“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.”

“Kerrang!” – September 2006 // Chino Interviewed


THANKS TO Aj from SharingLungs Board

Deftones singer Chino Moreno has revealed exclusively to Kerrang that making their forthcoming fifth album “Saturday Night Wrist” nearly ripped the band apart.

Moreno and his bandmates started work on the follow-up to their 2003 epnymous offering over two years ago with former Jane’s Addiction producer Bob Ezrin at the helm, but recording sessions quickly ground to a halt.

“It was the hardest record I’ve ever made in my life,” Moreno admits. “In fact, it may even be the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. Nothing was working out. I wasn’t very excited about it and I don’t think anyone else was.”

The singer blames the band’s record company Maverick, producer Ezrin and a total breakdown of communication for the difficulties.

“It felt like we had no control because the label wanted to approve each song. I’ve never had to do that before. It wasn’t creative,” he explains. “I also think I expected a lot more from Bob than I got. I thought he would be my partner and we’d have tons of ideas together. It just didn’t really happen that way.

“I had to step away from the Deftones to look at things in a different light, which is why Team Sleep [Moreno’s side project] happened,” Moreno adds. “The others didn’t like that. It was pretty much the end of the Deftones. I didn’t really care at that point either. After Team Sleep, I didn’t talk to anyone for four or five months. Then I asked them if they still wanted to do this. They asked me the same question and we both said, ‘Of course we want to do it’. It was obvious this was so special to everyone and it’s much easier to talk now.”

The bank picked up where they left off after enlisting the production skills of former Far guitarist Shaun Lopez earlier in the year, who helped them to turn their recording sessions around.

“That was when this record really started taking shape,” Moreno admits. “It felt like I had an ally at last. He was a partner who could get my vision out of me.”



“When I wrote this I thought the band was over and I was telling the other members that I was finished. One of the lyrics is, ‘ I hate all of my friends ‘. It felt like I was alone. I wasn’t communicating with anybody and this was my only way of telling them how i felt. I don’t think they realised what I was saying until a couple of months ago when I explained it to them.”


“This was written at a very confusing time. In the last few years I’ve gone through so much and I’m asking myself a lot of questions here. When you listen to it, you can tell how confused I was”


“This was a turning point on the record. I had just got back from doing Team Sleep, we stopped working with Bob Ezrin and went back to Sacramento to write. This was the first song we wrote together. The lyrics are a warning against the temptation of women, drugs, alcohol or any other vice. It’s quite dark.”


“This is a story about being in the middle of the ocean with someone saying, ‘If you were to sink underneath the waves, then I’d swim after you. Would you do the same for me?. It’s seeing how far the trust goes.”


“This was one of the last songs that I recorded. I really liked it musically but I couldn’t find the right thing to put over it. I sent [System of a Down singer] Serj Tankian the song and said, ‘If you hear anything, then give me a call’. The next day, he sent it back to me with vocals all over it. It was great! It gave me a completely different perspective but it did sound a lot like System of a Down. I focused on one part of it which gave it a foundation that everyone really liked”.


“This was just a little piece of music we wrote while we were recording in Conneticut last winter. It really captured the sadness of that time. It was a desolate place and this song just sums that up. We very nearly forgot about it until Stephen [Carpenter, guitarist] pulled it out of the hard drive just before we mastered the record.”


“Often I won’t label my demos when I send them to people so that other people won’t know what they are if they get lost. I labelled this one with that weird little key on the keyboard. We wrote this in Malibu when we first started writing this record a few years ago. I actually wrote it with Rick [Verrett] who plays in Team Sleep with me. We were just working out some music on the piano in the middle of the night. I love it because it’s so simple.”


“This was one of Stephen’s songs. There’s a lot of aggression here. He spent whole weeks working on individual sections of this because the timing is really intricate. The song title is from a story I was reading about this old actress called Frances Farmer who went crazy. It was only afterwards that I realised Nirvana had also written a song about her.”


