“Kerrang! – November 2006 // Chino Interviewed

‘I’ve spent Two Years doing Speed’ 

”Hey Man, You don’t mind if i do this while we talk do you?” 

Chino Moreno nods to a small heap of weed on the hotel room table in front of him. Deftones and drugs are, of course, no strangers. Their breakthrough ‘White Pony’ album, released in 2000, was named after the drug that fuelled it’s recording – cocaine. And this writer recalls a backstage pill-popping scene way back when they toured the UK in 1998 that was debauched by any band’s standards.

But Deftones were always primarily about the music, weren’t they? Apparently not. Somewhere between 2003’s self-titled album and new album ‘Saturday Night Wrist’ things for the vocalist Chino went awry. As he will explain over the course of the next hour, the 33-year-old has only recently come through a dark tunnel in which it looked like Deftones’ fifth album mightn ever happen.

He sparks up his stubby joint, exhales a plume of blue-grey smoke and starts talking. 

You recently told Kerrang! The new record nearly didn’t get made. What was the source of the problems in the band? 

”I didn’t want to make a record for the sake of it. A year into making it i thought everything was sounding really mediocre. So i did the [ambient side project] Team Sleep record and went on tour. I knew the rest of the band wouldn’t be happy about it, but mentally i had to step away from it for a while. At that point i had no idea when i would go back to the Deftones album. There was alot of uncertainty” 

Had you fallen out of love with the Deftones after your last album? 

”Not so much out of love, but there were a lot of preconceptions about how we should sound, which i was always fighting against. I didn’t want to stick to a formula” 

You’ve always seemed to be a band built on conflicts. Steph Carpenter is a metal guitarist, Whereas you’re into the more abstract end of things. 

”Yeah, Steph has always wanted to make a straight-up heavy, aggressive record, but i think that would tie our hands as a metal or ‘nu-metal’ band. Our old fans would probably like that, but i feel there’s much more scope for experimentation.” 

Did you ever think about leaving Deftones? 

”Hmmm, no. I wanted to be excited again and hear that excitement from the rest of the band too. Also, I’d been going through some personal issues. Making ‘Deftones’ was probably the darkest time of my life” 

What was making you so unhappy? 

”For one, i was going through a divorce from my wife, who i had been with since i was 19. I didn’t deal with it. I was always away, avoiding things. Music is a great way to escape from reality, but reality catches up. I wasn’t taking care of myself physically either. I wasn’t going out and became very anti-social.” 

When rock starts stop going out it usually means they’re sitting in darkened a room doing drugs. 

”Yeah, I went into a period where i tried to use drugs and alcohol for inspiration, because my home life was this…whirlwind. I just got more screwed up. I’ll smoke a little weed now and then, but drugs aren’t always great for creating. You just end up with lots of half-assed, incomplete shitty ideas” 

Were you doing loads of coke? 

”I was doing speed, which is like coke times 200. I could work insane hours when i was on it. I could be in the studio for days coming up with great ideas, but whe ni went back to it none of it made any sense” 

Plus, The comedown you get from speed is pretty nasty 

”Exactly. You can’t eat, you can’t sleep. And when you do sleep, you’re out. Then you wake up and star the cycle all over again. It’s ridiculous, the worst drug ever. I’ll never do it again and would never advise anyone else to. It’s dirty, really bad” 

So, As a multi million selling artist, why go for the cheapest, nastiest street drug out there? 

”I’d been through the coke thing making ‘White Pony’. That was really the drug of choice and at that time it still seemed like fun. I got over that, but then i got introduced to speed. You don’t have to take a lot of it. It’s really sad. It’s nothing i’m proud of. i was doing it to run away from the reality of what was going on in my life, Tet ultimately it made my life worse.”

What made you change? 

”I never needed any rehabilitation or anything, I just decided never to do it again. It’s been a year now and looking back at those times none of them were happy. That reflected on the band, because they all knew what was going on. I wasn’t hiding anything. I’m sure they could attest to the fact that i wasn’t the best person to deal with because of the extremes of my changing mood swings. I moved from Sacramento to LA too, So i don’t hang around with any of the people i was doing those drugs with.” 

Atleast it wasn’t heroin or crack. 

”Yeah, and i won’t ever do those. Speed and coke were about as far as my experiments went. I’m only just now realising how [bad] things were getting. Being on my own now gives me a whole different perspective.” 

How is life in LA for you? 

