One of the biggest rock acts of the 1990’s with over 50 million albums sold, Stone Temple Pilots broke out of the scene they helped to define into bonafide superstars. From their breakout debut album, Core, with legendary hits, Sex Type Thing, Creep, and Plush to Purple’s soaring Interstate Love Song and Big Empty and the late 90’s smash singles Big Bang Baby and Sour Girl, STP songs are the soundtrack of a generation.
Stone Temple Pilots are reborn and writing the next chapter of their storied career, with their seventh studio album, Stone Temple Pilots (2018) and acoustic record Perdida (2020), with new lead singer, Jeff Gutt who speaks to Hi Fi Way about playing Under The Southern Stars.
Great news with Under the Southern Stars only a couple of weeks away. It must feel a bit surreal that you’re about to get on a plane and head to Australia?
Yeah, I’ve never been, so it’s going to be awesome, man. I’ve never been to Australia and it’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. I heard it’s a really long flight, so I’m preparing for that.
No doubt the promoters have been working overtime getting all the approvals and all the exemptions to make it all happen.
I do not envy their job. I can tell you that. I do not envy their job. There’s a lot that goes into that. So especially with all this going on, but just getting back out there and being able play, especially to somewhere I’ve never been. Ready to get out there and do it.
What are you looking forward to most about heading to Australia for your first tour?
I just want to take it all in. I just want to go check out some food, some stores and some beaches. Will it’ll be fall when we get there? Right? So it’s the opposite? [well it still feel like summer and weather will still be warm]. Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. I just I want to check it all out and take it all in.
Has there very much talk about the set list that the band likely to play at Under The Southern Stars? It must be a tough trying to fit an entire career in an hour?
It’s definitely a challenge, these guys have been making records since I can remember. So there’s so many, so much to pick from and choose from. I’m excited to get into rehearsals soon here, and hopefully, be able hash out a set list. We usually have more than one though. So hopefully, we get a couple different ones going. So that we’re not doing the same thing every night.
Do you think that this might sort of open a door to coming back at some stage for your own headline tour?
Yeah, that would be great. The feeling of going somewhere and then not being able to go back there for a long time, maybe we shouldn’t take so long to get back this time. The possibilities are endless. This is going to be the first big thing like this that’s international, I believe. Hopefully, everything goes well and there aren’t any hiccups so we can just keep the train rolling after that.
There’s always been plenty of love for Stone Temple Pilots here in Australia and a lot of fans are looking for to seeing the band at Under The Southern Stars?
It was like two years ago we were supposed to first be there, or something like that? My parents have been there a few times, but I haven’t been there. My clothes made it a couple of times.
Oh really? Did everything come back?
Yeah, they sent everything back. So I’m excited to actually be there myself!
It must be great to play in Adelaide for two big nights at Under The Southern Stars?
I think we are pretty much flying between everything. It would be good to have two that we don’t have to travel too far for. That’s all going to be awesome and just checking out how the Australians do it is going to be fun because every place has a different vibe. South America was crazy and in Japan, they said that they weren’t going to clap because they don’t to be loud out of disrespect or something, but they went nuts. I’m excited to see how it goes.
Has the band had the opportunity to keep working on new material, given that you probably had a little bit of extra time without touring extensively?
Well, everyone’s pretty much writing all the time. With Perdida, a lot of that happened when we were on a tour in Canada. We had a lot of time and a lot of downtime in arenas. So you’re sitting there, there’s no windows and cement walls then we started hashing it out. Maybe the next record will be written in Australia because we’ll be there and we’ll be on tour. We’ll have some downtime and hopefully we can start that process again.
Were you happy with how the fans embraced Perdida?
The thing is we didn’t really get to tour it. I had to have back surgery right when we were supposed to leave for tour for that. Then the COVID hit. So we never really got a chance to go out there and have that intimate setting, whether it’s doing songs off of Perdida or some of the metaller songs off of some of the other records and then incorporating some of the ones that aren’t metal and doing them differently. The possibilities were going to be endless for that and we had just started rehearsals then I had to go to the hospital and get back surgery. I’m good now. I’m excited to just get our feet underneath us and get back on stage to play the songs that we love and everyone else loves, so looking forward to that.
Do you think the next album will kind of follow a similar path? Or do you think you’ll go a bit harder or heavier or more rock?
I have no idea! I think it’s just going to come down to how we’re feeling. Like for Perdida was a certain thing that we did intentionally. It’s all vintage instruments and it’s not like we were trying to write an acoustic record per se. A lot of the songs are written on acoustic guitars anyway because, like I said, we’re sitting around in dressing rooms or hotels and just doing it that way. So acoustic guitar is always usually the best option, in those instances. Sometimes you make the change over or when we’re in rehearsals with all the live gear, then we can actually get something going that way. We’ll just in have to see how it goes. We haven’t really discussed the tempo of the new record or anything, but I’ll be excited. I’ll be excited to hear their ideas soon, hopefully.
Looking back was there anything significant that influenced the direction of Perdida?
I think it was life in general was really instrumental in helping conduct that a certain way. It was almost like a therapy record or try to imagine putting myself in other people’s shoes, out of compassion, and see myself in other people’s shoes and the world through other people’s eyes, and try to really capture snapshots of life, I guess, and put down these stories. I’m really trying to capture an emotion in a lot of those songs and a feeling, like whatever the feeling that the music was giving me is kind of where I let it lead me and try not to fight upstream too often. It’s tiring!
Do you think some of these songs will make their way into the live set here in Australia?
I’m not sure. We only get an hour, so we’re going to try to get as much in as we can. We’ll see though. You never know. I know that we really want to do that tour the way we had it planned because it sucked having to cancel that. But what can you do?
Two songs off that album I really like are Sunburst and Miles Away. Do you have any favourite moments from that album?
Pretty much every song on there is really close to my heart. Sunburst, I was actually playing, I was sitting on my balcony right there and I had spent all night trying to come up with something for that song, and it just wasn’t happening. Then as the sun was coming out in the morning, I was still stressing out over it, it just hit me and it kind of wrote itself. I just had to keep the pen moving and then when I showed it to them the next day, they were quite happy with my progress. That one came together quite well and a lot of those songs have really deep meaning, so there’s a lot more there.
How do you see your first few years being in Stone Temple Pilots?
It’s crazy. I was telling someone else that sometimes, even now, so like at rehearsals, if they’ll start playing a song, it’s usually, Interstate Love Song usually does it, that little sly guitar part. I just look over, and I’m just like, “Is this real?” I was sitting in a room with the DeLeo brothers and Erik Kretz, and we’re playing STP songs. That can be a little surreal at times. I was in high school when their first record came out. It was actually the same year I put down my guitar and just concentrated on singing. It was a very inspirational time for me. There was a lot of great artists at that time to be inspired by. I definitely had deep appreciation for them wanting to move forward and wanting to do it right. If I could use my abilities and what I’ve learned in life to help them do that, then that’s what I was going to do.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Tickets available from Under The Southern Stars