Death is DUMB Volume 2: STP - The Reinventor's Edge
MUSIC is not a GENRE - Season 3 Episode #17

SHORT CUTS

ALL ABOUT IT

FEATURED MUSIC:

NICK – “Away” (from Standin' There)

REC – “Some Things Happen” (from Parts and Labour)

Grunge was a thing. Born in the 1980s, came of age in the early 1990s, and got coopted and run into the ground by the end of that decade. It was powerful enough to change the landscape of pop music and culture in general, before pop culture changed it into a parody of itself (Nickelback anyone?).

 

If you were caught in that storm, there were only a few ways out: Quit. Double down and play the grunge circuit. Evolve into a band with more range and depth. Reinvent. This week’s band, Stone Temple Pilots, was a mix of the last two, and even touched on the second one early on and the first one years later.

 

During the Core years, STP sounded like grunge imitators, and you wouldn’t have been at fault to believe they’d end up a footnote, like say Candlebox. But they had depth and range built in from the get-go - back when they were called Mighty Joe Young - that didn’t quite show up until they broke the grunge chains and followed wherever the music took them. Though they piqued my interest with “Vaseline” from Purple, it was Tiny Music... that blew them up big for me. It was like Scott Weiland’s voice morphed from an Eddie Vedder imitation to a punk John Lennon.

 

Their subsequent albums showed the same depth and range, thanks in large part to both Weiland’s vocal and lyrical abilities AND the DeLeo brothers’ incredible composition, performance, and leadership. Listen to their hits compilation, Thank You, and you’ll hear all that from beginning to end.

 

Anyone with a decent knowledge of grunge knows STP is in the Death is DUMB series because of Weiland’s tragic end. I followed his ups and downs closely, saw him try to get it together with Velvet Revolver and the STP reunion, and was crushed when he OD’ed. I’m glad STP is still at it today - despite yet another tragic lead vocalist death (Chester Bennington). The DeLeo brothers deserver more recognition than they’ve received for the success of STP. But it was Weiland who brought that band home for me. His always captivating vocals and desire to push the morphing envelope inspired me to come out of my “dark grunge vocal” period and add more dynamism and brighter, grittier inflections. You can hear the difference clearly when you listen to these two songs back to back:

 

NICK – “Away” - https://soundcloud.com/recarea/3-away

REC – “Some Things Happen” - https://youtu.be/oZC-uALQoAU

 

Do you know STP? Were you also surprised by how much they changed through the 1990s? What did you think of Weiland? Do you know much about the several other bands he fronted? Discuss dammit!