In an interview with Yahoo!, new STONE TEMPLE PILOTS frontman Jeff Gutt discussed his friendship with the band's previous singer, the late Chester Bennington, saying: "I knew Chester. I've known Chester since 2001. I was in a band called DRY CELL, and we were signed by the same guy that signed LINKIN PARK, so that's how I knew him. He would come to some of our writing sessions and rehearsals; I'd see him in the studios that we were at. When we were recording, they'd be recording there. We just had a good friendship."

Gutt also revealed that Bennington attended Gutt's first private audition for STP, explaining: "[Bennington] called and asked if he could come. He wanted to be there for that first show. So, I put him on my guest list. It was very cool that he could be there for that."

STP guitarist Dean DeLeo told The Pulse Of Radio that knowing Gutt was a "good dude" was just as important as hiring a talented singer. "That was definitely one of the boxes to be checked off, man," he said. "You know, at this stage in our life, we all have kids and our backstage area is very safe and, you know, the families are out and the kids are out and, you know, is this a guy that wanted to even be around me, for that matter? But you know, is this a guy that we wanted around our families? And, you know, he's a single dad, he's got a beautiful little boy and yeah, man, that was surely a box to be checked."

STONE TEMPLE PILOTS' self-titled seventh studio LP arrives on March 16.

STP had been without a vocalist since November 2015, when Bennington — who joined the group in early 2013 — departed to spend more time with his main band LINKIN PARK. Bennington committed suicide last July.

Original STP singer Scott 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.

STP kicked off its first tour with Gutt on the mic on March 2 in Santa Clarita, California.


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