Songfacts®: You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.
The lyrics were inspired, in part, by an unfortunate news story in Stone Temple Pilots' hometown of San Diego, California about a missing young woman who was later discovered dead by local law enforcement ("And I feel, when the dogs begin to smell her..."). At a concert in Columbus, Ohio on May 17, 2008, lead singer Scott Weiland said that he and STP drummer Eric Kretz wrote the lyrics in a hot tub after hearing the news story.
This was STP's breakthrough hit off of their major label debut album. Like all of their songs of the era, it is a band composition. When we spoke with their drummer Eric Kretz
in 2013, he said that it was a very collaborative and energetic time for the band in terms of songwriting. "There was enthusiasm and excitement and everyone was in the room and participating creatively, artistically," he explained. "It's the most fun time to be in a band when everyone has the same ideas and everyone has the same goals."
Bassist Robert DeLeo came up with the riff for this song in the back of a U-Haul truck the band was using for a local tour. The song's instantly recognizable chord structure was inspired by DeLeo's love of Ragtime music.
Core was the only STP album where vocalist Scott Weiland was identified only by his last name. (thanks, Danny - Dallas, TX)
The line "Where you going with the mask I found?" is often misheard as "Where you going with the master plan?" (thanks, Elliot - St. Louis, MO)
Scott Weiland told the English music publication NME that the band's name came from Scientifically Treated Petroleum - petrol. He explained: "STP came from the image of STP oil treatment, which was always a powerful image. Richard Petty, the famous NASCAR racing driver, had the STP logo on his car and he was always a sort of renegade. We were Shirley Temple's Pussy but we had to change. I think it was Dean (Deleo - STP guitarist or Robert (DeLeo - STP bassist) who said, 'How about Stereo Temple Pirates?' and then we decided on Stone Temple Pilots. It wasn't a very quick process."
This won the 1993 Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal.
An original member of Depeche Mode, Vince went on to form Erasure and Yaz.