“Micstand” – 2001 // Chi Interviewed

“Chi Cheng”
TITLE: Aesthetic Nuances
BY: Matt Peterson



In Eastern thought, the duality of yin and yang expresses partial contradiction. Yin is dark,
while yang is bright. Imbalance of the two is recipe for catastrophe, but the rotation of the
two—yin becoming yang, yang becoming yin—represents synchronicity and unity in multiplicity.
Chi Cheng, charismatic bass player for Sacramento, California’s Deftones, is a man who has based
the philosophy of his creative career around such an exquisite coexistence of opposites.
By braiding his interests and soldering an inseparable connectedness among them he has achieved
a dynamic exchange and eliminated the potential of static. His playing stresses the emotional
and pours forth with a sincerity of feeling and action. His fingers move across the strings
organically–he never uses picks–and without fear of what the musical moment will deal him.
Ultimately there’s no compulsion to control what is happening—he simply allows his mind, body,
and soul to fall betwixt and between the notes that he makes.

In 2000, soon after unleashing the stellar White Pony with the Deftones, Chi released his first
spoken word album of poetry entitled The Bamboo Parachute. Proceeds from his album were
dispersed to various charities including WEAVE–a non-profit agency that specializes in domestic
violence, sexual assault prevention and victim assistance–and WIND, a music program for
homeless teens. Chi spent last summer with the rest of the Deftones as they co-headlined an
8-week stint with New England heroes Godsmack. In the midst of the tour, I had the opportunity
to catch up with Chi and learn the latest about his solo projects, as well as happenings with
other members of the Deftones. A true humanitarian and just an all-around good person, Chi is
one-fifth of the reason why the Deftones seem forever destined to stay embedded within the
evolving musical landscape they’ve single-handedly discovered.

MICSTAND: How’s Chino doing now that he’s been cleared to sing again? Was he in a lot of pain
when it first happened? (Chino Moreno—lead singer for the Deftones–was stricken ill in the
midst of the tour with a vocal impediment and the band was forced to cancel some shows.
These cancellations marked the first missed shows for the Deftones in over a 10-year touring

CHI: He paralyzed one of his vocal chords and the other one was barely moving. He was just a
wreck. We’re just happy that he’s able to sing again. If that boy couldn’t sing that would
really be a bad thing. We’re just happy that he’s up and doing it again.

MICSTAND: How did they treat it? Was it just rest combined with not speaking?

CHI: Yeah, they did that combined with some kind of shot in his throat and he’s on medicine
everyday now too.

MICSTAND: Wow—we’re sorry to hear that. We wish him the best and a speedy recovery.
The last time we spoke, Chi, was right around the release of The Bamboo Parachute.
Based on how that was received, do you have any immediate plans to do another spoken word album?

CHI: Yeah, actually I’ve recorded a live reading. It’s kind of funny—you know, live readings
are always a lot better. I don’t know what to do with it yet. I’ve got it recorded and I’ve
got copies of it. I did everything on The Parachute myself and I kind of want to give this
one to a label, or something—just have somebody else take care of it.

MICSTAND: Have you done any actual spoken word tours, or do the shows happen more spontaneously
than that?

CHI: I’ve been talking about maybe doing a tour—me and Serj from System Of A Down have talked
about maybe doing a tour one of these days. He’s really into it. But right now it’s just
shows in California, you know what I mean? I’ve just been doing live readings in California,
but I’d love to take it a little further.

MICSTAND: Have you heard the new System album yet?

CHI: Yeah, I have. I think it’s really good, man. I like the fact that they just seem to be
getting crazier and weirder—more neurotic, or something, ya know.

MICSTAND: Will we ever see a Deftones/System tour?

CHI: I would love to, yeah.

MICSTAND: How was the tour that happened a little while back with Incubus and Taproot?

CHI: I thought it was really good. Taproot was great and they’re young and energetic and cool.
Incubus is a group of really nice guys. I thought the whole tour was really good—it was amazing.

MICSTAND: I’ve been fortunate enough to experience the Deftones in a few radically different
sized venues. I caught you guys at The Palladium in Worcester, which seats around 2-3,000 or
so, I’ve witnessed your work at Great Woods for a sold-out Ozzfest date, which was about
20,000 people or so, and then you’ve played 9-10,000 seat arenas. What size crowds do Deftones
prefer to play to?

CHI: You know, honestly I think we prefer places where we can get in a little closer to the
audience. This tour has been a lot of sheds, which is sometimes a drag for us because seating
is not really what we jive on, but we can have a good time anyways. But we prefer to get close
to the kids, maybe three to five thousand, or something like that.

