Stone Temple Pilots, Bush & The Cult

Stone Temple Pilots, Bush & The Cult

About Stone Temple Pilots:
Stone Temple Pilots are reborn on the band's latest - Stone Temple Pilots (2018). It's the group's seventh studio album since its 1992 debut, but the first to feature new singer Jeff Gutt.

The band's founding members - Dean DeLeo, Robert DeLeo and Eric Kretz - officially welcomed the Detroit native to STP last year after conducting an 18-month-long search for its third singer. Dean DeLeo says they wanted someone who had the vocal range to do the catalog justice, as well as the confidence and creativity to carve out a new path forward with the band. "We got our guy," he says.

Soon after, the newly minted quartet assembled in Los Angeles with engineer Ryan Williams at Robert DeLeo and Eric Kretz's studios to begin writing and recording STP's first album in eight years. Gutt moved quickly, crafting melodies and writing lyrics for tracks the band had finished, and collaborating with them on new music. Robert DeLeo says: "What impressed all of us is how he lets the song dictate his direction instead of the other way around." Kretz adds: "The chemistry was there from the start…We ended up finishing 14 songs, which is the most that Stone Temple Pilots has ever recorded for an album." 

Despite being one of the best-selling bands of the 1990s with platinum records and a Grammy® to its credit, Dean DeLeo says, "We are thrilled about what lies ahead. The best way for us to honor our past is to keep making new music." 

The band does just that on Stone Temple Pilots (2018). The first single "Meadow" and "Never Enough" channel the gritty guitars and swaggering rhythms that STP perfected on Core (1992), Purple (1994) and No. 4 (1999). "Roll Me Under" glides along a nimble bass line before slamming into the chorus, where Gutt's muscular baritone digs in.

Elsewhere on the album, the band tempers that unbridled aggression with a willingness to take the kinds of musical risks that enriched albums like Tiny Music... Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop (1996) and Stone Temple Pilots (2010). On "Thought She'd Be Mine," Gutt laments a lost love accompanied by a kaleidoscope of swirling guitars that slowly dissolve into a sparkling coda.

The dreamy vibe continues on "The Art of Letting Go," a wistful ballad anchored by Gutt's heartfelt lyrics and haunting melody. It also happens to be the first song all four members wrote together. "Dean was messing around with some chords on an acoustic and I started to sing along," Gutt recalls. "All of a sudden, the pieces fell into place and we had a song. That experience truly helped us gel as a band."

This year, STP will begin writing the next chapter in its storied career with a new album and the group's first North American tour since 2015. "It feels so good to put the band back on the tracks, and we can't wait to get out there and see all of you," Dean says. - facebook.com/stpband/

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About Bush:

Gavin Rossdale is good at giving directions: “The only way out is through,” he sings, pointedly, in the first single from Bush’s new album. 

This is far from the only time on the band’s sixth release, Man on the Run, that you’ll hear him weighing in with tough-minded sentiments that seem alternately confrontational, compassionate and cautionary.

Amid the sense of wonder that pervades Man on the Run is also a distinct warning that survival does not come easy. Surveying the record’s themes, Rossdale puts it this way: “It’s a magical time, but you need a crash helmet. You can fix everything but your head.

Of course, any time Rossdale seems to be giving advice, there is a “physician, heal thyself” aspect to what he’s talking about. When, at one point on the new album, he sings “Get your center back to wherever it should be,” you can rest assured that’s counsel that he’s already taken, when he picked up the Bush banner again a few years ago after having left it alone for the better part of a decade to pursue a solo career. Fans were receptive to the directions he pursued in the interim, but what they really wanted was to have a chance to welcome back the group that had gone six-times-platinum with their debut album, 1994’s Sixteen Stone. The return of Bush with The Sea of Memories in 2011 found an audience eager for that return to one of rock’s most distinctive signature sounds, as their comeback single (“The Sound of Winter”) reached the top of Billboard’s rock and alternative charts.

