Music: Stone Temple Pilots
Jul 9, 2010 4:00 PM, By Sarah Benzuly
TAKING THE REINS
In 2003, most Stone Temple Pilots fans thought the band was kaput: Lead singer Scott Weiland continued to battle his heroin addiction and took center stage with super-group Velvet Revolver, while the rest of the bandmembers continued to make music under the name Army of Anyone. Then, in 2008, the band reunited and embarked on a U.S. tour, re-igniting that special spark that these bandmates have had for almost 17 years.
"Between the Lines" MP3
“I think the first step for us was to get together and re-acquaint ourselves with each other and the music, and I think the best way to do that was to get into the songs that are familiar to us—the older material—and what that does is it brings back a lot of memories of being with the people you’re making music with,” says bassist Robert DeLeo, who talked to Mix just a few days after the band’s appearance at SXSW. “Once we brought that back out on the road, I think it was just the natural progression for us to think about making a new record, which we haven’t done in nine years! [Laughs] Time flies.”
The band took a leap in not only trusting each other again as musicians, but in relying on each other to self-produce; for all previous efforts, STP worked hand-in-hand with producer Brendan O’Brien. “I was the cheerleader holding the pom-poms to make this happen,” DeLeo says. “I just thought that many years had gone by and I learned a lot from Brendan—made great records with him and had a great time doing so. I just thought it was time for us [to produce an album], and we’re all very capable of doing this as a band. I’m very proud of it.”
Tracking for the self-titled release commenced at drummer Eric Kretz’s personal studio in downtown L.A., where STP (sans Weiland) started pre-production and demo’ing. Songwriting was handled by DeLeo and his brother, guitarist Dean DeLeo; they compiled both old and new material, working mostly in Kretz’s place.
As the group got closer to laying down tracks, Weiland—who had set up camp at his studio, Lavish, with Don Was—would receive material and track vocals. “Don Was came in and went over vocals with Scott and gave Scott some guidance on where to go with the songs,” DeLeo says. “Don also brought Scott over and got us all together on the same page as far as keys of songs, melodic ideas. Sometimes you need an outside person to do that. So as one of the producers of the record, it was kind of interesting to try to put a record together in separate places, as you can imagine.
“We just got together, played the songs and quickly put them down to see what we had. It was more of a monitoring/demo kind of thing. We didn’t record together. We just took all of our ideas, put them together, sat back and listened and had some melody, vocal and arrangement ideas that we went over. Then we took what we had there and went our separate ways again. It was an interesting way to make a record.
“We’ve been making records since ’92 and we’ve learned an awful lot and we know each other musically where we’re going to go with the songs,” DeLeo adds. “And nine out of 10 times, when we pinpointed what we were going to put on the record, there were a couple of things missing to us, and I think it was more of the upbeat stuff. The first single, ‘Between the Lines,’ that’s a song I wrote as a fill-in-the-blank to round out the record. ‘Cinnamon’ was the same deal. We tracked those at my home studio, Homefry Studio.”
Not only were the tracks being worked on in different spaces, but also on different gear. Robert DeLeo’s space features a restored ’71 Neve 8014 console. (“I really love that board. It sounds really warm and fat,” DeLeo says.) Kretz’s room is centered on an SSL. Both places have Yamaha NS-10 monitors; DeLeo also uses a pair of ADAM speakers. “But the majority of it was on NS-10s and Eric’s also got a set of vintage Auratones that we were playing through once in a while, and they were very helpful in getting everything together.”
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