“Las Vegas Review Journal” – August 11, 2000 // Chino Interviewed

Deftones earn praise with latest record album
By Doug Elfman

August 11, 2000

*** www.deftonesworld.com ***

The Deftones did a crazy thing. Just when rap-metal took over
contemporary rock, the Deftones tacked left and put out an intricate,
melodic album full of punk, grunge and Goth rock.
The Deftones are being rewarded with banner reviews for the CD,
“White Pony,” heavy radio play for the first single, “Change (In the
House of Flies),” and good buzz for their tour, which hits the Hard
Rock Hotel Sunday.
Singer Chino Moreno, who still extends his vocal style from a
whisper to a scream, is happy and relieved about the positive response.
“Everybody’s been really, really excited, especially the fans.
Those are the people I was worried about, (since) it was a bit of a
departure,” Moreno says.
Some reviewers believe the artful, multilayered record could in
the coming months help bring more singing, melody and musicianship back
to rock.
“I hope so,” Moreno, 27, says. “It’s getting a little stagnant.
There’s a lot of just soulless rap-metal spawning all over the Earth.”
“To me, it’s not the worst thing,” he says of rap-metal. The
format’s just gotten oversaturated, and he unabashedly hopes his record
is influential.
“I’d probably describe it as a moody record. Not moody as in
melancholy, but there are a lot of different moods in there, strong,
aggressive, sweet and sad. There are a lot of emotions on the record.
In each (song), we tried to (explore) the capacity of a certain feeling.”
The band spent a lot of time in the recording studio. Moreno didn’t
want to rush out a record with a few singles wrapped in filler.
“These are the types of records if you take time, they last longer,”
he says.
A lot of the music came from jamming in the studio, building songs
around spontaneous thoughts, then cutting out the fat.
“To me, it’s the most generous way of recording, because it’s stream
of consciousness,” he says. When you write a song, then wait to record it,
“it might not be as strong as when you were first writing it.”
The Sacramento, Calif., quintet recorded the single, “Change,” in the
middle of the band’s studio time. It became a turning point that helped the
band members stay loose.
“We were just jamming for a while,” Moreno says, and “someone would
come in with an idea, and we’d start playing together” around the melody.
But Moreno’s favorite song at the moment is the short, punkish
“Feiticeira,” which eschews traditional song structures. It doesn’t go
chorus, verse, chorus, verse. It builds from a single guitar riff to a
crescendo of hard-core guitars, drums and synthesizers.
“That structure is one of the oddest songs we’ve ever written. There’s
no chorus in the song. It starts with a harmonizing guitar and we add layers
to it,” he says. “By the end, it’s this insane little scenario.”
Overall, the album is heavy, but it has quick songs to skateboard to.
“Street Carp” will be used in an upcoming skateboarding video game. There’s
a Tool-like tune, “Passenger.” And there are pent-up, down-tempo love songs
that nevertheless stick to twisted metal/Goth themes. “Rx Queen” is a half-sick
love ode:
“I won’t stop following you. Now help me pray for the death of
everything new. Then we’ll fly farther, ’cause you’re my girl, and that’s all
right. If you sting me, I won’t mind. We’ll stop to rest on the moon, and
we’ll make a fire. I’ll steal a carcass for you, then feed off the virus.”
Moreno actually did catch a virus last week. Or was it a bacterial
infection of the throat? He wasn’t sure, but it hurt to swallow. He worried
the band might have to cancel a show for the first time since the Deftones
formed a decade ago. But he soldiered on with media interviews that day, on his
cell phone en route to a doctor’s office.
“It’s scary,” he says. “But it’s OK — I’m happy.”