“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.