”It’s quiet. I live in Burbank, in the valley. There’s lots of things to do there, creatively, which is cool. Plus, our management is there so i feel a lot more involved now. I just moved house right before i came here, in fact.” 

What do you do for fun outside of music? 

”These days? Playing tennis. Yeah! i’m really into playing tennis in the mornings. Just living a normal life, being more active, generally going outside more, because before that i spent two years in the bathroom” 

Do you wear a pair of little white tennis shorts? 

”Yeah. And i look good in them too” 

Do you use Myspace? 

”I have an account and i don’t think anyone even knows that it’s me. I use it to hear new music – something i’m obsessive about. I’m a big fan of the band Godspeed You! Black Emperor – so say if i search on them as an influence, I’ll end up finding some kid making great music in his bedrom. It’s music in it’s freest, rawest state. I really believe the best music in the world right now is being made in the underground. Zero restrictions.” 

What do you fear most in life? 

”The idea of not being able to be creative. That’s the reason why making ‘Saturday Night Wrist’ was so hard. I had the record company trying to get me to work with songwriters and apart from people like Serj Tankian (System of A Down) we’ve never done that as a band. Why would we? But it got me questioning myself, questioning my abilities. The drugs took away from the creativity. Even at my worst stages in life i’ve always created though – losing that is my biggest fear. I mean, I’d really hate to come across as just another rock ‘n’ roll cliché…”

– thanks to Sublminal from SL

“Drowned in Sound ” – October 2006 // Stef Interviewed

Stephen Carpenter seems relaxed. The Deftones guitarist slouches in his chair, backstage at London’s Electric Ballroom venue; behind him a table is covered in fruit and snacks, while in his hands he rolls a joint, almost certainly not his first of the day. He’ll smoke it throughout our time together.
Carpenter’s laugh is intoxicating, his politeness a grand contrast to how he’s presented in the band’s promotional photography. “I love to smile,” he says, his facial expression simultaneously and successfully backing the claim up. “My teeth look good, right? In photo shoots I want to smile, but then I’m told, ‘No smiling’. What, I can’t be happy?”
For promotional purposes, it would seem not: the portraits that appear on the Californian band’s website – here – present each member as anything but a smiley, happy sort; Carpenter in particular is made to look threatening, as if the eyes behind his shades burn red with murderous intent. Frank Delgado, whose role in the quintet has become more prominent since the release of 2000’s genre-splitting excursion into new musical territories, White Pony, appears as if recently arrested. His steely eyes sit to DiS’s left as we chat a few hours prior to show time.
“We’re meant to be here strictly for press,” says the keyboard player, who also contributes a wealth of samples and atmospheric electronics to the group’s sound. Carpenter, although obviously in no particular hurry to leave DiS’s presence, is nevertheless a little tired of the question-and-answer process.
“The thing that becomes routine is all the press,” he says. “Otherwise, it’s just us throwing stuff out – we’ve got new songs we can go play, and that’s exciting. Interviews can be exciting, when they’re interesting. But when it’s just all redundant hype about the record… I mean, I speak for myself, and I said this in another interview: I’m not a hype person. I used to hype ourselves up – it was exciting – but by the time we got past White Pony, I was over it. At that point, it was our third record, and I really believed in it. At that point we’d become successful, or somewhat successful, on the business side. The business side’s always trying to interject their ideas and concepts, but they’re not part of it. I really believed in that record – I used to joke around, ‘Man, if you can’t sell ten million of these units, you’re terrible’. And they couldn’t, but it’s still our best-seller.”
Carpenter’s tendency to wander off on conversational tangents is a neat parallel to the non-linear, boundary-pushing music his band creates – the five-piece are completed by vocalist and guitarist Chino Moreno, who makes a brief appearance but doesn’t contribute to the recorded interview; Abe Cunningham, drummer, who is first in line to shake DiS’s hand when we arrive; and Chi Cheng, the bassist whose presence isn’t once noticed prior to the band’s set.

