STONE TEMPLE PILOTS have selected one-time "The X Factor" contestant Jeff Gutt as their new vocalist. Gutt, who was a runner-up in season three of the reality television music competition show created by Simon Cowell, was announced as the band's latest singer during a SiriusXM special earlier tonight (Tuesday, November 14) hosted by Eddie Trunk.
Gutt originally auditioned for STONE TEMPLE PILOTS in September 2016 and was officially named the band's new singer in May 2017. He has spent the last year secretly writing and recording new material in Redondo Beach, California with bandmembers Dean DeLeo, Robert DeLeo and Eric Kretz.
Robert DeLeo said that he first found out about Gutt while he was on the road with the HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES. "We were playing Pine Knob — I don't know what it's called now; I know it as Pine Knob — up in Detroit, which is where [Jeff is] from," the bassist said. "And after the show, there was a musician who said, 'Hey, man, you should check this guy out.' And that's where I kind of heard of him first — it was through that guy. And it just happened that it came together like that."
Regarding how he came to try out for STP, Jeff said: "I had heard about [the audition process], but I was on tour in the Middle East with my band at the time, so I was, like, doing my own thing, and that was everything that I had going on. And then when I got back, I was driving and I heard… I can't remember what song it was, but a STONE TEMPLE PILOTS song came on the radio. So I called my buddy in New York who knows everybody in the music industry, and I was, like, 'Hey, did they ever find a singer?' And he was, like, 'You know what? I'll send 'em your stuff right now.' And three days later, I got a call."
Gutt said that he felt like he had the STP gig "before I even got in the room [with the other guys], to tell you the truth, just because if you don't feel that way, you're probably not gonna get it. You have to be confident," he explained. "I mean, not cocky confidence, but I know my shit, I know what I'm doing. I've studied my craft. I've studied [original STONE TEMPLE PILOTS singer] Scott [Weiland] and the people Scott studied, and other singers of the era. I've really put in a lot of time into that, and if you're not willing to do all of that, you're not gonna be on the level to even be around these guys."
Dean DeLeo said he and his bandmates "wanted someone who would not only do our earlier songs justice, but would also write new songs and carve out a different path forward with us. It took some time, but we found our guy," he said.
Robert DeLeo aded: "Talk about a happy accident. It was clear right away that Jeff had the range to sing vocally challenging songs like 'Piece Of Pie' and 'Interstate Love Song'. But we soon discovered that he also has a great ear for melody and knew how to write a song."
According to Kretz, "The chemistry was there from the start, and Jeff kept coming up with one great melody after another. We ended up finishing 14 songs, which is the most that STONE TEMPLE PILOTS has ever recorded for an album," he revealed.
Jeff said that becoming STONE TEMPLE PILOTS' new frontman feels like "joining LED ZEPPELIN, because, to me, they're my LED ZEPPELIN."
"No one will ever fill Scott's shoes and I'm not trying to — he's a legend, Gutt said. "But these songs deserve to be performed and people want to hear them. I'm just honored that the guys chose me to help them continue to build this band's legacy."
A November 2016 article from Entertainment Tonight claimed Gutt was chosen to front STONE TEMPLE PILOTS before the end of last year, but a band representative shot down the report, claiming at the time that "no final decision" had yet been made.
Gutt appeared on "The X Factor" in 2013, where he was mentored by Kelly Rowland and impressed the other judges with his covers of songs like "Creep", "Dream On" and "Hallelujah".
Gutt will make his live debut with STONE TEMPLE PILOTS tonight at a special invitation-only concert for SiriusXM listeners at The Troubadour in West Hollywood, California.
The full concert will premiere at 3 p.m. on Friday, November 17, exclusively on SiriusXM and can be heard on Howard Stern's Howard 101 channel as well as on Lithium, channel 34. It will also be available via SiriusXM.com.
A new STONE TEMPLE PILOTS single, titled "Meadow", has already been serviced to radio and can be streamed below. Also available is a recording of Gutt singing with STONE TEMPLE PILOTS during soundcheck for The Troubadour concert.
STP had been without a vocalist since November 2015, when Chester Bennington — who joined the group in early 2013 — departed to spend more time with his main band LINKIN PARK.
Weiland, who reunited with the group in 2010 after an eight-year hiatus but was dismissed in 2013, died in December 2015 of a drug overdose while on a solo tour.
STONE TEMPLE PILOTS revealed last month that they found "somebody that fits the bill" as the band's new lead singer, but did not announce who he was.
STP last performed live, with Bennington on vocals, for a one-off reunion concert in California in March 2016.
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