MICSTAND: I wanted to ask you about this current tour. Obviously Deftones have a very
different flavor & vibe than Godsmack—how did this pairing come to be?

CHI: They had approached us about it and we were thinking about doing our own thing, but we’ve
done so many headlining tours already in the States. And they were like, “Look, what would you
think about doing a co-headliner?” They were just really, really nice guys and really cool
about everything. It’s a lot different—both our bands—and so hopefully people have an open
mind. Hopefully you can see something different and just enjoy it, ya know.

MICSTAND: How have the crowds been?

CHI: They’ve been pretty good. I think that we’ve been able to win over a couple of Godsmack
fans and I think vice-versa.

MICSTAND: In an interview that Abe did a little while ago he said that, in the beginning,
some members of Deftones had some reservations about touring with Godsmack. Was that true for

CHI: I don’t think it’s that we ever had any real reservations, so much as it was that we were
just like, ‘What if we did Outkast, At The Drive-In, Queens of the Stone Age,” ya know what I
mean–some crazy package of our own. But that just didn’t happen, ya know.

MICSTAND: The At The Drive-In record, which was obviously huge last year—was that one of your
personal favorites?

CHI: Yeah, I’ll be honest, I love that record. I listen to it all the time. I just saw one of
the At The Drive-In guys and I couldn’t even talk to him because I was just like, “You fucking
jerk! You going to break up again?” (Laughs jokingly).

MICSTAND: What else were you listening to last year that you felt was strong?

CHI: Not anything in the contemporary music scene really, except for like Aimee Mann—I love
her. Any time Willie Nelson puts something out, I listen to it. Nothing new—I’m not really
into new music.

MICSTAND: What did you think of the new Tool album?

CHI: I thought it was good—I thought that was a good album.

MICSTAND: Last week I caught the episode of Music In High Places that you guys did for MTV.
How was that experience?

CHI: It was all right—it was pretty cool. We had some reservations about that too. At first
they just wanted us to sing totally acoustic and we were like, ‘There’s some songs that we can
translate into acoustic songs, and there’s some that just don’t—they can’t ever be done
acoustically.’ But it was a good experience—anytime we can play our music is fine.

MICSTAND: Have you guys ever entertained the idea of an acoustic album—is there much of an
interest in acoustics within the Deftones?

CHI: I don’t think so, not really.

MICSTAND: On a recent episode of MTV’s Cribs I actually saw Steph at the home of Chester
from Linkin Park. Are all of you guys friends with Linkin Park?

CHI: Yeah, we’re all friends with Linkin Park. I mean, Stephen lives in LA and the rest of us
live in Sacramento, so he’s a little closer on the scene than the rest of us.
How was Chester’s house—was it cool?

MICSTAND: Yeah, it was cool, but on the same episode they featured the construction of the
Osbourne’s new home and obviously nothing can hold a candle to that—it was just sic.

CHI: I’m sure that was totally off the hook.

MICSTAND: I’m sure you’ve heard some of Chino’s Team Sleep material—tell me a little about that.

CHI: It’s good, man. You know the (Deftones’) song “Teenager,” it’s kind of in that vein.
Real moody, but each song has a different flavor to it. He’s not really done with it vocally,
but musically it’s a really strong album—it sounds good.

MICSTAND: When’s he hoping to get that out there?

CHI: Early 2002, or something like that.

MICSTAND: Is there a musical moment thus far—either a particular song or album—that you are
most proud of?

CHI: I don’t know–I can’t really think of anything. I’ve never heard our albums—I’ve never
put our album on ever. None of them, I’ve never listened to any of our albums. I come in,
just do my part, write whatever I can, play on it and then close the book on it and don’t
really listen to it.

MICSTAND: What about the spoken word album, did you listen to that?

CHI: No, never heard it. Recorded it, made sure it was edited OK, and haven’t really ever
listened to it. I just can’t stand to listen to my own shit. It’s just too weird for me,
or something. Well you know—you write. It seems kind of ridiculous—the idea of making
money on something that I would do anyway. So it’s all kind of surreal.

MICSTAND: Have you formulated any further ideas about maybe releasing something in print?

CHI: Yeah, absolutely. Hopefully when I get back home I’ll do a reading in San Francisco
and invite down Black Sparrow Press and City Lights Books and see if I can get a deal going
with one of those guys. Because obviously it’s a lot different in print. So yeah, I’d love
to put out a book.

MICSTAND: Now, Deftones represent a lot of different things to a lot of different people—what
does the idea of Deftones represent to you?

