Stone Temple Pilots had little trouble gearing up for the group's first new album in nine years, according to bassist Robert DeLeo.
"I think Dean and I always have music going on," DeLeo tells Billboard.com, referring to his older brother and STP's guitarist. "I think it's a matter of always having that on the back burner. Then it's just the right time of saying, 'Hey, let's go make a record.' I think once we made that commitment, the music was presented and off we went."
STP -- which began its reunion in 2008 with what DeLeo calls the "baby steps" of touring rather than immediately going into the studio -- also fashioned a new way of working for "Stone Temple Pilots," which comes out May 25. While the DeLeos and drummer Eric Kretz worked on songs together, frontman Scott Weiland mostly holed up in his own Lavish Studios to record vocals with producer Don Was.
"This record was made in a way that Scott wasn't really there for the creation of these songs, musically," DeLeo explains. "We kind of guessed our way through it. It was challenging because we had to get as much as we could done to complete a song, but then we had to hold back 'cause we had to see if it was in the right key and stuff like that. The songs that were sent over to (Weiland) were pretty much in a completed demo form with a scratch melody on there, and Scott has the option to use the melody or not.
"But, y'know, we've been a band for 18 years now -- more like 23, before we were signed. There's a certain understanding you have where you know what the other person is going to like and dislike and you know what's going to work. So even though it is challenging and you're not in the same room, to me it's a great achievement being able to write and produce and do this record the way we did. I'm very, very proud of that."
And even though STP produced the album itself, DeLeo says Was helped to make sure the group's two recording factions were in sync throughout the process. "Scott came over to Eric's studio two or three times, and Don was responsible for...sitting down with the band and kind of getting us together on the same page," DeLeo notes. "Don's very good at doing that. He's a people person. And I think sometimes you need someone in the middle to bring the ends together, so to speak, and Don did that."
STP is in the midst of a short nine-date promotional run celebrating the release of the album's first single "Between the Lines." But the bassist, whose second son is due a couple of days after "Stone Temple Pilots' " release, says the band will be busy in support of the set.
"We're looking at a schedule that takes us up to the end of 2011," he says, with a couple swings through North America and Europe as well as Australia, New Zealand, Japan "and every place in between, man. The difference now is it's going to be promoting a new record instead of just getting together and playing songs that you've played. It's doing that kind of promotion and touring again."