By Jon Wiederhorn
In an invite-only show last night (Nov. 14) at the small West Hollywood rock club the Troubadour, Stone Temple Pilots showcased their brand new singer, recent The X Factor contestant Jeff Gutt. The band has been out of the spotlight since the late Chester Bennington quit in 2015 to spend more time with Linkin Park. Stone Temple Pilots’ original singer was the the late Scott Weiland, who left the band in 2013.
Those are some rugged pipes to replace, and Stone Temple Pilots took their time, screening video submissions from around 15,000 singers before hiring Gutt.
“When it came to finding someone, we were not willing to settle,” guitarist Dean DeLeo told Rolling Stone. “I mean, dude, think of the criteria that had to be filled here. You know, this is STP, man. So we would not settle. The fans deserve more than that.”
Stone Temple Pilots discovered Gutt, not from the vocalist submissions, but through a fan recommendation. And the band tested him out in September 2016, during the last two days of auditions. “[Our bassist] Robert [DeLeo] happened to be playing a gig with the Hollywood Vampires in Michigan and somebody came backstage after the show and approached him and said, ‘You should check this guy out. He’s a local guy,'” said Dean. “And Robert called me the next morning and was like, ‘Hey, man …'”
“I came in and I picked the hardest song first, which was ‘Piece of Pie,'” recalled Gutt. “There’s not a lot of space to breathe in that song. But I figured, ‘If I get past this one I’ll be good.’ And one thing I remember is that the microphone was turned up really loud from the guy before me, and when I grabbed it the monitors just started screaming. It was pretty insane.”
In addition to working with Gutt on catalog material, Stone Temple Pilots have spent much of the last year writing and recording new songs. “The first time [we got together], we went to Robert’s house and we brought Jeff down and he was just singing these melodies,” said Dean. “And I think he did all six songs that first day. That’s a lot of songs. Like, wow, man.”
The band has just finished its seventh full-length album, which will be their first release since the High Rise EP, which featured Bennington. The yet-untitled album is scheduled for release in spring 2018.
Listen to the brand new Stone Temple Pilots song “Meadow” below: