’s 2013 Year In Review Roundtable Discussion: STP Drama, Nirvana & More

2013 has been a year filled with drama in alternative rock, with bands like Stone Temple Pilots and the Pixies undergoing huge lineup changes.  As the year comes to a close reporters Brett Buchanan, Mike Mazzarone, and Riley Rowe are here to break down many of the major events of 2013.

Riley: OK let’s get this over with.

Brett: That’s what your mom said last night.

Brett: Oh wait, shit. I just dissed myself. Welcome everybody to our 2013 year in review roundtable discussion. Doug McCausland couldn’t join us, he’s reportedly walkin in a winter wonderland.

Mike: I wonder if he makes creepy faces like Scott in his sleep.


Brett: Speaking of walkin in a winter wonderland, let’s discuss the year’s top story. Scott Weiland being fired from Stone Temple Pilots in February. What were your reactions?

Riley: Was that a transition?

Mike: I mean, it was one of those things where no matter how much you saw it coming it was still truly shocking. At least to me. Scott Weiland WAS STP.

Riley: Anyways, I guess I wasn’t too shocked. I felt like it was bound to happen. If my lead singer showed up late every show and didn’t deliver, I wouldn’t want him in my band.

Brett: The rumors started coming during the 2012 tour that they would go on hiatus, but I didn’t think they’d fire Scott until Slash said in December 2012 that they had. I was still shocked though at the firing, especially the one sentence ‘termination’ notice.

Mike: Well yeah there is always that. But how many of us really pictured STP without Scott Weiland in it.

Riley: I think his replacement was more surprising.

Brett: If you’d told me a couple of years ago that they’d ever fire Weiland I’d have called you nuts.

Riley: If you would’ve told me Chester Bennington would replace him I would’ve called you bananas.

Brett: When it comes to Chester, I didn’t think they’d find a replacement. When they announced the firing I had assumed they’d just look for a singer forever like Velvet Revolver.

Mike: The moment I heard it was Chester Bennington of Linkin Park…I think my reaction would have been the same as if you told me Scott Stapp replaced Weiland. It just didn’t seem to make any sense…to fit at the time. However I’m eating crow now to say the least. The High Rise EP was wonderful and he truly sounds like at times if Weiland stayed clean.

Riley: I mean the more you look into it, the more it makes sense due to Chester’s love for STP and all that jazz.

Mike: I expected Richard Patrick honestly.

Brett: I think the way they did it worked well. I got home one night and was bombarded with e-mails about Chester joining STP but the key was that they released “Out of Time” right after their surprise performance at Weenie Roast and it impressed me.

Mike: As a brand Stone Temple Pilots > Army Of Anyone. By far. But to this day you have people saying that they shouldn’t call themselves STP.

Brett: I was in shock though still when it happened. When it comes to the name I understand why they have to use it.  This is their job, and they’re not going to fill the venues under another name. They shouldn’t have to give up all they’ve worked for because of Scott’s problems.  Obviously in a perfect world they’d be called something else, but I cannot fault them for wanting to make a living.

Riley: Same debate happened with AiC a few years ago.

Mike: But I don’t think people make a big deal with AIC as they do with STP for some reason

Brett: I’m just happy Dean, Eric, and Robert are staying together rather than sitting at home, and that they’ve found a singer they have good chemistry with.

Mike: No one says “AIC shouldnt be called AIC.”

Riley: I remember the AIC name debate.

Brett: I do hope though that this isn’t the end to the STP story. I’ll enjoy the Chester led lineup as long as it goes on and look forward to a full album, but I hope Scott gets sober and comes back someday. That’s the happy ending we all want. Not a legal battle. Now onto the Pixies drama. Are they trying to break the Smashing Pumpkins bassist record?


Mike: They have a while to go for that right?

Brett: Pumpkins have had 4 bassists. 5 if you count temporary bassist Mark Tulin. Pixies have now had 3 bassists, in the span of 6 months.

Riley: Look at the big brains on Brett.

Brett: All I know is I hope the Pixies make another documentary.

Mike: ONE MORE BASSIST! ONE MORE BASSIST! Gotta tie that record.

Riley: And then… *Drum Roll* Pixies/Pumpkins tour!

Mike: Lolyes! The band members can change every show.

