When they burst on the scene, they were initially written off as a joke. A wanna be Seattle band from San Diego (which by the way is a lot cloudier and cooler than one might think). Either way, whether the critics hated them or not, the people loved them. Even though it took a while. Their debut ‘Core’ was not an instant overnight success. In fact, when STP opened for Megadeth on the second leg of their ‘Countdown to Extinction’ tour, a lot of people booed. One time even provoking Dave Mustaine to take the stage mid-set and defend the band. But then the now legendary song ‘Plush’ was released as a single and well, the rest is history. The album exploded as well as the bands popularity. They had managed to carve a niche for themselves despite all odds against them. And while ‘Core’ was written off as just another ‘grunge’ album, it’s one of the highest selling records of the 90’s. And the band was just getting started.
Frankly, I never understood the critics point of view on the ‘Core’ album. Is it grungy? Sure, but it’s a far cry from a copy cat record. First off, the production of the record is very polished compared to most other grunge and metal records at the time. Plus, guitarist Dean DeLeo has a tone that is much more distorted than his Seattle peers. With the exception of Jerry Cantrell and Kim Thayill. Who I think lean more to the metal side of guitar work than the grungy punk side. DeLeo’s tone is very metallic and crisp as opposed to muddy. That and his brother Robert’s bass playing, which is far to intricate for ‘just another grunge band,’ are what make early Stone Temple Pilots stand out. Weiland would in the coming years. I argue that they aren’t really as much of a grunge band as they are a great hard rock band with some grunge elements. By the way, Scott Weiland was told to yarl instead of using his real voice by the producer. As the band continued their career they became more individual.
Now the album is celebrating 25 years of being bad ass. And the band, like many many others, has released an ultimate remastered edition with so many extras that it makes the word extra seem obsolete. It’s a four disc collection of the original album remastered, which isn’t terribly necessary. The second disc is all demos. Again, not terribly necessary. But it’s the third and fourth disc that develops intrigue. The third disc comprises of live performancs. One of the band’s opening set during their tenure with Megadeth. The other performance on the same disc is the bands first Reading Festival performance. The final disc is the audio of the bands MTV Unplugged session right before the release of the second album ‘Purple’.
Now, it’s fucking awesome to hear some live Stone Temple Pilots finally. I mean, the band is great live and I’ve always wanted a live album from them. So it’s great to get a disc of live STP! But there’s still the question. Does anyone need two versions of the same song live on the same disc? Even after hearing the studio version remastered and then the various demo versions. The answer is a big no. But the fact that we are now blessed with audio documents of live STP sort of outweighs that factor. I mean, we’ve been waiting 25 years for it. And it sounds great! Dean DeLeo’s guitar tone is thick and cuts through the speakers like liquid gold. Weiland never misses a note and the rhythm section outdoes 90% of STP’s peers.
So overall, I think picking up the remastered album is worth it. The packaging is excellent and the remaster does actually shine through a bit. Because a lot of remasters don’t, they sound just like the original copies. But Stone Temple Pilots did the remaster justice. If anything it’s worth it for that third disc of live tracks. Long live ‘CORE’!
I love the crowd. They’re excited and invested. It was a magic time for the band. And they sound terrific.
MTV unplugged version of Wicked Garden is legendary.
To hear the rest of the treats, buy the record!! 😉