When Stone Temple Pilots Took the "Interstate" and Broke Through

Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots in 1994
Photo Credit
Frans Schellekens/Redferns

When Stone Temple Pilots released their debut album Core in 1992, many skeptics wrote off the band as a bunch of Seattle wannabes trying to fly the flannel of the grunge movement by way of Chicago. Yes, it may be hard to believe now, but it was a situation that remained consistent through the rest of ’92 and into ’93, with Rolling Stone’s year-end poll finding the magazine’s readers voting STP the Best New Band even as their critics voted them Worst New Band.

Needless to say, the readers, a.k.a. the band’s fans, had the last laugh, and the chuckling began in earnest with the release of the band’s second album, Purple, which proceeded to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. More than that, STP scored three huge hits on the alternative rock and mainstream rock charts, two of which were No. 1 hits on the latter chart. Of those three singles, however, only one of them successfully managed to cross over and provide the band with a Top 40 hit on the Hot 100.

READ MORE: A Stone Temple Sampler: Our Favorite Stone Temple Pilots Tracks

Penned by Stone Temple Pilots bassist Robert DeLeo, “Interstate Love Song” began to form while the band was in Atlanta on the Core tour, although at the time it was actually more of a bossa nova song, inspired by the work of Antonio Carlos Jobim. Robert’s brother, STP guitarist Dean DeLeo, told Blender in 2005 that Robert “was playing around with the chords and the melody in a hotel room,” and upon hearing it, “I had a feeling about that song immediately.”

So, apparently, did Scott Weiland.

Per that same Blender article, “When Weiland heard Robert playing the song on an acoustic guitar, he immediately began humming along, turning the melody from the intro into the chorus.” From there, the STP frontman began to formulate lyrics, some of which were inspired by his relationship with his fiancée, Jannina, and some of which were inspired by another relationship.

“It has a few different themes: honesty, lack of honesty, my new relationship with heroin,” Weiland told Blender. “I had been away from [Jannina] for quite a long time, and there were some issues of trust going on. The whole time I was in Atlanta, I was telling her I was off it.”

Once the band entered the studio to record “Interstate Love Song,” it didn’t take long to knock it out. In fact, it took Weiland only a couple of takes to nail his vocal...and the rest is rock and roll history.

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