Brett: That leads to the Smashing Pumpkins hiatus. What do you think the state of the band is?


Mike: Whatever Billy decides. I really think he is tired of touring and performing Pumpkins shit to be honest.  I wouldn’t be shocked if this was a long, long break, or if BillCo does a solo album.

Brett: I think that could happen. I see Jimmy coming back next time the Pumpkins make an album, at least I hope he comes back.

Riley: He seems quite conflicted. Dissing and then apologizing ex-members.

Brett: It seems like a complete waste that the greatest drummer alive has been sitting at home for the last 5 years.  Nicole and Jeff are great, but Jimmy is irreplaceable.

Mike: Neil Peart is already in a ban…oh.

Riley: Maybe he’s honing his skills. So, when he makes his return, he’ll be even better than Neil Peart!

Brett: I wouldn’t be shocked if the original Pumpkins reunite in a couple of years. I don’t think it’ll happen in 2014 but I see it happening someday. It may be the only way Billy can headline arenas again. You do make a good point. But Jimmy’s is still relatively young. Anyways I think Billy will lay low a bit before making his next move.



Brett: Next, another lineup change, Lincoln Parish left Cage The Elephant recently. It’s sad to see an original member leave a band so early in the run.

Riley: I think it’s a bummer, but it won’t make a huge difference in their sound.

Brett: Cage The Elephant also have a very collaborative method of songwriting, jam based a lot. They’ll obviously carry on and still be great, but I thought they’d be a band where the original lineup would stay together.

Mike: Well if they can continue to put out great music and efforts like their last album then they should be OK. Lineup changes arent always bad. Its when you become like Wolfmother then it’s questionable.

Brett: Wolfmother’s was like Spinal Tap this year. I got a headache writing those articles every few weeks when a drummer would leave. The drummer I saw them with in July was there for about 3 weeks. Now the former rhythm guitarist is the drummer. Maybe he’ll switch to jazz flute next. But anyways, I had hoped in 2006 that they’d be an arena act.

Mike: Well they do play arena rock

Riley: Both albums of theirs are quite solid.

Mike: But their multiple lineups and off stage antics prevent them from being an arena band.

Riley: Off stage antics?

Brett: I’d say it’s a lack of consistently releasing albums. Moving onto an arena band with some issues, The Killers’ bassist Mark Stoermer missed several gigs this year for mysterious reasons.

Riley: DRUGS! [/sarcasm]

Brett: No I doubt that, it’s burnout.

Mike: With Stoermer missing gigs, it seems like burnout for me. They just did that massive tour, their last studio album wasn’t that long ago, and now they had to do some dates to promote Direct Hits. It’s a lot.

Brett: I was worried at first but I think they’ll be fine with a hiatus.

Riley: Some people can’t handle touring and all that. That’s why Jack Irons left PJ.


Brett: Speaking of drummers, Matt Cameron is taking a leave of absence from Soundgarden in 2014.

Mike: Soundgarden got dumped for Pearl Jam.

Brett: I don’t get why they don’t just take a break in 2014, that’s what I’d assumed they’d do. But I can’t fault them if it’s what they need to do to make a living.

Riley: It’s probably more fun to drum for PJ.

Brett: I think Matt’s loyalties lie with Pearl Jam because that’s been his band now for nearly 16 years. Soundgarden lost first dibs when they split in 1997.

Mike: Plus PJ is the more active group at the moment.

Brett: I love Matt in Pearl Jam but I do miss Dave Abbruzzese. In my dream world Dave would be back with Pearl Jam and Matt would be with Soundgarden. And they could tour together and have a Temple of the Dog set.

Riley: Join the club

Brett: No Pearl Jam drum performance will ever top “Go.” It sounds like Dave is shooting a gun with his drums on that.

Riley: Arc’s drumming was pretty good.

Mike: I’m sure our readers will debate the drummer issue. I don’t disagree however.

Brett: One of the biggest stories of the year is Eddie Vedder and Jerry Cantrell both getting haircuts. What’s the verdict fashion police?

Riley: “Friends don’t let friends get haircuts.”

Brett: I think Jerry looks 10 years younger now.

Mike: Same with EdVed.

