Stone Temple Pilots - Thank You - Thanking their fans
Stone Temple Pilots may never have been the critic's pick of the grunge pack, but the release of their retrospective "Greatest Hits" album Thank You proves that in many ways they were way ahead of their peers.
Hang on surely Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam paved the way for grunge's global chart revolution?
Sure, but you see Stone Temple Pilots were always a corporate alternative rock band and free from any "independent" fan base had little trouble when it came to making the transition to arena rock. Okay, so several early tracks pretty much rape everyone from Soundgarden's signature pummelling metal swells ("Down") and Nirvana's fuzz-guitar lyrical fractures ("Sex Type Thing", "Big Bang Baby") to Pearl Jam's anguished outsider inner ire ("Creep"). But hey, they couldn't care less, actually taking the piss on "Wicked Garden", an obviously ironic tribute to Alice in Chains!
Actually, as the desolate fucked up blues power ballad "Big Empty" proves by the time of their 2nd album Purple (1994), Stone Temple Pilots were already finding their own flavour in the metal-glam-punk filtered grunge mix. What's more is that when grunge imploded in Kurt Cobain's suicide, Eddie Vedder's increasingly reclusive up yours attitude and Soundgarden's inevitable creative cul-de-sac, Stone Temple Pilots never bothered about having sold out. Okay, so they delivered some hit and miss albums along the way - but this probably had more to do with lead singer Scott Weiland's rehab committments than any lack of original ideas.
Thank You shows that their synthesis of 70s drive time rock ("Interstate Love Song"), jangle guitar love jams ("Sour Girl") and even breezy power pop ("Days of the Week") did manage to add an idiosyncratic twist to the alternative rock single blueprint. Of course, this radio-ready recipe would soon be regurgitated and ultimately refined by a whole bunch of far less talented successors like Nickelback. Which sort of explains just why Stone Temple Pilots remain the fan's favourite and the critic's punching bag.