Stone Temple Pilots were one of the most successful rock bands of the 90’s. Bassist Robert DeLeo is credited with much of the band’s music, including the famous intros for the songs “Plush” and “Interstate Love Song”. While the 80’s featured a lot of keyboards and synthesizers, the early 90’s presented a revival of guitar driven rock. With bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, and STP, guitar was back and keyboards were out.
I enjoyed STP and bought most of their records, but when I saw them live in 1996, I really fell in love with the band. Most bands sound better on record (especially now with the advent of digital recording), but only a select few actually sound better live. STP, for me, is one of those bands.
Surprisingly, there was not much information on the Internet about Robert DeLeo.
Influences and Style
He is known for his smooth style of playing, with infusions of jazz, ’60s rhythm and blues, and hard rock creating a rather distinctive tone. His primary influence is legendary bassist James Jamerson. Other influences include the late John Entwistle of the seminal rock band The Who, Rocco Prestia of Tower of Power, and Chris Squire of Yes, and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin. Robert is known for being a master riff maker; he created most of the riffs for STP which was the band’s trademark style, and wrote and arranged most of the band’s songs.
Robert is known for his wide use of Schecter basses, although he makes considerable use of other basses during recording sessions. DeLeo is a former employee of Schecter Guitar Research and built the prototype of what later became his signature model while working there. The Schecter Model T was his primary live instrument during his years with STP.
DeLeo’s usual live rig while with STP consists of an Alembic F1X preamp, a QSC MX1500 poweramp, three Eden 2×12 cabinets and three Eden 4×10 cabinets.
Click here for an full interview I found online.
Robert gets a muscular tone from his Schecter, very reminiscent of a Fender P Bass. You can definitely hear John Paul Jones, John Entwistle, and James Jamerson in Robert’s playing. He has a great touch and the lines that he plays sit perfectly within each song. His playing is inventive, hard grooving, driving, funky at times – I can’t say enough.
Instead of embedding some his best bass lines from their recordings, I found some great live videos from 1999.
(I realize that the look of the band in the following videos can be distracting. (Robert looks like he just came off Safari, while his brother, guitarist Dean Deleo, kind of looks like the confused love child of Gary Busey and Carly Simon. Drummer Eric Kretz just rolled out of bed in time to put on some flip flops and singer Scott Weiland is giving off a strong ‘Rehab Is For Quitters’ vibe in all his high waist pants glory.) Rock bands always look odd in the daylight. Don’t let that distract you from this great live show.)
I’ve included links to the original recordings in hypertext if you want to compare the songs to the studio versions.
A great underrated bass player. Check it out!