So the plan is to tour this thing?
Rob: Definitely, always!
Eric: We not only want to tour this one, but the old songs too! We did a couple live shows a few months ago and it was just fun to play those songs again after three years. Really fun. When we're in the middle of the tour, ask me how fun it is to play those songs, when we just did them last night and we have to do it again tonight, but for now it's fresh.
Speaking of Scott, there's a real variety to his vocal performances on No. 4. What gives?
Eric: I can answer that. It's because he's had the luxury of having his own studio, so he can work with other bands and do his own solo stuff. And so during the recording of this album, he could take the tapes away from rehearsal and go practice and try out different vocal ideas without us being there, and just have his own engineer. So he had this beautiful luxury of just experimenting on his own, without us inhibiting him in any way.
The first single off the record is stomping lead track 'Down', a tune that might actually be the heaviest metal on a record that is surprisingly loud. Rob explains the choice.
I think that's a good song to say (knock, knock) we're here. Hear me roar. We haven't been around that much and it's a song that is like a knock on the door.
Dean: I think that is one of the only moves that had any calculation to it. Because there is this harsh reality that the finicky public will not let you be anything other than what their first impression of you was.
Rob: Like the word' grunge'.
Dean: f**king Cobain had to go ahead and say that, didn't he? He coined that phrase (laughs).
Rob: It just strikes me funny because it's all timing. Let's say that if that whole era of music was happening right now, and everyone was wearing one-piece jumpsuits rather than flannel, would it still be called grunge? It's just timing. Somebody has to label it something. I think the best way to look at it is a record the Rolling Stones made called It's Only Rock 'n' Roll.
Looking back, though, you guys were lumped in with that scene, and you did indeed get some bad press by those who saw you as imitators.
Dean: And boy, they're sucking on an egg now, aren't they? (laughs).
Rob: I think by the second record, when everyone was looking at the sophomore jinx . . . I think we really shut a lot of people up with that second record.
Dean: I really think STP has contributed timeless songs. I think there are songs on these records that you're going to be hearing 20 years from now on the radio. I mean, we didn't do this to be part of any genre.
Rob: Well, all the bands that were part of the genre are f**king gone.
Dean: I didn't do this for the celebrity of it. I did this to make a statement, like that of a photograph if you will. Writing songs is really easy for us, and we are huge, huge fans of music. I think there are people that go through life from their brain, and there are people that go through life from their heart. And unfortunately, we're stricken with the latter of the two. And music is extremely, extremely dear to us. It's our soundtrack to life.
Rob: I think if there was a point where we said, 'hey look, we don't have anything to contribute any more,' we'll quit. But all through somebody having an addiction or canceling this and that, I think this band had valid contributions to make, and still make, to music. As long as we feel that, we're going to make records.