Behind The Scenes Of Stone Temple Pilots’ Core

Written by Corey Hickok and Brett Buchanan

Click here to read Alternative Nation’s in-depth Scott Weiland: A High School To Core retrospective from yesterday, where Scott’s best friend and Mighty Joe Young/Swing bandmate Corey Hickok shares his memories and unreleased photos of Scott from his formative years in music. Thanks to Dustin Halter for touching up the photos and watermarking them.

As I parted ways with Mighty Joe Young, it wasn’t long before I was starving artistically.  Automatically I just grabbed a camera, and started shooting.  I was still their biggest fan, so I decided to photograph Mighty Joe Young as they morphed into Stone Temple Pilots and started recording their debut album Core.  I got some great shots out of the gate, and I tried to be there with them and help out as much as I could.

I was in the studio when they were recording “Creep.”  I knew that it would be a major success for them, it definitely felt like witnessing history in the making.  Every time I would watch them rehearse and record the Core songs, everyone knew something special was going on.  There was a feeling of electricity in the air, and a sense of excitement that was just contagious.

Atlantic Records gave them complete creative control when they signed them.  When you got signed back in the day, generally there would be stipulations in the contract where the label would have a lot of control, but STP had a great rapport with Atlantic.  They told them, ‘We want to give you guys free reign on what you want to do.  We’re not going to be in the studio harassing you, just do what you do.’  Everything was in place for them to create a masterpiece, and they did.

I took a rare photo of Scott with producer Brendan O’Brien during STP’s early days, which is actually the first photo you can see below.  The band was very happy with Brendan, because not only was he a producer, but he was also a musician.  A lot of musicians struggle with producers because they don’t know how to play an instrument, but Brendan knew how to play, and they could definitely relate to him.

The picture backstage of Scott with the bullhorn actually connects to how he started using it.  Scott took his first bullhorn from the garage of our friend Gary Menke’s Dad Dale, and Gary is actually to the left of Scott in that photo.

One of the early Core shows was a side stage performance at Irvine Meadows, which I believe was at Lollapalooza 1992.  After that performance, they did a secret show at a little tiny dive bar in Costa Mesa called the Tiki Bar.  It was at 11:30 or 12 at night, and it was packed.  They killed it, it was such a special show.

Enjoy my collection of photos from Stone Temple Pilots’ Core days below, in memory of Scott.

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Brendan O’Brien and Scott Weiland.

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Dean and Robert DeLeo on the side stage at Irvine Meadows for Lollapalooza 1992.

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Gary Menke and Scott Weiland.

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  • Raj

    Those early photos of STP are great, Corey has taken some great photos. Must have been pretty sweet to be in the studio with the STP guys while they were recording such great tracks like ‘Creep.’

    • Guido Bortesi

      Not only “Creep”…Piece of pie, Naked sunday, Dead and bloated!! I love that songs!

      • dakotablue

        I AM smellin’ like a rose that somebody gave on my birthday deathbed!!!

  • livininomaha

    Thank you Corey for sharing your recollections and photos. This is a wonderful tribute to your dear friend Scott and a gift to his fans. I enjoyed very much the two articles and all of the pictures published here. My sincere sympathy as you grieve and remember Scott.

  • Rizz

    I am so thankful I grew up during this time. I was 18 in 1992 and all this good music was bombarding me. Everything from STP, Tool, Gangstarr, Dre & Snoop, PJ, Crowbar, true alternative music, Staind had a great 1st and 2nd album, and even Metallica’s black album. Lollapalooza-type shows were the norm. Somewhere around ’98 is when music started going in the shitter. A great 6 year run. It was a great time and very influential to me.

    My point is: Music is just not dangerous or edgy anymore – at all. Business models rule.

    • Rizz

      By the way……great article. AN needs more of this.

    • Mike

      I.M.O. I think the decline started in ’96 & was full blown by ’97. I blame changes in technology which started to make recordings sound not as good & I think everyone got less stoked & making weaker music as a result.

    • Petulant

      You are so right on. The 90’s were an amazing time in music. Since then it’s rubbish. No one actually plays live anymore? And those that do are the older bands like STP, the Chili Peppers, Metallica. It’s just studio crap with people that aren’t even muso’s just good looking bodies that are a marketing label. Get them live and they either lip synch or have backing tracks.

      • dakotablue

        Ghost brings it live these days, for one,

  • Up2HighHell

    Brett, could you have ever imagined you’d play such a critical role in telling Scott’s story? You’re doing a tremendous job.

  • Cowgirl

    Based on the last photo of Scott, he obviously began waxing his chest hair at some point. : )

    • dakotablue

      Ha! And what about Dean? The other DeLeo brother has lotsa body hair, but Dean looks smooth.

  • Petulant

    So bittersweet seeing these pics. They are all so young and damn Scott was so hot. He looked so healthy and happy then. Still mourning him 🙁