“I wanted to write something that was based around a computer drum beat but then I kept adding things to it slowly. The last thing was [Giant Drag singer] Annie Hardy’s vocals. She was hanging around the studio one day so I asked her to record something. She started saying all this nonsense off the top of her head and it was hilarious!”


“We write this one as a band and that’s what’s great about it. You can hear everybody’s input. It’s actually quite poppy. You can nod your head it it, it’s got a good buzz-saw riff and it reminds me of early Deftones.”


“This is another personal song. I haven’t wanted to listen to the album much since we recorded it because a lot of these things are really close to me. It’s a document of what’s going on in my life and I feel like I’m only just getting over it.”


“I wrote this in Connecticut and Bob said that he just wanted to keep it as me on guitar. I wanted to put drums n it but he said it was perfect as it was, so we agreed they’d come in later. I think that was a good thing, actually. It gives the record a chance to breathe. The song’s a story about a witch that I wrote in a drug-induced haze.”

“Live Daily” – September 2006 // Chi Interviewed


LiveDaily Interview: Chi Cheng of Deftones

September 06, 2006 11:56 AM
by Christina Fuoco

Deftones bassist Chi Cheng is frank about the brutal and tumultuous nature of the recording process for his band’s forthcoming album, “Saturday Night Wrist,” due out Halloween. It lived up to nearly every rock cliché: the singer “disappeared,” producer and singer clashed, songs were written at the last minute.
But, as the clock wound down, the Sacramento, CA-bred band managed to pull it together, Cheng said.

“We’re in a better place than we have been in a long time,” Cheng said.

There is even a dose of humor on “Saturday Night Wrist.” The album title refers to an “affliction” people get when they drink too much, then they fall asleep with their hand pinned funny. When they wake up, their hand is semi-paralyzed.

Currently the Deftones–which also includes vocalist/guitarist Chino Moreno, guitarist Stephen Carpenter, drummer Abe Cunningham and turntablist/keyboardist Frank Delgado–are touring with Korn, Flyleaf, 10 Years, Dir En Grey and others on the Family Values Tour. After a European jaunt, the Deftones will return to the United States to begin a headlining run.

Cheng spoke to LiveDaily about the rough recording period, working with Bob Ezrin of Pink Floyd fame, and the joy of alt-country.

LiveDaily: How’s the Family Values Tour going?

Chi Cheng: It’s going really, really good. It’s cool to be playing with Korn again.

When was the last time you two played together?

S—, it must have been at least 10 years ago. It was a really long time ago. But it’s just like old times. It’s really, really, really cool.

Is this the first time you played Family Values? How does this tour compare to other package/festival tours you have done?

This is our first time with Family Values. This is similar to other festivals we’ve done. But it’s also really cool because I think a lot of people have been waiting to see Deftones and Korn play together, so the excitement of the crowd is very cool.

“Saturday Night Wrist” is heading to stores Oct. 31. Tell me about the production of it. I understand it was a little tumultuous.

I think everybody and their brother produced a little bit of it. Bob Ezrin produced it musically, which was a great honor. I wouldn’t say he and Chino got along so hot. So Chino finished his vocals with Shawn Lopez, who used to play guitar for Far. We recorded all over. Every Deftones album seems to be long and onerous.

Why is that?

I have no clue. We always go in with the right intentions, “All right we’re going to get it done really quick.” Never happens.

Where is the hold up? During the songwriting process? The performances? Or are you perfectionists?

We’re pretty meticulous. This time, a lot of things got in the way. I don’t know. Chino disappeared with his side project [Team Sleep] for awhile. I think he was unsure whether or not his heart was into it. He got into it, so everything’s OK.

At the Family Values Tour’s Phoenix show, I could tell there was some new-found energy up there on the stage.

Yeah, yeah, this is the best we’ve been in a long time.

Has this new-found attitude brought forth any new musical collaborations for the next album?

Oh, hell no. No. No we’re still the Deftones. We all kind of write individually so I don’t know–we’ll see. It’s amazing. I think [“Saturday Night Wrist”] some of the best stuff we’ve ever done.

How does it sit within your catalog?

