Heavy cargo 


Dean DeLeo — guitarist for veteran alt-rockers Stone Temple Pilots — has played all over the world. But only in the Sooner State can he get pancakes served by a fellow freak rocker and petroleum jelly enthusiast.

“I love coming to Oklahoma. I love coming to Oklahoma City. I love when Wayne Coyne cooks me breakfast in the morning,” DeLeo said, laughing. “It’s a special place in our hearts, and we are always excited to come back.”

The shows this weekend in OKC with Mötley Crüe and headlining in Newkirk mark special occasions, though, with the gigs being some of the very first with new frontman Chester Bennington (of Linkin Park fame).

“This is the first time we’ve really gotten some asphalt under our bellies,” DeLeo said. “I feel this tremendous sense of rebirth. It’s an exciting time.”

Known best for songs like “Plush,” “Vasoline” and “Interstate Love Song,” the group was lucky to find a singer of such caliber to fill in for Scott Weiland, who was dismissed from the band earlier this year. While most of their peers have to resort to unknown upstarts or aging vocalists from defunct hair metal bands for such replacements, Stone Temple Pilots welcome one of the biggest names in modern rock aboard and look to return to the promise of their late-’90s heyday.

“[Bennington] has shown his affinity for our band for quite some time … Stone Temple Pilots was even listed as one of his biggest influences on his Wikipedia page long before all of this,” DeLeo said. “When we called him to ask if he would like to join us, first he said, ‘I’m surprised it took so long to get this call.’ Then he went on to say that he told his wife that he would one day get a call to be asked into the band. Here’s a guy that can apparently manifest his future. Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of something so powerful?” 

It didn’t take long for the creative sparks to fly; the band has a new five-track EP titled High Rise due in October.

“Chester said it best, that it was like we had known each other for 30 years,” DeLeo said. “There’s a musical kinship that people share together, and it’s definitely prevalent here. Those songs were all fresh out of the oven … nothing from the vault. It’s a new start.”

This renewal is just as important logistically as it is creatively. With the now solid and focused lineup, Stone Temple Pilots plan to touch down in Japan, Europe and maybe even China in the near future.

“We were never able to go to some countries because, well, it’s amazing what some heroin busts will do,” DeLeo said, laughing. “With Chester, the sky is the limit. There are so many things we can do, and we don’t have to worry about making commitments. Now I know exactly what to expect.”

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