L.A. radio station KROQ’s annual Weenie Roast always brings an unexpected performance. Last year saw an unannounced set from Soundgarden, while the year before brought the Foo Fighters. But this year’s bonus act was a surprise on so many levels.
As the rotating stage turned around following a joyous set from Vampire Weekend, the opening notes of Stone Temple Pilots’ "Vasoline" filled the Verizon Wireless Ampitheater. On the drum riser, a man stood with his back to the audience until it came time to deliver the opening line, "One time a thing occurred to me." And with that, the venue exploded as Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington turned and leaped into action, filling in on this night for the recently fired Scott Weiland.
Bennington brought his typical powerhouse vocals and abandon to the greatest hits set, which also featured a new track, "Out Of Time." Bennington did such an admirable job recreating Weiland’s vocals on songs like "Sex Type Thang" and "Wicked Garden" that one listener backstage thought it had been the former STP frontman, although the LP singer did step out vocally on a superb "Interstate Love Song." When the number finished, Bennington declared, "I fucking love that song," a sentiment he echoed after a standout "Dead & Bloated," where his trademark Linkin yell was brought into play on the ferocious ending.
In a statement, Bennington expressed his admiration for the band, which is in part how this collaboration came about. "I’ve loved STP since I was 13 years old and they’ve had a huge influence on me," explained Bennington. "When the opportunity came up to do something creative with them, I jumped at the chance. The guys in Linkin Park have been incredibly supportive of me undertaking this project while I’ve continued to work on new music with LP."
Moving quickly to dispel any rumors, Stone Temple Pilots’ Dean DeLeo also made clear that his crew understands Linkin Park is Bennington’s first band. "Chester has a one-of-a-kind voice that we’ve admired for a long time," said Dean DeLeo in the statement. "We know Linkin Park will always be his priority, but we thought it would be cool to try something together. We managed to find the time to record a song and we’re all really happy with the result."
While Bennington remains busy with Linkin Park, he and STP were scheduled to play in the California's Bay Area today at a Live 105 radio show. Both Bennington and STP are also on the bill at the annual MusiCares event (where Bennington is being honored) in L.A. on May 30, so although nothing is confirmed, the big surprise on that night would be if they don’t play together.
A free download of the new single is available at www.stonetemplepilots.com