Stone Temple Pilots Return, Sans Icon

By Marcel Thee on 03:31 pm Jan 09, 2014

Linkin Park's Chester Bennington became the new lead singer for the Stone Temple Pilots after former frontman Scott Weiland was fired. They will perform in Jakarta on Feb. 19. (EPA Photo)

Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington became the new lead singer for the Stone Temple Pilots after former frontman Scott Weiland was fired. They will perform in Jakarta on Feb. 19. (EPA Photo)

American alternative rockers Stone Temple Pilots are returning to play their second show in Indonesia. But this time they won’t be joined by their somewhat iconic frontman, Scott Weiland. Instead, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park will take on vocal duties.

The show will take place on Feb. 19 at the Tennis Indoor venue in Senayan, South Jakarta, which is no stranger to hosting well-known international names.

Bennington has been officially acting as the band’s new lead singer since May of last year, after the band, rather dramatically fired Weiland. (The former singer’s much-publicized drug problems have plagued the band since the mid-1990s, not long after the release of their breakthrough album, “Core.”)

The newly led Stone Temple Pilots have been billed as “Stone Temple Pilots and Chester Bennington,” perhaps a signal of understanding toward their fans, not all of whom have taken kindly to the change in vocalist — though many have also welcomed Bennington.

The band was originally formed in San Diego in the late ’80s but it was only during the early ’90s grunge craze that the band gained widespread fame and was signed by then-powerful major label Atlantic Records.

“Core,” released in 1992, sold better than expected but was less enthusiastically received by critics, who saw it as a watered-down version of Seattle bands such as Nirvana and Soundgarden, who reigned supreme during the alternative era.

The band themselves claimed that the sound was derivative of only the classic rock that the members grew up with. Whatever the case, hit singles such as “Plush” and “Creep” ensured plenty of sales. To date, the record has sold more than eight million copies.

The follow-up record, “Purple,” was released two years later and better received critically, with singles such as “Vasoline,” “Pretty Penny,” and “Interstate Love Song” becoming instant hits (and are now staples in classic rock radio stations, even here in Indonesia).

Still, latter-day recollections by the band members point to the beginning of internal cracks and fracturing psyches during this era, with Weiland getting addicted to heroin. To date, more than six million copies of “Purple” have been sold.

The band’s third record, “Tiny Music… Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop” (1996), still had hits in the form of singles “Big Bang Baby” and “Lady Picture Show.” Still, Weiland’s drug issues and the dwindling popularity of alternative rock during that time showed itself in the sales, with “Tiny Music” selling in far fewer numbers than the two previous records.

The following record, “No. 4,” was plagued with even more problems related to Weiland’s drug issues and the criminal charges stemming from them. However, the record did produce the single “Sour Girl,” which is still regarded as one of the band’s best tracks.

“Shangri-La Dee Da” was the band’s next record, and the last one released before its breakup in 2002. Weiland went on to perform with former members of Guns ’N’ Roses in Velvet Revolver.

Stone Temple Pilots eventually reunited in 2008 and reconnected with its fan base through plenty of “greatest hits” touring that accompanied the band’s 2010 self-titled, post-reunion album.

But again, it wasn’t to last. Things came to a halt a few months ago when the band put out a press release saying thye had fired Weiland, although they never stated that they had broken up. Not long after, the Stone Temple Pilots held their first show with Bennington as their new lead vocalist.

For a few Indonesian fans, this upcoming concert feels bittersweet; the band’s original formation managed a stop in Jakarta in 2011, where they catered to a nostalgia-worshipping ’90s flag-waving crowd.

But fans like Bayu Hendra, who came to like the band during their reunion era, says Bennington’s presence proves that the band is more than mere nostalgia.

“The [new versions of] old songs and, in contrast to that, the new songs show that the band is more than the vocalist. They make really great songs, no matter who is singing,” he says.
Stone Temple Pilots and Chester Bennington

Tennis Indoor Senayan, South JakartaFeb. 19Ticket info: tommypratama.com