Their second post-reformation project, Man on the Run, continues to find the band no longer running from the sound that made them famous, but embracing it, while adding distinctly 21st century wrinkles. Still, Rossdale is perfectly aware that the pop landscape into which they’ve returned is not one in which rock is necessarily the dominant cultural force. Which may be why we need Bush now more than ever. “It’s a bit heavy for the mainstream and a bit heavy for what’s going on, but I think that’s exciting,” Rossdale says. “There are people like Jack White and Queens of the Stone Age who have a lot of success, but in general, the zeitgeist is so not this,” he laughs. “This is so against the tide and flying in the face of everything, it’s either a brilliant move or the dumbest ever. But behind it is a record that will stand the test of time, and I think it’ll be nice for people to hear it among the white noise that’s around us everyday.”

What Bush Mach II does not represent is the kind of rock & roll that’s trapped in amber. “It’s difficult to make rock music now and make it Interesting,” says Rossdale. “There’s always that narrow lane to be amazing in rock, and then a whole area to be completely cookie-cutter and not as innovative as it can be. So I hope we snuck into the realm of the welding of different genres and different styles with some production approaches that were different.” Odd as it might seem on the admittedly “heavy” surface, Rossdale “felt really connected to the whole dance movement, and the whole crowd control thing that goes with that, so lots of time I wrote the songs with that in mind. Not in any way was I trying to copy that, and it’s not like we’re going to go set up a residency in Ibiza. But I was looking at it more from a humanist point of view, asking myself: What’s turning people on about it? And it was always the ancient thrill of rhythm. So a lot of the drum rhythms that I tried to use were quite tribal-based from the get-go, even in the writing.And then for me it was just fun to be allowed by my partners in crime to bring as many modern twisted garage electronic elements as I was allowed.”

With the first track on the album, “Just Like My Other Sins,” Rossdale says Bush “wanted to open the record with a sonic statement of intent to pull you into the record, that steps up the dynamic of these garage electronics with vintage amps and pawnshop guitars. It’s really great to find a way to use technology to not be too pristine. What was cool was to start the writing of the songs with these different programs that kept it very much like I was doing it super-DIY in the garage, which gave it a life that we could build on from there to make it more layered and expansive.” The album did become “a really collaborative process. I start with very clear concepts of the songs, but then I have to get myself out of the way and let Chris (Traynor, on guitar) come in and be himself, and then the same with Corey (Britz, on bass) and Robin (Goodridge, on drums). There’s a really clear road map if anyone gets lost — or, they can remove the road map, chuck it out the window, and show me how they would do it."

The new album was helmed by two producers, Nick Raskulinecz (Deftones, Alice In Chains) and Jay Baumgardner (who’d previously mixed a number of Bush and Rossdale projects). “I’ve never split a record up with two people,” Rossdale notes, “but I think the record is quite consistent between both sets of recordings.” He’d wanted to work with Raskulinecz on the recommendation of friends like Evanescence’s Amy Lee and the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl (whose studio was the setting for a bulk of the new album’s recording). When Raskulinecz was delayed in finishing up a Mastodon album, Bush were feeling such urgency to get the sessions underway that Rossdale decided in the meantime to just go with their longtime mixing guy, Baumgardner. “To go in and do songs with Jay was just a really comfortable process,” he says, “and then when we got in with Nick, it was a bit like a voyage of madness, just feeding off his energy. He’s so contagious and electric and enthusiastic, you want to do good for him.”

Man on the Run hardly ever slows down to a trot, much less a stroll — it’s virtually ballad-free. “Having been inspired by being off the road, I felt that it had to be a high-energy record,” Rossdale says. “It has these fantastic crowd moments; it’s probably the record where I most considered what the songs would be like in the live arena much as on CD, or on the hard drive or whatever. And that’s why going for slightly longer type of songs, not so driven by short attention spans. I wanted to make sure that any of those songs could compete with any of our best songs on the set list in terms of place in the set. It’s no use if we just write a song that can’t even knock off a ballad that didn’t get used as a single from another record. There are couple of songs, ‘Surrender’ and ‘Broken In Paradise,’ that have ballad qualities but we ended up doing them in a quite upbeat or powerful way.”

