“Ozzfest Interview” – 1998 // Chi

Chi - Bassist for the deftones 1998

How has the Ozzfest been so far for you? 

It's been great, it's been amazing. I'm honored to be on the bill with all of these bands, 
and a lot of these bands are old school bands, ya know, Sabbath, the oldest school band. 
Let alone Slayer, Primus, stuff I grew up on. A lot of good new school acts. 

How long have the deftones been together? 

10 years. 

10 Years?! 

10 Years of boozin' it up together. Since these guys were kids, ya know high school. 
Getting grounded and not being able to make practice. 

How would you describe your music? 

Drunk Music. 

First time I saw you live, I was blown away. You guys fucking rocked. 

I appreciate it. I mean we all have different perceptions of what kind of band we are. 
Which is cool, ya know? Stephen thinks he's in a metal band. I think I'm in a punk band. 
I'm not sure what Chino, Frank and Abe think, but everybody has their own perceptions of it. 
We're definitely more about having a good time, and being friends. 

You and Chino in particular are mental on stage. 

Yeah I am out of my mind on stage, and it makes me mellow the rest of the time, which is good. 

Is there anyone you have gone out of your way to see on the tour so far? 

Yeah, seriously at least half of the bands out here. Some of the new school bands, 
like I don't even listen to heavy music, I'm a blues guy. 

What do you think of this seated audience stuff? 

It's different from what we're used to, but it's actually really cool to try and get the people 
up, ya know? It's humbling. You gotta work hard again, and I think that's good. 

Do you do any writing on the road? 

We don't really write together on the road. Everybody just parties. It's more like everybody 
individually writes, and we bring it all together later. 

Are there any bands that you haven't toured with that you would like to tour with? 

Absolutely, one band in particular, and they said that next year it is definitely going to 
happen and that is Tool. Which is cool. I don't listen to heavy music, but what an unbelievable 

When you get to Sabbath's age, do you see yourself doing the same thing? 

Hard to tell. I can't tell. 

If you weren't making music, what do you think you would be doing? 

You know, I love life and I love being alive, so I'd do anything. 

What do you do to keep busy on the bus? 

Besides drinkin. When I'm not on the bus, I meditate 2 to 3 times a day. 

Is there anyone who musically inspires you? 

Definitely. I love Ben Harper. Max Cavalera. 


“Spin” – May, 1998 // Stef Interviewed

Stef intervied by SPIN (May,1998)

Deftones guitarist Stephen Carpenter is the taco the town. 
An interview in five parts by Nicole DeCrescenzo.

SPIN: Do you all skate? You look like Skate Culture.

It's weird, 'cause I don't skate like I used to. 
When I was a kid I wanted to be sponsored, and, you know, 
the whole nine yards and then I got hit by a car and that 
pretty much brought my skateboard culture to a screeching halt, 
but I eventually picked it up when I started to walk again.

SPIN: How long were you not walking?

I was walking after two weeks. I mean, I just had pins sticking 
out of my leg, I had a cast for a while, I had this and that, you know, 
I have, like, a rod--I don't know if it's steel or titanium, what it's 
made out of but it's right in the middle of my shin bone, basically. 
I mean, I skate now, I can do whatever I want, basically. It's probably 
stronger than it ever was.

SPIN: How did the accident happen?

Drunk driver.

SPIN: Did you get money?

Yeah. I blew it. I sucked. But I never felt the accident. 
To this day I never felt pain--I think I had divine intervention. 
No. Not divine intervention, 'cause--I think I had a special kind 
of divine intervention, I'm sure. Because I should have died--I was 
blessed enough not to be shredded before my time.

SPIN: At what point did you get to quit the Job?
I got fired from my last job. I'll tell you this story. 
Me and Abe used to work at this Mexican place, and we had these meetings 
about how the manager thought things were supposed to work. I showed up 
to this meeting late, basically. I mean I didn't want to act like a dick 
and like I didn't care, but I just blended in as quietly as possible, 
didn't pay any attention to him because I didn't need to, really. 
I really didn't. I swear, I really didn't, because I knew what he was 
saying. He's said it many times before.
So we open at 11, and the meeting ends at 10:30. So we had a half hour 
to do basically everything that has to be done all morning long. 
So everyone is running around like crazy and we had a huge order of a 
bunch of stuff to make, right? And one of his rules was to not have
--this is going to sound so stupid--

On the grill, you know, we grill the chicken, right? And I would fill 
the whole grill up. I'd leave an area to cook fish and shrimp and stuff, 
right, but I would cook a ton of chicken because we went through so 
much chicken, it was insane. All the time, right? You know, chicken tacos, 
burritos, tostadas, et cetera. I'd have a big old container so we could 
keep up with the demand, right?
Well, what he wanted was a little portion on the grill with chicken, and 
just enough fish for the orders that you need. So basically I'd be behind 
the whole time. His way, that he wanted, would not keep up with demand. 
My way kept demand kickin'. But because they were my ways and not his ways, 
he wouldn't have it. No fucking joke. And at the time, I was pissed, 
because I couldn't believe I got fired for something so sorry.

SPIN: You'd want someone else to do your phone sex?

Well, I'd love to do it, but it wouldn't be any good. Guys aren't 
going to call me. I could be a phone-sex operator, just not a gay 
phone-sex operator. That's what I'm saying. I would hire women to do 
my phone-sex line. There's more money there.

SPIN: Would you be like a celebrity endorsement? Would it 
be Stephen Carpenter's Phone-Sex Line?

That'd be kinda fresh. Like, "These are the hottest chicks. 
I've hand-selected them myself."

SPIN: Would you hand-select them?
Yeah, that'd be the easiest part.

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“Nick Terry” – September, 1998 // Chino Interviewed

Chino interviewed by Nick Terry
09/1997 - www.deftonesworld.com

By any recckoning, the Deftones are this autumn's
Big Hip New Cool Band. With their second album
'Around The Fur' following hot on the heels of a
completely sold-out UK tour, the Sacramento band
could be set for stardom and all its usual
pitfalls very soon. Nick Terry caught singer
Chino Moreno and drummer Abe Cunnigham on this
cusp, and dug beneath the hype to discover one of
the more unlikely contenders for Metal
Megastardom to have waltzed along in a while.
All, it turns out, is not as it seems?

Vulnerable Display Of Power

It's a truism that when a band arrives, some of
their potential audience departs. The sound of
disgruntled undergroundists leaving the room as
the Deftones move in on the popular affections of
the Metal-loving masses is already audible.
They'd need little provocation: after all, isn't
an unholy triumvirate of New Metal Monstrosity
now complete, with Coal Chamber sitting at the
feet of King Korn, and Deftones placed at the
right-hand side? After a long hiatus, maybe we'll
all learn to loathe Los Angeles once more, and
hold California in contempt, just like we used to
in the nightmare days of all those hair bands. 
As a reaction to the already-swelling hype that
will descend on SoCal's heavier bands in tandem
with a hundred A&Rs, this skepticism is probably
healthy and, in part at least, well-founded.
Funnily enough, it's also a skepticism shared by
the Deftones themselves. This Sacramento band has
taken the long route round to success on these
shores, playing out across America on countless
support and headline tours, releasing a quietly
powerful debut album, 'Adrenaline' to less than
immediate acclaim. Having done it the hard way in
the back of a van in their home country, they've
arrived, all but out of the blue, over here, to
find themselves headlining the larger clubs of
the UK tour circuit and selling them out with
effortless ease. The hype, such as it has been,
has followed their flag, rather than the other
way around. Like it or not, until recently,
Deftones have been an almost underground
phenomenon here. 
So that noise you're now hearing is the murmurs
of all those who just don't like being blindsided
by a band who took the outside lane to what now
looks like stardom. Ignore it, for the fact
remains that, sold out tours or no, heavily
pushed and marketed second albums or no, press
hype or no, there's more than enough of worth and
interest here for anyone. And one last thing:
none of it has anything to do with Korn. 