CHI: I think it’s mainly a unity-type vibe. We’re such different people and we all have
these goofy side-projects that we’re always doing and it’s not because we’re dissatisfied
with the band, but because we’re all such creative people. We don’t like to sit on our
asses when we get home and so we have all these side-projects, but I think that the
side-projects are never really quite as strong as the Deftones and it’s because we all put
something into it. And it needs to be that way.

MICSTAND: What do you think it says about our musical consumption as a society, the fact that
White Pony was at the top of so many artists’ and critics’ lists last year, yet the sales of
the album fell shy of matching that praise? It’s impossible to deny that White Pony is as
good as they come, so why isn’t it selling 2.5 million copies in a week like N’Sync? As a
society are we just fucked?

CHI: You know, I really have no idea and I don’t worry about it. I can’t be disappointed
because we wrote a good album. I feel like we did write a good album, so I don’t really care.
I never set out to be the biggest artist in the whole world anyhow. And if we had sold a lot
more, I suppose it would have been fine—maybe we would have had a little more freedom to get a
little crazier with our production when we tour, or something. It’s just weird to think of
music as product and I think that’s a bad fucking way of doing it. We never set out to do it
that way, so if it didn’t sell 10 million albums, or 7 million albums like a lot of our peers,
I just don’t really care.

MICSTAND: Why is it that you make music—what drives you?

CHI: I don’t know at this point. (Laughs) I think we just like it. I think it’s a gift and
I think being able to play it is a really cool thing, let alone going into a studio.
It’s still exciting for us to make music.

MICSTAND: I hate to use the word ‘best,’ but what makes the “best” art?

CHI: I have no clue—I think it would be something different for everyone. Passion, I suppose
would be the best thing—as long as your passionate about it. If you have love for it. I
think it’s just a good thing to do it—that’s the best form of it.

MICSTAND: Do you remember what first made you pick up an instrument?

CHI: My brother—he bought me my first bass. He had a guitar and he didn’t have anyone to
play with so he was like, ‘Look, we’re going to be in band together and I’m going to buy you a
bass.’ And it sounded good to me. I think I was 14, or something like that—it was a long,
long time ago.

MICSTAND: This obviously doesn’t have anything to do with the music, but tell me about your
recent decision to cut your hair.

CHI: It was a lot of personal reasons. Kind-of a change, I suppose.

MICSTAND: You’d been growing your locks for what—16 years?

CHI: Yeah, it was right around there—16, 17 years.

MICSTAND: In his episode of Behind The Music, Lenny Kravitz said a lot of weight is held in
one’s locks, do you agree with that?

CHI: Yeah, it’s definitely a piece of you and it becomes a spiritual thing. I buried them in
my backyard—my son and I buried them together.

MICSTAND: Have you been reading anything lately?

CHI: I’ve been reading a lot of Henry Miller.

MICSTAND: Did you ever receive the Miller book that I gave to Heidi to pass onto you?

CHI: Yes, thank you so much, man. That fucking book is dope. Stand Still Like the
Hummingbird—that book is rad. Yeah, I’d read Miller’s stuff before but I had never read that
book and I think that one’s amazing. I think that anyone in the entertainment business should
also read The Smile At the Foot of the Ladder. I think it affirms why you do anything in
entertainment—you should be doing it for the sake of doing it, rather than creating it to be

“Dr. Drew” – 2001 // Chino Moreno Interviewed

Deftones frontman Chino Moreno
by Blair Fischer



As expected, the latest Deftones album, White Pony–the title of which is a veiled reference
to one of frontman Chino Moreno’s guilty pleasures–has exploded on the sales chart. Less than
a month after its release, the album has already approached gold status and is almost guaranteed
to be the quartet’s best-selling record to date. Pony, which is loaded with savage imagery and
dark soundscapes, is a welcomed respite from the balls-to-the-wall aggro metal that’s been
saturating the market ever since, well, the Deftones released Around the Fur three years ago.
Currently, the group is embarked on a U.S. summer tour with dates scheduled through mid-August
before they take the long flight–a big Moreno fear–to Germany for a European jaunt. Moreno—
the voice of the Deftones and author of their grave prose—took five minutes off to answer a
few not-so-serious questions.
drDrew.com: What’s your favorite thing to do when no one else is around?
Chino Moreno: Play video games.

drDrew.com: What’s your favorite bodypart?
CM: My hands.

drDrew.com: What’s your greatest fear?
CM: Dying in a plane crash.

drDrew.com: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
CM: Probably my face.

drDrew.com: What was your worst day job?
CM: Working as a cook.

drDrew.com: What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
CM: Being alone.

drDrew.com: What’s something you’re good at that’s totally useless?
CM: Video games.

