Stone Temple Pilots' Robert DeLeo is past the dirty laundry

Steve Knopper
Newsday (MCT)

It's somewhat amazing that Stone Temple Pilots are even a band anymore, after almost two decades of singer Scott Weiland's drug problems, backstage fistfights, a 2003 breakup and such spinoff projects as Velvet Revolver and Army of Anyone. But the band — Weiland, guitarist Dean DeLeo, bassist Robert DeLeo and drummer Eric Kretz — that made grunge super-popular, with '90s hits "Interstate Love Song" and "Vaseline," recently put out its first studio album in nine years — and seems to be getting along on tour.

Robert DeLeo took a break from laundry in a Pittsburgh hotel bathroom for a quick chat.

Q. You've said Atlantic Records executives pressured the band to hire a big-name producer for your straightforward new rock record, "Stone Temple Pilots," but you and Dean insisted on doing it yourselves. What were those conversations like?

A. You would think after 30 million records that they would have some trust and belief in you making your own record — that they would be excited about that, or at least give the OK. But I really don't have anything to prove to them. Scott did his own vocals over at his studio and we did the instrumentation at Eric's studio and my studio in my basement.

Q. You wrote the music for the first single, "Between the Lines," in five minutes. Is that typical?

A. With a rock song like that, there wasn't a lot of thought put into it, there was just a feeling of what the record needed — something a little bit more quicker-paced. ... Those songs just present themselves as the missing piece.

Q. There's some stuff on the Web about how Scott fell off the stage last week in Cincinnati and kept singing. Some wondered if he was lip-synching. Want to set the record straight?

A. I got three words: "You weren't there." There was about a two-foot separation between the stage and the sub-monitors on the floor. Scott came out, he had sunglasses on, didn't see that and literally ... fell about six feet. That dude kept on ... singing. He's built like a football player. He got right up and he was all right, thank God. You know, if anybody in my band was lip-synching or faking it, believe me, I wouldn't be up there. I would have called it a day a long time ago.

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