To be fair, little of the above has probably even
entered the minds of Chino Moreno, the Deftones'
lanky vocalist, or his sidekick and the band's
drummer Abe Cunnigham, as they sit down backstage
to chat with me before a show that will once
again see the Astoria break fire regulation
records on account of its crammed-to-capacity
crowd. It's as if they've parachuted into the
midst of an ongoing controversy and been caught
up in the crossfire. For the first few minutes,
all they can do is respond to my probing with the
kind of platitudes you'll find in other
publications. The tour's been amazing; the
crowd's given them a great vibe; they play for
the love of the music, not because they want to
be rockstars. Don't get me wrong: none of it's
faked, lipsynched or rings in any way false. It's
just that they're saying exactly what you'd
expect them to say. Eventually, I remind them
they're talking to a Metal magazine, not the NME.
Things start moving from there on in. 
"Oh, I'll talk Metal to any mag," Chino replies.
"You know, with the mainstream mags is when I
really like to talk about Metal. Cause then they
get all bent out of shape. You know what? If
they're gonna get all bent out of shape about me
talking about Metal, that's them thinking they're
too good for some style of music. Especially in
the States, if you say Metal, the first thing
they think of is Poison. So it's hard just to say
you're Metal, but we're definitely not ashamed to
say we're Metal."
So, unlike Korn, you embrace the term?
"I'd say we're definitely influenced by Metal,"
says the singer. "Of course. If you listen to us,
you can hear it. Metal's probably the most
alternative music that's available right now to
kids, you know. What's being shoved down their
throats every day on the radio is so far from
being alternative, they want an alternative to
that, so I think they choose heavy music. Plus
with heavy music, it's just the aggression of it
all, it's good for the youth to follow it."
But why do you think there's this almost
embarrassment with the term in the States now? Do
you think it might be because of the likes of
Mötley Crüe? Have they maybe turned the term into
something of a, forgive the pun, Poisoned
"That's terrible," Chino returns. " But this is
it, exactly. What happened was, it got ruined
because it became a scene. There were good Metal
bands, and a flash of Metal bands came out and
just ruined it. That's exactly what I don't want
to happen with what you consider our New Metal or
whatever you wanna call it, bands like us and
Korn, who make heavy, Metal-influenced music
that's just on another level, and I'm just hoping
it doesn't go the route where Heavy Metal went in
the first place and it just got over-popularised,
with bands that were doing half-assed jobs at it
starting getting on TV all the time. Then it just
gets ruined."
Is that why you're suspicious of the hype going
on at the moment with Southern California or this
new wave of Metal?
"Definitely. I see it because the media's coming
out and saying we're sounding like [other bands],
that there's this new sound coming out, and it's
scary to me. I don't want it to become a scene,
cause the minute it becomes a scene, which it
already kinda is? that's when everyone's going to
put their hands in?"
"?sucking it dry," adds Abe in a stage-whisper,
getting a rare word in edgeways. 
"?and they'll ruin it," Chino continues, "the
whole reason why we're doing this. The reason why
we're doing this kind of music is not because we
wanna be in a band and try to be stars, we're
doing this kind of music because this is what we
know, this is what we grew up on. This is what
made me who I am and all of us come together in
the first place. That's what we want to do and
that's what we want to continue to do and the
only way we'll be able to continue to do this is
not to be put in a scene, because a new scene is
an old scene next year, you know what I mean? I
don't wanna be part of that. I always wanted to
be a band like, say, Sonic Youth that can just
keep making records and not really be in a scene.
The only scene you can say they're in is maybe
indie, but you know what, though? They stand on
their own, and they keep making records and keep
making records, and I'm sure they love every lick
of guitar they play or note they sing."

You need only listen to the first few bars of the
very first song on Deftones' debut album
'Adrenaline', 'Bored', to know that Chino isn't
bullshitting. Unashamedly, it steals a classic
Sepultura riff, as if to say 'Here I am - this is
where I come from', and THEN, the voice comes in,
all but crooning, singing not screaming, totally
offsetting the aggression and brutality of the
rhythm. That, in a nutshell, is Deftones'
relationship with Metal: an influence, yes, a
spring-board, also, but not the whole of the
story. There's more to it than that, but first,
let's talk a little more about this one aspect.
Both 'Adrenaline' and 'Around The Fur' were
produced by Terry Date, best known for his work
with Pantera and White Zombie, and the new album
features ex-Sepultura frontman Max Cavalera on
the track 'Head Up', trading off vocals with
Chino in the way only Max can. It's thanks to
Max's relentless championing of the band that
Deftones have, in part, got as far as they have.
When Terrorizer talked to him the other month,
the first name that came out of his mouth when
asked what he'd heard lately that rocked his
world was, you guessed it, Deftones. 
So, Chino, what did you think when you heard that
Max Cavalera say that 'Adrenaline' had been an
influence on 'Roots'?
"I loved 'Roots'. That's? I just can't even
comprehend how that makes me feel. It's just the
biggest compliment I could ever get. We listened
to 'Chaos AD' on the bus last night. We played
with his new band a couple of months ago for a
benefit show for his stepson that passed away [in
Phoenix in August - NT], and his intensity
onstage, on tape, just in person, his vibe is the
best. I love the new demos. It's equally as heavy
if not as heavy as Sepultura. Max is an angry man
right now, and he's got every right to be. He's
letting out some shit. It's powerful. It's some
of the most powerful stuff I've heard in ages. If
people like Sepultura, they'll love Max's new
Max just laid that shit down with Sepultura, and
he still continues to do that. That's the first
Metal band that I thought, oh my God, this has to
be the best music in the world! A band like
Sepultura took Metal I think to another level,"
Chino finishes. "They didn't come in wanting to
talk about skulls and death, they came and talked
about their feelings."

Here's the real meeting-ground between a band
like Sepultura and Deftones - not in the musical
carapace of riffage and rhythm, but in the
attitude and emotions expressed. I said earlier
that 'Bored' was Deftones in a nutshell, but by
no means the whole story. Watching them at the
Astoria tonight more than bears this out. For
every downtuned battering-ram of a tune, whether
it's 'My Own Summer (Shove It)', taken from the
new album, or a rendition of the track they
contributed to the 'Crow II' soundtrack,
'Teething', you get other songs which take this
band's colossal live energy in totally different
directions. Completely able to slow down as well
as speed up, Deftones sprawl: few bands have this
great a grasp of dynamics. There's undoubtedly
those here tonight who start getting restless
when Chino's sob 'n sigh heralds the arrival of
yet another midpaced or dragged-out number, or
who shift in their seats when Chi Cheng bangs his
bass and Stephen Carpenter wrings the neck of his
guitar in order to extort yet more
in-between-tune feedback. F*** 'em. There's more,
far more to Deftones' range than a constant
barrage of scream-and-shufflebeat New Metal
"Okay, so it feels good to beat your shit," Chino
explains. "Aggression is a total natural feeling,
accepting that you have adrenaline in your body,
and it's a natural thing to release that, that
comes out right away, but I think it's harder to
be vulnerable. And actually, you can mend the
two, and merge the two together, in the music, so
that you can open yourself up and say, you know
what? This is me, and I'm not the hardest guy on
earth. I probably can't kick your ass. 
"What I really like is vulnerability, is being
vulnerable," he continues. "I don't know, I like
to see girls when they're vulnerable. Vulnerable
girls always attract my attention right away. I
think ever since I was a kid, I liked that for
some reason. I've kinda detached myself from
that, too. On this record, between all the parts
when I'm lashing out, which aren't too much on
this record, I put myself in the vulnerable
position, lyrically."
In Metal terms, being vulnerable is quite a
radical gesture, not to be a tank steamrollering
over everything. 
"But it's cool! That's how I would describe our
music. I would describe it as being aggressive,
vulnerable music, which are two opposite things.
That's one of the biggest things about the band
that we have, is that we don't stand up and say
these are our beliefs, and throw 'em out to
people. We don't have any message that we're
trying to send across all the time. We don't go,
we're hard and we're heavy as shit. Our music is
so much more heavier than some of that shit when
people are just going, 'Aaaaaargggh!'. Nothing
against that kind of music, but if you let your
shield down for a minute and let your true self
out for a minute, that could be heavier than you
screaming anything. You can just say something in
complete honesty and in a nomal tone of voice and
it can be twenty times heavier than the loudest
scream than you can belt out of yourself."
Thirty times louder than bombs, Deftones' second
album totally bears this out. Its predecessor
came over like a cross between Sepultura and
Fugazi, or Pantera and Tool, especially towards
its closing, where the final two tracks, 'Eingine
No. 9' and 'Fireal', took the tempo down to a
sinister torpor. 'Around The Fur', too, has its
gloriously slow moments, not least 'Mascara', a
total kissing cousin to anything put out by the
likes of Slint and Rodan. And as with Slint, what
makes Deftones so great is this rise and fall,
this rollercoaster flow: a combination of
eardrum-shredding noise and almost catatonic
melancholy. Both bands, then, offer a vulnerable
display of power.
Chino goes wide-eyed when I mention Slint, and so
do I when he acknowledges the reference-point.
"Oh yeah. I love them. I can definitely see that.
I'm glad people notice it. The thing is, I'm not
saying we got that from Slint, we listened to a
lot of the same music that Slint listened to.
People will say, 'how do you listen to this
trash?' You know what? It's not trash, it's real
music, they're not being in these bands to make
money. A lot of people know that you don't get
into Indie music if you wanna make money. It's
Indie for a reason. It's making music because you
love it. I don't know if you ever heard the band
Girls Against Boys, they're a band we all love,
you can call them indie. I love that shit. That's
just straight emotion going on there, powerful
shit. There's this record by them, 'Venus Luxure
No. 1 Baby', to me, that record is heavier? I
don't want to name albums, but damn, that record
is one of the heaviest records of all time,
emotionally and everything."

