The Shins cover Stone Temple Pilots? On the surface, that seems a little silly. In practice, it was a little silly.
I mean, you wouldn’t expect Albuquerque-by-way-of-Portland indie darlings The Shins to cover grungy alt-rockers Stone Temple Pilots. The two acts just don’t have a whole lot in common. But isn’t that what can sometimes make a cover song interesting? One band covering another band they have pretty much nothing to do with?
The Shins cover Stone Temple Pilots in San Francisco
A bit of background before we get into the clip. The Shins are celebrating the 21st birthday of their breakthrough 2001 album Oh, Inverted World. That’s their Sub Pop debut. That’s the one with “New Slang,” which would pop up a few years later in a pivotal scene in the film Garden State. That’s the song and the album that put the band on the indie map.
The tour kicked off in the City by the bay earlier this month. As you’d expect, the evening started with the band playing through the album, front to back, in its entirety. That’s the deal with these birthday and anniversary tours. So there’s your first set. The second set got underway with a smattering of songs from all over the vast Shins catalog. Six songs into that set is when the swirling, distorted feedback of “Vasoline” began. Shins frontman James Mercer took out his phone (personal teleprompter?) and put forth his best Weiland-esque effort.
So what do you think? Part of me wants to chide Mercer for not knowing the lyrics and needing his phone, but he seems so genuinely amused with the whole experience. I find that endearing, and I still dig the whole idea of indie rock giants like The Shins paying tribute to a band like Stone Temple Pilots. I mean, it beats Carrie Underwood covering Ozzy, right?