The Story Behind 'Interstate Love Song' by Stone Temple Pilots

A song about trust issues and heroin addiction.

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The Story Behind 'Interstate Love Song' by Stone Temple Pilots
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"Interstate Love Song" is a song from the Stone Temple Pilots' second studio album "Purple," released in 1994.

 

If you want to learn more about the gear, amps, notable covers, live performances, special techniques, tuning, and recommended lessons, read the UG Complete Guide to 'Interstate Love Song' by Stone Temple Pilots.

In March 1994, Stone Temple Pilots convened in Cole Rehearsal Studios in Hollywood for two weeks of preproduction and songwriting for their sophomore release "Purple." One of the unfinished songs Robert DeLeo brought to the studio was the as-yet-untitled "Interstate Love Song."

Dean DeLeo recalled later:

"We were in Atlanta touring Core, and Robert was playing around with the chords and the melody in a hotel room. I had a feeling about that song immediately."

It started out as a bossa nova song, as Robert said in 2003. The entire chord structure is an Antonio Carlos Jobim thing.

By this time, Weiland's became addicted to heroin. He'd first tried the drug a year earlier in New Yorks Royalton hotel, on the last date of STPs tour with Texas hellraisers Butthole Surfers. At first, his drug partner was Janina Castenada, his long-term girlfriend, and future wife. But between disagreements over heroin (Castenada quit, while Weiland didn't), the pressures of touring and Weiland's cold feet about getting married, the relationship became fraught.

When Weiland heard Robert playing the song on an acoustic guitar, he immediately began humming along, turning the melody from the intro into the chorus. After that, all he needed to do was channel his frustrations about his two troubled love affairs: with Castenada and heroin.

It has a few different themes. Honesty, lack of honesty, my new relationship with heroin. I had been away from [Janina] for quite a long time, and there were some issues of trust going on. The whole time I was in Atlanta I was telling her I was off it.

Released in June 1994, "Purple" shot to No. 1, eventually selling more than six million copies. "Interstate Love Song" topped the Billboard Album Rock Tracks for 15 weeks. When it was released as a single in September, it crashed into the Top 40. And, despite the concerns expressed in the song, Weiland and Castenada wed that same month, but they then separated in 1998.

Official music video

The music video, directed by Kevin Kerslake, has a washed-out color effect throughout the majority of the video. At the beginning of the video, an early 1900s silent film-esque clip of pursuer and protagonist is shown. The long-nosed protagonist escaping from the unseen pursuer, which symbolizes the theme of lying behind the song lyrics. The protagonist's nose becomes longer throughout the video, as a reference to Pinocchio.

YouTube preview picture
If you want to learn more about the gear, amps, notable covers, live performances, special techniques, tuning, and recommended lessons, read the UG Complete Guide to 'Interstate Love Song' by Stone Temple Pilots.

18 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Eifler121
    It's an awesome song. Their stuff gets knocked for not truly being grunge due to their geographic location, but they wrote good rock music. I feel like they're catchy, heavy songs that aren't overly simplified. They can catch a casual and careful ear. I personally enjoy them more than Nirvana. As far as where bands fall on the spectrum of being convergent to the grunge scene, or an imitation, I feel like they're more Smashing Pumpkins than Creed.
    Batmantera
    They are a lot better than Nirvana. Not a lot of people will go ahead and say it, but musically they are more diverse and have better written songs. Nirvana has some good ones but they mostly sound the same.
    AndersVonBlack
    if it wasnt for the clumsy grunge label these two bands would barely ever be associated with each other.  I love Nirvana, and STP but they are very very different bands I think STP are a much more mature band, musically and other wise, they have so much going on in their songs than just the Angst that Nirvana thrived on. 
    RedLabelRecords
    I remember seeing this video on mtv for the first time. Man, I was so young. Still my favorite track of theirs. 
    shamrock21
    I looooove these "Complete Guide" articles where you list all the gear & how songs were recorded. Keep writing articles like this please!
    Wiencon
    Wow, thanks for the article. This song and Plush got me into STP and it became one of my favourite bands of all time. This one is so beautiful and emotional, I absolutely love it. And how simple it is, no bridge, no solo, just that catchy melody whole time
    aaronangus
    I'd like to see the story behind Plush 😂. Apparently Scott Weiland didn't know what the song was about
    Anjohl
    Actual story: (producer/one of the Dealer's) "We need a song like Pearl Jam".
    richey2195
    Great to finally find out after all these years (I'm in my thirties) what the music video was about. 
    CoconutBackward
    " The whole time I was in Atlanta I was telling her I was off it. "  This must be the girl he was singing about in "Atlanta". "The Mexican princess is out of my life"