Even if you try and shut out Deftones' slower
side, you can't ignore the fact that, as Chino
says at one point, their heavier songs go places,
too. It's this dynamic approach - stop-start,
loud/quiet, build and destroy - that makes the
band's current success such a delicious irony.
Rock-club fodder they may be, but we're talking
about a band who take inspiration from Indie
music (though, it should be said, underground
Indie music) and don't care who knows it.
Suddenly, Chino's flopping and cavorting onstage
looks less like the work of Jonathan Davis' kid
brother, and more like the actions of a man who
probably wants to be both Phil Anselmo and
Morrissey, all wrapped up in one. And as it turns
out, even 'Around The Fur's bruising opener,
'Shove It', fits in with this spiel. 
"'Shove It' is a song about the sun and the
daylight," Chino explains. "When we were doing
the record, I was just getting irritated by the
daytime. Me and him [points to Abe] shared a
room, put foil over the windows cause we wanted a
bit of solitude. So the song is somewhat like, in
my onw summer, I would prefer for there to be no
sun, you know what I mean? For there just to be
no one on the streets, somewhat like Armaggedon
or an apocalyptic kind of thing."
Isn't that a bit unusual for a band from Southern
Chino smirks in acknowledgement. "Yeah,
definitely. Usually in Seattle, where we
recorded, it's rainy and dreary, and I like that.
I get off on depressing music, like I'm a big
Morrissey fan. People will wanna shoot me after
this interview! I'm not embarrassed at all,
because I love depressing music."
So you could say that 'My Own Summer (Shove It)'
is a bit like a Metal version of 'Everyday Is
Like Sunday', then?
"You could! He's talking about Armaggedon in that
song. 'My Own Summer' is basically something of a
take-off of that song. I love that feel, when you
put on some music and it can almost be eerie. The
actual song 'My Own Summer' is straightforward,
pounding. The riff's kinda cryptic, but it's
heavy all the time. If you read the lyrics,
you'll understand what's going down, and it's
just asking the clouds to come down and please
shove the sun aside, and that's what it's saying.
But I'm screaming!"
Is there any kind of conclusion we can come to?
Anywhere we can fit you into?
"I would just say, you know, it's just completely
intense," Chino concludes. "The whole vibe of it
all. It goes through a lot of different moods,
usually always heavy but it has a lot of melody
and a lot of sorrow, a lot of emotions. It goes
through a lot of different emotions that
everybody goes through in everyday life. A lot of
people can tap into that and that's what I think
draws them to us. Basically, it's just emotional
Over the years, I've had everyone from Slint to
Sepultura and Godflesh say the exact same thing
as Chino just did. You know what? He's right.
Just because Deftones are the Big Hip New Cool
band of this autumn, doesn't mean they can't be
genuine. Go figure, but more importantly, go

“Loudside” – February, 1998 // Stef and Chino Interviewed

Chino and Stef interviewed by Matteo Cipolla (loudside.com)
© February 1998


On the 10th of February 1998, the Deftones were supposed to play in a little club here in Milan,
Italy.  Everybody knows they are one of the hottest bands around, and Italy was no exception 
with the tickets sold out in a few days and the promoters forced to change the venue. 
The band finally played in the best club of the city, the place that hosted performances by 
artists like Counting Crows, Alanis Morissette and Sheryl Crow among the others.... 
Some hours before the band is due to join the stage, I have the chance to chat a little with 
Chino and Steph.  Our conversation doesn't take place in a plush hotel....no, the Deftones are 
too down to earth for that sort of thing.  I meet them in a normal cafè, the place where you 
wouldn't expect a famous band to hang out.....

Me: You have been touring even before "Around the Fur" was released...how did the crowd react 
to the new material?

Chino: I think it was still pretty good.....obviously it wasn't as good as it is now that the 
people know the music, but it was still pretty intense....

Me: A few months after the record was released, is there something you would change?

Chino: No, not really. There were songs that we were still writing when we finished up the 
record and I wish we could have put on it but as far as the record goes, it's fine, it's good. 
There's a couple of little tiny things like vocals or whatever that maybe I would have...

Steph: (laughing) He's never happy...

Chino: What would you change?

Me: Nothing, I would have just put the lyrics to the hidden song...

Chino: "Damone"?

Me: Yes

Chino: We put them on the internet....so everybody who's interested can find them there.

Me: I heard about a collaboration between you, Chino, and Max from Soulfly.  
Could you tell us more about that?

Chino: After he (Max) came in the studio and did "Head Up" with us ,he called me about a week 
later and said he had such a good time working, and he'd wanted to do a project with me.  
I said "okay", and we said what we'll do is just me and him, and we'll bring some of our 
favorites, just to collaborate...

Me: You already have some name for the project?
Chino: No...we haven't even started making it... perhaps is what we are going to do with the 
summer.  In July we are planning on recording some stuff but... he has just started getting 
Soulfly together, so there is really no time to record stuff.  Hopefully we are going to have 
some time to record next year... or later this year.

Me: You always try to promote new bands, bringing them on tour with you and talking about them
in interviews.  Which are the new bands we can look forward in '98?

Chino: I really like Will Haven, really powerful.  Human Waste Poject, System of a Down....

Steph: I heard them (System of a Down) here today, we got a demo.

Chino: It was okay... Snot are cool as well...

Steph: We played with Snot... and another cool band from Sacramento are Tinfed, they are 
excellent too. You can contact them at tinfed@aol.com, and they'll send you some stuff.  
They are really good, they have been around as long as we have... if I had to describe them, 
they are like Nine Inch Nails... but I think better, because they write songs... it's groovy, 
but it's a different kind.  I' ve been listening to their tape as much as Nine Inch Nails, and 
not to down Nine Inch Nails, which is awesome... but I like the Tinfed tape even more... to me 
it's more songs... there is a really cool groove...

Me: Let's talk about the meaning of the lyrics now... "Lotion" for example has some angry lines 
on it.  Is there any particular person you are referring to?

Chino: Yes, there is... there's a certain person that I can't really tell... a person who 
fucked with me.  It's not about a girl though... it can be about anyone.

Me: What does the song "MX" mean?
Chino: The song was first called "Max", because when we wrote the song, the riff was similar 
to something that Max (Cavalera, Soulfly singer) would make.  When we went in the studio, 
Steph took out the "a"... and it's now called "MX"...

Me: We know that your main influences, especially when you were younger, were Depeche Mode, 
Duran Duran and stuff like that.  Which are your "new" influences?  I know you are massive 
Weezer fans...

Chino: Yes. I like anything that has some kind of passion... and I think Weezer rocks.

Me: You (Steph) love them too, don't you?

Steph: Oh man... I love them!

Me: Are you going to play some covers tonight?  Like "Say it ain't so" from Weezer?

Chino: I don't know.  Maybe...

Steph: I think we love playing it... what is hard about it now is that people expect us to play 

Chino: Whenever we do covers we never plan to play them, we just do whatever we feel like.  
Like last night, when we played a Bad Brains song.

Me: You'll be busy touring Europe until March.  What's next for the band?  Any chance to see 
you guys playing with Korn at the "Family Values" tour or on the Ozzfest '98 bill?  
What's next for the band?

Chino: Probably just touring back and forth and doing a lot of festivals here, and then going 
back (in the U.S.A.) and doing the "Warped" tour.  Many festivals, and then we'll be going in 
Japan, Australia and we'd like to go in South America as well.

Me: Mtv and radio have never been very friendly with your music, and many fans can have info 
about the band, watch the videos or simply meet themselves through the Internet.  What's your
point of view on the whole "Internet" thing?

Steph: Good.  I mean, it's just another meaning like the telephone, like the TV, like the radio.
but all in one.  And you can change it and dress it anyway you like it, it doesn't have to be
in a certain way.  It's cool that people from around the world can meet themselves and talk 
about everything, not only the band.  I think the people that are afraid of it shouldn't be 
afraid of it 'cause there's nothing really bad into it, it's definitely a good thing.

Me: Did you find any differences between European and American audiences?   Like the way of 
moshing...over here many people just jump up and down...

Steph: I think it's much cooler like that.  People here don't try to hurt each other, while in 
the U.S.A.... I can't say all the people, but there's always some dickhead in the crowd that 
doesn't even know what it's about... and they get into the audience just to get involved in 
fights.  I think people are starting to realize that.  When metal was really popular it was 
more like of a "pit thing", everybody was always running in circles and just being a group 
kind of thing... and then you got everybody throwing each other around and stuff...

Chino: There was a kind of punk influence to it....punk and metal....and that's when the people 
started getting crazy.

Steph: I think people are starting to realize that there is no need for violence in the crowd, 
do it (surfing) if you like to have a good time, but there's no need to hurt each other, 
have fun!

Me: You wrote a couple of songs for two soundtracks ( "The Crow 2" and "Escape from L.A."), 
and you even played in the Duran Duran tribute album.  Have you got any new songs written for 
some future soundtrack or tribute album?

Chino: We have a couple of songs that we...actually we have one song that we didn't put on our 
record and some remixes for "Be quiet and Drive" that.....maybe someone wants to hear.  
But this time I think we'll try to pick up a movie better, we want to make sure that it is a 
good movie.  The "Escape from L.A." thing is pretty ridiculous... I like the song we did for 
it, but i think the film it's pretty stupid.

Me: And what about the part that you played in "The Crow 2"?

Chino: I think that was more just an experience.  Our first record wasn't even out yet, and I 
think that we were just so excited that someone wanted us to be in a motion picture that we 
accepted to do it.  After it's done I think it was just basically what it was...it was cool 
to go in a movie theatre and watching yourself on the big screen.

Me: What does D.J. Frank do live and on the record?  Is he the fifth member?

Chino: Yep... on the record he does the sounds... like in the song "My own Summer (Shove it)", 
in the middle part there is a little sound... that's his stuff.  He's on Adrenaline as well, 
like on "Minus Blindfold"...

Me: And now, the question many fans were waiting for... Chino, what do you say in "7 Words" 
after "squeal like a pig..."?

Chino: That's the question I get all the time...

Me: You always change it?

Steph: (laughing) No...

Chino: The truth is that I don't say anything, I just kind of inhale....and I think the 
only word that I know that I was saying was "fuck"....when we recorded the demo for that 
song, we had only written the song about a week before recording it, and I didn't have any 
lyrics to it ,so I wrote all the lyrics in the studio and I just made noises.  
When we recorded the record version of it, I just copied what I did on the demo tape, 
which is basically just the same thing.. I don't really say anything...