drDrew.com: What was your most memorable celebrity encounter?
CM: Meeting P.J. Harvey. I met her backstage a few years ago at this show in–where the fuck
were we?—Denmark or something like that, and I bugged the fuck out.

drDrew.com: Who would you like to trade places with for a day?
CM: A woman.

drDrew.com: Who’s your favorite fictional character?
CM: Darth Vader.

drDrew.com: What historical figure do you most identify with?
CM: Joan of Arc.

drDrew.com: What song best represents the soundtrack of your life?
CM: “Disintegration” by The Cure.

drDrew.com: What is your motto?
CM: If you tell yourself you’re the shit, then you are the shit.

drDrew.com: When you were a kid growing up, who did you imitate when you stood in front of the
CM: The Incredible Hulk.

drDrew.com: Name a book you’ve read recently and liked.
CM: The Long Hard Road Out of Hell by Marilyn Manson.

drDrew.com: Name a film you’ve seen recently and liked.
CM: American Beauty.

drDrew.com: Name an album you’ve heard recently and liked.
CM: Meshuggah’s Chaosphere.

drDrew.com: Finish this line: “If we can send a man to the moon, then why… ?”
CM: “can’t we build planes that don’t fall out of the sky.”

drDrew.com: What will you remember most about the ’90’s?
CM: Sitting alone in a room with Madonna.

“Metroactive Music” – December 2001 // Todd Wilkinson Interviewed

The Sleeper Will Awake

Todd Wilkinson and friends–who just happen to be in the
Deftones–assemble a more-restful Team Sleep

By Darren Keast

BEFORE HIS current tour, Todd Wilkinson had never played his guitar in front of more than a
few friends. In his first full-fledged interview a few months ago, he confessed he was pretty
sure he’d be paralyzed with fear if he ever did make it onto a stage. He wouldn’t even confirm
then that he was a musician per se.

“Yeah, I’ve never played a live show in my life,” he says from his home in Sacramento. “All
I’ve done is make melodies with my guitar on a four-track, and the next thing I know, I’m in
a studio with [multiplatinum metal producer] Terry Date making a record.” And his band, Team
Sleep, plays the Cactus Club in San Jose Tuesday (Dec. 18).

So what is this–the major-label rock industry rolling the dice on a raw talent whose demo tape
won some contest? The Make a Wish Foundation fulfilling a terminal cancer patient’s big dream?
The only reason Wilkinson, a soft-spoken group-home worker with a guitar-playing hobby, is
getting any love at all from the recording industry is that his best friend since high school
is Camillo “Chino” Moreno, lead singer of “nu-metal” torchbearers the Deftones and now one-third
of Team Sleep. It also helps that Wilkinson’s roommate is Deftones DJ Frank Delgado, who in
turn is best friends with DJ Crook, the band’s third member.

“There’s no doubt about it–the attention we’re getting has nothing to do with me and Crook,”
Wilkinson chuckles, but “it’s an opportunity to have people hear our music, so I’m not going
to feel guilty about it.”

The idea for Team Sleep blossomed out of an acoustic reworking the Deftones did of “Be Quiet
and Drive,” a track from their gold record Around the Fur. Moreno enjoyed the respite from the
full-frontal electric guitar onslaught mandatory for most Deftones’ songs, and the gentler
melodies allowed his delicate voice to fill the remaining space.

Also liking the chance to work by himself, Moreno started composing songs with portable
electronic equipment in his hotel room during Deftones tours.

“He puts his rough ideas on a tape and sends them to Krook,” Wilkinson explains. “I send my
own tapes to Crook, with melodies and some basic guitar things, and then he puts down a beat
and takes stuff from both tapes. In theory, Chino then gets the tape back and puts down vocals
from the road, but so far he’s been too busy.”

Moreno describes Team Sleep’s sound as “droney” and influenced by British trip-hop moodsters
Massive Attack. So far, the only two tracks available are instrumentals from the Team Sleep
website (http://www.teamsleep.com/): “Kool Aid,” a sparse number with real drum sounds, and the
more processed and programmed-sounding “Ligeia.”

“Crook uses his turntable on both,” Wilkinson explains, “but you’d never know it, because
there’s no scratching.” The effect is similar to his friend’s DJing technique with the
Deftones, which Delgado describes as spinning for atmosphere: “Like he was listening to what
we had done for ‘Ligeia,’ and he goes, ‘This needs something else.’ So he walks over to his
record collection–he has thousands of records, most of them really weird–and grabs one with
crowd cheering on it, like from a bullfight or something. The rhythm of the crowd chanting
fits right with the track.”