“There’s no formula to it – if there was a formula,
we’d have bottled it by now”

Deftones have never shied away from experimenting, and since the writing of their second album, 1997’s Around The Fur, they’ve had their own rehearsal and recording space, The Spot, within which to let their creative juices flow. Given the freedom the band were allowed following White Pony, it’s little wonder that record’s two successors to date – 2003’s self-titled effort and the new Saturday Night Wrist long-player – have confidently declassified themselves from any rock music sub-genre or scene. Nu-metal, Deftones certainly are not.
“I think we’re happy that we’re still experimenting,” says Delgado, “and it’s not an easy thing to do, as there’s no formula to it. If there was a formula, we’d have bottled it by now. We’re older now, and we know the business – we know we need to find a creative environment for us to work in.”
“That’s kinda what we like to do, to a point – we like to throw people a curveball,” adds Carpenter.
Delgado continues: “Like he says, about that curve: we try to do that with everything we do, in a way, without hurting ourselves and taking us too far left. Whether it’s the concept of a record, or the songs within the record, we’re always trying to throw a curve. And it’s hard, like you were saying, because you have to go through this redundant bullshit – press photos have to look a certain way. It’s kind of hard if you want to try something different. That’s the line we have to walk, though.”
Saturday Night Wrist is just another obstacle on that line, another album made with scant regard for sales or fan satisfaction, although respect is maintained – nowadays, Deftones write for Deftones, and nobody else. Although White Pony was a massive success, much of the financial reward that came the band’s way was down to the writing and recording of the single ‘Back To School’, a song that didn’t even feature on the original album release. Moreno has since said that the song was released as an example to bands and fans alike of how easy it was to write a hit (click here for reference; here for the song’s video); the band’s label, Maverick, simply wanted a single to promote the record with, as the vitriolic-and-robotic (and Grammy-winning!) ‘Elite’ and nerve-shredding ‘Knife Prty’ weren’t all that likely to gain the MTV seal of approval.

“We’re not trying to be part of any formula, including our own,” says Carpenter of the band’s reluctance to remain stationary, allowing their music to stagnate. “I mean, we could look at music that we’ve done, and that people enjoy – ‘Oh, I love this song!’ – and we could easily replicate that because people really liked it. But our opinion is that if people really like that, we won’t do that. We’ve still got to be us – I listen to all the records and there is a Deftones sound. A Deftones stereotype is to say we’re dynamic – we’ve got heavy stuff and softer stuff and all the middle stuff. So that’s where we stereotype ourselves, and it’s an almost impossible stereotype to break when you’re trying to branch out into every direction, you know what I mean. it’s going to be that way.”
“I think it’s a good place to be,” continues Delgado. “Ever since White Pony we’ve pretty much opened these doors and allowed ourselves to take turns which won’t alienate fans, but show respect for them.”
Saturday Night Wrist is sure to be met by a hefty degree of acclaim by critics who’ve previously noted Deftones’ preference for challenging themselves over recycling hackneyed riffs and tired rock-raps – while the likes of Korn and Limp Bizkit, bands who were breaking into the mainstream proper before and around the time of White Pony‘s release, Deftones chose stealth and subtlety over lyrical braggadocio and misogynistic backstage behaviour. They didn’t sing of pain and torture, at least not in any literal way, and their approach to modern rock was one influenced by the likes of My Bloody Valentine and The Cure, not Mötley Crüe. Rolling Stone has said of Moreno’s vocals: “Singer Chino Moreno sounds like he’s conversing with a choir of voices inside his troubled skull. He’s the most Dada of the metal screamers.”

“When Chino threw another guitar into the mix,
it opened a whole new world of chaos”

“We were very confident,” says Delgado of the band’s decision to deviate from the comparatively formulaic song structures of Around The Fur on its follow-up, White Pony“There was a conscious decision to make something really different, because at that particular time there was a wave going around that everyone expected us to ride, or kick water in. you know what I mean?”
Said wave, of course, was started by Korn et al. In the same year the Bakersfield nu-metallers made magazine covers their second home, Deftones suffered a 1/5 review for White Pony in apparently broad-minded music magazine, Select.
“The real change happened only because Chino played guitar from then onwards,” continues Carpenter. “Otherwise it was just the four of us, instrumentally. When Chino threw another guitar into the mix, it opened a whole new world of chaos.”
The hole to that world has steadily widened over these past six years; now, with Saturday Night Wrist, Deftones are ready to tear it in such a way that it can never be closed – all thoughts of the band’s past connections with a maligned genre they never claimed to be part of will be eradicated, and educated critics will undoubtedly come to the conclusion that, for all Moreno’s seesawing vocals and Carpenter’s brutal riffs, Deftones are far more than a make-up-the-numbers metal band. Their music isn’t the preserve of big-trouser-wearing kids, slightly too chubby to be accepted by the emo crowd across the playground; it’s a mature, developed beast, and one that’s so grown up now that no amount of restraint will keep it from attaining respect and rewards.
Carpenter stands and relights his joint; he chuckles slightly at some half-joke or other DiS makes as our time together reaches its end. Outside, Moreno and Cunningham talk merrily with their PR. Whatever complications dogged the gestation of Saturday Night Wrist (and you can look elsewhere to read about them, as there’s no room for negativity here), it seems that the band is very much one of happy brothers again. They’re off the map and absolutely content there: rein them in at your peril.

