STONE TEMPLE PILOTS guitarist and founding member Dean DeLeo spoke to The Sacramento Bee about being the only rock band in memory to soldier on after the deaths of not one, but two, successive lead singers.
Original STP singer Scott Weiland, who reunited with the group in 2010 after an eight-year hiatus but was dismissed in 2013, died in December 2015 of a drug overdose.
Chester Bennington, who joined STP in early 2013, departed nearly three years later to spend more time with his main band LINKIN PARK. Bennington committed suicide last July.
"I think it was more of a personal thing than a professional thing," Dean said. "The tragedies between each person, being Scott and Chester, were very different as well. Scott was in a very long-term decline. I don't know which hurts more — to watch that over a decade or just the suddenness [of what happened to Chester]. They're both tragic and an incredible loss. When it's all kind of said and done, I'm still scratching my head, man. There are still unanswered questions for me. It just goes beyond words. It's very, very sad."
STONE TEMPLE PILOTS bassist Robert DeLeo told Yahoo! Music last year that Bennington's suicide was "a huge surprise."
"With Chester, it wasn't all about his talent," Robert said. "It was the energy that he brought into it that we so desperately needed at the time. He came into that going, 'I can do this. I'm gonna do this.' And you know what? He didn't need to do that. He was in a huge band; he had plenty going on. But he wanted to do this. And he was excited about doing this. And he memorized all the lyrics, and he went out there, and he gave everything that he had.
"Being a — I hate to use the word— fan, but growing up with our music and growing up with Scott [Weiland] and growing up with STP, he gave everything he had," Robert continued. "And that was such a great thing for the three of us [Robert, Dean and drummer Eric Kretz]. I mean, I just look back at the touring that we did and the time we spent together, and it was just laughing and having a good time and such a positive thing and going out there feeling really energetic and great about this… He made us look back at our legacy and go, 'Yeah, this is what it could be.' And now that he's gone, I hear from people that he was so excited about doing this."
Bennington died after hanging himself at his Palos Verdes residence at the age of 41. He had been open with the press and public about his struggles with drugs and alcohol, which landed him in rehab twice around 2006.
STONE TEMPLE PILOTS have just embarked on their first tour with new singer Jeff Gutt.
One-time "The X Factor" contestant Jeff Gutt made his live debut as STONE TEMPLE PILOTS' new vocalist during a SiriusXM special event in November at the Troubadour nightclub in Los Angeles.
STONE TEMPLE PILOTS' new, self-titled album is due out March 16.