The ambient feeling of both cuts is a definite divergence for Moreno, but given the Deftones’
particularly rabid and well-informed fan base, Team Sleep is assured of moving a respectable
number of copies of whatever they release. Wilkinson seems bemused by the rise of his friends’
band from humble beginnings in Sacramento in the early ’90s, playing in front of a few hundred
people every weekend to magazine covers, Grammies and teenage fans who document his every move

“I even heard there were some pictures of Chino’s kids on the Internet,” Wilkinson says.
“Someone tracked down photos of them somehow–that’s some serious shit. I guess the Internet
has brought out the little stalker in everyone.”

He takes in stride the reversal of fortune his friends have experienced, going from cooks at
Mexican restaurants and hole-ridden Vans sneakers to world tours and hole-ridden Vans sneakers.

“It’s a trip to me, because when we were in high school, there were always rich kids, and
compared to them, we didn’t have any money,” Wilkinson recalls. “So we had kinda messed up
clothes you know, but in a way, we were like, ‘Fuck that–I’m better than everybody. Who cares
about money?’

“It was kind of a conceited attitude, too, but we always felt like, ‘I’ll do whatever I want to
do.’ So to see them blow up, it’s not like they got bigger, it was like everything else got
smaller. Like a gold record–that’s not even a big deal anymore. Or like Grammys? Whatever,
fuck it.”

“Sacramento Bee” – December 2001 // Chino Interviewed

Team Sleep strikes a ‘def-ferent’ tone
By Chris Macias — Bee Pop Music Writer

During the Deftones’ off-season, its West Sacramento rehearsal spot houses a slumbering pile of
road cases and drum heads. But on a recent evening, a spacey combo of delay-driven guitars,
vocal croonings and drum loops spanked off the studio’s walls. The Deftones, Sacramento’s
Grammy-winning hard-rock band, will begin work on its new album at the space come January.
In the meantime, the studio is the stomping grounds for Team Sleep, singer Chino Moreno’s side

The buzz about Team Sleep has been brewing for more than two years, yet the band is only now
reaching the public. Team Sleep’s debut album will be released in March through Tone Def, the
Deftones’ boutique label on Maverick Records, and Team Sleep is previewing its works-in-progress
on a current West Coast tour. On Sunday, the band performs with old-school Sacramento favorites
Phallucy, the recently reunited alternative-rock band. (For a profile of Phallucy, see last
Sunday’s Encore.)

While the Deftones’ bombastic hard rock is a sonic punch to the gut, early reports said that
Team Sleep was more like a soothing endorphin rush, a down-tempo affair dominated by
synthesizers and trip-hop drum loops. But Team Sleep has been beefed up recently, both
sonically and through an expanded lineup.

The project originated as a trio with Moreno at the helm, along with DJ Crook, a turntablist
and drum machine whiz kid originally from Los Angeles, and guitarist Todd Wilkinson, a buddy
of Moreno’s since their days at McClatchy High School. Over the past few weeks, a few local
musicians have been added to Team Sleep’s touring camp: bassist/keyboardist Rick Verret (who
also performs with the band Tinfed) and Hella drummer Zach Hill. Phallucy guitarist Sonny
Mayugba also performs on a couple of Team Sleep’s newer tunes.

So what started as a moody, studio-based project has blossomed into a full-tilt band, with a
few cranked amplifiers to boot. As Team Sleep’s rehearsal rolls near the midnight hour, the
group’s sonics seem to reference the Cure’s droning “Pornography” album, but with a firmer
stomp on the distortion pedal. Is this the same outfit that Moreno described as “really ambient”
in a 1999 interview with The Bee?

“It’s grown a lot, especially in the last couple weeks,” said Moreno, taking a rehearsal break
on the studio’s couch. “It didn’t really start off as a band. It started off as three dudes who
wanted to make some music. A lot of it was made in my house with a drum machine, and it kind of
morphed into what it is now, which is a band.

“We had all these guitars and it’s kind of hard to play them quietly all the time,” Moreno added.
“And when I brought Zach in — he’s seriously one of my favorite drummers — we started clicking.
And he plays pretty hard, so to match his intensity I just sing a little harder and play a little

So far, Team Sleep has about 12 tunes in its repertoire (a few working titles include “Solid
Gold,” “King Diamond” and “Bling Bling”). Its album — which was recorded in Seattle, Atlanta
and Sacramento — is just about done, save for a few vocal tracks and other fix-its which should
be completed by year’s end.

A few cameos have rounded out the project, including contributions from Helium’s Mary Timony and
Mike Patton of Mr. Bungle and formerly of Faith No More. Patton’s vocals form the core of
“Kool-Aid Party,” a spooky tune with lurching drum beats and jittery synthesizers.

