‘Under The Southern Stars’ brings three of the 90’s biggest modern rock bands, Stone Temple Pilots, Live and Bush, to our shores in April for a run of festival dates throughout the country, including a twin Queensland leg in early 2021.
There’ll be a strong local contingent along for the ride too, including hard rock legends Rose Tattoo and classic rockers Electric Mary.
It’s been ten years since San Diego’s Stone Temple Pilots (STP) were in the country, and in that time the band has had to overcome its fair share of adversity, namely the tragic passing of two of their vocalists, original singer Scott Weiland in 2015 and follow up vocalist (and Linkin Park front man) Chester Bennington in 2017. Although both were no longer active band members when they passed, their loss was felt deeply within the band’s ranks (and within the broader rock community in general.) But the bands other three original members, brothers Dean and Robert DeLeo and drummer Eric Kretz, decided to continue the STP legacy, recruiting a new front man in the form of Jeff Gutt, formerly of nu metal band Dry Cell.
Speaking with Gutt on the line from The States, as they prepare to head down under, I ask him if he’d crossed paths with his upcoming tour cohorts prior to these upcoming dates.
“Well we’ve toured with Bush before, so we got to know those guys. But we haven’t met the guys from Live yet. You know I grew up listening to all that stuff, including STP, so it’s going to be a very surreal moment when I get to go out and play shows and see those guys every night. And Rose Tattoo as well, I’m a big fan of those guys. They’ve got a great attitude. It’ll be great to see them every night.”
‘Perdida’, the band’s brand-new record (and eighth studio album all up), marks somewhat of a stylistic detour, in that it incorporates largely vintage and acoustic instrumentation. I ask Jeff if any of these new songs will be part of their sets across their Aussie festival dates.
“We were going to do an acoustic tour over here, but I hurt my back and had to take some time off. So I’m not sure if those songs will be part of our upcoming set, as they require a certain setting.. they’ve very laid back songs. So we’ll see. The problem when coming up with our set lists is that we’ve got so many songs to choose from, it’s hard to narrow it down.”
I ask him if it was pretty surreal hooking up with a band that he’d admired for so long.
“Absolutely, I remember when I first met them in person. It was strange, growing up and loving their music and then you meet them face to face and then you’re in a room and they’re playing a song and you’re singing it and you look back thinking, ‘holy shit that’s (STP drummer) Eric Kretz!!’ It took a while to sink in… and still hasn’t fully.”
As to whether he felt any pressure to live up to the legacy of the band’s previous vocalists?
“Not really, I was more concentrating on what I could bring and what I could add to the three guys who were playing on. Getting in a studio with them and hashing things out was actually a really enjoyable process. It was kinda like being back home and recording in my friend’s home-made studios. It was more of a case of trying to get comfortable with them as songwriters. It’s such an intimate process writing songs with people, especially with people that you don’t yet know that well. So we took the time to get to know each other. I was more just concentrating on what I had in front of me.”
As to what’s on the agenda for the band next up; “After these Australian shows we’ve got a tour of North America with Nickelback. They’ll be huge venues and that’ll be a fun tour to do. And I’ll get to play in Michigan, where I’m from, at a venue called DTE – I know it as Pine Knob… they changed the name of it. That’ll be my first time playing at my hometown venue, where I used to go see all these huge bands growing up. That’ll be quite a moment.”
For local fans of Stone Temple Pilots, April will also be quite a moment, as the newly invigorated band bring their epic stadium friendly tunes back to Australia for the first time in a decade. And with Bush, Live, Rose Tattoo, Electric Mary also on the bill, it promises to be a rock extravaganza of the highest order. Go to underthesouthernstars.com.au for updates.
NOTE: An earlier version of this article had April 2020 dates, but the event has been postponed due to Coronavirus.