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JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Stone Temple Pilots edition

STPThe devastating news of Scott Weiland’s passing last night sent me straight to YouTube, and I started playing all the band’s hits from the first three albums. I was not as familiar with the band’s later production, and was actually surprised at how much STP released over the years. After sampling some really cool tunes, I decided an “Ultimate Mixtape” was in order for the late Weiland and his group.

Here are the rules for the “Ultimate Mixtape” project:

  • Every studio release must be represented by one and only one song. This is probably the hardest rule to follow, especially when you consider how many great songs were on the first few albums.
  • That song does not have to be a single used to promote the album.
  • Live albums are fair game, but are not required to be used if there is nothing worth including.
  • “Greatest Hits” type albums are only eligible if they contain previously unreleased or alternate versions or previous songs. So, from Thank You, the only two songs eligible for this project are “All in the Suit That You Wear” (which I used) and the acoustic version of “Plush” from MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball.

Those are the rules. Feel free to disagree with my choices below…this is a completely subjective exercise and I might choose different songs next week. Let’s get to it…

JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Stone Temple Pilots edition

Every great band has some great non-album material as well, and side projects, and solo releases, etc. Stone Temple Pilots was no different, with at least two tribute album contributions and various side projects such as Talk Show and Velvet Revolver. I also included the Unplugged version of “Big Empty” in the bonus section since their performance on the MTV program has never been officially released. Here’s a bonus disc for the STP Ultimate Mixtape…

Bonus Tracks:

What did I miss? What songs would you have included that I neglected? Feel free to leave a comment, but be sure to keep it clean.

Click here to see all the “JT’s Ultimate Mixtape” posts.

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Goodbye, Scott Weiland

(October 27, 1967 – December 3, 2015)

Best known for his work with Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, singer Scott Weiland was found dead on his tour bus last night in Minnesota. The cause of death has not been announced.

What do Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver have in common?

Scott Weiland used to sing for both of them. The band announced on their Facebook page today that Weiland has once again been terminated as the group’s vocalist, with no further details. I can’t say that I’m surprised, but I am definitely disappointed.

My favorite Stone Temple Pilots song is “Big Bang Baby,” from Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop.

Purchase Stone Temple Pilots music.

It’s So Easy (And Other Lies) by Duff McKagan (2011)

It’s So Easy (And Other Lies)
by Duff McKagan
Touchstone Books, 2011
384 pages

Over the past few years, rock fans have been treated to the life stories of some of the biggest names from the 1980s Hollywood scene. Last year Duff McKagan, original bass player for the legendary Guns N’ Roses, decided to join the fray with his own autobiography. If you have read Slash’s book, many of the GNR stories will sound familiar, but McKagan’s Seattle backstory shows a different dimension to the punk influences that shaped the band’s sound. Duff recounts his move to Los Angeles, the formation of one of the greatest hard rock groups ever, and the parts of the tours that he can remember. McKagan was so lost in a haze of illicit drugs that he didn’t realize he had been to the Czech Republic until he saw the stamp on his passport. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the only member of the band in that condition, and Axl Rose took advantage of the situation to secure rights to the Guns N’ Roses name.

McKagan briefly talks about his solo records, his time with Neurotic Outsiders, Loaded, and Velvet Revolver, and his health struggles, much of which stemmed from his drug and alcohol use. He writes about getting sober, getting healthy, going back to school, and starting a family. His story is one of rags to riches, financially, physically, and emotionally.

Learn more about Touchstone Books.

Purchase It’s So Easy (And Other Lies) by Duff McKagan.

It’s beautiful AND it’s dangerous

Say what you will, Fergie has got an awesome voice for rock music. I love the Black Eyed Peas, and I like her solo album, but her work with Slash on “Beautiful Dangerous” (above) and their cover of the Guns N’ Roses classic “Paradise City” (below) is the best singing she has ever done.

How awesome would a Fergie-fronted Velvet Revolver sound? Can you imagine her pipes on “Fall To Pieces” and “Slither”?

Introducing the new lead singer for Velvet Revolver…

Special Guns N’ Roses Theme This Week!

With Chinese Democracy set to hit the store shelves on Sunday, we’ll be celebrating with a special two-hour GNR-themed show this Saturday on Hard Rock Nights! Be sure to tune in to catch some of the best Gunner tracks ever recorded, as well as some of the bad boys’ side project material and other related songs and artists. It’s Saturday night, November 22, 9-11 pm eastern on classxradio.com!

Velvet Rehabber

Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver vocalist has gone back into rehab, apparently of his own volition. What is really interesting is the fact that VR is scheduled to start a five-show tour in Australia on February 15th. To add fuel to the fire, melodicrock.com is reporting that Weiland has actually been fired from Velvet Revolver. No word on who will take the mic for the band down under, if in fact the tour goes on as planned.

As you can imagine, there has been a lot of speculation of a Guns N’ Roses reunion since STP are getting back together. Slash admitted that it would fun, but also stated to KNAC.com, “But I think whatever it would take for us to be able to do that, if everybody were in that frame of mind, we never would have broken up in the first place.” Is he just lowering expectations so that the announcement will be even bigger news? We’ll see…

Falling farther from just what we are

What do you get when you combine two of the greatest groups in rock music? If you answered, “A supergroup,” you would be right sometimes. But most of the time what you get is a train wreck. Case in point: Velvet Revolver.

Guns N’ Roses was arguably the best hard rock act of the late 1980s, and their debut album Appetite for Destruction is one of those rare gems that can be played from beginning to end without ever hitting the “skip” button on your CD player. The follow-up, Lies, showcased the band’s ability to rock just as hard without electricity. Then there was Use Your Illusion I & II, with the epic “November Rain” and other timeless classics like “Don’t Cry” and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” The last disc the band released, The Spaghetti Incident?, was a commercial flop but a nice tribute to some of the band’s punk influences. Comparing it to some of the covers albums that have been released recently by other bands, GNR’s effort was far superior.

Stone Temple Pilots hit it big in 1993 with “Plush,” a song in which lead singer Scott Weiland sounds eerily similar to Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder. The band’s debut Core ended up going 8x Platinum, and several of the songs are staples on rock radio today (“Sex Type Thing,” “Wicked Garden,” “Creep”). Their follow-up Purple was not as strong as their debut, but still contained a few rockers, as did the third CD Tiny Music. This is where my personal knowledge of STP ends, as I did not buy No. 4 or Shangri-La Dee Da, their final two albums of all new material.

Enter internal turmoil, and both bands imploded. Axl fired Slash & Co. from GNR, while Weiland and Dean DeLeo nearly got into a fist fight during an STP concert. After some side projects and solo albums, somehow Scott and Slash got together and decided to form Velvet Revolver. VR wasn’t half the band they should have been, considering the talent, but they did create some buzz initially and had a few good songs. Their second CD wasn’t great, and while Slash is ready to record a follow-up, Scott is looking back to his former bandmates for a reunion.

That’s right, Stone Temple Pilots are reuniting this year and will tour, possibly starting in May at Rock on the Range, a rock festival in Columbus, Ohio. No word yet on what Slash, Duff, and Matt Sorum will do with their newfound unemployment. Maybe Slash and Matt can get Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony to form that other supergroup that was in the works before the Van Halen with Sammy reunion back in 2003.

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