Stone Temple Pilots challenged music's status quo when they released song Plush in 1993 from debut studio album Core. Was this just another grunge band? A label-led Pearl Jam rip-off following the worldwide success of Ten?
But Plush was - is - a damn good rock song. Backed up by singles Sex Type Thing and Wicked Garden from Core, Stone Temple Pilots' hybrid sound won over music fans and ultimately silenced the critics. Singer Scott Weiland wasn't your typical brooding '90s frontman, either. He favoured flair and loved to strut. And with bandmates Dean DeLeo, Robert DeLeo and Eric Kretz, he continued to prove the critics wrong with the release of album Purple in 1994 and songs the calibre of Vasoline, Lounge Fly, Interstate Love Song, Sour Girl, Pretty Penny ... the list goes on.
Weiland tragically died on December 3, 2015, but Stone Temple Pilots the band, and the music, lives on through the founding members and vocalist Jeff Gutt who joined two years ago. They are coming to Newcastle in April for Under The Southern Stars with Bush and Live.
Gutt is grateful when I start our chat by saying "Thanks so much for keeping the music alive". "I'm happy to do it, thank you so much," he replies.
Joining a famous band as the new lead singer is never easy however Gutt is holding his own. The band bonded in the studio while writing a self-titled album which was released last year. It was a good initiation, Gutt says.
"Creating art together is very intimate thing. There's no better way to learn about a person."
Gutt, 43, was a guitar-playing teenager when "Seattle Sound" and grunge took over from '80s glam rock.
"I was in junior high school when Core came out and it's still one of my favourite records of all time," he says. "At the time I didn't want to be a singer, I didn't want the spotlight. It's funny how things work out."
He made the transition from side to centre of stage while playing guitar with a band and adding his vocals to a cover of Temple of the Dog's Hunger Strike.
"We had another singer at the time and I put my guitar down to sing the Chris Cornell part and the crowd reaction was insane and I was like 'All right, I'm going to be a singer now'," he recalls, laughing.
"I used to go to my Dad's place in the country, turn on the stereo and sing Skid Row's Wasted Time as hard as I could until I got it. I must have sung it 10,000 times. If you can sing that song you can sing anything."
As for constant comparisons to Weiland, Gutt prefers to just focus on the songs.
"I was an STP fan so I always think 'What would I want to hear from STP if they were going to continue?' On stage I try to just let it come naturally. And I've never been to Australia so I'm pretty psyched."