“All of the lyrics are still a mass-suicide type of thing, but (Patton) sang it like a lonely
sailor song,” said Moreno. “It’s kind of cool how he took the idea and twisted it all like that.
It was fun to be able to work with him.”

Still, translating many of Team Sleep’s tunes for the live stage has been challenging,
especially since the band hasn’t logged much rehearsal time. So, does Moreno feel ready on the
eve of Team Sleep’s debut tour?

“Not really,” he said. “But my whole thing is that I’m doing this for fun, and you know what, I
just want to go out there and have fun with my friends. That’s what it started off as and
that’s what I want to do. I don’t want to stress on it.”

Though tentative plans had been made for Team Sleep to tour the East Coast in 2002, it’s likely
that the band’s West Coast tour will be it for now. For the time being, though, the Team Sleep
project has given Moreno a prime opportunity for him to explore some textures and musical
adventures that might not fit with Deftones.

“After doing Deftones for a while, I couldn’t wait to do a whole set of mellow (stuff),” said
Moreno. “But at the same time, I can’t deny that heavy music is a part of me. Deftones is what
I love to do and what I will always do. (Team Sleep) is a leisure kind of project, a fun
project, and I still have a life outside of music. But Deftones stuff is coming closer and
closer, and once (Deftones guitarist Stephen Carpenter) gets in to town, that’s all I want to
concentrate on.”

And then Team Sleep will have to give it a rest.

* www.deftonesworld.com *

“Columbus Alive” – August 2001 // Chi Interviewed

The Deftones’ pony ride (© COLUMBUS ALIVE)

When bassist Chi Cheng steps off the arena rock stage, he heads to a poetry reading

by Brian O’Neill

The Deftones’ White Pony was one of 2000’s most forbidding and minimalist discs. Yet, despite
the downtuned gloom (and scant radio play), the band walked away with their first platinum
album and a Grammy award.

Invited to join post-grunge hit-makers Godsmack on tour, the Deftones played Polaris
Amphitheater last weekend. Bassist Chi Cheng checked in with Columbus Alive about the band’s
unexpected commercial success, avoiding the pigeonholes of musical genres, and his poetry side

Columbus Alive: In interviews before White Pony came out, you seemed confident that you made a
good record, but you also seemed to wonder how your fans would take it, because it was a
departure from the norm. Of course, it’s become your most popular record. Do you think your
fans are more open to the new stuff than you thought initially?

Chi Cheng: I’ve always given our fans a lot of credit. I figured most likely that anything we
thought was good enough to record, they would feel the same way, and they did. There are a lot
of extremes on the album, and we took it a little further than we’ve taken it on our other
albums. We felt really happy about it, but we were hoping that our fans would progress with us,
and they did.

CA: The Deftones seem to be garnering more critical acclaim than any of your peers. I don’t
know how much attention you pay to critics, but you and System of a Down are the two bands the
more cerebral fans and critics seem to praise.

CC: Yeah, and I really appreciate that. We’ve done a lot to stay out of being in any kind of
scene, or any sort of musical genre or box. We’ve taken a lot of tours that were contrary to
what a lot of people wanted us to do, or what would have made us more popular. We’ve always
taken an approach to the left. I think it’s paid off. We never set out to be the biggest band in
the whole world. I see a lot of guys blow up overnight and they’re huge,
but that was never our goal. Our goal was to write music that was interesting to us and that
we enjoyed. It’s cool that people dig it.

CA: You and Godsmack make an interesting pairing. All the rock bands coming out now seem to be
filtered through either the Alice in Chains ethos or the Faith No More ethos. On this tour,
you’ve got two bands that reflect those two ideologies on one bill. I imagine it leads to you
and them having slightly different fans.

CC: Yeah, which I think is a good thing, maybe they can win over some of our fans and hopefully
we can win over some of theirs. If people have an open mind, it’s a cool show. We were thinking
about doing another headlining run. We’ve already done two or three in the States—just
headlined and headlined. Godsmack called us up and offered the co-headlining thing, and it
just seemed like a good idea. We wanted to get out there and tour this summer before getting
down to writing the next album. We wanted to be out there in front of our fans, but we figured
we’d do it with someone else—just make it easy. This offer was the best one we had going, so we
took it.

CA: Do you foresee this being your last tour run before going into the studio?

CC: We know that we’re going to be gearing up to write. This is our last tour for this album,
most likely. We’ve got a string of weekend shows through September and October, and we’ll
probably take November off and start writing.

CA: Is writing something you do when you have ideas formulated, or do you not think about that
when you’re on the road.

