Released on the same day in 1992 as Alice In Chains’ Dirt, Stone Temple Pilots burst on the scene with Core (Atlantic), an album that immediately vaulted the band from a virtual unknown to a buzz band. Although there had been a bidding war to sign the band in their pre-Core days, a name change from Mighty Joe Young had kept the band off of some critics radar, but not the fans. Once they heard the first strains of this great new hard rock band, they would be hard to resist. With the untimely deaths of original singer Scott Weiland, and more recently Chester Bennington in the rearview, but keeping this important band in our hearts, let’s look back at this iconic early 90s album and band.
Core is an album that established STP right out of the gate as one of the first post-Seattle bands to take elements from that scene, but rather than copy it actually had their own sound. STP had a variety of influences beyond punk or standard classic rock tropes: their songcraft featured nods to David Bowie, T-Rex, James Brown and Crosby Stills, Nash And Young, as much as it owed to Zeppelin, The Beatles, and Rush. Frontman Weiland was enigmatic from the start, as he could be menacing and gruff vocally, but also vulnerable and tender at times. It was a gift few in that era really pulled off well. As for the band the DeLeo brothers (Rob and Dean) relocated from New Jersey to San Diego, but had a decade of wood-shedding under their belts before launching STP. Drummer Eric Kretz was and still is a powerhouse stickman, propelling the best tracks on here like a battery. The songs on Core had a sophistication that even some of their peers who are considered greats of the genre frankly lacked. In fact the album was dismissed at the time by critics for being derivative, but in retrospect all of the compositions are highly distinct and singular. Produced by at the time up and coming name Brendan O’Brien, the album has a crispness that still sounds good today. You can check out the just-released 25th Anniversary Remaster of the album.
Core sold 8 million copies (topped only by Metallica, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam) at that time on the strength of radio hits like the riff-heavy ‘Sex Type Thing’, ‘Creep’, and ‘Plush’. The unplugged version of ‘Plush’ recorded on Headbanger’s Ball went on to become a hit by itself and almost the best-known song of the band for many years. The rest of the album has strong, memorable tracks like the heavy opener ‘Dead and Bloated’, ‘Wicked Garden’, ‘Sin’, ‘Crackerman’, and ‘Where the River Goes’ were all ambitious rockers full of great playing and singing performances. Dean DeLeo, unlike his counterparts in fellow bands rarely took a solo, but when he does, he rips!
Enjoy the full album stream of STP’s Core and pick up the remaster today if you don’t already have it!