Stone Temple Pilots-Purple (1994)
The Stone Temple Pilots are an interesting band. They are often lumped in with the Grunge scene, but they weren’t from Seattle and their music was in many ways different than what the scene’s biggest bands were producing. Obviously there were a lot of similarities between the biggest so-called Grunge bands and STP, most notably the loud distorted guitars and troubled lead singer. STP released their first record in 1992 after being signed by Atlantic records. The album was an immediate success, debuting at number three on the Billboard 200 charts, but the band faced a fair share of criticism that suggested that they were just Grunge imitators. Their debut record, Core featured heavy tunes as well as some slower ones that would continue to be some of the biggest and most recognizable hits of their careers. After opening for bands like Rage Against The machine And Megadeth the band would headline their own tour, release an MTV Unplugged special and win a Grammy for their song, Plush. Later in the spring of 1994 the band began work on their sophomore album, purple. The record featured a similar sound to their debut, but also went in some other directions with songs that were much more layered and even hinted at some psychedelic influences. The record would debut at number one and sell over six million copies to date.
I had first discovered the band like most everyone else by seeing their early videos on MTV. I was already into bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains and their sound instantly caught my ear. Their first record was more comparable to Alice In Chains than the other big bands of the era with a little bit of a heavier sound and edge to them through the DeLeo brothers’ heavy guitar and drum sound and Scott’s dark lyrics. As soon as Purple was released in August of 1994 I was eager to get my hands on it. The album was released a couple months before my 15th birthday and once I saved enough money up I stopped by the now defunct chain store Sun Television And Appliances which inexplicably also sold CDs. I picked up the CD which was called Purple, but didn’t actually have the word on the album art, at least in English. Instead there was a baby riding a dragon on the cover and a delicious looking cake on the back that said “12 Gracious Melodies”.
The album is loaded with really great songs that I played on repeat for years. While songs like The Big Empty Interstate Love song and Vaseline were huge hits for the band, some of my favorites were the B-sides to those songs. Songs like Army Ants, Silvergun Superman and Lounge Fly that were heaver upbeat numbers that continued on what the band offered on Core. Other songs showed the diverse influences of the band with slower, more Alt Rock or country influences like Big Empty and Interstate Love Song. The album finishes off with my favorite track on the album, Kitchenware And Candybars, which is actually about Scott and a woman he was with deciding to have and Abortion. At the time this album was on heavy rotation in my room I was oblivious to the actually meaning behind the lyrics, but I always singled that track out as my favorite on the record. At the conclusion of that song there is a brief silence and then the great hidden track on the record. Even though the back of the album said 12 gracious melodies, there was only 11 tracks on the CD, but as with many albums of that era, it contained a hidden track. In this case it was a retro style lounge song sung by Richard Peterson called My Second Album. In the song Richard explains that the 12 gracious melodies that the back cover referenced also included that number and is a highlight of the album.