CC: We pretty much write when we get off the road. Touring is just a big party!

CA: Tell me a little bit about Bamboo Parachute, your spoken word CD. Are you still selling it?

CC: Yeah. I think people can still get it at Deftones Worldwide [the band’s website]. But I
haven’t brought it out on the road on this tour. It’s kind of a hassle, because I’ve done
everything myself, you know what I mean? Sometimes I’m just entirely too drunk to do the
numbers myself. I’ve got another one recorded already. It’s a live reading I did in Sacramento.

CA: Is it in the same vein as Bamboo Parachute?

CC: I think I only read one thing off Parachute. I write so much, but I hate all my old work,
so like, a day later, I’ll hate the poem I wrote before and I’ll have to write a new one.

CA: Making the jump from poet to lyricist is not that huge of a stretch. Do you and (Deftones
vocalist and lyricist) Chino ever think about collaborating?

CC: They’re pretty separate. He’s an amazing lyricist, which I really appreciate.
So I’ve never really felt like I’ve needed to pawn off my poetry on him. He likes it a lot,
but even for him it would be some weird shit. I don’t think it would happen. I don’t think he
could be as passionate about it if it didn’t come directly from him. I appreciate that.

CA: Other members of the Deftones have musical side projects. Have you ever considered that, as
opposed to the spoken-word thing?

CC: I’ve tossed some ideas around. It’s always cool to play with some other cats. But like
everything else we do, I wouldn’t want to do it unless I could do it really well. I don’t
think I’m a good enough musician to do a side project. I’ll just stick to the poetry.

August 23, 2001 – www.deftonesworld.com –

“HeraldNet” – 2001 // Abe Interviewed

Deftones kept bickering to minimum on new CD

By Alan Sculley
Special to The Herald

The Deftones’ 2000 CD, “White Pony” gave the Sacramento band a commercial breakthrough,
producing a hit single in “Change (In the House of Flies)” and becoming the first
million-selling release in the Deftones’ career.

But perhaps the bigger story if interviews following that album are any indication was
that the “White Pony” project created considerable turmoil within the group.

In particular, singer Chino Moreno and guitarist Stephen Carpenter were said to be in a
pitched battle over the direction of “White Pony,” with Carpenter wanting a relentless
hard-rocking CD, while Moreno favored including more change-of-pace material alongside the
group’s familiar furious rock assault.

Moreno, who had started to learn guitar, also began writing music for some of the material,
a move that, according to some reports, amounted to the singer invading Carpenter’s musical
turf within the band.

Deftones drummer Abe Cunningham, though, chuckled at how the situation was portrayed.

“If you ask me, it’s the same argument that’s been going on since day one. It’s kind of funny,
” he said. “I think they (Moreno and Carpenter) made more light of it with ‘White Pony,’ the
creative differences. There have always been creative differences in our band. That’s what
makes any band be a band.

“Stephen has always been more the metal guy, more the heavy guy, and we all love that type of
music, too. Chino’s been into the more ’80s (music). … Early on that’s how they got pegged,
even though the whole band enjoys all music.”

Cunningham said life in the Deftones, if still not entirely smooth, was a bit more peaceful
during the making of their new self-titled CD, the fourth release by the group, which in
addition to Moreno, Carpenter and Cunningham, also includes bassist Chi Cheng, and DJ and
keyboardist Frank Delgado.

“There was definitely a lot more camaraderie during this time,” he said. There’s definitely more
patience on everyone’s part, especially theirs,” Cunningham said, referring to Moreno and
Carpenter. “And there are so many ideas in this band collectively that it’s just about everyone
being open. It’s not always easy. We’re pretty brutal on each other, too. We’re constantly just
verbally bashing each other all day long, but it’s more of a brotherhood. It’s almost done out
of love, really.”

The release of the CD “Deftones” comes three years after “White Pony,” a period that included
the usual stretch of extensive touring, plus, for the first time in the band’s career, several
months of time away from any Deftones activities.

Not only did the band members take time to relax and recharge, Moreno, Carpenter and Delgado
all took time out to work on side projects. Moreno formed a group Team Sleep, while Carpenter
wrote and recorded music for a side project called Kush. Delgado, meanwhile, worked on tracks
for a project called the Co-Defendents.

Cunningham saw nothing but positives in the outside activities of his bandmates.

“It’s great,” he said. “It’s healthy, all these different outlets. Some people think it might
be threatening to the core of the band, but I think if you ask me, it’s beautiful. You meet some
different people. It makes it better for us. We’ve been playing together for so long now, it’s
beautiful to see a different way to do it.”