Thematically, “maybe the whole record is about staying firm and staying true to your path, and to your vocation and your passion and your intention. Perhaps that’s starting to become the strongest lesson that I’m learning in reaching this point in my life, realizing that it’s about not wavering, and about sticking to your guns, really.”  

Do these lessons really apply to a band with as many miles and platinum albums under their belt as Bush, too? “I think I’ve had to learn, yeah, on everything, on every level, absolutely, to stay alive,” he says. “I mean, we’re all in a dance competition, right?” - bushofficial.com

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About The Cult:
Following a succession of name and stylistic changes, the Cult emerged in 1984 as one of England's leading heavy metal revivalists. Picking up the pseudo-mysticism and Native American obsessions of the Doors, the guitar orchestrations of Led Zeppelin, and the three-chord crunch of AC/DC, while adding touches of post-punk goth rock, the Cult gained a dedicated following in their native Britain with mid-'80s singles like "She Sells Sanctuary" before breaking into the American metal market in the late '80s with "Love Removal Machine." Though they managed one Top Ten in America with 1989's Sonic Temple, the Cult were plagued with off-stage tensions and problems that prevented them from retaining their popularity. The band split in 1995 following a pair of unsuccessful records, but returned on an occasional basis for new records -- always anchored by vocalist Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy.

The origins of the Cult lie in the Southern Death Cult, a goth rock outfit formed by vocalist Ian Astbury (born May 14, 1962) in 1981. Astbury was the son of a merchant navy man, which meant he moved frequently during his youth; at one point in his childhood, his family lived in Canada, where the young Astbury became fascinated with Native Americans, who would become a recurring theme in his songwriting. Astbury eventually settled in Bradford, Yorkshire, where he met a group comprising David Burrows (guitar), Barry Jepson (bass), and Haq Quereshi (drums). Ian joined the group as its lead vocalist (performing with the last name of "Lindsay," which was his mother's maiden name) and had the group renamed the Southern Death Cult. At only its fifth concert, the band was attracting audiences of 2,000. In December 1982, the Southern Death Cult released their first single -- the double A-side "Moya"/"Fatman" -- and the following month, they supported Bauhaus on tour. Though the group's future was looking bright, Astbury pulled the plug on the band because he was frustrated with the positive articles he was receiving in the press. The remaining three members joined Getting the Fear, which eventually became Into a Circle; in the late '80s, Quereshi became a member of Fun^Da^Mental. All of the Southern Death Cult recordings were eventually released in 1986.

Following the disbandment of the Southern Death Cult, Astbury shortened the name of the group to Death Cult and recruited guitarist Billy Duffy -- who had previously played with Morrissey in the pre-Smiths band the Nosebleeds, as well as Theatre of Hate -- and drummer Ray Mondo and bassist Jamie Stewart, who had previously played with Ritual. Death Cult released an eponymous EP in the summer of 1983; on the EP, Astbury reverted back to his given name. Later in the year, Mondo was replaced by Nigel Preston, who had previously played with Duffy in Theatre of Hate; coincidentally, Mondo became the drummer for Preston's previous band, Sex Gang Children.

In early 1984, the bandmembers decided to excise "Death" from the title, fearing that the word gave them the misleading appearance of being a goth band. Where both Southern Death Cult and Death Cult had been overtly influenced by post-punk, the Cult were a heavy hard rock band with slight psychedelic flourishes. Dreamtime, the group's first album, was released in the fall of 1984, accompanied by the single "Spiritwalker." Dreamtime reached number 21 on the U.K. charts. In the spring of 1985, Preston left the group. For the group's summer single, "She Sells Sanctuary," the band was joined by Big Country's drummer, Mark Brzezicki. "She Sells Sanctuary" became a major U.K. hit, peaking at number 15. During the recording of the group's second album, drummer Les Warner joined the group. Love, released in the fall of 1985, continued the hard rock direction of its teaser single and became a number four hit in Britain.