Steph: (laughing) We can't tell you the truth or we'll have to kill you....

Stephen was obviously joking, and later that night, I was standing outside of the venue 
waiting for the doors to be open and to get the best seats for one of the hottest tour of '98. 
At about 8.15 pm, the sound out of the P.A. fades away, and Will Haven join the stage. 
Their set is formed by songs taken mainly from their latest release, "El Diablo", and it's 
not hard to understand what Chino means for "powerful". Will Haven rock hard, and songs like 
"Foreign Film", "Ego's game" or "I've seen my Fate" prove that they are one of the heaviest 
bands you'll see this year. When Will Haven's performance is finished, the crowd starts 
getting anxious, which sums up what the Deftones mean to all these people. At about 9.30 pm, 
Chino & Co. join the stage, and kick off the show with a rocking version of "Be quiet and 
Drive (Far Away)", followed by "Lotion" and others tracks from Around the Fur. The first 
highlight and sing-along of the night comes when Chino introduces the band's current single, 
"My Own Summer (Shove It)". The place becomes hot, and when many fans join the stage and sing 
with Chino, you realize how much fun the crowd is having. The concerts goes on with the band 
performing gems like "7 Words", "MX", "Head Up" and a great version of the Weezer's mega-hit 
"Say it ain't so". In the end, they play a Suicidal Tendencies cover and a mighty performance 
of "Engine #9", which means the crowd went absolutely crazy..... At about 11.00 pm, the concert 
is finished... the Deftones earthquake has hit Italy, and is now coming to a venue near you 
very very soon. What you are going to see is one of the best shows you'll ever see in years...
..you are warned.

“Pollstar” – December, 1997 // Chino Interviewed

December 22, 1997 Pollstar Interview

 YOU MAY NOT HEARthe Deftones onmainstream radio or see the band onprime-time MTV, 
but somewhere deep inthe pits of abrasive heavy metal rock, 

 there is a success story building.  

The Sacramento-based band has spent most of its time on the road since signing with 
Maverick Records in 1994 and releasing its debut album, Adrenaline. The group is now 
seeing the fruit of that labor with sales of its sophomore release, Around The Fur. 
That record debuted on the SoundScan chart at No. 29 and has since sold nearly 90,000 
That's not bad for a band that started as a group of kids just looking for some fun. 
Deftones singer Chino Moreno told POLLSTAR he was skateboard buddies with drummer Abe 
Cunningham and guitarist Stephen Carpenter when they were about 10 years old. 
Carpenter's whole life revolved around skateboarding during those years but everything 
changed in an instant when at 16, he was hit by a drunk driver. He ended up trading in 
his skateboard for a guitar and with the settlement he got from the accident, he bought 
a roomful of band equipment. "He put it in his garage and we just all started basically 
teaching ourselves how to play," Moreno said. After going though a few bassists, Chi 
Cheng became a permanent member. 
It was two years before the band had its first real gig in a local club. From there, the 
guys started to build a fan base in the Sacramento area -- but they took their time. 
"We didn't really try to play all the time and go out there and shove our music down people's 
throats," Moreno said. "It was more like we'd always try to just get better and write 
better songs and then go play them just to see what people thought." 
When the band felt confident enough, it expanded its gigging-area to San Francisco and 
Los Angeles. It was a seemingly dead-end gig in L.A. that got the Deftones their big break. 
"We were closing for some band," Moreno said, "and after that band played, everybody left. 
There was probably only five [or 10] people there. It was really grim. But we decided we'd 
just play our normal show." Someone in the audience who had a connection to Maverick Records 
was impressed. The next thing the guys knew, Maverick was asking to see a showcase. 
In a small studio space, label prexy Freddy DeMann and A&R exec Guy Oseary came to see what 
the Deftones had to offer. "We played three songs and they just said, 'We want to sign you 
guys right now,'" Moreno said. The band was shocked. 
Of course, about that time, other labels starting swarming. But Moreno said the others didn't 
have the absolute confidence that Maverick showed. "Maverick was just like, 'We just dig 
the vibe of your guys' band. You guys have good songs and we want to sign you,'" he said. 
"There was no beating around the bush. It was just straight forward and that's what we 
really liked about them." 
As soon as the Deftones inked their deal with Maverick, they were sent out on the road. 
Though the band members have grown to believe in relentless touring, hitting the road so 
hard in the beginning wasn't what they expected. The way they saw the music industry, a 
band put out an album, got a hit single, and then toured behind it. The opposite turned 
out to be true for the Deftones. "We put out records to support our live show," Moreno 

Without the rush the guys get from performing live, they couldn't be inspired to live 
life on the road, Moreno said. The band fires off a dose of its heavy metal energy and 
then "that energy doubles as the crowd gives it back to us and then we keep feeding off 
each other. It usually just keeps building into this big ball of intensity. By the end 
of the show, it's just psychotic," he said. 
With the release of Around The Fur, there is an industry buzz surrounding the Deftones 
but the band is keeping its focus. "Sometimes the hype can scare you a little bit. 
It puts more pressure on you when you have more hype behind you," Moreno said. 
"I don't think anybody in our band thinks that we're the greatest thing in the world. 
I think we all realize that we have a lot of talent that we've tapped in to but we 
still have so much more to go. And if people start labeling you the next big thing, 
it almost sets you up next year to be last year's thing."

“Guitar World” – October, 1997 // Stef Interviewed

Guitar World
October 1997

By Jen Wiederhorn



The Deftones' Stephen Carpenter slams the accelerator of his spiffy rental car and passes a 
pair of pokey commuters. Drummer Abe Cunningham and I hold on for our lives as the car lurches 
forward. "People in Seattle don't know how to fucking drive," the guitarist growls as he 
swerves back out of the passing lane. The purpose of this high-speed escapade is to hit Tower 
Records and buy an adapter that will enable Carpenter to plug his MiniDisc player into the car 
stereo. "I can't wait for you to hear this shit," he exclaims as he hurtles the car into a 
parking space. He and Cunningham eagerly trot into the store, and reemerge a few minutes later, 
grinning broadly. They've got the booty.

"Check this out," says Carpenter as he pops the disc in the player and pumps up the volume. 
A deafening flurry of jagged guitar shards bursts from the speakers, followed by propulsive 
drumming and haunting, melodic vocals. As the song kicks into overdrive, and the roaring riff 
is greeted by a volley of equally roaring vocals, Carpenter begins to tap his hands 
spasmodically on the steering wheel. In the back seat, Cunningham bobs his head intently, 
as if watching a live concert, and when Carpenter stops, at a light, Cunningham flashes 
Carpenter the Beavis and Butt-Head salute, and the two exchange high fives.

"I just can't help it," says Carpenter. "We sit in the car all the time freaking out and 
listening to our new stuff. I love to play it for anyone who will listen, because I'm so 
happy with the songs we came up with."

He has plenty to be pleased about. At first listen, the band's yet untitled second album 
feels somewhat akin in spirit to Helmet's Meantime, which came out of nowhere in 1992 to 
kick-start a generation of short-haired, skateboard-toting rebels who liked their music as 
ugly and abrasive as their road rash. In an era of post-alternative pop music, Deftones seem 
primed to steer rockers in a new direction by combining the savagery of metal, the aggression 
of punk and the moody temperament of alternative acts.

Like their 1995 debut, Adrenaline, Deftones' new album contrasts hushed atmospheres with raging 
fury, but this time around, they have eliminated much of the middle ground and pushed the 
extremes, making the soft parts eerily poignant and the loud ones frightfully intense. In 
addition, the band have experimented freely with samples, and one track even features Max 
avalera (ex-Sultura) playing a Brazilian tribal instrument that makes an odd twanging sound.

"I really love hard music, but I don't want what we do to be solely hard," says Carpenter, 
leaving the car and returning to the basement of Stone Gossard's Litho Studio, where Deftones 
are recording the album with producer Terry Date (Soundgarden, Pantera). "My favorite part 
about my band is [vocalist] Chino [Moreno]. His voice is almost like our second guitar, 
so it's not just straight, but the beauty of it all comes from the vocals and how they 
connect with everything else we do. If we wanted to only be heavy, that would be so easy 
to do."

Even when the band's vocals are reflective and ethereal, however, the basic structure of 
Deftones' songs are dark and abrasive, and most of the guitar parts grind with menacing power. 
But unlike the Trent Reznors and Marilyn Mansons of the loud rock community, Deftones aren't 
motivated by animosity or self-hatred. "Our music is about love and good experiences," insists 
Carpenter. "It's not about pummeling your neighbor and smashing everything. It's so funny 
because our music makes people want to destroy shit, and that's not what we're trying to do. 
I'm not saying we're violence-free or anything, but it's violence caused by love. There's a 
fine line between love and hate, and I'd like to think that's where we lie."

In part, the Deftones' willingness to wander beyond the parameters of heavy rock stems from 
Carpenter's penchant for pop music. He may have grown up on thrash metal, but has since 
developed a love for Morrissey, the Cure and even Depeche Mode. In fact, the band is currently 
working on tracks for upcoming Duran Duran and Depeche Mode tribute albums. "I've got three CDs 
in my packpack right now and two of them are Depeche Mode," admits Carpenter. "I love their 
music because it's emotional and driving, and it makes your heart pound. Their music inspires 
me to do happy things, stuff that just feels good. I love heavy music, man, but its so embedded 
in me that I don't have to listen to it anymore. A lot of metal bands are too pussy to act like 
pussies, but we're not afraid to really express ourselves."

