Listen to the Stone Temple Pilots’ First Song With New Singer Jeff Gutt
"I think it was important to us that we have a lot of new material going forward, in order to make it real again," drummer Eric Kretz told Rolling Stone. "Because if it was just about chasing the catalog, that would be the easy way to go. There wouldn't be much substance to that."
Listen to the Stone Temple Pilots Perform 'Meadow'
Gutt follows original frontman Scott Weiland and successor Chester Bennington, who left in 2015 to focus on his work with Linkin Park. Weiland had been fired in 2013, and died of an accidental drug overdose two years later. STP was then rocked by tragedy again when Bennington killed himself last July.
"Having two people that we've intimately shared so much with, and knowing they're gone, it's sad," bassist Robert DeLeo added. "It's very sad. It's not the way that I thought things were going to go in life."
They decided that the best way to honor that legacy was to move forward creatively. Stone Temple Pilots held a massive audition, sorting through some 15,000 submissions before settling on Gutt, a one-time contestant on The X Factor. He reportedly tried out with the band in September 2016, and then spent the next year secretly completing new material with Dean DeLeo, Robert DeLeo and Kretz.
"I was probably 16 or 17 when [STP's debut album] Core came out," Gutt said, "and I just remember how Scott could cater to the song and create these characters. That blew me away. I was really studying singers at the time and Scott was at the top of the list. So, walking in on that first day, it was crazy. I mean, you have dreams about things like this."
The Stone Temple Pilots' first studio project with Gutt is due next spring. They haven't chosen a title yet.
"The fact that we recorded all these new songs, it ties into helping us heal from the losses of Scott and Chester – because the catalog will always be there," Kretz said. "But if the new music really excites us and excites the fans, it has much more of a meaning as far as honoring what Scott and Chester brought to this, as well."