Stone Temple Pilots during KROQ Weenie Roast at Irvine Meadows in Irvine, CA, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

In the pantheon of 1990s rock, few albums have retained their potency and influence as vividly as Stone Temple Pilots’ Purple. Released on June 7, 1994, this iconic record not only cemented the band’s place in the grunge and alternative rock scenes but also showcased their versatility and evolution as artists. As Purple turns 30, it’s time to reflect on its impact, the context of its creation, and the legacy it has built over three decades.

The Context of Purple

Coming off the success of their debut album Core (1992), which featured hits like “Sex Type Thing” and “Plush,” Stone Temple Pilots faced both immense pressure and criticism. They were often compared unfavourably to their contemporaries like Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains, with some critics labelling them as derivative. However, the band members—Scott Weiland (vocals), Dean DeLeo (guitar), Robert DeLeo (bass), and Eric Kretz (drums)—were determined to carve out their own identity with their sophomore effort.

The Sound and Songs

Purple opens with the ferocious “Meatplow,” a track that immediately sets a heavier tone compared to their debut. However, the album quickly showcases its diversity with the second track, “Vasoline.” Featuring a memorable riff and a surrealistic lyrical approach, “Vasoline” became one of the band’s most enduring hits.

One of the standout aspects of Purple is its ability to blend different styles seamlessly. “Interstate Love Song,” arguably the band’s most famous track, exemplifies this with its mix of grunge, classic rock, and a touch of country. The song’s narrative of deception and regret resonated deeply with listeners, and its sophisticated composition demonstrated the band’s growth as musicians.

Other tracks like “Big Empty,” which was also featured on the The Crow soundtrack, and “Unglued” further exemplify the band’s range. “Big Empty,” with its haunting slide guitar and introspective lyrics, contrasts sharply with the raw energy of “Unglued,” showcasing the band’s ability to navigate different emotional landscapes.

The Reception

Upon its release, Purple was met with critical acclaim and commercial success. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, a testament to the band’s growing popularity. Critics praised the album for its musical diversity and the band’s improved songwriting. Stone Temple Pilots had managed to transcend the “grunge” label, proving they were more than just a product of their time.

Legacy and Influence

Thirty years on, Purple remains a touchstone in the rock genre. Its songs are still staples on rock radio, and its influence can be seen in the work of many contemporary artists. The album’s ability to blend raw power with melodic sophistication has made it a blueprint for bands looking to balance aggression and artistry.

The band’s journey through addiction, internal conflicts, and the tragic loss of Scott Weiland in 2015 adds a layer of poignancy to Purple‘s legacy. The album serves as a reminder of Weiland’s unique talent and the band’s ability to craft timeless music despite personal and professional challenges.


As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Purple, it’s clear that Stone Temple Pilots created something truly special with this album. It captured the zeitgeist of the 1990s while also pushing the boundaries of what rock music could be. For fans old and new, Purple is not just an album; it’s a journey through a pivotal moment in rock history, a testament to the enduring power of great music.