In May 2015, Scott Weiland played at Manchester’s Jewel nightclub; in December of the same year, the former Stone Temple Pilots lead singer was dead of a drug overdose. Via tribute acts like Stone Temple Posers, though, STP’s music carries on.
The Plaistow-based homage band will appear, fittingly, at the rechristened Jewel Music Venue on Friday, Feb. 24. They plan to perform STP’s first two albums, Core and Purple, as part of a ’90s Alt Rock Tribute Night. A dress code of flannel shirts, ripped jeans and shaggy hair will be in force at a show that includes Nirvana doppelgänger Priceless Advice and Undertow, recreating the music of Tool.
It’s a good time for a revival of the grunge area, with 2017 marking the 25th anniversary of the year Nirvana replaced Michael Jackson at the top of the Billboard charts, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam broke through as mainstream acts and Stone Temple Pilots released its first album.
Olaf Westphalen is Stone Temple Posers’ bass player; however, he came to STP’s music after the decade they dominated.
“I grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, so it was actually my stepkids that got me into bands like Nirvana, Creed and Sublime,” he said in a recent phone interview. “My stepson John is the drummer in the band.”
The two have played together in bands including Wretched Von Krank, The Nerve and, most recently, Cold Comfort. Stone Temple Posers played its first show in early 2015.
“Robert DeLeo’s bass playing spoke to me,” Westphalen said when asked what drew him to STP’s music. “I really enjoyed watching them live, Scott’s antics when he was singing and how he used the megaphone.”
Poser’s front man, ex-Marine Hal White, frequently employs Weiland’s prop.
“We use it on stage at all times.,” Westphalen said “Whatever song calls for it, he throws it in there.”
Westphalen and Posers guitarist Paul Ouellette are no strangers to STP tribute acts. The two were together briefly in Crown of Apathy, and Westphalen played in Stone Temple Aviators and SiN after that. Ouellette was also a member of The Nerve during its run in the mid-oughts.
With a rich well of the decade’s acts to pick from, Stone Temple Pilots kept rising to the top.
“We’ve all been in cover bands,” said Westphalen, who’s been a working musician since the early 1980s. “When I was thinking about what kind of tribute band would make sense for us, STP was one that came to mind because you’ve got a lead singer that sings the lead vocal and then the backup is the bass player. I usually do backups, so it fit.”
Westphalen saw Weiland perform in the years before his death. Like many fans, he worried that the singer’s reckless life could end tragically.
“I was always wondering if he could go at any time. … You could tell in his performances that he was not a hundred percent,” he said. “We’d seen him a year or two before at Meadowbrook and he just wasn’t himself.”
The two bands rounding out the bill and Stone Temple Posers have done 1990s nostalgia shows together in the recent past. Lowell-based Nirvana tribute band Priceless Advice is, said Westphalen, “a great bunch of young guys, very talented.” He added that the group’s front man looks quite a bit like the late Kurt Cobain.
“He’s in a bunch of other cover and original bands; this is one of his projects,” he said.
Playing a much heavier brand of alternative rock, Undertow is a bit of a wild card, but the three groups worked together before and found it a good fit.
“We played with them for the first time last fall; we met through mutual connections with other bands,” Westphalen said. “Hopefully, people that like Nirvana and STP will also like Tool, and vice versa.”