Thursday, April 10, 2008

SOUR BOY (OR HOW I ALMOST MADE PEACE WITH WEILAND AND STONE TEMPLE PILOTS)

Recently, I bought song "Sour Girl" by Stone Temple Pilots at the iTunes store. This is notable because this was the first time I ever spent any money on the band. 

Some may find that odd, as I am a big fan of many of the other loud "alternative" rock bands that were popular during the '90s.  I have kept the "hate-o-rade" to a minimum here, but hear me out. 

But when I saw them on MTV, it was the "Sex Type Thing" video. I thought these guys were ripping off Alice In Chains (a band I loved), big time. People started saying that they were ripping off Pearl Jam, which I didn't understand. Until I saw the video for "Plush." Then "Creep" - which I thought was a bit like Nirvana's "Something In The Way." I thought they were kind of like a Seattle tribute band, who had forgotten to cover Soundgarden

Then I heard their first single from their second album, "Wicked Garden," which reminded me of "Spoonman." I just couldn't take these guys seriously at all. Meanwhile, a lot of other bands that seemed to be jumping on the bandwagon - Candlebox, Bush, Sponge, etc. - seemed to be crawling out of the woodwork. It surprised me that any fans of bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Jane's Addiction, etc. would swallow this stuff. It turned out that people didn't like the bands because they were "authentic" or "credible" - but because they liked the songs (and because they seemed to be part of the zeitgeist of the moment). I worked as a DJ at a bar, and absolutely refused to play their music, which was childish and immature. 

I eventually admitted to myself that they did write some pretty good songs: "Interstate Love Song," "Big Empty" and "Big Bang Baby" were good, and they did a kind of interesting version of Zeppelin's "Dancing Days." I even liked "Mockingbird Girl" by Weiland's side project, The Magnificent Bastards. I thought "Sour Girl" was their best song (although it sounded nothing like anything else they ever did, more like The Association than any alternative rock band). 

I never really liked Weiland's post-STP band Velvet Revolver, featuring ex-members of Guns N' Roses, a group Weiland probably wouldn't have admitted to liking during the heyday of "alt-rock." He recently quit/was thrown out of the group, and has reunited with STP. But his press release announcing his departure was such a lame cheap shot: he suggested former Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach, rather sarcastically. I've never really liked Skid Row anyway, but it seemed like Weiland saying, "I'm taking my credible alt-rock ass out of your world, return to hair metal now" or something. At least Bach doesn't change his look for every video: he represents a certain kind of music and stands behind it and never worries about being trendy. Still, the other guys in STP seem OK - they seem like dudes who listened to Zeppelin and The Clash - so I don't want to hate on them. And I realize that Weiland is a seriously messed up guy who will probably never conquer his demons. But still lame. 

OK, enough hating. 

3 comments:

missmaro said...

ha! love it!

Tony said...

This post could be refreshed now that STP has a new CD out, which recalls classic rock (LZ, Aerosmith) more than the alt-rock they were alleged to have ripped off in the 90's. "Sour Girl" touches me every time I hear it, it sounds literally like the soundtrack of the final months of my first marriage.

Minority said...

Hi Tony, thanks for posting. I do love "Sour Girl," obviously it has a deeper meaning to you. I am not enough of a STP fan to pick up their new album, but if you want to review it and email it to me, feel free to do so and I'll post it, or at least excerpts.