Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of the release of Talk Show’s first and only album—an anniversary that will almost certainly come and go with no fanfare. The band—for those who may not remember—was composed of STP brothers Dean and Robert DeLeo, along with STP drummer Eric Kretz, and Dave Coutts, the former singer of the Long Beach punk band Ten Inch Men. Talk Show formed shortly after STP singer Scott Weiland’s drug-addled downward spiral took center stage and forced STP to cancel many of their dates in support of 1996’s Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop.
The DeLeo brothers were careful not to say the beginning of Talk Show equaled the end of STP, with Dean cautioning at the time “due to the sporadic, should I say, nature of STP, we were just kind of looking for the appropriate time to put all our energy into this.”
Had Talk Show—or Weiland’s first solo album 12 Bar Blues—been at all successful, we most certainly wouldn’t have wasted the first two paragraphs explaining the genesis of Talk Show. Shortly after Talk Show unceremoniously dissolved in 1998, STP was back in the studio recording what would become No. 4.
It was painful time for Coutts, who today lives in Long Beach and is gainfully employed outside the music biz (in a job he’d rather not disclose). “They used to talk a lot of shit about [Weiland],” Coutts says today. “Actually all the time we were together. It’s kind of like breaking up with your girlfriend and she starts going out with your best friend.”
Today Coutts has kind and not-so-kind words to say about the DeLeo brothers, as well as their public search for a replacement for Chester Bennington, who replaced Weiland. “They’re all amazing musicians,” he offers, before adding, “I think they should have put it to bed before Chester. It’s a little too soon [for this search]. Scott just died, Chester just quit. I mean, come on, put it to bed.” Last month, the band tweeted that they’ve already received more than 10,000 submissions from aspiring STP singers.
The casual observer might argue there’s little difference between Stone Temple Pilots featuring anyone but Weiland and Talk Show. The key difference, of course, is Stone Temple Pilots with Weiland, Bennington and whoever STP finds in its current search will perform STP songs and Talk Show—aside from part of “Trippin’ on a Whole in a Paper Heart”—never did.
“I think they’re playing in their own tribute bad,” Coutts says. “That’s pretty sad.”
Coutts remains proud of Talk Show’s eponymous debut, and would even consider a Talk Show reunion, as unlikely as that might be. He’s mostly amiable with Robert, whom he communicates with on occasion, but calls his brother Dean a “prick” and “chord snob.”
“One time I picked up [Dean’s] guitar when we were rehearsing for the album and the guys from the Blues Brothers [Jim Belushi’s version] were in the other room,” he says. “So their band was just playing this bluesy, easy three-chord sloppy stuff. And Dean says, ‘don’t pick up the guitar because I don’t want them to think it’s me that’s playing it.’ I can understand why Weiland got high.”
Coutts wouldn’t dare audition to be the next Weiland, as he already had the gig, but he has a tongue-in-check suggestion for how STP can profit from it. “Maybe they can do it like ‘The Bachelor’ and instead of roses, hand out little candy microphones when someone makes second-tier singer,” he begins. “A little advice from a guy way down here: Guys, when you pick your next singer, don’t kiss him on stage–that is hard to watch.”