The legendary 90’s band, Stone Temple Pilots, used a SiriusXM event at the West Hollywood club The Troubadour to unveil their new singer Jeff Gutt, who beat out roughly 15,000 hopefuls during an extended search that began more than a year ago.
For fans of competition reality shows, that name should ring a bell. Gutt competed on two season of the X Factor US. Jeff was mentored by Kelly Rowland during his X Factor USA run in 2013, though he continuously impressed judges Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato and Paulina Rubio with his covers of songs like “Creep,” “Dream On,” and “Hallelujah.” The latter, he also performed one year earlier in a season two audition. He was cut during the bootcamp round of that competition, but returned the following year.
Nearly a year ago, Entertainment Tonight reported a rumor that Gutt was joining the band. That news came nearly a year after the death of former Stone Temple Pilots frontman, Scott Weiland. Scott’s replacement, Linkin’ Park’s Chester Bennington died earlier this year.
Just as soon as the rumors broke last year, reps for the band batted them down. “The band has been rehearsing with several singers over the past few weeks,” STP’s rep said in a statement. “They haven’t made a decision yet.”
And curiously, just a few weeks ago, band members and brothers Dean and Robert Deleo declared the rumors regarding hiring a singing show alum as their lead singer “rubbish.” Via AlternativeNation.net
Kim: There were tons of rumors about STP’s new lead singer, like some guy who was on American Idol or something, a Pilipino kid. Were you guys aware of all those rumors that were swirling?
Robert DeLeo: Rubbish, rubbish, all rubbish. All rubbish.
Dean DeLeo: There’s been a lot of, it’s been an opportunity for some people to really do some inappropriate self-promotion, is what I should say. And that’s really kind of out of line.
A bit of misdirection ahead of the big announcement? Who knows. Dean DeLeo explains how the band found Gutt:
“He was one of the last guys we saw, in the last two days of auditions. And that was just over a year ago – September of 2016.”
He continues, “Jeff wasn’t even part of the singer submissions. But Robert happened to be playing a gig with the Hollywood Vampires in Michigan and somebody came backstage after the show and approached him and said, ‘You should check this guy out. He’s a local guy.’ And Robert called me the next morning and was like, ‘Hey, man …'”
The audition process was ardurous:
Just a few months later, Gutt was the new singer of Stone Temple Pilots. But first, there was the audition process. After paring down the initial 15,000 or so submissions to under 50 hopefuls, the band set up shop at a recording and rehearsal studio and brought in each candidate to jam on some STP tunes. “We did a week of auditions over at Studio 606 in the Valley,” Kretz says. “Three people a day, seven songs with each guy. And the songs we gave people had a really big range, from something like ‘Interstate Love Song,’ which is not a hard-hitting one to sing, to things like ‘Dead & Bloated.'”
Gutt shared his thoughts about the band with Rolling Stone:
“I was probably 16 or 17 when Core came out, and I just remember how Scott could cater to the song and create these characters. That blew me away. I was really studying singers at the time and Scott was at the top of the list. So walking in on that first day, it was crazy. I mean, you have dreams about things like this. I still feel a little Mark Wahlberg–ish.”
The band will be more than just a nostalgia act.
“Most of the time we’ve spent together has been in writing new material,” [drummer Eric] Kretz says. “And Jeff was taking the new songs and coming up with stuff right away. To use a baseball analogy, we kept throwing fastballs at him and he just kept hitting ’em. It was pretty exciting.”
“The first time [we got together], we went to Robert’s house and we brought Jeff down and he was just singing these melodies,” Dean recalls. “And I think he did all six songs that first day. That’s a lot of songs. Like, wow, man.”
Gutt joins a club of reality show singing stars that are now fronting legacy bands. The list includes Adam Lambert (American Idol season 8) and Queen, James Durbin (American Idol season 10) with Quiet Riot, Bo Bice (American Idol season 2) and Blood Sweat & Tears and Adam Wakefield’s (The Voice season 10) part time gig fronting Chris Stapleton’s old band, SteelDrivers.
Check out Jeff Gutt and Stone Temple Pilots new song, “Meadow” here.