Brett: Yes Eddie’s is good too. Those haircut stories got huge traffic. But moving on, what did you guys think of the Uproar tour?

Riley: Great! I was more impressed by the younger bands than the headliners.

Mike: Uproar was great. Alice In Chains to me were trumped by Jane’s during the show I went too though. Dead Daisies, Middle Class Rut are great acts.

Brett: Walking Papers were the highlight. I enjoyed AIC and Jane’s as well.

Mike: Beware Of Darkness need to work on their live act though. Worst band that I saw there. Which is a shame because their studio stuff is good.

Riley: I dug em. I saw the last show of that tour.


Brett: Moving onto Nirvana’s Hall of Fame induction. What will happen with that?

Riley: Weird Al performing “Smells Like Nirvana”

Mike: I’m really happy that Nirvana got in. I truly am. They deserve it and I’m not questioning that. However I wish the Rock Hall waited to induct them and the other Seattle bands together.

Brett: They’re different bands dipshit.

Mike: That seems like it would have been more fitting.

Brett: That makes no sense at all.

Mike: How does that make no sense?

Brett: They’ve all had their own careers. But when it comes to who should front them for a performance, Frances supposedly can sing according to Courtney. I hope she fronts them at the Hall of Fame.

Mike: Frances Bean should front them. I couldn’t think of anyone more appropriate besides maybe Paul McCartney after the 12-12-12 concert to front.

Brett: So you agree with me.

Mike: That’s his daughter. Could you really think of anyone else more appropriate then that If it isn’t Paul or FBC I’ll be shocked.

Brett: So you agree with me.

Mike: Yes.

Mike: Do we really need to make that a big thing that I agree with you? lol.

Brett: Yes.

Brett: And Riley you want Weird Al right?

Riley: Yeah it’s Weird Al for sure. And these guys.

Brett: So overall how was 2013 in rock?

Riley: Lotsa big name releases, lots of drama.

Mike: Pretty rockin’. Fantastic nostalgia material being pumped out, Scandals all over the place, great new acts on the rise. Should make for a fantastic 2014.

Brett: I thought it was shit for the most part. We’re still in the dark ages of not many prominent young guitar driven bands with talent. I did see some great shows though. But there wasn’t much great material released this year.

Mike: I didn’t know just guitar based music was the only form out there.

Riley: Shoulda gone to Rockstar UPROAR earlier then.

Mike: And saw every band, not just Jane’s/AIC.

Brett: I’m talking album wise.

Mike: Well good music is subjective.

Brett: There was some good stuff but overall the only great top to bottom album was Like Clockwork.

Mike: What is good to some isn’t to others.

Brett: Right, I wish you’d said this during our epic Arcade Fire debate! But overall I think rock is dead right now when it comes to being a vibrant thing with a real message for society.

Mike: Well I mean its not like the world doesn’t have a lot to rebel against right now.

Riley: Rock never died, it just hid from pop.

Mike: Just like there will always be pop I am certain there will always be rock.

Brett: Rock is dead, I just hope that it can come back.

Mike: Thats a bit of a bold statement. I don’t think rock is dead at all.

Brett: It’s totally dead.

Mike: It might not be as strong as pop is but its not a dead genre.

Brett: It’s such shit that they still have to play Pearl Jam and Nirvana on modern rock radio because there’s not enough new good stuff to play. 20 year old songs on modern rock radio, amazing songs but 20 years old. They have to play them because there’s not enough out there today.

Mike: That’s why I don’t listen to my rock station because they play nothing but classic rock mixed with a few new releases. I know where to go for new music.

Riley: That’s just more dependent on record labels. Labels aren’t signing rock artists as much as radio-friendly pop rock artists.

Brett: No they play the crappy new shit to death over and over, but my point is there’s a real healthy dose of old stuff that there wasn’t 15-20 years ago on modern rock radio because the talent was still there. I disagree I just don’t think the great rock songs are being written right now.

Mike: As Riley pointed out. The music industry is whats dying more so then rock. More demand is in that teenybopper pop stuff then rock.

Riley: Bingo.

Brett: Teenybopper pop has always existed. It has nothing to do with the state of rock. Hanson were around what, 20 years ago? New Kids On The Block.