At present, Carpenter is sitting on a black couch, moddling on an unplugged SP guitar. Even 
while he's in the middle of answering questions his left hand crawls around the fretboard 
like a bind spider. "I've played just about every day since I was 15, but I don't practice 
anything technical," he says. "I just fuck around on the thing. Sometimes I try to come up 
with a riff, but mostly I'll be sitting in front of the TV just moving my fingers around."

There was a time when Carpenter wasn't so passionate about playing music. As a middle-class 
kid growing up in Sacramento, California, he was completely obsessed with skateboarding, and 
had little time for studying or even sleeping, let alone practicing guitar and writing songs. 
"I'd skate to and from school, and then go out and skate all night, and I'd do that every day," 
says Carpenter. "I loved chicks like any other guy, but that wasn't my thing. I wanted to 

Carpenter's dreams of skating glory came to an end at the age of 15 when he was hit by a 
drunk driver while skating, and wound up in the hospital for two weeks. 'the guy was doing 
like 60 miles an hour when he slammed into me, and I wrecked his car," says Carpenter. 
"I never saw, heard or felt it, and I've never had any pain from it, but physically, I should 
have died. It's weird. I woke up in the street and I felt totally normal other than the fact 
that my leg was snapped in half. It was a definite changing point in my life in the way I 
looked at things, but when it happened, I was so ungrateful for being alive that I was pissed 
off that I couldn't skate because I had just learned to do this fresh-ass trick. The first 
thing I said when I realized I got hit by a car was, "Damn. How long before I start skating 
again?" And they said, 'It might be some time.'"

He laughs, and plays a few fretboard-tapping licks before continuing. "After a couple of weeks 
went by, I realized I could have been dead, and from that point on I didn't care about 
skateboarding anymore. I still love skateboarding now, but it's not the way I wanna spend all my 
time. Now, I just want to have a good time and live. I haven't turned into a fraidy cat or 
anything. I just want to do the most that I can with the time I'm here, and have as good a time 
as possible."

A week after Carpenter was released from the hospital, a friend came over with a guitar, and 
Carpenter accidentally played his first chord. At the time, he was watching the Ratt video 
"Round and Round," and saw Ratt guitarist Warren DeMartini crash through a ceiling onto a 
dining room table and strum a power chord. He imitated the simple finger positioning, 
and lo and behold, when he strummed, it resembled music. "it only took me a couple of weeks to 
get to where I could fake it and sound like I kind of knew what I was doing," he says. 
"I learned by playing along with Anthrax, S.O.D. [a sort of thrash supergroup made up of members 
of Anthrax and M.O.D. GW Ed.] and Metallica, and I didn't learn anything besides a power chord 
until I had been playing for about four years."

About an hour after sitting down for the interview, Carpenter and his bandmates take a break 
to watch a skateboarding and rollerblading competition on ESPN. They break out a tall fragrant 
bong, and proceed to light up while they watch. If you didn't know they were in a band, you 
might think the members of Deftones were textbook-case underachievers whose main social outlet 
is hooking up to smoke pot, watch TV and talk shit. The assumption wouldn't be far off the 
mark. The band members' chemistry is as strong as the weed they smoke, and it's that bond that 
makes their music sound so charged and cohesive.

"They play together like they're related, and they think the same way," says producer 
Terry Date, who worked on both Deftones albums. "Lots of times with bands, you'll get certain 
people who want to do one thing and certain ones who want to do something else. These guys 
pretty much always want to do the same thing. There's not too much disagreement about how 
they're going to approach something."

"We've definitely learned how to get along and communicate, but we also know all of each 
other's buttons, and we can make each other made, pretty much at will," says Carpenter. 
"Some of our beset shows have happened on nights when we've been just shy of having fistfights 
before we go on. By the time we hit the stage ,it's been so built up, we must go crazy. And 
then afterwards, we're having the beset party because we're all so happy about playing a great 
show." He cackles and packs another bowl. "We fight about the stupidest shit who drank the last 
beer ,what song we're gonna open with, who's been leaving shit around the bus - stuff 
like that."

Carpenter, Moreno and Cunningham attended the same high school, and although Carpenter is 
three years older than the other two, he knew Moreno from the local skate scene. When Moreno 
found out Carpenter played guitar, he set up a jam session with Cunningham, and the seeds of 
Deftones were planted. "Me and Abe took the bus over to Stephen's house one day after school," 
recalls Moreno. "Stephen was sitting on his porch, and he had this wireless guitar on. All the 
cabinets were in the garage, and he was sitting on the porch rocking out."

"I was a clean-cut 15 year old, and he probably thought I was some punk kid or something," 
adds Cunningham.. "There was a drum set in the garage, but the garage door was closed, and he 
wanted me to go in there and play while he stayed on the porch. I'm like, 'What a prick. he 
doesn't want to jam with me, he's out on the fucking porch.'"

Needless to say, the trio jammed itself deaf, and decided to form the band in 1988. 
They bought a bunch of equipment with settlement money from Carpenter's skateboard accident, 
hooked up with a bassist whose name has long been forgotten, and performed their first show a 
few months later. "It was completely hilarious," says Carpenter. "We were playing a barbecue, 
and our bass player at the time showed up all late. When we were laying his strap would come 
off, and he didn't have enough sense to take the cod up through the strap and plug it in, so 
he'd keep stepping on the cord and unplugging himself. And he wouldn't notice, so he'd just 
keep playing and nothing would come out."

Several other bassists followed before the band settled on Chi Cheng because of his decent 
gear and long hair. With their lineup complete, Deftones started writing originals and soon came 
up with a four-song demo. Two years later, the tape landed on the desk of an A&R man at 
Madonna's label. Maverick, and Deftones were signed shortly thereafter.

Since releasing Adrenaline, Deftones have toured relentlessly, opening for such acts as 
Korn, L7 and Ozzy Osbourne. During that time they've built up a loyal following by performing 
explosive live shows and sticking around to party with fans after the gig. "We definitely don't 
want to act like rock stars," says Carpenter. "We try to be approachable, and we like to hang 
out with the people who listen to our music."

"It's cool to kick with people," adds Cunningham. "They get to know you, and then they come 
back to see you again next time. Plus, you wind up with friends all over the country."

Of course, when your music is as emotionally turbulent as the Deftones' is, you wind up 
meeting some pretty strange folks.

"I don't care abut people who dye their hair funny colors or wear weird clothes, because 
that's just someone being an individual," says Carpenter. But there was this one girl who 
got Chino's name autographed on her stomach, and then she went out and had it tattooed on 
there. That's one of the craziest things I now, because that's real. That shit's gonna last 

It's entirely possible that the girl already wishes she could have the signature removed from 
her midriff. After all, Deftones have had a change of heart about the imprint bands like Korn 
and Rage Against The Machine have left on their career. At first, being compared to other 
alt-rock heavyweights was flattering and helpful but it has turned into an albatross that 
the band finds hard to shake.

"I hate it because we've always just done what we've done. We've never tried to be like Korn in 
any way," says Carpenter with a hint of annoyance. "We were all friends before either of us got 
signed, and we don't even sound like them. We appeal to the same kind of audience because we put 
on intense shows and so do they, but you're retarded if you listen to both bands and still 
compare them to us. The only thing we've got in common with those guys is an energy thing, 
and the fact that we're all friends.

"We once played a show in Bakersfield, which was where Korn is from," continues Moreno. 
"Their producer was at the show and he really dug our band, so we gave him a tape. A couple 
of days later, the Korn guys called and said, 'Dude, we like it, we want to lay shows with you 
guys.' So we went to L.A. and we both played. That was right when they were starting to get a 
buzz. They actually opened for us at that show. The whole thing is really annoying because a 
lot of times we'll be talking to a journalist, and then the press will say we're talking shit 
about each other, and we'll have to call each other up and straighten shit out. And it's really 
stupid because we were friends even before all this bullshit happened."

Like many of today's grassroots metal bands, including Korn, Type O Negative and Corrosion of 
Conformity, Deftones have been virtually ignored by MTV and rock radio, despite their diehard 
following. The only major media attention they've gotten came last year after an all-day 
concert in Tempe, Arizona, where a riot began during the band's set. The story was subsequently 
covered on the nightly news as well as Real TV, American Journal and Hard Copy. "We're just 
doing what we always do, and it was a typical audience for us," recalls Carpenter. 
"They were jumping around and diving and shit, but the security guys were being real fucking 
dicks and hitting people and putting them in headlocks. They pulled the plug on us after four 
songs. The crowd went crazy and started jumping on stag and smashing everything. We got whisked 
away backstage and then kids started burning shit and climbing the light rigs and everything. 
We didn't cause the riot we just happened to be there when the shit went down."

With the interview completed and the ESPN skateboard competition over, Deftones return to their 
apartment to pick up some supplies before returning to the studio. While Cunningham searches 
for some photos and paperwork, Carpenter checks the answering machine. A confused voice 
crackles from the speaker: "I'm trying to reach the Deftones, but it sounds like some dude 
smoking a bong." Carpenter laughs and, after much prodding, pushes the outgoing message 
button, and indeed, there's the deep, gurgling sound of a water pipe in action. "We wanted 
to hook the sound up to our front doorbell so that every time someone rings the door, they 
could hear it. We're still working on that."

The new Deftones album doesn't swirl with psychedelic wah-wah, or pulse hypnotically like many 
drug-influenced records, but the jarring rhythms and jittery riffs do suggest the wide-eyed 
paranoia sometimes caused by too much pot.

