“Rolling Stone” – January 2005 // Abe Interviewed


ROLLING STONE – January 2005

Deftones Go Upside Down

California rockers exploring new sounds with Ezrin

To break down musical walls, the Deftones have joined forces with the man who
helped build the most famous one of all. And Deftones drummer Abe Cunningham
says working with legendary producer Bob Ezrin — whose credit list includes the
Pink Floyd opus The Wall — has been exactly the spark the veteran Sacramento
hard-rock band needed.
“At this point, we just needed to change things up,” says Cunningham from his
California home during a holiday break in recording. “And this is definitely a
different style. Working with him is just putting us fucking upside down. He’s
cracking the whip.”

The Deftones’ first four albums were produced by Terry Date, whom the band idolized
because of his work with Pantera.

“We love him with all our heart, and I would do another record with Terry in a
hot second,” Cunningham says, “but this is just what we needed now. Bob has made
some amazing records — Pink Floyd is one of my all-time favorite groups — and
he’s worked with such a wide variety of people.”

The band chose the more hands-on Ezrin — who’s also overseen albums by Lou Reed,
Alice Cooper and Kiss — after considering several other producers, and entered
Ezrin’s Connecticut studio last November, following a five-week club tour that
Cunningham says was “basically an excuse to get from California to Connecticut.”

A dozen songs for the untitled album have already been tracked, and Cunningham says
the band hopes to write at least a couple more.

As for what the new material sounds like, fans have seized on a description vocalist
Chino Moreno gave last fall, calling the band’s current approach “more Rush than Tool.”
Especially considering Ezrin’s skills as a musician and arranger, some took that to
mean the new album will have more in common with the Deftones’ 2000 breakthrough White
Pony, with its ambitious art-rock tendencies, than the more back-to-basics,
self-titled 2003 follow-up.

“I hadn’t heard that Chino said that . . . but yeah, I think it could be more like
White Pony,” says Cunningham. “It’s hard to answer that when you’re up inside of it.
It’s kind of an amoeba right now . . . [but] there’s some fairly complicated stuff.
There’s this one song that has, like, five different tempo changes.”

What has definitely changed, Cunningham says, is the atmosphere surrounding the band.
The making of The Deftones was “a whole period we just call ‘the dark days’ now,” he
says. “During that time, there were two divorces. We were real burnt-out, not
communicating that much. Things were just really fucked up.”

Cunningham says it’s possible he may turn up on a track or two of the long-awaited
album from Moreno’s side project, Team Sleep. That disc is slated for a May release,
and if things go according to plan, Cunningham adds, a new Deftones album shouldn’t
be far behind.

“We’ll have new flowers blossoming, new birds chirping and all that shit,” he says
with a laugh, “and, hopefully, new Deftones music too.”