Chester Bennington Releases First EP With Stone Temple Pilots, Plots Future With Linkin Park

Chapman Baehler

STP's new EP "High Rise" figures to be the first of many Bennington releases, but the singer's priority is still Linkin Park

Stone Temple Pilots plan is that "High Rise," the group's first EP with Linkin Park's Chester Bennington, will be the first of a lot of releases the group plans to make with its new frontman.

"There were a lot of ideas floating around," bassist and co-founder Robert DeLeo tells Billboard about the sessions with Bennington, who signed on to replace fired frontman Scott Weiland earlier this year and will continue to do double duty between STP and Linkin Park. "We were getting so inspired already. There's room for another EP already." DeLeo says that in doing a five-song EP first STP "used our time wisely. We've accomplished a lot in the past few months of being together -- more than we have in a long time. I definitely don't think we tried to rush something to come out. I wish we had time to make a whole LP, but we'll get around to making more music soon. You want to do the best thing you can produce, and we all really, really enjoyed making this."

Listen to Stone Temple Pilots' "Out Of Time," featuring Bennington's vocals, below:

All concerned acknowledge that moving forward with Bennington will be a challenge, especially since Linkin Park has just started recording its next album. Bennington says that both groups "have great relations. We all respect each other," which makes it easier for him to be part of both bands. "We've treated this much like if you're doing business with somebody and want to go off and do business with somebody else," Bennington explains, adding that STP "needed to understand my priority will always be Linkin Park. In no way, shape or form do I want anything I do with Stone Temple Pilots to interfere with what we have to do as a band."

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DeLeo, meanwhile, says that message was definitely received: "Yeah, his main concern is definitely Linkin Park. But when he's busy with them it offers Dean (DeLeo) and Eric (Kretz) and myself some time to really get new music together, and when he's available that's when we work, and we make the best of that time. The main thing Chester brought up is he wanted to be a part of this and really honor the (STP) past catalog and really move ahead and create some great new music. It shows you what kind of person he is."

Linkin Park also anticipates that sharing the singer will work out between the two bands. "Chester's been so awesome about it," reports the group's Mike Shinoda. "He asked for our blessing before he did anything. Chester has always loved that music and loved all those guys, so it's a really fun thing for him to do. He went out and did a bunch of shows with them and recorded some music, and now we're in the studio recording." Don't hold your breath waiting for that joint Linkin Park/STP tour, however.

"You've got to believe that I've thought out it," Shinoda says, "and I personally don't know if I want to put Chester through that. it's like asking a pro athlete to play a doubleheader. I don't care how good Kobe Bryant or Lebron James are; if you have them play doubleheaders every day, they're gonna look pretty worn out by the end of it." DeLeo concurs, saying that, "I would not wish that upon anyone, man. I think what (Bennington) does in Linkin Park is demanding enough. He's got a full plate there."

STP also remains embroiled in lawsuits with former frontman Weiland stemming from his February dismissal from the group. Noting that "there's some legal things there that I can't really talk about right now," DeLeo maintains that "we tried to make this work. It was a very difficult decision to do this. But, y'know, we were all together for over 20 years, and I feel extremely fortunate to have made the record we made with Scott, and I'm very proud of the music we made together. And I kind of look at this as a new chapter of Stone Temple Pilots and creating something new. I think it's time for it to happen, for STP to move on and live on. If people dig it, then great. And if you don't dig it, that's great, too. I get it, man. And Scott is still playing out. I would imagine he's going to make new music and we're going to do what we do and hopefully people will like it."