It’s definitely a progression, as all the Deftones albums are. I would say it’s more, more like a “White Pony” because it’s got a lot of ups and downs. The last album was kind of dark and heavy and straight forward. This album’s a lot more melodic.

How long ago did you start writing “Saturday Night Wrist”?

Oh, I don’t know. It feels like 10 years ago. It was about two years ago. It took a really long time. We are definitely going to learn from our mistakes and not even enter the studio until an album has been written.

It seems awfully stressful to do work on deadline when there’s money involved–for example, studio costs, producer costs.

It is. It’s terrible. It’s not so hot when there’s money involved.

Your band did a cover of “Fly on the Windscreen” for a Depeche Mode tribute album. Are you guys big fans of the band?

Definitely. We’re all Depeche Mode fans. That’s one of the bands we all agree on.

What do you listen to?

[Hesitates] I don’t listen to anything anyone considers is cool. I listen to a lot of alternative country, like the Old 97’s. All I listen to is Ryan Adams, Whiskeytown, Uncle Tupelo and classical music.

The Old 97’s are a great band, especially live.

I’ve never had the chance to see them. I’m hoping I get the chance. I have a live album of theirs that I listen to a lot.

“Billboard” – August 2006 // Stef Interviewed

Deftones Unfazed By Long Road To New CD

August 30, 2006, 10:35 AM ET Gary Graff, Detroit
It’s been three years since the Deftones released their last album of all-new material. But guitarist Stephen Carpenter says the group wasn’t sweating the long wait for the new “Saturday Night Wrist,” which, as previously reported , arrives Oct. 31 via Warner Bros.

“There was no specific timetable at all,” Carpenter tells Billboard.com. “We know how we work. We figure we do it at our own pace — sometimes fast, sometimes slow. It’s definitely been slow as of late, but our agenda is no agenda, if that makes any sense. [We’re] just having a good time.”

But Carpenter acknowledges that making “Saturday Night Wrist” was arduous and involved “working with different people in different places and dealing with forces of the unknown.” The group started its fifth full-length in 2003 with Dan “The Automator” Nakamura, then worked with Bob Ezrin (who recorded most of the instrumental tracks), Terry Date and Shaun Lopez.

During the process, frontman Chino Moreno released an album and toured with his side project, Team Sleep, while Carpenter compiled the 2005 “B-Sides & Rarities” set “to put something cool out for the people who had been waiting a long time for our [new] record.”

Despite all this, Carpenter contends “it’s all great. It would be the same outcome on any other record. It was quite demanding at times throughout this process, but it’s just nice to hear the songs done.” The album’s first single, “Hole in the Earth,” is already out, the product of “just jamming around ’til we found a good idea and building on that,” according to Carpenter.

For now, the Deftones are busy on the Family Values tour, which runs until Sept. 22. Carpenter says the outing has been “really good fun” but says the band’s participation came via “an act of deception.”

“We were gonna go on tour with Korn — that’s what we were told,” he says. “We didn’t know about Family Values until after it was set up. But there have been a lot of good shows. We’re happy we’re doing it.”

“Artisan” – August 2006 // Chi Interviewed

“LA Times” – August 2006 // Chino Interviewed

The metal family moshes on
*Korn, Deftones lead the way on the Family Values Tour.

By Steve Appleford, Special to The Times
The boy looked to be about 4 years old, a smiling little kid in spiky hair and green camouflage short-pants. And all around him were dozens of ecstatic young men, swirling in the usual violent circle, pushing, shoving, tumbling into one another in either rage or brotherly affection. A preschooler was in the mosh pit.

He was too young to pay attention to the signs posted outside the Hyundai Pavilion box office in Devore: “Enter moshing at your own risk.” He’d been led there by a shirtless, reckless father figure holding a beer in his other hand, a cigarette burning between his lips. The kid was thrilled, and he definitely didn’t belong there. Another metal generation was taking its first baby steps.

That was one interpretation of Family Values, the name of Korn’s traveling hard-rock festival, which landed Saturday at the outdoor venue for nine hours of very hard rock.

