Why Critics hated Stone Temple Pilots
Today on Rock N’ Roll True Stories they take a look at why critics hated Stone Temple Pilots. Check it out below!
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Stone Temple Pilots were one of the biggest bands of the 90’s and early 2000’s, but to critics they were the pariahs of the new alternative rock movement at the time. Why was this? Stay tuned to find out.
Stone Temple Pilots roots date back to the city of Los Angeles where they formed in 1989 under the monicker Mighty Joe Young. They gained a pretty big following, but soon changed their name after a blues musician was found to already own the rights to their moniker. They would eventually settle on the name Stone Temple Pilots and they signed to Atlantic Records. The band quickly got to work on their debut album Core, which happened to be produced by Brendan O’Brien who coincidentally enough, would work with grunge acts pearl jam and soundgarden.
The members of Stone Temple Pilots tempered their expectations with drummer Eric Kretz telling classic rock “Since we’d signed to Atlantic Records, which was one of the greatest labels in the world, I was like: ‘If we fail and get dropped, there was no coming back from getting dropped from the top, That was my biggest fear” he’d say
Released in September of 1992, Core spawned six huge songs, only three of which were released as singles that are still staples of rock radio to this day including “Sex Type Thing”, “Creep”, “Dead and Bloated”, “Plush” “Wicked Garden,” and “Crackerman”. The album would peak at number 3 on the billboard charts, selling over 8 million copies and became the band’s most successful album of their career. The album was also helped by MTV who heavily promoted the videos for sex type thing and plush. While the band had a lot to celebrate, critics were split over the group. While the album did garner some good reviews, the band also received some pretty harsh criticism.
Music journalists claimed the band “ripped off” of grunge acts which were popular at the time most notably Pearl Jam. Others contended the band was a creation of the record label to cash in on the popularity of the alternative rock scene, which was spurred by bands from the Pacific Northwest. The members of Stone Temple Pilots weren’t even from Seattle as they all hailed from different parts of the US and eventually met in California The band was also slammed by some critics who accused them of glorifying rape with their song “Sex Type Thing” which was released as the first single from the album. It was ironic given that according to Weiland, the song deals with abuse of power, “macho” behavior, and society’s attitude toward women, often treating them as objects he’d claim.
Entertainment Weekly’s Deborah Frost wrote in her review of Core that the “Stone Temple Pilots’ hit ‘Sex Type Thing’ could be Mike Tyson’s rape defense transcribed into grunge rock. It’s unclear whether STP, which sounds like it has crash-landed Pearl Jam into Alice in Chains, is condemning or identifying with its narrator. With a real point of view, this band could be bigger than an accident” she’d claim. while the Village Voice, claimed the band didn’t stand out from their peers, despite their best power chords.
Even the hit MTV show Beavis and Butthead had one episode where both of the shows characters are watching the video for the song Plush and mistake it for Pearl Jam. They would go on to compare Scott Weiland to Eddie Vedder, with Butthead concluding, “both bands suck” with beavis firing back saying “Pearl Jam doesn’t suck. They’re from Seattle”
Even Saturday Night Live got in on the ribbing as you can see David Spade discussing the band on his old segment hollywood minute here. And in music Stone Temple Pilots were on tour. They were great the first time i saw them when they were called Pearl Jam.
It wasn’t just critics who threw mud at the band as even their tourmates The Butthole Surfers also thew some shade their way. During an appearance on Headbanger’s Ball in 1993, Butthole Surfers Gibby Haynes poked fun at the band’s sound and host Rikki Rachtman made some remarks that angered Scott Weiland.
Here’s a clip discussing what happened.Stone Temple Pilots were on Headbangers Ball. When you hear the acoustic version of Plush that was done on our show. That was the last time things went smoothly with the Stone Temple Pilots. One time the Butthole Surfers were on the Headbangers Ball and we were introducing a Stone Temple Pilots video and Gibby says Stone Temple Pilots who does that band remind you of. Who doesn’t it remind me of. Hahaha. Oh they were not happy with that and Weiland just caused a huge stink. I guess Stone Temple Pilots were really sensitive to a lot of criticism at that time. Weiland wouldn’t do our show and wouldn’t do a bunch of other stuff. We were supposed to do a shoot with them in Land that got squashed. We were supposed to do a 4th of July special. The big stuff he was supposed to do with MTV he cancelled because of what i said. My producer called me and Nancy’s like look everybody’s pissed off at you. You know you’ve gotta apologize to Weiland for saying that. So I ended up calling up Dean from Stone Temple Pilots and talking to him about it and they put me in touch with Weiland. He called and apologized and i’m sure that was you know really awkward for him and I basically kissed his ass and they came back. And for the record I think the new Stone Temple Pilots doesn’t sound like anybody and it’s good.
Luckily for the Stone Temple Pilots the harsh criticisms and critiques didn’t stick and to be fair they weren’t really valid in my opinion. Stone Temple Pilots popularity grew in the years that followed because rock radio, MTV and listeners embraced them. Compared to their contempoeroies the band had a much more glam, psychedelic influenced sound, as it could be heard on what some would consider their best album 1996’s Tiny Music…Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop.. Also unlike Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam or Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, frontman Scott weiland didn’t seem to reject the label of being a rockstar or even hide from the spotlight as he fully embraced it.
When Stone Temple Pilots were doing press for Core in 1992 and 1993 they were also quick to point out that songs like Plush dated back to 1989, which was two years before Pearl Jam even released their first song. Stone Temple Pilots was even complimentary of the band’s from the pacfic northwest as they were pretty drew from the same influences.
Despite the negativity sent their way by critics, STP found solace in the fact that their rock n’ roll heroes Led Zeppelin were also hated by critics. Dean DeLeo would tell Classic Rock “We grew up listening to bands like Led Zeppelin, who got heavy criticism,” “When you model yourself on someone you admire, and you see they got the slings and arrows too, it gives you a kind of strength. The whole mentality of STP at all times was: ‘Let’s write the best songs.’ That’s what it was all about. It was honouring the craft of the song” he’d say.
Nothing showed the sharp divide between fans the critics and the general public than Rolling Stones best and worst of poll in 1994 which saw the magazine’s critics label STP the worst band of 1994, while the publication’s readers named them the best new band tin that same issue.
In 2008 Scott Weiland reflected back on the criticisms of the band telling Entertainment Weekly it was really painful in the beginning because I just assumed that the critics would understand where we were coming from and that these just weren’t dumb rock songs.
And i 1994 the band released their sophomore record Purple which spawned three massive hits with Interstate Love Song, Big Empty and Vasoline, which slayed critics and delighted fans. But the time between their tour to support Core and the recording of Purple spelled the beginning of the end for the band as frontman Scott Weiland started getting into drugs with Eric Kretz remembering
“The start of his heavy drug intake definitely came towards the end of the Coret tour,” “Before that we were all heavy drinkers. I’d watch him drink until he passed out. He didn’t do it all the time, but it happened. But that tour changed things. He learned some bad habits, and unfortunately they stayed with him.”
Scott Weiland would be fired from STP in 2013 and would pass away two years later and he would be temporarily replaced with Linkin Park’s Cheser Benington who would also pass away in 2017. Benington would be replaced by Jeff Gutt who is their current singer. That does it for today’s video guys thanks for watching. Be sure to hit the like button and subscribe and let me know what your thoughts are on the criticisms of Stone Temple Pilots as being just another grunge band or a band cashing on the popularity of grunge. Let me know in the comment section below guys and we’ll see you tomorrow on rock n’ roll true stories. Take care.