Stone Temple Pilots' Eric Kretz talks about the band's history

Loved by fans, simultaneously hated by critics.

Stone Temple Pilots have long since been a staple in our hard rock society; whether categorized as grunge, post-punk, alternative rock or psychedelia, they have held steady on rock 'n' roll ground since the early '90s. And as rare as it is to overcome in the industry, STP have managed to cascade through the decades and on to the other side of rock and roll maturity despite Scott Weiland's troubles with substance abuse, the law, and his own tragically-hip rock and roll excursions.

For the first time in almost a decade the band is back with a new album, a #1 single, and a very extensive tour. They've had their ups and downs, but it is undeniable that Stone Temple Pilots have lasted the test of the '90s, and are still jamming out #1 hits -- with or without the grunge-era label to boast them through the Billboard charts. STP are still very much kids at heart, and we can expect to see them perform much in the same way we would 20 years ago -- except it is safe to say that they are not zealous for a record deal anymore, just the music itself.

Drummer of the Stone Temple Pilots Eric Kretz recently spoke with Gimme Noise to reminisce a little bit about where they came from, and where they are now.

How has the dynamic of the group shifted since the band's enormous success in the 90's to early 2000's and now?

Nothing has really changed, because we're still majorly the same people we were back then, we're just a little older now, wiser and more mature. But I would say the fact that we all have young families, that's probably where the more maturity comes in. Which plays into everything that we do, but in the same sense we're still Junior High School kids at heart, and if you were a fly on the wall at rehearsal, somebody farts and immediately it's still funny. You know you can be talking about how many toys you have, how many trucks are on the road, how important business is, and somebody farts and it's still funny.

Do you still feel as popular as you were in the '90s?

I wouldn't say as popular, because I remember back around '93 it was almost to the point of making people sick, it was on the radio so much; which is a great thing, because that's what we wanted as a band. And at that time, too, in the mid-'90s, the Alternative Rock genre was the prominent force in music at that time; of course as we all know, it's changed in the past 15 years. It's still great to be a part of it, coming back in and hearing radio stations when they play all the music from the '90s, especially the early and mid-'90s, all the bands that were coming out, even the ones that we kind of laughed at back then, still had a unique sound, and a unique musicianship that's still wonderful to listen to today. I am just really proud that we came out in a time when music and lyrical content was very important and wasn't as comedic as the stuff today.

In your best possible description, what are the differences between the music of STP and Velvet Revolver? It's obvious that the two groups are often compared.

It's relative to the players, ya know, I have my style on drumming, and Matt has his style. Dean has his style on guitar, and Slash and Dave have their style. It's similar in that it's fucking great rock n' roll music that was just presented very powerfully and very much in your face, and of course with Scott [Weiland] singing for both bands there's always going to be that similarity, things are going to tie in much like the next. It would be the same as comparing Velvet Revolver to Guns N' Roses. There are a lot of similarities but some parts are different, I think I am going to leave that up to the listeners.

And what we do is not very different than a lot of other rock bands, drums, guitar, vocals, and no keyboard -- so that sound is always going to be very much the classic rock presentation; it is what it is. Scott did a great job with both bands, that's for sure.

How do your live performances differ now since the '90s? What should we expect this tour?

It's funny because you think sometimes as you get older, that you might mellow out a bit but when you get on stage and the lights come on and the crowd's there, it all converts back to what we did 20 years ago trying to get a record deal. You just so want to conquer the world with music, and that love and that passion for it has just never gone away. In that sense it still remains the same.

Obviously the longevity of STP and the fact that there are still all four original remaining members means there must have been a lot of compromise, a lot of differences, and a lot of personal, and professional growth.

What do you feel has been the biggest contributing factor to the everlasting and time-tested success STP has attained?

I am still trying to figure that out. There's times when it just goes so smoothly, and we get along so well, and then there are times where you just hit your head like "why am I doing this again?" I think the fact that it's so unpredictable is the comfort in knowing that it's never changed. There's no security in rock 'n' roll; there is no repetitiveness to our schedule in rock 'n' roll, it's continuously changing. In our case we are very independent people with a lot of different ideas of where things should go, and how things should be so it's just a continuum of chaotic organization.

STONE TEMPLE PILOTS play with Cage the Elephant tomorrow night, FRIDAY, AUGUST 13, at ROY WILKINS AUDITORIUM. Info here.

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