By Brent Michael, Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent
Venue: Busch Gardens Wine and Food Festival Concert Series, Tampa, Florida. Saturday, April 6th, 2019
Okay, I have to admit my first thought when I saw Stone Temple Pilots’ current lead singer was, “They recruited Billy Idol!” Seriously, Jeff Gutt, lead vocalist from 2017–present, from a distance or even up close bears a striking resemblance to the “White Wedding” singer, complete with sneer and swagger. That’s not an insult, in case you were wondering, Gutt was all over the place during the show, dancing by himself, yelling like a rebel at the crowd, and still young and buff enough that his flesh was causing fantasies in the female members of the crowd! (Okay, probably some men too!) Not that the three remaining original members weren’t more than pulling their weight; Dean DeLeo, guitar, brother Robert DeLeo, bass, backing vocals, and Eric Kretz on drums were still the core of the band that sold over 40 million albums worldwide before 2015. But many have expressed concerns about how well he could fill the late Scott Weiland’s shoes.
I’m here to say, “Quite well.” “Interstate Love Song,” Plush,” ” Dead and Bloated,” Wicked Garden,” “Vasoline,” “Sex Type Thing,” and “Half the Man I Used to Be,” among other older material, sounded nearly indistinguishable from the originals, while newer material like “Roll Me Under” and “Meadow” fit right in.
When not in custody, I've been involved with music, photography, and writing my entire life. Ever since I was a young boy and played those silver tunes, I've had the beat, but being a drummer didn't suit me so I became a lead singer, which lasted a few years. Settling down, sort of, I translated my knowledge of audio and glib tongue into mobile emcee work, and my training as a photographer and videographer into a living in the wedding, party, bar/bat mitzvah, and entertainment industry. During this time I also managed to bamboozle my way into a master's degree in writing, worked for a couple of magazines (yes, I took photos for a nudist magazine!), have photographed hotels, done commercial work (shot the cover of Tablet and Capsule magazine), published a few articles, hosted some public access shows (a couple times in drag, but that's another story), and generally made a nuisance of myself until I landed here.