Stone Temple Pilots: The Billboard Cover Story
Stone Temple Pilots, from L to R: Robert DeLeo, Scott Weiland, Dean DeLeo, Eric Kretz Chapman Baehler

From venomous public feuds with his former hard-rock supergroup Velvet Revolver to a long history of drug abuse and run-ins with the law, Scott Weiland-the slinky, gruff-voiced frontman who became a grunge-era heartthrob as the leader of '90s giants Stone Temple Pilots-rarely has been one to hold his tongue. During an interview with Billboard in November 2008-when STP was six months into its highly anticipated reunion tour, the band's first set of shows in about six years-Weiland candidly expressed his disinterest in continuing to work with the group's longtime label, Atlantic Records. When asked if the comeback tour would lead to a new STP studio album with his bandmates Dean and Robert DeLeo (guitar and bass, respectively) and drummer Eric Kretz, Weiland seemed open to the idea-but not if it meant releasing the set on the Warner Music Group label, which signed the band in 1991.

Photos: Stone Temple Pilots Through the Years

"It was sad to find out that we're still in some way locked into a contract with Atlantic Records, which is a travesty, actually. When we signed to them it was a great label. It was a beautiful time in music," Weiland said. "When we first talked about putting STP back together, it was, 'Do this tour and then see about doing a creative deal with another company.' So if it ends up being we have to make a certain amount of records for Atlantic in order to be free, then I don't know if I have that in me."

While the road to reconciliation wasn't easy, Weiland seems to have come to terms with the label in the past two years. The band's new self-titled album-its sixth studio release overall and first since "Shangri-La Dee Da" in 2001-will be released May 25 on Atlantic. While Weiland may have had grandiose visions on how to innovatively release a new STP album without label interference, his bandmates had to remind him of an important fact: They were still under contract with Atlantic.

"Yeah, that sounds fine and dandy, but I had to tap him on the shoulder and say, 'By the way, we're contractually obligated to two more albums,' " Dean DeLeo says. "I would've loved to have done that too, but I knew what was at hand on a legal front."