"I never thought we'd make a drug record, but this one definitely is," says Carpenter. 
"We didn't set out to do it or anything, but w were getting high just about every day, 
and that definitely had an effect on things."

Not that a Deftones studio session is like a weekend with Motley Crue or anything. When 
it comes to getting down to business, they are true professionals. But when the workday 
is done, the band members like to let loose. "We party all the time. Have a good time, 
fuck it," says Carpenter.

"I'm the vominator. I'm always puking," Cunningham offers.

"I hardly ever puke," replies Carpenter, but then he recalls one memorably messy evening. 
"The day the Alanis record went Number One the first time, Maverick threw a big-ass party 
at the label, and we basically drank all the drinks. By 10:30 that evening I was one-eyed 
and staggering. And I came into the hotel room we were staying at, and I just threw up a 
pancake like three feet big."

"You were sleeping in it, too," chimes in Moreno. "I went, 'Stephen, get up, you puked!' 
And you went, 'I did?' and fell right back to sleep. He didn't even care. I was getting 
ready to go out again, and he woke up, and he was all, 'I want to go too,' and he had puke 
hanging from his chin. I was like, 'Fuck you, get in the shower. You're going to sleep!'"

Carpenter mulls over the incident and smiles "I guess I just wanted to keep drinking."

You can talk about riff structures and vocal cadences until you're blue in the face, but at 
the end of the day, what really distinguishes the Deftones from Korn and Rage Against The 
Machine is the band members' motivations. Deftones are into the energy, excitement and 
creativity of rock music, and could care less about image and angst. The only reason they 
play with so much more intensity than many of their colleagues is because, for them, volume 
is a symbol of liberation.

"I'm at a point where I want to go off and have a good time, and I'm not going to be able to
run around or jump up and down to something mellow," says Carpenter. "I basically play 
energetic music because I don't know how to dance, and that's my form of dancing. I can 
go on stage and rock out and be a total dork, and it's all right. I like it to be really 
loud because that's where I get the most feeling out of it, where your ears feel like 
they're just vibrating from the intensity of it. All my friends go, 'You're deaf,' but I'm not 
deaf. I just like to feel that motherfucker hurt. Maybe one day I will be deaf, but I'm not 
worried about it right now."

“Plow Magazine” – 1997 // Chino Interviewed

PLOW snowboarding magazine
March 1997


"The Deftones" by Bob Hernandez

Their music has been described as being situated somewhere between industrial, 
hard-core and rap. They've played with seemingly every band out there today, everyone 
from Anthrax to L7. Kiss to No Doubt. And despite being ignored for the most pat by MTV 
and mainstream radio, their album has sold remarkably well. Likewise, they've managed to 
win over a huge amount of fans. Who are they? Is the suspense killing you yet? Sacramento's 
own Deftones have come a long way since their skateboarding ("That was our life back then" 
they humbly admit), garage-playing days.

Describing their evolution as a "slow process," Deftones - Chino Moreno (vocals), Stephen 
Carpenter (guitar), Abe Cunningham (drums) and Chi Cheng (bass) - have been together for quite 
some time now (seven and a half years), with three of the members friends since childhood. 
One of the more curious elements of the ban's history is their melting-pot of musical 
inspiration. For starters, metal played a big part. And as Abe describes it, "the energy of it 
all" was what appealed to them most. Chino, however, opted for something a little different, 
revealing, "I grew up on all that (80s) new-wave pussy stuff." And even though some of their 
songs carry a telltale hard-core interlude, their only real hard-core influence came from Bad 

For the band's Maverick debut, Adrenaline, legendary producer Terry Date (of White Zombie, 
Soundgarden and Pantera fame) was brought in, an aspect that initially made Chino a little 
nervous. His anxiety about working in a major studio with a big name producer for the first 
time was somewhat overwhelming. But Date helped Chino work through the rough times. As Chino 
remembers, "At times when I'd be trippin' out, I'd be like, 'I can't do this, Terry,' he'd just 
be like, 'You know what, go ahead and go home, take the day off, rest, come back tomorrow, we'll 
do it.' He was real supportive." The end result was an album everybody in the band was pleased 
with, adds Chino. "He wanted to make our record just sound like us, and not get too crazy, and 
not try to [overproduce] it, just make it raw, make it how we are live." The experience 
strengthened Chino's love of making music. As he puts it, "That's one of the best parts of 
being in a band, creating the music ..... that's the funniest part."

Adrenaline is an explosive mix of extremes, musically showcasing a savage and abrasive blend of 
harmony and chaos. Chino's emotional, melodic singing of abstract, "stream-of-consciousness" 
lyrics only enhance the music, moving from passionate whispers to frenzied screams, as evident 
in songs like "Minus Blindfold" and "7 Words." Many have compared their sound to that of Rage 
Against the Machine or Korn, to which the guys respond, "We just do what we do - you don't have 
to mention other bands."

Touring extensively has been key to their success, but the guys now know that it's not all it's 
cracked up to be. "It's hard to keep healthy on the road," reveals Chino. "You're sitting around 
all day long, you start to get bored, so what do you do? You're drinking beer ..... you end up 
not eating that good, because you're drinking all [the time]." Abe adds, "The road can turn you 
into whatever you let it. We've been on the road for almost two years [solid] now." Road life 
does have its redeeming moments, though, like when the guys visited Copenhagen, Denmark for the 
Roskilde Festival. "I didn't think that we really had any fans there," begins Chino, "and when 
we played, there were so many people singing along, people who probably didn't even speak that 
much English." Abe continues the thought, "The kids, they were just so into it, they knew every 
word. They'd bounce up and down in unison [to the music] rather than smashing the shit out of 
each other."

Ultimately, playing live is one of the gratifying elements of being int he Deftones. "You see 
all kinds of people at our shows," says Chino. "There's punk rock kids, and rocker kids and 
skateboarder kids. I think that's fresh, to see them all together. You could tell they probably 
wouldn't be hanging out together at school, because they're so different looking, but they're 
all at our show, and they're all hanging out." As for the future, it's back to the studio in 
March or April of this year to work on their next release. So, is this still fun for Chino and 
the boys, I ask finally? "Hell, yeah," he says, "otherwise I would not do it. I wouldn't mind 
getting a job, if I had to, if I wasn't having fun anymore, that's what I'd do. I would get me 
a job."

Let's hope that doesn't happen anytime soon.

“Drummer Magazine” – 1997 // Abe Interviewed

Abe Cunningham of the Deftones: 

By Matt Peiken.

 Of Heavy music were like fine wine, 1997 would go down as a sweet vintage. Let's take an 
inventory: Metallica "Re-loaded", Pantera kicked out live brutality, Korn and Tool headlined 
Lollopalooza, and the Ozzfesttour pushed up & comers like Coal Chamber, 
Powerman 5000, and Machine Head into the main stream. On the down side, however, all this 
activity overshadowed the best thing to happen all year to hard music: AROUND THE FUR from 
Around the fur is an amazing record built on crushing instrumentals lines, schizophrenic 
vocals, and lush, bottom-heavy rhythms. 
Reflecting on the making of the album (the bands 2nd), Drummer Abe Cunningham says he 
contributed as much with notes he didn't play as with those he did. But before you banish him 
into the less-in-more department, consider his upbringing: Drum corps, school jazz band, and a 
lineage of musicians. While most touring drummers have ritten off home practice, Cunningham 
still relishes the woodshed. And at 24, he's already learned that strong musicianship has 
nothing to do with showing off the masses.
As the Deftones continued their international sonic assault, Cunningham broke away to talk 
about his of drumming, his passion for learning, and what you can and can't hear on Around the 


Mp: Sacramento, California has had its success stories here and there, but it's not like there 
a lot of places there to play and grow as an artist. Did you guys set out to break away from 
Sacramento as quickly as possible, or did you have more humble goals?
AC: People think we're this new band, but we've been around almost ten years now. I went to 
school w/ our singer, Chino, and he grew up in the same neiborhood as our guiterrist, Stefan. 
Skateboarding was kind of our common bond, but after a while we all started jamming in Stefen's 
garage. It was just the basic garage band thing, just friends having fun. We started playing 
around Sacramento, which as his ups and downs, i guess. It's true, there aren´t a whole lot of 
bands either.
We used to play cover tunes in the garage just because it was fun. But way early on we started 
writting our own music. You used to be able to see the same bands playing in the same places, 
so any band that really wanted to branch out had to go to the Bay Area.
So that´s what we did, Berkeley Square, the Omni, the Stone. The whole Bay Area trash metal 
scene was very big then. We were heavely influenced and inspired by that.

MP: Were you a metal-head, yourself?
AC: I don´t know if i´d say that. I´ve always licked heavy music, but i have a real different 
background than that. My dad was a bass player and my step-dad was a drummer. My first memories 
of being around music are from watching my dad play blues gigs. When i started to play at around 
seven or eight years, i dug out my parents music, like Beatles records and hendrix albums, 
Mitch Mitchell is a great influence of mine, and i play along those. My mom was into things like 
the Police. All of that probably influenced me as a drummer more than metal drummer.
 Around the time i started playing, my dad sort of got away of the drums, i just sort of took 
over is kit. I was so fascinated with it that i´´d just take it apart and put it back together 
again. Then in High-school , i was in marching band and jazz band. I tried taking lessons for 
about a month, but the teacher was a real jerk, and and that kind of gave me a bad taste for 
normal lessons. But i used to come home after  school and just jam for hours. And that still 
something i crave a lot: just playing on my own. I miss it when we´re om the road.