” Close-Up” – October 2006 // Chino Interviewed

Close-Up : Why did you first opt to work with producer Bob Ezrin ?

Chino : “Well, we didn’t have a producer for a while. We were in Malibu writing songs. We rented this house and all lived there. It was in the summer time and right on the beach. We’d wake up and start writing music. We were writing all this music, but we weren’t recording it professionally, just recording it so that we could remember the songs. We wanted a producer and we talked to a couple of people. [Former THE CARS frontman] Ric Ocasek was one person we were possibly thinking about working with. Bob Ezrin had called and said he was interested in doing it, so he came down to see us practice and perform. We started playing one of our songs and he stopped us right in the middle. He said ‘Stop!’ and nobody’s ever really told us to stop playing. I could tell he was very militant. He said ‘Try this! Try this!’ He was very hands-on, wanting to take control right off the top. I thought that might be good for us, because we’ve never had anyone discipline us in the studio. We just write and do whatever we do, which I think is good for a certain reason. But I thought it would be good to have someone outside of the band give their point of point. It worked up to a certain amount of time. We ended up going to Connecticut and recording all the stuff we had written in Malibu up to that point. We got to vocals and it just didn’t work when I started working with him on vocals. We didn’t vibe.”

Close-Up : I read what Bob Ezrin had to say about it. He pretty much said that you walked out on your band in Connecticut and you ragged on him in the press as well. What was the reason behind the two of you not being able to see eye-to-eye on things?

Chino : “I think he wasn’t focused on our record. He didn’t really know what was going on. He had too many things going on. We were in Connecticut and he was getting up at eight or sex o’ clock in the morning to drive to New York to produce another band he was doing in New York in the day. By the time he got to the studio where we were working, at two or three o’ clock in the afternoon, he’d just come in and throw around a couple of opinions. He helped build [ PINK FLOYD ‘s] ‘The Wall’ and make that album. In interviews of his that I read, he said that he actually took the songs and was building an album. That’s what I wanted to do, I wanted to build a record together with him, with his help. I thought that’s why you hire a producer. You pay them a lot of money to do something other than to sit around and give an opinion. Anyone could do that. It just didn’t work. I noticed that from Terry Date to him, it’s a completely different person. Terry Date is one of the best engineers in the world. You sit with him and I’ll say ‘I really want this to sound like this’ and I’ll play him a DEPECHE MODE song or something ‘See this, where his vocals are?” and in two minutes he’ll make it sound like that. That’s how Terry Dateworks and that’s what I like about him. I think, with the creative part of the band, it wasn’t working with Bob . Some of the music we wrote that we recorded was good, but I don’t think we were ready to put out a record yet. The songs that we had, the excitement wasn’t there. It felt like we were just making a record to make a record. It wasn’t fun at all and I kinda went ‘I’m done with it’. At the time, with TEAM SLEEP it was so creative and I didn’t have to worry about making. At the time, nobody [in DEFTONES ] really cared that much, so I didn’t really cared that much. We weren’t really talking that much and I thought ‘Why am I sitting here working on this record that nobody really fucking cares about?’ So I went and did TEAM SLEEP shit and it calmed a lot of the tension in the band. I mean, I didn’t know if there was gonna be a DEFTONES anymore. I don’t think they knew and I honestly didn’t care.

Close-Up : If you take Bob ‘s version, it was him and the band on one side and you on the other.

Chino : “No, Bob didn’t get along with Abe and Abe didn’t get along with Bob . He’s just really bossy. He’s an asshole, that’s the only way I can explain it!”

Close-Up : Another way to put it is that he’s an old-school producer from an era when the producer was the star.

Chino : “I guess so, but he wasn’t shining like a star. He wasn’t bringing anything to the table. If he would’ve had one idea where I’d say ‘Oh, that’s great!’. But it wasn’t like that. To me it seemed like there was no fire behind him and that’s usually not what I expect. From Terry Date , I expect him to come fire us up. We are our own fire, but I figured ‘We’re paying a producer a lot of money and it isn’t working, so I’ll do this shit on my own.'”