Mike: There is more of a way to get your music out there. To the masses then depend on record labels. Thats why indie acts are so popular. And new Hanson sounds nothing like old Hanson

Riley: It’s all about the ebb and flow of trends.

Brett: Well the trend is shit right now.

Riley: Grunge was a reaction to hair metal. Modern pop trend is a reaction to alt rock, and then we’ll have a rebuttal to modern pop.

Brett: Electronic music totally overtaking rock is the bigger concern than pop. Guys think it’s easier to get their dick sucked being a DJ than playing guitar now.

Mike: Over here Electronic music isn’t as big, it must be a west coast thing.

Riley: It’s easy to sample someone else’s music and then make a song out of that. Can I go play GTAV now?

Brett: Only if you go on a hooker killing spree.

  • Jarofchaina

    Rock isn\’t dead. The industry and traditional methods of exposure to rock music are either stagnate – traditional radio or completely dead – television. Good rock music is out there and can be found on satellite radio, various internet outlets etc. While the exposure isn\’t the same as it once was many of the bands are talented and putting out good music. The internet changed the game – I know this isn\’t news to anyone but it is constantly overlooked with this debate year in and year out. The alternative label is also used pretty loosely these days and does really fit the original definition of the genre which was essentially the alternative to the hair bands and whatever else the industry was selling in the late 80s-early 90s. I think the hipster generation has bought into image rather than substance. I also think the media tries to manufacture music scenes rather than let them just happen organically.

    • Jake K

      Well written. It takes some more effort on the end of the public but great music is out there. Like you mentioned it’s a different game in terms of getting your music out there but in a way it’s also easier for bands. Facebook and twitter go a long way, youtube and spotify, Bandcamp, plus it’s easier and cheaper to make a record or EP nowadays.

  • Courtney Rocks!

    Frances should sing with Nirvana???!
    I find this such a bizarre thing to say for so many reasons i don’t know even know where to start.
    Anyhow Courtney should sing with Nirvana. She sings , she rocks and has played a few Kurt songs in past.Chances of happening tho ? Slim i would say…

    PS – Courtney rocks

  • Jake K

    These were cool but I could not disagree more that rock is dead. It\’s not dead at all. It\’s not on mainstream radio, that\’s fine. There are still plenty of underground, online, and college stations (like the one I\’m a part of) that play plenty of great new rock music. Plus pop can have major labels, I\’m sure the bands wish they\’d have nicer paychecks but they now have more control over their music which is a great thing. Plus when you have bands like QOTSA and Black Sabbath going number one (go ahead and say that\’s because they\’re older, cool) those moments are cracks in the pop drivel format that\’s going on today. Rock is not dead because it\’s not under the spotlight, it\’s not dead because it\’s not the center of pop culture, it\’s not dead because it\’s not the main priority of major labels. It\’s not dead at all. With that said I am concerned if we\’ll see another rock revolution like grunge because of its cultural impact. I hope it happens on a smaller scale somewhere down the line but it\’s hard to tell. With new technology, more independent labels, and distribution sites like Bandcamp (and even spotify to a degree) there are more rock bands now than there ever was. If you\’re going to complain about mainstream radio (and trust me, I agree it sucks), just don\’t listen to it. Go look around bandcamp for new rock music. Check out other blogs and websites. Get familiar with new independent labels that still sign and produce quality music. It\’s out there if you put in the effort and look. Seeing a young band comprised of homeshooled kids like Radkey show the rock dream is still alive and well. Plus you\’ve highlighted new bands like Noiseheads and with your fanbase you could help those bands even more by replacing one Billy Corgan or Courtney Love story with more news on these newer bands. Seriously, if rock is dead, why write about it? Why have a website on it? Being able to meet and work with these new bands as part of my radio show, website, and concert planning let\’s me know the fire is still there for these bands and rock didn\’t start in the center of pop culture to begin with. Look a little harder and you\’ll be surprised with all the great music that is still around.

    • Brett Buchanan

      No classic albums are being made. Anybody who thinks rock is in a healthy state is on some good shit.

