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Stone Temple Pilots Release ‘Only Dying’ Demo Intended for ‘The Crow’

Theo Wargo, Getty Images
Theo Wargo, Getty Images

Stone Temple Pilots have quite a few gems in the vaults from their Core era and fans will soon get a chance to check them out with the 25th anniversary box set reissue of the disc. Another of those vault highlights is the track “Only Dying,” a song that was initially penned and demoed for inclusion on The Crow soundtrack, but eventually held out after the death of film star Brandon Lee in a freak accidental shooting on set.

As fans know now, the band instead delivered “Big Empty” for the soundtrack, which turned out to be one of the biggest songs of their career. But it’s clear in listening to the song in the player below that the band was on the right track with the moody rocker fitting the tone of the film.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, who just premiered the song, bassist Robert DeLeo states, “That song was a little bit of a different direction for us. It was based more off jazz-type chordings. As a songwriter, I wanted to spark people into different directions.”

“We wrote it maybe nine months after Dean joined the band, and we recorded it in a studio in north Hollywood before we got signed,” drummer Eric Kretz added. “It’s cool to hear it now. You can hear all the STP elements in there. You could tell it needed to be reworked a little bit, but you can really hear Scott’s voice taking on its character and the band delving into the sound of the guitar, the special effects and everything. It’s a great early indicator of where the band was heading. It was trying to dig into our emotions.”

In our own upcoming interview with guitarist Dean DeLeo, he stated, “It really is a beautifully written song. The chord structure of it and the melody, it’s really a beautiful song. The guitar tones that I chose I’m not fond of. It’s just way to washy, too echoey and I don’t know what we’re thinking when we’re cutting that but it was a demo. I think maybe down the road it’d be something cool to maybe recut and just use Scott’s vocal on this recut with some music around it. Maybe, maybe not. We’ll see.”

As for the decision to deliver “Big Empty” instead, Kretz offers, “It was a bit more fitting. It’s just a different vibe than what we were feeling at the time.”

The Stone Temple Pilots 25th anniversary Core reissue box set is due Sept. 29. It includes the original remastered album, recordings of a pair of live concerts from the Core era, demos, b-sides, acoustic performance, alternate takes and music videos. You can pre-order the set via Rhino ahead of its release.

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