By Jon Wiederhorn
Everyone loves Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington. When he hasn't been rocking with his main outfit, he's been performing with other prominent musicians. In 2009 he recorded a full album, Out of Ashes, with the side project Dead by Sunrise; and he's appeared on tracks by Santana, Chris Cornell, Disturbed, Young Buck and even Motley Crue.
Also — in early summer he became the new singer for Stone Temple Pilots. And even ex-Stone Temple Pilots vocalist Scott Weiland likes the guy, despite the fact that Weiland's in the middle of a lawsuit with his former band mates.
"I've known Chester for a long time. I got to be pretty close with him on the (2001) Family Values Tour," Weiland told Billboard. "I don't think Chester did it in a spiteful way. The [Stone Temple Pilots] brothers [guitarist Dean and bassist Robert] DeLeo can be pretty persuasive."
Before he rejoins Linkin Park to play the Sunset Strip Music Festival in West Hollywood on August 3, Bennington wrapped up vocals on four Stone Temple Pilots songs, which will be released on a five-song EP. The recording will include "Out of Time," which was released by STP May 19. The new EP is tentatively scheduled for a fall release, and the band will launch a tour September 4.
While he doesn't blame Bennington for joining Stone Temple Pilots, Weiland says the DeLeos exhibited poor judgment by hiring a new singer without even contacting Weiland, who found out through social media that he was out of the band.
"I guess nothing is totally shocking, but...I don't think it was smart for them to do that," he told Billboard. "I'm surprised they did what they did without checking the legality of it, how they just decided to go and use the [STP] name and go and hire another singer and start playing shows with a name that I still am an owner of."
While he waits for the courts to decide on the fate of the name "Stone Temple Pilots," Weiland is moving on. He has been touring with his own band, the Wildabouts, since February 27 on the Purple to the Core tour, which has dates scheduled through August 24 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In addition, the band has demoed 12 songs at Weiland's studio in Burbank, and they hope to write another eight before recording their new album.
"We're doing it much more like a band-type of an album instead of an art project, which [my other solo albums] 12 Bar Blues and Happy in Galoshes were," Weiland told Billboard, adding that he hopes to have the record released by year's end. "It's much more of an overall collaborative effort and much more rock 'n' roll. I've always loved doing this stuff, but it was always put off because there was either an STP record that came up or a tour, or a Velvet Revolver record that came up or a tour, so my solo stuff always ended up taking a back seat. Now I'm really able to focus on that and really work on branding it, and it's finally starting to pay dividends — not just financially, but really have its own identity."