      • Jake K

        An album being a classic is a matter of opinion and time. In terms of rock being healthy I think it is. Now, is it thriving? No, it’s not like it was in the 90’s when any band who had distorted guitar was signed to ridiculous album deals. To me it feels like it’s in a rebuilding process when you look at garage rock type stuff coming and going from the center of pop culture and post-grunge as well. The only scary part is the surge of hipster type indie music with more image than substance but it’ll fade too. That’s why I mentioned that I wasn’t sure there would be a rock revolution like there has been before because of how society is now. Everything is faster paced with social media and trends come and go much faster than they used to. To say that rock is dead though doesn’t make much sense when there are so many bands out there. It could be better, I wish it was better, but it’s not even close to dead and I know the majority of people who visit this site including your fellow writers agree with that much.

        • Brett Buchanan

          It’s dead. Turn on the radio. If great rock songs were being written they’d be on there like they used to be, because at their core (when rock is good) rock songs are ultimately the best pop songs around and a record executive isn’t going to turn down pop genius like Smells Like Teen Spirit or Bohemian Rhapsody. Right now rockers aren’t writing the songs with the best hooks, so unfortunately meaningless pop shit/hipster stuff is all that’s on rock radio. There’s still bands out there, and many have promise, but it is rare now that a top to bottom amazing album comes out. There used to be many that came out every year.

          Many people who used to play guitar are now being lazy and becoming DJ’s. It’s going to take a societal shift for things to change.

          I’d say the one challenge when it comes to the labels is a band like Soundgarden wouldn’t be allowed to grow into the hit makers they became today. But a band like Nirvana or Pearl Jam who had hits pretty quickly into their careers I think can still make it.

          • standard

            One key component missing in this debate is the fact that music in general is just not as culturally significant as it used to be. The change in how music and information is consumed has been good and bad. The good is it is easier for bands to get started and if you look hard enough you can find plenty of quality bands and albums. The bad is that it is easier for bands to get started, so while you have much greater access to new music much of it is watered down, lessening the weight it carries with people. Music has become no more than background noise to a lot of people and the mediocrity is a key component. People can bitch about the way major labels used to be but the fact is they did function successfully as quality filters. Bands used to always say “if we only had the right contacts” and so on, but now they don’t need those contacts, and the truth is their bands just are not that good. You can’t expect to experience seismic cultural shifts by mediocre bands like Cage the Elephant and Noiseheads. It also depends on your definition of “dead”. If you are saying there is not quality music any more then you’re wrong – but there is a hell of a lot of mediocrity to sift through. If you are saying that the relevance of rock music is based on album sales and comparing it to the popularity to pervious generations, it will never be that big again because music isn’t valued at that level anymore. There will never be another grunge movement, but that does not mean rock music is dead. Saying that rock music is suffering because there are not good enough hooks being written is frankly a silly thing to say and a simplistic way to look at it. Brett’s comments seemingly contradict themselves constantly by running an “alternative” site, yet he constantly wants bands to function as pop bands. If you want to cover bubblegum hooks and soft rock, then cover that – there is plenty of it and will probably bring the traffic you are so desperate for, but more and more the site seems to want to be a mainstream music site masquerading as a rock site.

  • Jake K

    I agree with Standard for the most part. Brett if you want to look at radio and hooks to infer rock is dead than there is nothing anyone can say to you to show you it’s not. That’s a bad way to look at such a huge scene and genre but if that’s what you look for than go right ahead. Our definitions of “dead” are just way too different.

    • Brett Buchanan

      standard, I want bands to write classic songs which is rarely happening any more. You’re misunderstanding my use of the word ‘pop.’ I’m saying guitar bands aren’t writing the hits any more with the poppy melodies like Nirvana, The Beatles, Queen, The Rolling Stones, etc. In order to beat the Justin Biebers and Imagine Dragons of the world you need to have better melodies, with lyrical and musical depth obviously which is what makes it superior music.

      I think success can still happen, but with less album sales obviously. But if you write huge songs they still get noticed, look at The Black Keys. Despite music being ‘less important’ to people.

      But somebody please give me a list of 10 albums that have come out in the last 2 years that are even in the same ballpark (I’m not even saying same level) as Dark Side of the Moon, Exile On Main St., A Night At The Opera, Appetite For Destruction, Nevermind, Ten, Purple, Superunknown, Dirt, Siamese Dream, Joshua Tree, etc.

