STONE TEMPLE PILOTS have found “somebody that fits the bill” as the band’s new lead singer, nearly two years after the passing of original vocalist Scott Weiland and more than two months following the death of Weiland‘s replacement, Chester Bennington.
STP has been without a vocalist since November 2015, when Bennington — who joined the group in early 2013 — departed to spend more time with his main band LINKIN PARK.
Weiland, who reunited with the group in 2010 after an eight-year hiatus but was dismissed in 2013, died in December 2015 of a drug overdose while on a solo tour.
STONE TEMPLE PILOTS guitarist Dean DeLeo and bassist Robert DeLeo spoke about the band’s singer search during an appearance on the “Trunk Nation” show on SiriusXM channel Volume (106).
“I think we have somebody that fits the bill,” Dean said. “We’ve been very busy.”
Dean added that “there was a lot of criteria to fulfill” before STONE TEMPLE PILOTS could feel confident enough in officially enlisting a new vocalist. “And it was no overnight decision by any means,” he said. “We were, first and foremost, patient at times.”
Robert revealed that he, Dean and drummer Eric Kretz “had about fifteen thousand people to audition through. Literally, Dean and Eric and I went through fifteen thousand, twenty thousand people — twice.”
Asked if they are already working on fresh music with the new STONE TEMPLE PILOTS singer, Robert said: “Yes. Like Dean said, there’s a lot of criteria here; there’s many steps. And it’s not the kind of thing where we’re trying to replace… You can’t replace Scott Weiland — you just can’t — but there’s things that naturally have to be there: songwriting, can he sing? Performing… all these things. It takes a while; you can’t just make a decision like that.”
“It’s a lot to ask of someone to be able to respect the catalog vocally and move forward with new material — it’s a lot to ask of someone,” he explained.
“And also, is this a person that we want around our kids?” Dean added. “Is this a person that wants to be around me? [Laughs] That’s why it’s taking so long.
“We’re pretty excited. We feel like we’re sitting on the goose that lays the golden egg, man.”
Pressed about whether their hesitation to make an announcement about STP‘s new lead singer was due to the fact that they are still trying to make sure he is the right guy for the job, Dean responded: “No. It’s just a timing thing.”
STP last performed live, with Bennington on vocals, for a one-off reunion performance in California in March 2016.
The band held an open call for singers last year, reportedly receiving thousands of submissions and narrowing that down to a handful of prospects with whom the group members got together to jam.
Two of the names that have been widely circulated among fans are one-time “X Factor” contestant Jeff Gutt and Filipino vocalist John Borja. Gutt reportedly rehearsed with the group last May, while Borja recently applied for a U.S. work visa and has hinted at joining the band.
The DeLeo brothers are currently promoting the twenty-fifth anniversary expanded reissue of STP‘s debut album, “Core”, which arrived last Friday (September 29) — twenty-five years to the day of the LP’s original release.