Standing outside one mosh pit, a 22-year-old man who called himself Nathan P. was picking apart bits of marijuana on a paper plate. Five minutes before, he’d been in the pit himself, feeding off the music and adrenalin of the moment. “There is so much electricity in the … air,” he said. “It’s beautiful.”

As he spoke, a tall man with shaggy dark hair fell hard to the ground and was immediately surrounded by several shirtless young men. A few kicked him where he lay. His eyes rolled back, but soon he was on his feet, stumbling out of the pit.

Nathan has been there. “Everybody gets hurt, bro,” he said. “All you can do is get up and just wipe it off and get back going, dude. It’s like life.”

Most do get back up, but not everyone. At the July 30 tour stop in Atlanta, a fan suffered a fatal brain injury after being sucker-punched during an argument. Andy Richardson, 30, died two days later. Police have since made an arrest.

It was no Altamont. Blood is spilled at metal concerts every weekend, just as there are drunken brawls at county fairs and baseball games. Even Depeche Mode fans will riot under certain conditions (and have). There’s one in every crowd. And some crowds have more than one.

Earlier in the day, singer Chino Moreno of co-headlining band the Deftones expressed real regret over Richardson’s death.

“I always make a point, when we’re playing, if I see someone fighting we’ll stop the song and tell them to chill out. Then we’ll continue with the music. The music is secondary to people’s safety.”

“We were real sad,” said Korn guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer of the death, reclining backstage hours before the night’s closing set. He looked up with a knowing expression and suggested that rock concerts can sometimes be like that. “It’s not the safest place to go, no matter who you are. Last night onstage I got hit in the back with a quarter, also with a cellphone. I get [stuff] thrown at me all night long.”

But the contact with fans is mostly positive. Only minutes earlier, Shaffer and the rest of Korn were greeting fans and signing autographs for a long line of contest winners. He was typically upbeat but tired, after recent tours of Europe and Asia. Family Values was the band’s second tour of the U.S. since the December release of its album “See You on the Other Side.”

Korn meets with fans at every tour stop.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to learn a lot from different people, being around the world,” Shaffer said. “Everybody has the same problems, the same four or five things that they all struggle with: relationships, finance, personal issues. It keeps me grounded, you know?”

During Korn’s 90-minute performance, the band faced a wide landscape crowded with excited fans raising up the devil’s horns salute or middle fingers at the band’s creep-show melodies and explosive slabs of guitar. The messages could be agonized, dark, confused, but what might be reasonably scary to some is a thrill to others. A fan has got to know his limitations.

Rage is easy to come by in metal, so it takes more than volume and a bad attitude to last. The best hard rock is fueled by a singular, even deviant point of view, a striking voice and persona to transform the obvious into the provocative. Korn has had that from the beginning.

During the Deftones’ set, Moreno showed himself to be – like Korn’s Jonathan Davis – one of hard rock’s most distinctive voices. His desperate groans and whispers wandered and wailed across the grinding foundation of guitarist Stephen Carpenter, outclassing much of the rest of the day.

The remainder of the bill did have its moments, from the melodic hard rock of Flyleaf and Stone Sour to the wild-eyed thrash of Japan’s Dir en Grey, which roared with hard rock stripped down and incomprehensible.

Between band performances, fans strolled amid the food merchants and booths offering jewelry, shades and bandanas. In the booth selling glass pipes for smokers, a young woman in a shirt boasting “Yes … they’re real” lifted her shirt to demonstrate. Twice.

Later in the evening, a trio of 17-year-olds from nearby Fontana slumped at a table, taking a break before the final set by Korn. This was the first concert for Matthew Macias, who had his arm around a girl in braids. He tried stepping into a mosh pit but was bounced right out. He’ll be back.

“It was awesome,” he said. “People bouncing off of each other, going off each other, just going off. It was crazy.”

Earlier, a man with a bruised face had sat near him and his friends.

“A big ol’ black eye and everything,” Macias said. “His whole face was just purple. Didn’t bother me.”

by Hefe from Romania – July 2006 // Deftones Interviewed