Stone Temple Pilots, Dean DeLeo Interview – Trip the Witch + More

2021-10-19

Photograph of Stone Temple Pilots standing in front of a classic car.

Stone Temple Pilots – Story by Anne Erickson, photo by PR Brown

Dean DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots joins Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio to discuss his Trip the Witch project, STP’s ‘Tiny Music’ and ‘Core’ eras and more in this featured interview

Dean DeLeo is known for founding one of the biggest rock bands out of the 1990s, Stone Temple Pilots, with his brother, bassist Robert, as well as vocalist Scott Weiland and drummer Eric Kretz. But, he doesn’t stop there. Aside from STP, Dean has his hand in a plethora of musical projects, his latest being an uber-cool collaboration with Tom Bukovac called Trip the Witch.

Dean recently released his debut album with Trip the Witch, a self-titled release out last month, and there’s more on the way. He’s also touring heavily with Stone Temple Pilots this fall, performing a string of headlining tour dates and festival appearances. View all of STP’s upcoming tour dates here.

Dean DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots spoke with Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio about the genesis of Trip the Witch, memories of STP’s “Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop” and “Core” eras and more. Read the Dean DeLeo interview below, listen via the YouTube player and hear it via the Audio Ink Radio show on Apple Podcasts here and Spotify here.

On how Trip the Witch came together

I’m going to take you back several months. A dear friend of mine, Ryan Williams, who actually has been doing a lot of the engineering for STP and mixed the last STP record- and Ryan engineered all my Trip the Witch stuff, and he mixed the record, as well. Ryan sent me a video of Tom’s YouTube called “Home Schoolin’,” and I was so knocked back by Tom’s playing. Really knocked back. This may sound sort of unbelievable, but I think you’ll get it. I felt that I had this connection with Tom just seeing him through a video. I felt like we were kindred spirits.

On the making of the debut Trip the Witch record

Over the course of a few months, we wrote the record utilizing our cell phones, just sending movies back and forth. We never used Zoom, ironically enough! (Laughs) We just sent movies back and forth. What’s really nice is that lately on the band’s Instagram, I’ve been posting some of the actual videos that we sent to one and other composing the record, so it was cool to have all that.

On the 25th anniversary of Stone Temple Pilots’ “Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop” record, which happens this year, and that era

I can’t say enough about it. It was such a beautiful, beautiful time. It was a beautiful time in many respects. It was also a time where Scott really had some demons, and it was very a double-edged sword. We went out to the beautiful Santa Ynez valley to make that record. We were in a house- I think it was about a 30,000, 40,000 square-foot house on 100 acres, where we all lived. The four of us lived, and Brandon lived out there with us, and then three or four crew members living there, because we were utilizing all the rooms in the house to record in… It was a lot of fun, in that respect, making this record in this big, old house, and all of us living there, and it was so communal and so beautiful. It was just amazing. Just amazing. Then, of course, it’s always cathartic when you’ve got what’s coming out of the speakers that’s been going on in your head. It’s always a cathartic process to hear that music that’s been itching in you for a little bit.

On the upcoming, 30th anniversary of Stone Temple Pilots’ “Core” album in 2022 and what gives that album such longevity with the fans

I would have to say it’s the memories it forged while people were listening to it. I have so many people come up to me at this point in life. So, how long ago was that record made now- 28, 27 years ago? So, I have people coming up to me now, and they’re a little bit older now, they come up to me and say, “I remember right where I was the first time I heard ‘Plush.'” Some are more interesting than others! (Laughs)

I hear a lot of, ‘I was in the back of my car, and here’s my wife. I married her. I was in the back of my car with this woman, and ‘Plush,’ was on the radio, and we were getting to it.” I’m like hey, that’s enough! I don’t need to know anymore, but congratulations on your marriage! (Laughs)

So, I think for all of us, it’s the memories that it made, and that’s the beauty and power of music. A song comes on, and it takes you right back to that time and memory, and hopefully it’s this beautiful, unforgettable memory that really stays in your heart.

On late STP vocalist Scott Weiland’s incredible vocal abilities

Scott truly was singer. Scott was a crooner, and I’m going to tell you something that a lot of people won’t know, and a lot of people will be like, I’m not hearing that I don’t get that. But, really, go listen. Listen to the way they breathe. Listen to how they enunciate, and not so much the enunciation, but listen to how they breathe though the song and deliver a line and lyric in the melodic sense. Scott was very influenced by Karen Carpenter. If you go back and really listen to Scott’s delivery and then listen to how Karen delivered a line or a lyric or how she breathed and where she took her breathes, Scott really was very much like her, and Scott- I can’t say enough about his talent. He was extraordinary. He was a true singer with these half-step inflections or step-and-a-half inflections.

A lot of times, when we had these people come in to audition, a lot of people just stepped right over that stuff. “Interstate Love Song” is a perfect example of that. There’s a lot half-step inflections in that, and we had a lot of singers just step right over them. We’re like, you’re missing some notes there, man. When Jeff (Gutt, new STP vocalist) came in, Jeff really, really sang every song we gave him.

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