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

ROCK ROLLED

After gauging the reaction to the band's 2008-09 tour, making a new album seemed part of the "logical chain of events," DeLeo says. "We started this record while we were in the midst of touring. We'd go in and work for a month, then go back out on the road for three weeks, then work on it. That sprawled out over eight or nine months."

During the writing process, Dean and Robert DeLeo would send Weiland demos of the instrumental tracks. "Then I went to my studio, Lavish, which also staffs our record company, and started working on lyrics and melodies," Weiland says.

Although STP self-produced the new album, the band brought in producer Don Was to get all the members in sync. "He had us come in together and play live as a band," Weiland says. "That's really when things started taking off."

The resulting collection should please longtime STP fans, says Weiland, who calls the release a "straightforward STP rock'n'roll record. There's a lot of blues to it, a lot of R&B to it and a little Louisiana Purchase to it. But at the core, it's a rock album."

Some rock bands launching a comeback album may have considered bringing in outside songwriters to help pen a big radio ballad, but true to its writing style, STP chose to handle such duties without any assistance. "I never had a problem writing songs," DeLeo says. "You have Robert and I, two pretty prominent songwriters, throwing a wealth of material at Scott."

At press time, STP was finishing a nine-date promotional run of theater dates to help push "Between the Lines." The band will appear at a handful of U.S. radio festivals in April and May before heading to Europe to play festivals and one-off shows through June. STP will headline a North American summer tour that will feature a handful of opening acts yet to be determined. Fans who preorder a ticket to the summer trek will also receive a free download of the band's new album, according to Atlantic's Tortella.

"We're expecting to do 20-25 major-market amphitheaters or arenas in the later summer and fall," Branigan says, noting that STP has also confirmed a handful of North American festival dates. "I expect the tour to go into 2011 and possibly 2012."

Despite the fact that touring accounts for the bulk of STP's revenue these days, Weiland hopes the new album sells well enough to allow him time off from the road at some point. "I hope the record sells 10 million," he says. "I have two young kids who call me, crying, 'Daddy, when are you coming home? When is two weeks up?' I love playing shows, but I want to be with my children."

Weiland recognizes, however, that the "onus is really on touring, because basically only country music sells CDs anymore." His words reflect a growing concern among veteran acts like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails that have questioned whether aligning with a major label in a digital age is the savviest business decision.

But if Weiland-ever the outspoken frontman-gets his way, the band will find other creative outlets to release future STP material. "You can do a 360 deal, like Madonna did [with Live Nation], if the money is right. Putting it out on Softdrive, or our own label. Doing things more creatively with the Internet. Giving stuff for free as well as selling stuff," he says. "I like Radiohead's idea, where they let their fans have the choice to pay what they wanted to pay. They ended up making a lot more money doing it that way."

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