“DefJam” – May, 2000 // Chino Interviewed

Def Jam: An Interview With Deftones’ Chino Moreno
by Blair Fischer


In the middle of an alt-metal revolution, Deftones, a harbinger of the genre, are turning things
around. The first single from the group’s third album, White Pony offers a taste of the
evolution: “Change (In the House of Flies)” vacillates between textured guitar squalls over
frontman Chino Moreno’s heavy whisper and a stuporous vibe that permeates the entire album.
“A lot of the heavy, aggressive music that’s out now was what we were doing when we started
out,” Moreno says. “Now we’ve come up with this heavy yet warm sound.”

Heavy indeed. Moreno has some major baggage attached to White Pony, which is chock full of
lyrics that would put a high school English teacher in full-body armor. In “RX Queen” for
example, he sings “I’ll steal a carcass for you/then feed off the virus,” and in “Elite,”
it’s “you’ll know when you’re ripe/when you’re ripe you’ll bleed/out of control.”
Chino and his Deftones are not exactly shiny, happy people. drDrew.com spoke with Moreno
about violent lyrics, Korn’s downhill turn, and Napster’s impact on the music industry.

drDrew.com: In this post-Columbine era, it seems bands are a little more self-conscious when
it comes to violent lyrics. Was that a concern?
Chino Moreno: I thought about it, but I don’t give anybody directions to do anything stupid.
I use a lot of imagery, so you don’t actually know what I am talking about. [People] can assume
the worst if they want, but it’s all just fun. It’s like reading a scary book. Obviously it’s
not all horrific. There’s a lot of beauty in [my lyrics].

drDrew.com:You kind of lay back in the shadows unlike [Limp Bizkit’s] Fred Durst. Is that a
conscious decision?
CM: I prefer to be behind the guitar and singing. Sometimes I enjoy being a frontman too, but
being in everybody’s face is not really in my character. I don’t have all these opinions and
stories about myself that I wanna go tell people. So it’s a little bit harder for me sometimes.
[With] Fred, every time the camera is on him, it’s like, boom, his nose is right in the lens.
That’s cool, that’s his thing, but I also think people get tired of that. If you’re always in
the camera’s eye, people [get tired of] looking at you.

drDrew.com: Bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit are releasing new records every year now. Would you
like to do that?
CM: Not really. I’ve been friends with Korn from the beginning and I know they’re a great band.
I would hope they would spend more time [on their next CD] and get back to what drives them to
make music. I mean their first record is one of the best records of the “90s. When you put
records out that fast, it’s obvious they’re not gonna be as pristine as they possibly could.
[They’re] kind of going through the motions. That’s kind of asshole of me just to say, but to
put out a record, you have to live life and get the experiences that make these songs. If you’re
constantly just putting out music, it’s not gonna have depth to it.

My favorite thing about [Korn] was the realness of [their music]. After knowing them personally
and seeing them [recently], they’ve lost a little bit of that. As a fan, I would hope they spend
more time making music with more of the intensity they had in the beginning. That’s just me
being honest. I don’t think that’s me talking shit at all.

drDrew.com: Where do you stand on the whole Napster debate?
CM: In a way, I feel strongly about both sides. It really affects bands like us, where we’ve
only sold a little over half a million of both our records. The records went gold, but you don’t
make a lot of money on a gold record. Every record that we sell matters. Our new record is
already available [on Napster] and whether they’ve taken it down from the site or not, people
have already downloaded it and are selling it, which sucks. There’s really nothing you can do
about it. I don’t wanna take that stand and be completely against it, but at the same time, it
could affect me financially. Metallica sells so many damn records, I don’t think it affects them
as much financially.

At the same time, I’m a fan of the Internet and I enjoy downloading music. There’s a lot of rare
stuff [on the Internet] and I’m a fan of [downloading] rare music myself, so I kinda understand
why people would enjoy it.