MP:I´ve interviewed some drummers who say that they hate playing on their own, that they get 
all the practice they need playing night after nigth on the road. 
AC: Well that is a form of practice. What you´re doing is getting really good at playing those 
same songs, and there´s a lot to be said on that. I´m sure my playing is tighter and more fluid 
on our songs now then that when i first recorded them, mainly because i´ve had more time with 
them and had time to experiment with other ways of doing things. But that doesn´t necesserily 
makes me a better Drummer.
When you´re out on the road, you really don´t have time to sit down and work out some things 
oyu´ve like to try. You basically have soundcheck and the show. So when i´m home and have some 
time, one of the things i crave most is woodshedding bymysilf and trying to keep up my chops.

MP: Do you try to work out specific patterns or develop a specific part of your playing, or do 
you just like playing what comes to mind?
AC: It´s really all off that. I go a lot on inspiration, even if its another drummer´s lick, 
something i heard on a record or saw a nother drummer do, i might go home and pick it apart to 
see if i can figure it out. Maybe it´s something i´m frustrated with and i just wont to work on 
untill i nailed it. But now i pretty much go in and play what´s on the top of my head. it´s just 
nice sometimes to in a room by myself and just play.

MP: Are there any drum parts on Around the fur that came directly from your woodshedding?
AC: You know, this really sounds cliché, because you always read interviews where Drummers say 
there just playing for the songs, thats they´re more mature now or whatever. But really has as 
lot to do with were i´m coming from now, and definitely where where i was coming from with this 
At the time we did the first record, wich i really like and think is good, you can tell the 
band was really young. we´d been playing most of the songs for quite a while, and we were just 
so happy to be making a record that we didn´t really think a whole lot about making the song 
better. I think maturity is the biggest siferrence between the two records. We´d been on the 
constantky for two years we started the second record, so we where a lot more at ease in the 
studio. I think that allowed us to look a little deeper into whate we wanted to do.
What came out of that is that we simplified things.
For me, I think it was just playing with more confidence, and not feeling like i had to fill 
up all empty spaces. As a drummer, i wanted the songs to come through. There´s a diference 
between playing what´s right for the song and the song dictating what´s right for it self, and 
i think we let the song have theire way a lot more this time. The difference as really started 
to come out now that were on the road, because i´m really playing some things differently that 
i did on the record. Not it´s better or worse, it´s just different now that i´ve lived with the 
song for a while.

MP: What were some of the main challenges in simplifying your playing in the studio? Did you 
consciously hold yourself back from the embellishing certain parts, or was it very natural for 
you to lay low?
AC: Any drummer would just love to open up when he can, so it was a conscious thing to pull 
back. But it´s just that needed to happen  
And it´s not that difficult when you´re thinking of the song first and foremost.
 With the kind of music we play, the guitars are relly heavy and powerful, so it didn´t make a 
lot of sense to try to compete with that. It also doesn´t leave room for me to put in all the 
ghost notes and grace notes i usually like to play. I did a lot more ghosting on the first 
record. But you can´t hear them, anyway, so i really just had to play solid and heavy. I wanted 
the notes i do play to matter and help create a fell.  

MP: You can definitely hear the difference in production between your first and second record. 
The drum sound and the whole band now sounds a lot more thick and lush.
AC: Yeah, we spend a lot more time now thinking about those things and talking with the producer 
Terry Date about different things we wanted to hear. Terry as just so much experince to offer 
us, too. When he did our first record, he had just come from doing a White Zombie album for the 
previous six months, and he was a bit burned out. This time, he took almost a year off before he
went to work with us. It was so nice because everyone was ready to do it, and Terry knew 
exactly what would be right for what we wanted.He really it all together for us.

MP: Did you use a lot of different drums to get the sounds you wanted, or was it more 
combination of mic´s in the room?
AC: We used the same kit throughout tha whole record, but i swapped different snares around 
for practically every song. I think i´ve sort of rifened what i want in a snare sound now. I 
always liked getting a nice crack, but the older i´m getting, the more i´m getting into that 
fatter sound. Sometimes i like really loose snares. I´m always adjusting my snare tension, 
just to try to blend that crack with the fat sound.
I used to like piccolo snares a lot, but now i mainly use a 6x14 snare that´s a 20-ply maple 
with die-cast rims and four 1" holes drilled into
the sheel. it´s become my main snare now because it´s sort of the best between the both worlds 
for me. But i´m really happy with the whole kit. My drums come from Orange County Drum & 
Percussion. They´re really well made, and they´ve got great tone.
We did a cool experiment with one song that didn´t make it on the album. we set two kits up, 
one of them upstairs in the balcony of the studio and one below. I played the main track on the 
kit downstairs, then went upstairs and played that kit, but still recording it with the room 
mic´s from downstairs. I used two 19´ crashes for a hi-hat. It was just a really bizarre 
experiment, but it was toward the end of our time in the studio and we didn´t had a lot of time 
to play with it. It came out okay, though, and the song might make it onto B-side or something.

MP: Did you play to a click? I´m asking because your timing seems really tight.
AC: No, i don´t use a click, I can; I don´t have a problem with it. We tried once, i think, but 
we didn´t really need it. I don´t know if good timings come naturally to me or not, but i think 
i trained myself for that without even realizing it. It starts by playing to records with these 
bad-ass studio drummers on them, like Steely Dan records with guys like Jeff Porcaro. I don´t 
know if they used clix or not, but their timming is right on, an i guess playing along to them 
sort of taught me to be a stronger time keeper.

MP: Like training wheels on a bicycle.
AC: Tottaly. After you ride with training wheels, you take ´em of and you can ride on your own.

MP: Do you read music at all?
AC: A little, yeah. I used to be more into it during High-School, with marching band and 
reading jazz charts. I have to admit i´ve pretty much slacked on that, but i´d love to get 
back to it. I really want to , because it would be great to be able to work on some drum books 
when i´m woodshedding at home. I think getting more into reading would really open up a lot of 
worlds for me.

MP: You played in a few different musical settings before the Deftones. Did you particularly 
want to play in a heavy band, or where you just happy to in any band?
AC: At the time, to go out and play our instruments hard, but i was mainly to be playing with 
my friends. Threre was about a year an a half where i left the Deftones to play in another local 
band, Phallucy. They were like the really big band in Sacramento. And they were a lot older 
than me, i was maybe only sixteen at the time, so it was really cool.
 But was really good friends with the guys in the Deftones. They they tried all these different 
drummers, and every time someone wouln´t work out, i´d always go back to play with them. 
And we´d just have so much fun together. It was something we´d all created together,
and it was always a blast going back. They finally said: "hey, we´re great together, you have 
to come back". So i did, and it´s been that
way ever since. Our focus back then was on the energy and having a good time. That´s what it is 
even now. And we´re colectively into many different styles of music, we really don´t even 
really listen to much heavy music, so who knows what our next record will be like.

MP: Did you ever play double bass?
AC: I tried to, but i just can´t do it. I use a double bass pedal, but it´s more for emphasis, 
like a flam or a ruff, not hammer out 16th notes. I used to have a big kit, i used to hate 
lugging it around, and it´s became sort of silly. So i got the double pedal, which has actually 
been part of my setup for a long time now. I a way, i alomost regret it, because i grew up 
playing on a single pedal and i used to have a really fast foot. Now i rely a lot more on the 
double pedal. I just always know it´s there, so it´s a peace of mind thing.

MP: What are some things you´d like to do musically that have nothing to do with the deftones?
AC: I haven´t really thought that far ahead. I´d love to jam with different people. I play a 
little guitar, too, and i´d like to explorethat some more. But more than anything, I´d love to 
take drum lessons from somebody. Not out of a music store like i tried last time, but maybe 
from a friend who´s a bad-ass player, like the tutor-and-mentor situation, who i could just sit 
down with sometimes and pick things up from. No matter what, i never want to stop learning.

“Undecover” – 1997 // Abe Interviewed

The Mighty Mighty Deftones

By Paul Cashmere

Tranquil Sacramento, California is the home of possibly the world’s heaviest band, The Deftones.
The band is made up of two Mexicans, a Chinese guy and a white dude, all with common musical 
tastes. The mutual friends formed around 10 years ago and were one for the first acts signed 
to Madonna’s Maverick Record label.

They are also the headlining act for the upcoming Van’s Warped tour.

While making their first tour downunder, Abe Cunningham came into Undercover and caught up with 
Executive Producer Paul Cashmere and Timdog.

You are not only a rock band, but now movie stars. Tell us about you part in the second Crow 

Yeah that was kind of a funny thing. We actually filmed the whole part for three days, all day 
long, 15 – 16 hours and they ended up editing it down to this one little section. 
It was pretty cool, it was a while back. It was kind of exciting.

The movie was full of disasters.

Yeah totally. It was plagued, it was cursed. Brandon Lee was killed on the first one 
and one of the days they were doing this huge stunt, where a guy falls off a huge skyscraper, 
and the stunt broke his back. I think the whole movie was plagued. Nonetheless, it was a cool 
experience just to see how the movies are made.

The other movie you were involved with was Escape From L.A.

Right. I haven’t seen the movie. I heard it was terrible. 
We were just on the soundtrack on that, we just gave them the song.

Deftones are a very multicultural band. Two Mexicans, a Chinese guy and a white dude.

