From the sounds coming down the hall you would have expected a group of guys that had been together for at least a couple years if not a couple decades. For three of the four that may have been true but first to lead the Stone Temple Pilots into the room was fresh new front man Chester Bennington who has been with the band for just a little over a year.
Chester has been the new face of the group since May of 2013 when STP released their new EP “High Rise”. After being abused as a child and struggling with drugs and alcohol in his adult career Chester has reaped the benefits of hard work and determination as he now leads a group of what he now calls “family and friends” on stage. While he speaks for the group on stage and on the interview couch backstage he still beams with admiration as the senior members of STP answer questions, throw jokes at each other, and tell stories with him.
Watch Rod Ryan's interview at this year's #BuzzWeenieRoast
Rod: I’ve been following you on Twitter & it looks like you’ve been writing some new stuff?
Chester: We are. We’ve been in the studio writing some new music. Definitely want to get in and get the process started early. It’s exciting. I think within the first couple days we wrote a couple songs so that’s pretty bad ass.
Rod: The last time you guys were here. We got a chance to talk to you before the show but we hadn’t seen you live before. Once we saw the chemistry of the band on stage… everyone was happy & the Leo brothers were smiling. So you made the right decision. So tell me the story. Who met who in the airport? Is that a true story
Dean: We were in Europe eons ago. I was flipping through the channels one night and there was Chester wearing a #4 shirt. And I was so moved by it caused I just loved the guy. So I ran after him through the airport and you can finish the rest…
Chester: We saw each other at the airport and he said, “Chester. I saw you wearing the #4 shirt. I just want to thank you.” And he gave be a big ‘ole hug and all that
Dean: And a kiss!
Chester: And a kiss, yes! It was really cool because I love the band and I’ve always supported STP as a fan. It was cool to see him recognize that and say what’s up to me. And we toured together before and everyone got along great.
Rod: Well you get one shot to pick a lead singer and get the chemistry right…
Dean: I’m going to interrupt you. We had a rehearsal on Thursday at Robert’s house. He [Chester] walked in a little more prepared than all of us. He sang an 18 song set top to bottom.
Rod: So do you ever bug them to play certain songs? Cause I know you’re a huge fan but here’s a tough question: What’s your favorite STP album?
Chester: I would say I don’t have a favorite record. I would say it comes down to a combo of certain records to come up with my favorite. I think pieces of their first 3 albums, that combination of the music on those records elevated them from being a rock band and confused with the grunge music to a band that was on their own path with their own style. That’s difficult to pull off but once tiny music came out these guys figured out who they are and where their place in music is. As a fan I’ve come to appreciate the later records. It took a while to digest but we do that with Linkin Park fans as well.
Rod: Robert, I follow you on Twitter. Two moments really caught up with me. 1) You were hanging out with cheap trick and really seemed like you were geeked out. Was that rick nelsons guitar you were holding
Robert: We were playing Chicago and at the time Rick was doing a thing in Illinois and had all his stuff in a museum. Everything. And there was a documentary on that guitar. It’s one of those things when you’re holding a piece of history. That’s the stuff I used to show my mom and say “Can you listen to this cause this really means a lot to me” But I mean that guitar his history.
Rod: Robert. Dean. Who started playing music first?
Robert: I learned from dean
Dean: but at a much quicker pace
Robert: Well you were to stoned all the time!
Dean: I had such a hard time figuring out songs. I was tone deaf. Mostly Kiss & Sabbath stuff. Very rudimentary.
Rod: do you remember the first song you figured out?
Dean: I don’t think I did. I wrote my own stuff. I wrote big empty when I was like 15/16 years old. Robert on the other hand was a prodigy. I would come home and in a day he would say look what I learned and play “Mood for a Day”. Mom used to tell him when we had dinner guests, “Oh son go get your guitar and play something for us”
Dinah: Was your mom really supportive or….
Robert: She was always very supportive
Dean: Well we always got to today whatever we wanted or whatever we asked for.
Rod: One more and I’ll let you go. What’s up with Steven Tyler. I’ve seen pictures of you guys in the studio. What’s going on with that?
Robert: I wasn’t sure if I was able to talk about it. I didn’t want to step on any toes. Steven called me about the 3 of us doing an acoustic version of Janie’s got a gun for a movie soundtrack. So we spent a day in the studio with Steven and you know he’s like the crazy uncle. It’s so fun spending the day with him cause he’s so musically brilliant
Rod: So do you ask him to tell all these stories?
Robert: Stories I can’t really repeat right now cause there’s ladies present.
Dean: He is electric man. Electric.
Rod: I knew you guys growing up listening to him being children of the 70s. So to work with a guy like that it’s like Chester working with you guys.
Chester: Yeah it kind of is. I believe that these guys are for me, at the top of the list of best players I’ve ever played with. They play incredible unconscious. The nonverbal communication. The things we don’t have to say. There’s one single consciousness that we have and when your around people like that it elevates you. When I’m in the studio with Mike Shinoda I’m so f**king lucky to be with this genius. He approaches it so different than how I would because I have no training, no experience in theory or what music is. It’s all from my gut and my heart and its fun to take those two elements and put them together. In some ways I get that feeling when I work with other musicians the same as these guys when they work with other musicians that have influenced or inspired them. Now than we’re in a band and family and friends… it’s different than when I first came in because I just didn’t want to f**k up.
Rod: The experiment is in. You’re IN! Is he not?
Dean: This guy comes so prepared. This guy… He gives a shit. Simply put. He gives a shit.
Robert: The reason we’re writing new music… We were all in from Europe. My wife’s rubbing sun tan lotion on me and this guy calls us in Europe,” I’m home. Let’s write some new music!” That guy. He sent the email.
Rod: Well what can we expect from the future?
Chester: I think what we want to do.. We’re going to go into the studio. Write this record and record a great rock album that has STP stamped all over it. So were going to record that. Who knows how long it will take. I don’t want to give anything away to early but we’ve just started working on a lot of this stuff last week. We’ve got our eyes on a goal and we’re going to do everything we can to reach that and until then we’re going to keep it under wraps.