too much strife going on with his addiction. Was that the sole reason?
You know, it’s not fair right now, because Scott’s not here. And there are always two sides to a story. But, again, it amazes me, the kind of success we’ve had. More times than not, we’ve always had this hurdle that comes up in front of us. Looking at what I’m doing right now? I’m promoting my new record and my singer’s in jail. It would be incredible to know what we could be doing if we were really up on four cylinders. And not just that, STP can sell seats at a show. There are things that we do personally and on our own. But, collectively, the band is pretty powerful. And I miss terribly some of the philanthropy we could be doing. When we were working extremely hard on the Core record, and we were on tour, one of the floods in ’93 went through the Midwest. It was really nice to be out working there and helping people. I miss that. Collectively, it can be impacting. With all these tornadoes now, it takes money to rebuild homes… But I don’t think Dean DiLeo playing acoustic guitar is going to fill many seats.
Tell me the [black] star with the [white background] isn’t going to be all there is to the new album cover.
Scott actually came up with that entire album cover concept. He brought that in to pre-production one day. And this what was really the beauty of it: He felt that it signified hope.
Earlier, you said Scott shouldn’t be in jail. Where do you think he should be?
Scott is not in an L.A. County Jail, per se. He is in a locked down facility that is run by this place called Impact where he is incarcerated, but also receiving treatment.
I can’t really sympathize in the sense that I’ve never had that type of an addiction, but some people actually enjoy getting high while others do it because they think it gets them somewhere.
I think it’s all of the above, man. I think drugs can be astoundingly fun and expansive in every aspect, spiritually and creativity-wise. But you know what? Drugs aren’t for everyone. But, then again, neither is the racetrack.
So you’ve tried drugs?
I’m not going to tell you what I do in my personal life.
Well that’s fair. I haven’t.
I find that extremely admirable. I think that’s amazing. Hats off to you.
Thank you. So humor me now. “Sour Girl” is my favorite song. Tell me about that.
Yeah, that’s a really nice song. Back to talking to about how I feel the band really connected musically and lyrically, those chords that I wrote for that song were in my heart and soul at the same spot where Scott came out of lyrically. It just felt like it all connected. And it’s pretty obvious about what Scott is talking about. [“She was a sour girl the day that she met me… She was a happy girl the day that she left me…”] There again, when we talked about “Interstate Love Song,” if you listen to what he’s talking about there, it takes a lot to put yourself under a microscope and just say, “Man, I’m not all that I can be.”
Why is “Down” your first single?
I think STP established a very rock-oriented fan base. And I think we needed to keep some focus. There’s been a fair amount of time between records. The public is rather finicky and not so apt to change. And I think the song sums what STP is about. Our records are still very eclectic in the sense that it’s a musical ride. Look at what the album starts with [“Down”] and look at what it ends with [“Atlanta”]. The songs are worlds apart.
Talk Show popped up in between STP albums. How did that come about?
This is what we do. STP was an unworkable situation and there was a lot of time on our hands. Sitting around the house gets old rather quickly. I can only knit so many afghans and sweaters.
I don’t remember if I heard or read this but somebody said the reason why Talk Show came about was that you had a different channeling of your creativity and lyrics that you wanted do, but Scott only sings his own lyrics.
That’s correct, as well. Scott expressed that to us early-on. He would have problems with any lyrics we made. And we respect that. STP has a blueprint. We haven’t swayed from that since day one, and everybody respects everybody’s job within STP. It’s interesting — I’m going to talk on behalf of Scott right now. Maybe STP isn’t thoroughly fulfilling for him. He has a thing that he does. He runs with our songs lyrically and melodically. He’s extremely talented. On his solo record [ 12 Bar Blues ], he had the opportunity to delve into the instrumental section of it. He played a lot of instruments on that record, whereas STP works differently. Everybody respects everybody’s space. I think both records for each party were cathartic in that sense.
Does the experience of working with Dave Coutts differ from working with Weiland?
The two are entirely different. They’re at each end of the spectrum. Scott is extremely confident and self-centered. And Dave is not so confident and extremely giving and thinking about himself last. So they’re a world apart.
I saw you guys in concert [at the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago] when Dennis Rodman came on-stage as the Grim Reaper.
You were at that show? My god, I couldn’t wait to get off stage and get in the shower with that guy. I had to see that cock. My man Dennis has a body on him. We were jumping double Dutch in the shower.
How did you feel when he got fired from the Lakers?
I’ve known Dennis for a while. The Lakers, that was their prerogative. I think Dennis had a lot of stuff going on. Just like the situation with us: You can’t let one person’s actions dictate many other people’s lives. They had to do what they had to do, and he had to do what he had to do.