      • standard

        I think the fact that you view rock bands as competing with the Justin Biebers and Imagine Dragons of the world kind of underscores my point that you expect rock bands to act as pop bands. The two genres are not related and appeal to their respective fans for entirely different reasons. The fact that the pop bands you reference are selling more albums also underscores my point that music in general holds less cultural importance. Information, trends and entertainment come and go so quickly these days that things become entirely disposal – which is what that music is. As for the classic albums you list, the difference between those albums and what is lacking in today’s music is the emotion – not the lack of a catchy hook – which also underscores my point about the level of mediocrity in today’s music.

  • Raj

    Rock isn’t dead Brett, remember music history is just like any other history. It’s cyclical so yeah rock has been down for a while. Someone will come along once every generation just like they always do. An artist with capture rock’s essence once again and it will come with such a force that hell hath no fury like it. Like Alice Cooper said the music now doesn’t kick ass. Too many wimpy bands coming out with wimpy songs. A lot of good sounds and great guitars but terrible lyrics and awful vocals. The vocals is what is missing the most right now, you don’t have the pain and torturous angst filled roar of a Cobain or a Staley.

  • Brett\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\’s Dad

    First, I think that anyone who comments on this article needs to declare their age before scribing their opinion. Not that everyone can\\’t articulate an intelligent thought on the matter – but living through nearly five decades of musical evolution definitely qualifies for something. Personally, I\\’m 51. Born in 1962 I had the advantage of having two older sisters, one seven years my senior, who exposed me to all the early 60\\’s bands from Crosby, Stills, and Nash, to Neil Young, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi, the Beatles, Stones, the Who, Joni Mitchell, Santana, the Yardbirds, Cream, Floyd, The Doors – you name it… I was listening to all of it by the time I was in seventh grade. Then came Zeppelin. They ruled the 70\\’s like no one\\’s business. Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Fleetwood Mac, Genesis, Bowie, Springsteen then Queen and Aerosmith and AC/DC and Tom Petty and so many great rock acts it was like an endless river of great music to choose from – Foreigner, Foghat, Alice Cooper, U2, UFO, Ted Nugent are you getting my point yet? The Clash, The Police, Sex Pistols, Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, I sound like a broken record… Pearl Jam, that other Seattle band with the lead singer who blew his brains out, AIC, STP, Soundgarden I mean come on – rock music saw its formative years in the 60\\’s, it\\’s coming of age in the 70\\’s, it\\’s artistic expansion in the 80\\’s, it\\’s last breath in the 90\\’s, and it\\’s complete watering down since Steve Jobs unleashed the iTunes Store on the world.Rock is not a genre – it\\’s a fucking attitude…To say that rock music is not on its last leg is to say that Eddie Vedder is still an angst-ridden young lad penning lyrics about his lost and dying father or some lunatic kid arms raised in a V. Save a few bands out there that keep rock on life support like Cage the Elephant, The Killers (yes, the fucking Killers – Brandon is a song writing genius), The Black Keys, Kings of Leon, Dead Sara and a handful of other chargers – the present rock landscape pales in comparison to the deluge of great music that hit the airwaves on a weekly basis during the preceding decades – especially the 70\\’s (the Golden Age of Rock).So is rock dead? That a rock act can even make a record these days is a miracle in itself. Figuratively speaking, if rock isn\\’t dead the chaplain is certainly hovering over the soon to be corpse reading the last rights undoubtedly written by the Lizard King himself.Where\\’s my fucking bong anyway?

  • Brett’s Dad

    Test comment everyone. Trying to remove these annoying backslashes in the comments area…

  • Brett’s Dad

    Another test to see if it’s working…

  • Courtney Rocks!

    rock music has gone same way of jazz.
    A niche that few enthuasasists still keep going but largely irrelevant to most.
    I’m affraid “the man” won a very long time ago

    “It’s sad to think what the state of rock and roll will be in twenty years time. It will seem when rock and roll is dead the whole world will explode. But it’s already so rehashed and so plagiarized that it’s barely alive now. It’s disgusting. Kids don’t really even care about rock & roll now as much as they used to or other generations used to ….. Its almost become a fashion statement…… I don’t think it will be important any more in 20 years time – Kurt Cobain 1993


    • Ado Grez

      that is disturbingly prophetic.
      From 2:20 onwards for other peeps.