Perhaps there’s something in the air. Yesterday, Wake-Up Video devoted itself to Creed, one of the most maligned and hated-on bands of the modern era. But when Creed moved to the center of the target of the rock world, they were just taking the place of Stone Temple Pilots, who were pelted with metaphoric stones throughout the ’90s.
Attacked for being too derivative (singer Scott Weiland sounded an awful lot like Eddie Vedder on their first single “Plush,” but then again everybody sounded like Vedder in ’92) and too bombastic in a time when rock music was supposed to be introspective (they seemed to favor the type of theatricality that was supposed to have died off when Nirvana slayed hair metal). But that didn’t stop them from selling big numbers and scoring huge hits, and on this day in 1992 they dropped the album that took care of both: Core, their much-talked-about debut.
Produced by Brendan O’Brien (who also manned the control deck on several Pearl Jam albums — no wonder they shared sonic similarities), Core was a pure expression of what grunge was supposed to sound like: Big, down-tuned, distorted guitars mixed with Zeppelin-sized low ends and brooding, heavy lyrics that still made room for melody when the time came. Stacked with radio-friendly hits (including “Plush,” “Creep” and “Wicked Garden”), Core went on to sell eight million copies, scored the band their own edition of “MTV Unplugged” (where they premiered the then-new song “Big Empty” that then became the centerpiece of their sophomore effort Purple) and made them big enough household names that Weiland’s substance abuse issues became actual news.
Another issue that helped STP grab headlines? The single “Sex Type Thing,” which was regarded as a misogynistic song. Weiland defended himself, declaring that the tune was merely an exercise in narrative and that the predatory position he sings from is merely a character (he attempted to diffuse the controversy by regularly wearing a dress while performing “Sex Type Thing” in concert). It’s a shame it got derailed by politics, because “Sex Type Thing” remains a killer song with an exceptionally weird video.