“AOL Music!” – September 2006 // Abe Interviewed

Deftones Overcome Near-Breakup to Rock

Sacramento hard rockers Deftones will drop their new album, ‘SaturdayNightWrist,’ on Halloween. The 12-track effort, the group’s fifth to date, nearly didn’t happen, drummer Abe Cunningham tells AOL Music.

“It was not fun at all, and not pleasant,” he says of the three years it took to make the record. “It was horrendous. It made me very sad.”

After recording trips to a mansion in Malibu and with veteran producer Bob Ezrin ( Alice Cooper Pink Floyd Nine Inch Nails ) in Stamford, CT, tensions in the band were high. “We weren’t communicating,” Cunningham recalls. “We didn’t like each other.”

In part, the band had issues with frontman Chino Moreno, who took some time after their last record, 2003’s ‘Deftones,’ to focus on his side project, Team Sleep. Things changed in year two, when the band were brought in by their management for a powwow.

“There were no $45,000-a-week counselors or anything like that,” Cunningham says, downplaying suggestions of Metallica -style shrink sessions. “We had this huge meeting and Chino, he was late. We told our management to go away.”

When the frontman finally turned up, the group got down to business, hashing out their differences in a discussion that lasted several hours. “It could have been so, so brutal — finger pointing and attacking and all this sh*t — and it turned out to be the most beautiful, at-ease, wonderful conversation between the five of us. We just said, ‘F***! We’ve been doing this for 18 years!'”

The turnaround was amazing, Cunningham reports: “We’ve been having a blast,” he says. The band are currently showcasing new material onKorn’s ‘Family Values’ tour. “We are the new and improved Deftones, the new and improved Positones,” he laughs. “We’re here to rock your pants off.”