Close-Up : Is Bob getting points on the album?

Chino : “He’ll still paid, yeah, and get points on the album. He’ll be happy cause we took the record and made it better, so he’s only gonna get more money. A year and a half ago, if we’d put that record out, the stuff we were recording with him, we’d be done by now. I honestly think we’d be done, because it was just another DEFTONES record. There was nothing special to it yet. There were some good songs, that’s it. It wasn’t an album. What we have now, hopefully people ten years from now will still listen to it and appreciate that this is a piece of work. He’ll benefit from that.”

Close-Up : Honestly, it’s kind of ridiculous that every single time I interview DEFTONES you’ve been through some kind of dysfunctional band situation. Is there an underlying current that keeps surfacing every now and then?

Chino : “I think the main thing, when we finally sat down after all this went down, was that I didn’t think anybody cared about the band as much as I did. I felt like I was the person who was living it and breathing it every single day, worrying about every little fucking thing, whereas everybody else would come in and just leave. To me, that wasn’t being in a band and that’s what I was upset about. ‘Why am I the only person that cares?’ Pretty soon I stopped caring about it. I think that happened individually with Stephen Carpenter , guitarist] and everybody else too. We had to sit down and talk about it and ask each other ‘Do you want to be in this band?’ They asked me ‘Do you wanna do this?’ and to myself I said ‘Yeah, fuck yeah!’ But I had to really go through all this shit to really think about it. I said ‘Yeah, I wanna do it, but the only way I wanna do it is if I know you guys wanna do it more than anything.’ There were some questions we had to ask each other out loud. ‘Do you wanna do this?’ and look at their face and hear them say ‘Yes, more than anything.’

Close-Up : Your drummer Abe Cunningham has said that “If [there] was a VH1 ‘Behind the Music’ special on us, it would be the perfect episode with divorces and all kinds of crap.” Did it go as far as the “fuck scene” in METALLICA ‘s “Some Kind Of Monster” movie?

Chino : “Yeah, but we don’t really fight like that. We’ve known each other since we were kids. The way that we get to each other is we won’t talk to each other or be unreachable. I’m sure they were really mad when I went off and I said ‘I wanna go make music. I tired of doing this.’ I left to go do TEAM SLEEP and I knew they weren’t happy. I know it was kind of a dick thing to do, but I thought to myself at the time ‘Why am I unhappy in my life? I should be enjoying making music.’ That’s why I started doing it in the first place, but it was becoming more of a headache than anything else. I went and completely just had fun with it.”

Close-Up : The TEAM SLEEP album was supposed to be released years before it eventually was, so it couldn’t have come as a big surprise to them.

Chino : “Well, they would never let me put it out. Maverick owns pretty much anything I sing on, so they took control of it. They’re gonna make more money off DEFTONES , so they never wanted me to release that record. I’d give them a record and they’d say ‘whatever.’ That’s like the third something record that I gave them, something that I wanna put out. ‘No, you gotta focus on DEFTONES ‘, which is understandable cause that’s how everybody feeds their families. But I didn’t get into this thing to feed my family. I’m glad I can feed my family, but that’s not why I’m making music. That’s the thing about our shit. We’re not a big band, we’re never gonna be a huge band and I don’t care. I think it’s fine, the shows we get to play. As long as we have fun while we’re playing, we’re gonna do it. If shit ain’t good, I’ll get a job, but I’ll still play music.”

Close-Up : On the album, what remains from the Bob Ezrin sessions?

Chino : “Probably seven of the twelve songs. There was good shit there, but we needed to take it and change it and do other shit to it. It felt like the dynamics we have in our songs, you couldn’t even hear them cause it sounded like something constant. In our music, we like it to go from extreme to whatever and I seemed like it didn’t have that to it.”

Close-Up : Are there any vocals left from those sessions?

Chino : “No. Right before I left for TEAM SLEEP I cut vocals over every song. I didn’t listen to none of it until six months later. I listened to some of it and it was okay but uninspiring. Some of the guys liked some of the parts on there, but when I came back and we restarted the record, I took a few songs from that stuff and started from scratch with vocals. It was great. On some songs I tried six or seven different studio ideas. I want to try that, I can’t settle with my first idea. I wanted to experiment and make something a little bit weird.”

