The album "No. 4", the fourth "Stone Temple Pilots" was released on October 26, 1999 !!
This album comes after a forced break the band has taken since the release of the album "Tiny Music… Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop", three years earlier.
In early 1992, cracks began to form in the band, which only expanded over the years, largely due to Scott Weiland's severe drug addiction problem.
This rift widened and reached its peak after the release of the album "Tiny Music..." in 1996. Scott's growing addiction, behavioral problems, and inability to function pushed the other three members to form a side project in the meantime, hoping they could return to function as a band after Scott regained consciousness. Together with singer Dave Coutts from the band "In Inch Man", they formed a new band called "Talk Show" and even released an album bearing the band's name in 1997.
Scott who felt a kind of resentment against his friends over the move slandered them in the media but took the time to fight his severe addiction. As part of the cleanup process, he worked on his first solo album "12 Bar Blues" which was released in March 1998 and received good reviews.
But apparently, time really heals the wounds because the four friends have managed to transcend themselves, resolve their differences, and return to work together in early 1998.
The reunion instilled in the band positive energies that the four members poured into the writing process. Scott described the process as positive, with all the songs being written by all the members together in the studio. He noted that the legendary producer who regularly worked with the band, Brendan O'Brien, pushed them to put their heart and soul into the piece. Bassist Robert DeLeo noted that Scott was as clear and focused as in the days of his debut album "Core" and this pushed the band to create with positive energies.
It should be noted that at that time quite a few rock bands chose to change style and even experiment a bit with synthesizers and electronics. Examples can be found on "Smashing Pumpkins' "Adore" album and "Bush's" "The Science Of Things" album that came out on the very same day.
To this must be added the fact that the band's previous album "Tiny Music..." from 1996 was also quite experimental and different from the band's basic DNA. Despite this and perhaps because of this, the band members consciously chose to return to their roots, to the basic guitar rock, and worked on creating a heavy album similar to the debut album “Core”.
And the result was accordingly. "No. 4" is a live and kicking guitar rock album. You can already hear it from the opening track "Down" which is also the leading single from the album. The heavy opening riff and saw with the guitar deliberately tuned down, is a statement of intent by the band on what we are going to get next.
The second track "Heaven & Hot Rods" is remarkably reminiscent of the sound, vibe, and rhythm of "Sex Type Thing", the second track from the album "Core".
The attack continues with songs like "No Way Out", "Glide" which is one of the best songs on the album, written as a tribute to the garage band "MC5" (not Grunge) from the '60s and with "Sex & Violence" who all continue to correspond with the album "Core". True, this album also has the pop / rocky "Pruno" and the slightly "trippy" that is reminiscent of what the band did on the previous two albums, the relatively calm and quiet "Sour Girl" and the moving ballad "Atlanta" both written about the breakup of Scott's relationship with his first wife Janina Castaneda, but the heart of this album lies deeper in the rough guitar rock of the early 90s than with the commercial wave that attacked the alternative bands at the end of the decade.
Unfortunately shortly after the album was released Scott returned to prison again and spent a year there on drug possession and violating the terms of his previous release. Under these circumstances, the band could not promote the album through a proper tour. The demons from the past reopened the cracks that had just been reunited, but the band managed to continue on its fuel vapor for one more album "Shangri-La Dee Da" before splitting up again in 2002 until the 2008 reunion album.
VH1 Channel documented the album on the Storytellers program recorded in 2000 in which the band members play and narrate the album.
The album "No. 4" marked the beginning of the end and is probably also the band's last good album, which failed to recreate in the current lineup its great moments left somewhere in the 90s.