The Deftones formed 15 years ago in Sacramento, Calif. The first seven of those years were spent
writing, refining and developing the band’s sound, while searching for a workable record deal.

In the mid-1990s, the group finally found a match in Maverick Records, the label owned by Madonna.

Two initial CDs, “Adrenaline” (1995) and “Around The Fur” (1997), coupled with relentless touring,
set the stage for “White Pony,” which in addition to going platinum earned a 2001 Grammy for best
metal performance.

“deftonesworld.com” – July 2001 // Rodleen Interviewed

Rodleen interviewed by Nuno Rolinho (www.deftonesworld.com)
July, 2001


NUNO: how did your appearance on the white pony happen?

RODLEEN: At the time I lived up near Santa Barbara on Rincon
Point. I came to Larabee Studios in West Hollywood
that week to check out Rob Wasserman (an incredible
bass player who plays with Bob Weir, amongst others)
master his solo album with Dave Aron (Snoop’s
producer). These were the same studios that The
Deftones were recording their album in. Up in the
lounge above the studios someone played a recording of
mine from a show I had recently done. Just me my
guitar. Anyway, the guys heard my voice and asked me
to sing on the album. I didnt know what to expect.
The Deftones were new to me, and I didnt even know
what kind of music it was going to be.

NUNO: what do you think about the song “knife party”? I
mean chino wrote it, and it means something for
him…what does it mean for you? suicide perhaps?

RODLEEN: When I sing knife party with Chino, I am floating
around the room forever. The song is psychedelic.
And, honestly, it does always put me in a
sensual/sexual feel. When Chino asked if I would sing
on his song, I asked what it was about. He replied
that it is a song about his fantasies, his sexual
fantasies. But, wow. I never thot of it as relating
to death. Now that you mention it, certainly it is
dark enough to represent a passage of some sort of
death. Hey, Im all for opportune spiritual rebirths.

NUNO: do you sing on that song? or it’s just “screams”?

RODLEEN: We were up in that lounge at Larabee, and Chino asked
if I wanted to ‘sing’ on this song. As he began to
play it, I said, let’s just go down in the studio
right now and see how it hits my soul. My voice came
out in this operatic screamsing. Never before had I
known it. I love how we are always learning new
things in life, and that different people inspire us
to express and reveal our arts in different ways. So,
an answer to your question: I call it operatic

NUNO: how is your relationship with the guys?

RODLEEN: Like brothers. They are my brothers. And their wives
and children are respectful and kind. I have a love
for the whole crew.

NUNO: what’s your favorite deftones song (behind knife party)?

RODLEEN: Honestly, Im not great with names of songs and all.
But I would have to say the one song that I love with
a passion that rides me -superduper doped up high
like- everytime I hear it, I jump. It’s the one that
goes “Why dont you just get sic! Get sic!” Cause
“get sic” is my last name.

NUNO: what do you think about the deftones as a new rock

RODLEEN: They rock in a true way, a new way, which involves the
audience. Integrating the whole into a participation
on levels of motion/emotion and pure performance;
somehow Chino gets out there and gives and gives and
receives and receives. Something amazing and
powerful. And then, with this TeenSleep, it is as if
they can keep changing; as if change is what they are.
Which is cool and really something special.

NUNO: what’s your favorite band?

RODLEEN: I dont play favorites. I love good live shows, and I
love to sing and make music.

NUNO: do you have a band, or some kind of side project?

RODLEEN: Lately Ive been extremely busy working for Jubilee and
Perry Farrell and Jane’s Addiction, on a
administrative/coordinating level. I want to be
singing more in the future,
and I will be.

NUNO: do you have some special friends like chino, i mean
“star people”?

RODLEEN: Yeah. I know lot’s of star people. And I wouldnt
even say that star people have to be celebrities.
Tho, I do brush shoulders (and wings) with many

NUNO: what do you think about today’s music scene?

RODLEEN: It feels to me like it is on the verge of change in a
massive and global way. I think the actual music
‘scene’ itself has been almost dormant, but I feel the
inner cult i vation of some hugely beautiful span
about to emerge.

NUNO: one last question, a tricky one…what’s your
opinion about chino, as a sex symbol?

RODLEEN: The way he moves and moves his crowd of fanatics IS
…Tonight I heard teamsleep… It told a story
when I listened to it tonight over the phone.
Methodic. Creepy. Creeping up at me then without
words one song sounded like birds flocking and rain
and fire, then into the earth. Happy stuff, too.
Hits my gut, championing and grabbing the soul. I
want to sing it. I heard children’s laughter, too,
echoing in the forefront sounding like over time and
through water. It was Crook’s kid. But everything
else was real…