Close-Up Abe has likened this album to “White Pony” .

Chino : “That’s because it’s a really diverse album, just like “White Pony” was. The musical parts on it are really good. It’s not just riffs and parts where people can jump up and down and shit. We took our time making it.”

Close-Up : Looking back, “White Pony” is the DEFTONES album that has stood the test of time best. It’s not as set in a certain time period as some of the other albums.

Chino : “Yeah and that’s something that is hard to live up to. When you make a record, you don’t wanna do something less than what you did. With our last record, I honest think we got out of it what we put into it, which wasn’t as much as we could’ve put into it. I didn’t wanna fight. Especially me and Stephen fought all the time on ‘White Pony’ about how we wanted it to be, how he wanted it to be. I was taking my ideas and his ideas, so it built up to a great album cause we were both so adamant on our part. The excitement was there. With the self-titled ‘Deftones’ album I pretty much didn’t wanna fight with him anymore, so it was like ‘I’m not gonna say anything’. We put it together really easily, kind of simple. It still took about a year to make, but it was pretty easy. We thought it would be as successful as ‘White Pony’ . At the end of it, I realized that when we’re going in to make the next record we really need to take our time and not just fucking fuck around. That’s a lot of questioning yourself all the time, but I think you have to go through it. You have to try a bunch of crap before you get one good thing out of it. That’s something I haven’t really experimented with before.”

” MTV ” – October 2006 // Chino Interviewed

It took more than three years, a handful of different studio locales and a couple of producers to bring the Deftones’ fifth studio offering to life. And for the band and its fans, Halloween couldn’t come soon enough.

On that day, the Sacramento, California, rockers’ Saturday Night Wrist lands in record shops — and the band’s planning a 26-date U.S. headlining run starting October 26 in Oklahoma City. Deadsy, who spent much of this summer with the ‘Tones on Korn’s revived Family Values Tour (see “Korn Resurrect Family Values Tour With Deftones, Stone Sour”), have been tapped as the trek’s openers. The Deftones plan to tour in support of the disc for the next two years.

According to frontman Chino Moreno, the Deftones didn’t intend to take their time with Wrist, “but it just so happened it took that long. And it’s a relief to have it done. It was a hard record to make. Every record that we make, it gets harder and harder for us, because we try not to repeat what we’ve done before or stick to certain formulas. And in order to do that, we have to go through a lot of trial-and-error stuff, which can be time-consuming.”

Moreno said the band’s fans have come to expect a certain quality from his band, so the Deftones wanted to make sure Wrist would live up to the hype (see “Why Is The New Deftones Album Taking So Long?”).

“Our fans are very critical, which is the way we all are,” he said. “We feel like, in anything in life, what we put into it is what we get out of it.”

Fans have been getting a taste of the LP through the band’s MySpace page, where the Deftones have posted a track called “Rapture” as well as “Hole in the Earth,” the first single from Saturday Night Wrist, a title inspired by an injury one of Moreno’s friends sustained (she was diagnosed as having “Saturday night palsy,” a compression of the radial nerve that occurs when intoxicated people sleep with their arm draped over a chair or with someone sleeping on their arm).

” ‘Hole in the Earth’ was probably the first song I put lyrics on for the record, and the song is kind of in reference to the turmoil we were going through making the record,” Moreno said. He told MTV News in April the band nearly called it quits halfway through the recording process (see “Deftones Serve Up ‘Buffalo’ With System Singer On New Disc”). “We almost gave up on it. It was really difficult and communication within the band wasn’t that good, and I had another project,” an ambient outfit called Team Sleep, “I was going to do. Between us, the bandmembers, it was a rough time, and the song addresses that.”

Moreno also commented on the death of Andy Richardson, a 30-year-old man who was beaten in the mosh pit at the August 1 stop of Family Values in Atlanta. Police have charged 24-year-old Michael Scott Axley with Richardson’s murder (see “Man Charged With Murder For Beating Death At Korn Concert”).

“It was meaningless and sad and stupid that there are people who’re that retarded and do senseless things,” he said. “It was saddening to hear that someone would die at our performance. We’re there to have fun and for everyone else to have fun. It’s depressing. I don’t think you can blame it on the music, because there are always some people who don’t think before they act, and they have to bring it down for a lot of people.”

“Buzznet” – October 2006 // Abe and Frank Interviewed


“Vol 10” – August 2006 // Chi and Stef Interviewed

“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.”