Why Stone Temple Pilots Are Better with Chester Bennington
Courtesy of Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington You're looking at a happier, healthier band.
From day one, despite achieving mammoth levels of success during the grunge and alternative explosion of the 1990s, Stone Temple Pilots have been damned if they do and damned if they don't. Scott Weiland's throaty growl and bug-like sunglasses? How very Layne Staley of him. The band's riff-heavy sound on Core and Purple? Completely derivative of bands like Pearl Jam. The entire Tiny Music... experience? Hey, we all enjoyed it better the first time when it came from The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. No. 4? Ah, so this is what happens when you cannot carve out your own artistic niche and are forced to go back to the alternative rock anthems that got you on the map in the first place ... the same ones people criticized you for because of their lack of originality. Shangri-La Dee Da? More like I don't want to touch this with a 10-foot pole. And on it goes.
By Brian Palmer
Sometimes you just can't catch a break even when you catch a break, and haters are always gonna hate anyway, so either you deal with it or you implode. Weiland decided early on that imploding was the best idea ever, as his various run-ins with the law and struggles with substance abuse -- to say nothing of his diva-like behavior and the constant bickering that typified his relationship with the rest of the band --can attest. Despite being one of the singularly most interesting characters in rock 'n' roll, a dynamic singer and undoubtedly the biggest star of the band, he has been a constant distraction for them and has done more harm than good throughout their time together. Most of Elizabeth Taylor's marriages were less dysfunctional than STP's time together was, for crying out loud.
So what do you do when your lead singer is forever out of control and your band hasn't been a blip on the music radar for more than a decade (their 2010 mess of a self-titled comeback record absolutely does not count) unless it has been to talk about Weiland's latest meltdown? Why, you fire your current singer, get a new one and reinvent yourself, of course. This is what the rest of the band did when they replaced Weiland with Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington and renamed themselves Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington, a move that was borne out of necessity as Weiland is currently suing them for misleading people into thinking that STP can actually be STP without Weiland. The band's decision to finally move on from Weiland is the best one they could possibly have made.
Replacing Weiland with Bennington is an upgrade of epic proportions for the band. First, there is that small issue of replacing one of the biggest egos in rock 'n' roll with a singer who has his head on straight. Bennington isn't about to go off on a power trip and isn't in danger of having run-ins with the law at any given moment, so there is stability there. And the rest of the band knows that Bennington is still committed to Linkin Park as well, so when it is time for them to record again, there won't be discord about creative differences and lack of commitment to the band. Some people think drama and destructive behavior are more interesting to read about, but if you actually give a rip about the band, then Weiland was -- oddly enough -- the weakest link and had to go, and Bennington was an excellent choice to replace him because he has more than enough chops and presence to fill his shoes.