For their third album, the Cult shuffled their lineup -- Stewart moved to rhythm guitar, while former Zodiac Mindwarp bassist Kid Chaos joined the lineup -- and hired Rick Rubin as producer, and the result, Electric, was their hardest, heaviest record to date. The first single from the album, "Love Removal Machine," became a number 18 hit in the spring of 1987, while the album itself reached number four in the U.K. upon its April release. Later that year, Electric gained the Cult a fan base in America, and the album cracked the U.S. Top 40.

In 1988, the group fired Chaos and Warner, replacing the latter with Matt Sorum; the band failed to hire another bassist. The new lineup released Sonic Temple, which would prove to be the band's most successful album. The hit single "Fire Woman" helped propel the album into the American Top Ten, and within no time, the Cult were seen hanging out with the likes of Mötley Crüe and Aerosmith, as well as supporting Metallica on the Damaged Justice tour. Though the group was experiencing its best sales, it was fraying behind the scenes, due to infighting and substance abuse. By the time they recorded their follow-up to Sonic Temple, Sorum had left to join Guns N' Roses and Stewart had quit; they were replaced by drummer Mickey Curry and bassist Charlie Drayton. The resulting album, Ceremony, was released in the fall of 1991 to weak reviews and disappointing sales.

Following the release of Ceremony, the group took a break for the next three years. In 1993, the band released the U.K.-only hits compilation Pure Cult, which debuted at number one. By summer 1993, the Cult had a new rhythm section, featuring former Mission bassist Craig Adams, second guitarist Mike Dimkich (Channel 3), and drummer Scott Garrett. This lineup recorded The Cult, which was released in late 1994 to poor reviews and sales. In spring 1995, the Cult disbanded, with Ian Astbury forming the Holy Barbarians later in the year. Billy Duffy briefly played with Miles Hunt's Vent 414 before leaving to pursue a solo project. In 2000, the band's catalog was remastered and reissued, and Pure Cult was released in the U.S. (despite a similar compilation, High Octane Cult, having appeared four years earlier). It was followed by Rare Cult, a six-disc box set of rarities.

A new Cult, with Matt Sorum, Martyn LeNoble, and Chris Wyse joining Astbury and Duffy, made their debut in June 1999 at the Tibetan Freedom Festival. This band produced the 2001 album Beyond Good and Evil before the Cult were retired again, as Astbury joined former Doors members Robbie Krieger and Ray Manzarek in the Doors of the 21st Century (later renamed Riders on the Storm). In 2007, it was announced that Astbury had left the band to rejoin Duffy in a new version of the Cult, with Chris Wyse on bass and John Tempesta on drums. They signed to Roadrunner and released Born into This in 2008, which they promoted over the next few years on their highly publicized Love Live tour. They returned to the studio in 2011 after inking a deal with Cooking Vinyl Records and released their ninth studio album, Choice of Weapon, the following year.

In 2013, Duffy announced in an interview that the Cult were working on new material for 2015. However, personnel changes put a bit of a damper on the band's plans: after 20 years, Dimkich left to play with Bad Religion and Wyse left for Ace Frehley's band. Longtime friend James Stevenson took the second guitar chair, while Grant Fitzpatrick took over on bass to play the band's 2014 world tour. Jane's Addiction bassist Chris Channey came on board in the studio on the band's tenth studio album. With Bob Rock producing, the Cult completed Hidden City in 2015. The first two singles, "Dark Energy" and "Deeply Ordered Chaos," were issued in November and December, respectively, with a third, "Hinterland," appearing in January of 2016. The album followed in February of that year. - All Music Guide

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