STONE TEMPLE PILOTS Guitarist On Hiring Vocalist JEFF GUTT: 'We Knew If We Didn't Get This Right, It's Over'

Prior to STONE TEMPLE PILOTS' performance at this year's Download festival in Castle Donington, United Kingdom, guitarist Dean DeLeo spoke with Guitar Interactive magazine. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On whether the band ever considers performing a setlist that didn't include its best-known material:

Dean: "We would never do that. I think that's pretty selfish. We have to compile stuff that people want to hear, and we have a pretty good inkling of that... We normally do the song 'Glide' off the 'No. 4' record, and we were doing a show in the States, and these two women were right in front of me, and I could see their mouths. I couldn't hear them, but I could plainly see what they were saying. We're doing 'Glide', and Jeff [Gutt] sings it so beautifully — really, not an easy song to sing — and I saw the one girl look [over] and say, 'What song is this?' The other girl goes, 'I don't know.' I think it would be pretty selfish to just go up there and play what we wanted to play."

On hiring Gutt:

Dean: "We actually courted one another for a year and spent a lot of time together. We played music; we hung out before we solidified the agreement, whatever you want to call it. We spent a year together because we knew this was the final shot. This was it. If we didn't get this right, it's over, man. Put the fork in it. We had to really be very methodical and just make sure that Jeff was indeed the right guy. It was evident early on, but we did spend a year together, and the poor guy... We give him the gig, and he still couldn't say anything. [We said,] 'You've got to keep this under your hat.' We met at our manager's office and said, 'Okay, man, we'd love to do this together. You can't tell anybody.' That's awful. [Laughs]"

On why they chose Gutt to front the band:

Dean: "There was a lot of factors — Jeff's ability to write, not only melodically, but lyrically. It was very evident from day one. The first day we went in the studio, we threw five songs at him, and he was hitting melody after melody."

On the band's approach to making albums:

Dean: "I think we are our own worst critics, and that's how it's always been with our records. We've always set out to do definitely something timeless — not using the sound [or] flavor of the month. I'm riding in my car and I hear 'Vasoline' come on the radio, and I'm like, 'Not bad.' That was a big thing with Brendan [O'Brien, producer], too, [when] making those records. We just wanted to make a timeless statement."

On his influences:

Dean: "We're just beggars and thieves, man. We were weaned on the best. I was born in 1961, so I was hearing [Jimi] Hendrix come out of my brother's bedroom at eight years old. Then THE DOORS. CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG from my sister's room. Then coming up in my formidable teenage years in the '70s, I got to drink from the bottle, man."

On writing music:

Dean: "There's something that Robert [DeLeo, bass] and I share that is interesting, being brothers — we really have to talk about things. A lot of times, I'll have a part, he'll have a part and we'll marry them. 'Vasoline' was that — we just married the parts. I probably shouldn't say this, but I don't often play guitar. I don't play too much. I play when I feel like I have a song hitting me, and I'll grab it and [snap fingers]. In minutes, that song will be there."

On when the group expects to release a new album:

Dean: "We just finished one... We kind of come into it with a fair amount of songs. For me, it's like playing keep-up with my brother. Robert sets a high bar, and if I want a song on the record, I've got to raise my game. Jeff works really fast, and if a song isn't coming together in minutes, [we say,] 'Next.'"

Gutt recently confirmed to "Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon" that STONE TEMPLE PILOTS has completed work on a new album. The disc, which is not expected to arrive before 2020, will be Gutt's second with STP after joining the band two years ago. His recording debut with the group was on its self-titled seventh LP, which arrived in March 2018.

Gutt, a 43-year-old Michigan native who spent time in the early-2000s nu-metal act DRY CELL, among other bands, and was a contestant on "The X Factor", joined STONE TEMPLE PILOTS in 2017 after beating out roughly 15,000 hopefuls during an extended search that began more than a year earlier.

STONE TEMPLE PILOTS and RIVAL SONS will co-headline a North American tour this fall. The 12-city tour will kick off in Baltimore on September 13, with stops in Philadelphia, New York City, New Orleans and more, before wrapping up in STONE TEMPLE PILOTS' former hometown of San Diego on October 9.