Where we come from, California, it is so mixed up, 
Actually, the whole States is pretty mixed up. 
I don’t think we really think of it at all. 
More people make a bigger deal of it than we do. We grew up in a neighborhood were 
everyone is mixed up. It’s just the way it is. 
I suppose it gives us more to draw from. We are all Americans, but everyone has their 
cultural backgrounds. I am the token white boy. People do make a big deal of that, but 
I don’t care. It’s pretty good.

Musically, I can’t pick any cultural influences.

Music can be for anybody. It doesn’t have to be for a certain type of person. It’s 
this beautiful thing and anybody can do it and that’s the beauty of it. We just happen 
to be four or five guys that are racially mixed up, but that’s no big deal whatsoever.

Terry Date who produced your first album must have worked out well because he’s back for the 
second album.

We were more impressed the second time. We got Terry from the Pantera records, the Soundgarden 
records, all this different shit. He’s just made some amazing bad ass records, but on top of 
all that, he is the most down to earth, most coolest, so mellow person to work with. 
He is just nice. Some Producers come in and are more hands on, but he comes in and 
engineers the records. He has an opinion, but he’s basically there to record the band. 
We learned a lot doing the first record and come time to do the second one, we were more 
mellow because we had done it once before. To me, the second record sounds so much better 
than the first. It’s thicker and fatter, but we took a little more time with it and we have 
a lot of ideas for the third one coming up. 

How would you describe the sound of the Deftones for someone who has never heard the band?

It’s easy to say that it’s very heavy music, but it’s much for than that. We love all kinds 
of music so we have so much to draw from. I just say come with an open ear, check it out. 
You have to listen deep for the little thing s going on besides the heaviness of it all. We 
are a heavy band, but we are a pop band too. 

So what do you also listen to?

We all listen to the same styles of music, but we also listen to a lot of stuff that’s far off. 
As a band Faith No More, Bad Brains, Helmet, Pantera. Everybody takes stuff from other bands. 
If you are a writer or whatever, it’s how you take it. It’s not about stealing people’s shit. 
It’s about taking it and then taking it somewhere else.

Tell us about your contributions to both the Duran Duran and the Depeche Mode tribute albums.

Those are two bands that we love. Chino particularly is a big fan of both of those bands. 
Vocally he gets a lot of style from those bands. He is way into new wave and shit, and the 
English bands of that time. It’s also fun, because people wouldn’t expect it from us. 
For The Chauffeur, the Duran Duran one, we tried to do it three or four years ago but we never 
had time. We always wanted to do it, but when the tribute album came up, we just said we’ll do 
The Chauffeur. For the Depeche Mode album To Have Or To Hold, we made it a real heavy song. 
It was just cool to be able to do that. You can give it a different life.

You have a steady relationship with Max Cavalera.

We were always huge fans of Sepultura. We met Max through his step son Dana, who was a good 
friend of ours and was killed a few years ago. That was what Headup was all about. 
There’s a song First Commandment on his record that was about the people who say he was killed. 
Max is a cool guy and I wish that band was still together but he is kind of like family to us.

On your song Headup, you feature Max and he sings the lyric "soulfly" which went on to become 
the name of his new band.

We wrote that before his new band was together. About six months ago, we did a TV show in 
Paris and Max came on and did Headup with us. He was in town doing some other stuff. 
He announced that night, after we did the song, that his new band was going to be called 
Soulfly. We didn’t know it, it was pretty wild. It was from our song, but it’s cool shit.

How has The Deftones progressed from one album to the next.

I think it’s a natural progression. We were on the road a lot, and it’s easy to make the 
same record twice, but we didn’t want to do that, we wanted to take it somewhere else. We 
needed to grow as a band. We wanted to get lose. Someone said it was just being comfortable 
in the studio, just being tighter. You play every night constantly, but you can’t help it but 
get better.

What does Around The Fur mean?

It’s a metaphor for life. Chino came up with the title. He was fascinated by the shadiness 
of certain things. It is literally like a fur coat. Fur is beautiful on the outside, but on 
the inside it is basically a dead animal. It’s like the good and bad in life and how people 
can cover things up. Everyone thinks it’s sexual but that’s not what it was meant to be.

So what does Deftones mean then?

We’ve been around 10 years now. The first show we ever played was a backyard barbarque. 
We were like 16. We were so excited, it was our first show. We had 6 or 7 songs but we didn’t 
have a name. So we decided it was Def, and we needed a name so we called ourselves The Deftones. 
It was like the 80’s, everything was Def then. Tones was almost like a classic ‘50ish band name, 
like with all those bands that ended with ‘Tones. It’s been our name ever since, but then, 
a name is a name. It’s the music that speaks. Metallica is a silly name too.

Who was your favorite band to tour with?

We’ve toured with so many different bands. One of the best was with Bad Brains. 
They were still the original band then. They didn’t last long because HR 
flipped out and cracked a kids skull open with a mike stand and they broke up. 
But then, I mean Jimmy Hendrix flipped out too. 

What’s happening for you tour wise?

We are going to a lot of places we haven’t been before. We are going to Japan after this. 
We are just touring and writing new songs. We are doing Van’s Warped and will be back in 
Australia in January for that.

When you play live, there are five of you.

Yeah, we take Frank with us. He’s a DJ. He plays on both records, but he doesn’t scratch 
though. He adds aural texture, he adds ambience. He has the craziest record collection and 
he picks his sounds. I mean, bands have DJ’s who scratch and that’s kind of cliche, but for 
him its just another instrument, but instead of using a voice, he uses records. 
He’s been on both of our albums, and he’ s been out with us for the last year and a 
half straight. He’s basically part of the band. He is from Sacramento too and whenever 
we played there, he would come down and play with us, so we just said, come out with us 

What’s your advise to new bands?

A lot of people come up and ask us questions, which is funny because I think of us as a band 
that is just coming up, but people are just starting to hear about us. We’ve always just done 
what we do. You’ve just got to come from your heart. People think you just get signed and you 
put your record out, and if you can get backing from a label that is cool too. It’s not that 
easy though. It’s a weird business but you have just got to make yourself happy as a band. 
If it makes you happy, you can just keep on going. At times, there are ups and downs, but if 
its real and it comes from inside, you keep doing your shit and keep on going. 

The Deftones are part of the Maverick label, owned by Madonna. Do you have anything to do with 

Oh yeah. She’s the boss. She’s come out to three or four of our shows. She is the boss. She’s 
not like day to day, but she’s around. I listen to Madonna man, we listen to so much music. I 
have nothing but respect for her. She has created some serious shit for herself and we are able 
to benefit because of her.

Who is your favorite Spice Girl?

I like Scary Spice.

“Metal Hammer” – 1997 // Chino and Max Interviewed

Metal Hammer,
September 1997

Chino and Max comments about "HEADUP"...

"Then of course, there¹s the track Deftones did with their close pal Max
Cavalera. Moreno explains the genisis of that special tune: ³It¹s a crazy
ass song. We all sat around and wrote in the studio and jammed some stuff
and came out with a really good song.
 ³The lyrics are all about his stepson (Dana Wells), who passed away not to
long ago. He was a good friend of mine, so it¹s a heay ass song,² he
explains. ³We don¹t have a name yet. Me and Max were talking about it
yesterday. The working title is called ŒHead Up¹.
 We decided before we did the song what it would be about be about, and I
think we¹re going to dedicate the record to Dana. We¹re both singing on the
song, we kinda switch off lines, answering, yelling back at each other. It¹s
pretty cool. It was intense in the studio, just the aura that was in there
was beautiful. That came out really, really good.²
 Max says about the song: ³The song we did together (³Head Up²) was very
special. They¹d lost a friend too. When me and Chino recorded the vocals we
were both on the floor and emotions were going everywhere. It was almost as
if we had Dana in the studio sitting between the two of us. We were raging
so hard, and I remember looking up and seeing Chino had smashed his nose and
there was blood all over his face. He had this expression on his face which
said, ³How much more energy can you put into a song?² It was unbelievable!
When I Put that song on I get goosebumps.²
 Chino on Max: ³Man, he¹s one of the coolest guys in the world. He¹s just
inspiring. ³ŒHead Up¹ was the fist song we actually did vocals on. I hadn¹t
done any vocals yet and they were still doing the music, and he came up to
Seattle where we were recording to do it. We did it live with him before he
had to leave. Doing that just inspired me completely. He has so much
presence and spirit, you know. Everything he does is real and he just has
this certain thing about him, this aura, that he throws out, like ³This is
all me². When we were singing together I was like, ³Man, this is what I
wanna be able to do. I wanna show emotion like he shows it². It¹s raw and
it¹s for real. He¹s an all-round good person to be involved with². (MH Nov
³As soon as I get done with mixing this record. Me and Max are doing a
record together. We¹re going to start in the middle of July. I don¹t know if
it will be an EP or a whole album, but we have a few songs, and we¹re going
to record them with (KoRn producer) Ross Robinson and just put Œem out.
 ³It¹s kinda mine and his project, but we¹re getting all kinds of different
people to be on it - it¹s going to be a big thing, but basically our songs.
I don¹t want to say the peoples names yet, but it¹s going to be the shit!
It¹ll be way different than Deftones stuff. I want to do some real moody,
slow stuff, because people wouldn¹t expect that of me and Max. They¹d expect
it to be straight up and hardcore. So I wanna change it up here and there."

(MH Sep 1997).

Thanks to Sly