Stone Temple Pilots soldier on 

click to enlarge From left, the 2015 members of Stone Temple Pilots are Dean DeLeo, Chester Bennington,  Robert DeLeo and Eric Kretz. - COURTESY  PHOTO
  • From left, the 2015 members of Stone Temple Pilots are Dean DeLeo, Chester Bennington, Robert DeLeo and Eric Kretz.
Stone Temple Pilots bassist Robert DeLeo, working late in the studio with his guitarist brother Dean last week, got a jolt when his sibling plugged in a certain effects pedal to achieve a desired mournful chord.

"It instantly bright me back to when I was 15, and doing the same thing in my bedroom with all these pedals," says DeLeo, now 49. "And I thought, 'Here we are as grown men, still plugging cables into pedals to get a cool guitar sound. Like, how cool is that, that I'm still doing this?'"

DeLeo, who appears with STP this week in The City, could be filled with bitter recrimination. The long-suffering band split with mercurial lead vocalist Scott Weiland, firing him after he reportedly refused to participate in a 20th-anniversary tour of its landmark 1992 debut "Core," launching a flurry of lawsuits and counter-suits.

Instead, he's feeling incredibly grateful, thanks to a surprise new singer – Chester Bennington, moonlighting from his other supergroup, Linkin Park. The new lineup, which includes original drummer Eric Kretz, issued the EP "High Rise" and is tracking its full-length bow.

"It's going great," DeLeo says. "I just feel like I really got back in touch with what we're all about, sonically and spiritually."

He adds, "It was just a matter of moving forward, or continuing to do damage control. I think Scott's made it pretty clear, publicly, what he's done. I don't really need to say much about that, because it's well-documented. But you get to a point where you're like, 'I want a better quality of life, and I want to live it being around positive people that want to move forward, too.'"

Bennington was an unexpected boon, and a longtime huge STP fan. When Linkin Park shared an arena bill with STP in 2001, Bennington jumped onstage to croon with them, practically knowing the Pilots lyrics by heart. Since then, he’s mastered them. He's so devoted to the STP gig, he's currently touring with a broken ankle.

And "Out of Time," a Sabbath-sludgy single on "High Rise," features a sneering, snapping Bennington, who sounds like a feral founding member.

Although STP's "Core" initially was dubbed faux-Pearl-Jam grunge, over several stellar efforts, including "Purple" and "Tiny Music," the Pilots' shrewd schematics led to impressive stylistic growth.

Sometimes, DeLeo wishes he could play more experimental riffs.

"But what's that saying? Jazz guys play 100 chords to three people, and rock musicians play three chords to 100 people?" he says, chuckling. "Unfortunately, jazz doesn't pay the bills!"


Stone Temple Pilots

Where: Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.

When: 9 p.m. April 10

Tickets: $36

Contact: (415) 346-6000,

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Tom Lanham

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