“DetNews” – November, 2000 // Chi Interviewed

"Heavy rocking Deftones are flying high with ‘Back to School’ tour, 
a critically praised album and ... Adam Sandler"

By David Dodd / Special to The Detroit News 

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www.deftonesworld.com
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    ATLANTA 

Seated on adjoining couches on the set of an Adam Sandler MTV special 
this week, the Deftones joined the rubber-faced actor in an acoustic 
version of the band’s 1997 hit “Be Quiet and Drive.” 

    It was Sandler — whose new movie, Little Nicky, opens today nationwide 
— who requested the jam session with the Sacramento quintet, the hottest 
high-energy rock band in America right now. The band plays Cobo Arena tonight. 

    “It was a great time,” says Deftones bassist Chi Cheng, via cell phone 
from the band’s tour bus in Atlanta. “I couldn’t pass up the chance to play 
with Adam Sandler — he’s demonic!” 

    It’s only appropriate that Sandler plays the son of Satan in the film, 
for which the band wrote two soundtrack songs. 

    “I won’t lie though,” Cheng continues, “he messed me up the first time 
he started riffin’ off because he’s really good. I totally lost my train of 
thought where I was. It was pretty funny.” 

    The Deftones are riding a wave of critical acclaim with their latest 
effort, White Pony, a collection of 11 tracks highlighting their sinister 
vocals and scorching guitar riffs . 

    Their first single, the hauntingly infectious “Change (in the House of 
Flies),” released several months ago, remains near the top of the modern-rock 
charts. 

    “We had a lot of good times in the recording studio,” Cheng recalls, 
“but we also nearly killed each other. There was a lot of tension because 
we all felt so passionately about this album — we really wanted to outdo 
the two albums we’d done before, and we felt those were two really strong albums.” 

    Only in their late 20s, the Deftones have already been together for 
13 years. 

    The core band members — Cheng, guitarist and vocalist Chino Mareno, 
drummer Abe Cunningham and Stephen Carpenter on strings — were friends as 
kids. They traded in their skateboards and video games for guitars in 1987, 
playing California clubs as a foursome. 

    The band soon added hip-hop DJ Frank Delgado on the turntable, featuring 
him on both their records and stage performances. The Deftones’ first national 
release, 1995’s Adrenaline, introduced Mareno’s cryptic yet appealing vocals 
to a larger audience. 

    On the current leg of their 36-city Back to School tour, the Deftones have 
enlisted two popular bands — Incubus and Taproot — to open for them. 

    “That’s what it’s all about,” Cheng says. “It’s easy to go out and really 
lead a tour and hire some band to open for you, but we wanted to have an 
entire night of great music, so the tour’s been great so far. Incubus is an 
amazingly complementary band to us, and Taproot’s been really cool.” 

    But it’s the Deftones that everybody wants to see. 

    The band’s music and muscle have been in high demand. In addition to the 
Sandler movie soundtrack, they’ve re-released White Pony with a new track, 
have a single featured on the upcoming video game MTV Sports: Skateboarding 
featuring Andy MacDonald, and are watching their second single, “Back to 
School,” play all over the airwaves. 

    Cheng, who’s a book lover, has also released a spoken-word CD — Bamboo 
Parachute — featuring the works of many top writers. 

    And, oh, yeah, the band recently was given a key to their California 
hometown. 

    “There are so many avenues to explore,” Cheng says. “We don’t want to 
limit ourselves at all.” 

    As for tonight’s show at Cobo, the biggest venue on the current tour, 
Cheng says: “It’s huge, it’s scary, it’s kind of a big place, but we’re
really excited, we’re really energized. Detroit has always been good to us.”
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