The thought of anyone from block rockers Stone Temple Pilots working with Rhinestone Cowboy Glen Campbell might at first seem as absurd as porn star Jenna Jameson advocating abstinence. On further examination, it doesn’t seem so bizarre.
STP bassist and songwriter Robert DeLeo has spoken in interviews about his love for the country-pop performed by Johnny Cash, Jimmy Webb and especially Campbell. And last year, Campbell’s budding musician son Cal introduced his dad to the music of the Pilots.
Soon after one of Campbell’s Los Angeles shows, the band went backstage and met the legendary singer/songwriter. They all got along so well, Campbell invited DeLeo, his guitarist brother Dean and drummer Eric Kretz to record versions of classic cuts such as “Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” with him.
The mutual lovefest continued when STP singer Scott Weiland produced some tracks for Cal’s rock band. Then, the DeLeos offered to write, produce and play on upcoming tracks Campbell may use on his next record, Campbell’s manager said.
“Stone Temple Pilots don’t write the kind of music that Glen would usually listen to,” he said. “But he admires good musicians, and the band definitely fits that bill.”
About three months ago, Robert and Dean entered the studio with Campbell to work on the new material. So far, they’ve written a handful of tracks, but Campbell’s manager emphasized that they’re all works in progress at this point and was unwilling to describe them.
Campbell’s explorations with the DeLeos aren’t his first forays into rock; he’s a veteran of the genre. In the early ’60s he was one of Los Angeles’ most in-demand session guitarists. Not only did he play on early hits by Elvis Presley, the Monkees, the Association and the Mamas & the Papas, but he also worked with Phil Spector on albums by Jan & Dean, Sonny and Cher and the Beach Boys, including their legendary 1966 album Pet Sounds.