Rolling Stone June/July 2000
by Anthony Bozza
There aren't too many heavy rockers willing to float this statement without a backdrop of derisive laughter: "Depeche Mode's Martin Gore is one of my favorite song writers. I got into the because of their early stuff, but their last record was a bif influence on me." Call him a girlie man, Slayer Fans, but deftones' Chino Moreno is sincere.
The twenty seven-year-old, who has been married for six years and has a three-year-old son, was a bit of a New Waver before discovering tha art of songwriting from the Cure's Robert Smith. His band's output might share the Cure's operatic moodiness- and on a few tracks from the group's new White Pony, he pulls off Smith-ian wails- but Deftones' music is still closer to metal than anything. "When we first started, we were just playing for fun," he says. "We started playing around L.A. and met Korn. We booked shows with them and realized there were alot of people who liked this kind of music."
At an early show, they closed for a rock-rap outfit that Moreno recalls being Ice-T's Body Count: "Everyone left after that band - I think there were ten people still there for us, basically korn and their friends." One guy happened to work for Maverick Records, and a few days later he called the deftones in for an audition. "We played a few songs and they signed us on the spot," Moreno says. "It was crazy - it didn't kick in for me at all until I went home and quit my job. I was working at Tower Records' headquarters, pricing magazines and boxing them up to be shipped out. I like that job - it was pretty easy."
Moreno, drummer - Abe Cunningham, bassist Chi Cheng, and guitarist Stephen Carpenter grew up together in SAcramento, listening to thrash Metal and jamming for kicks. When they got serious, they added turntablist Frank Delgado. "At first I wasn't even singing, because I didn't know how," Moreno says. "I would just rap over these heavy songs that Stephen would make. Nobody was doing that at the time except Aerosmith and Run DMC. I got tired of it and started getting into singers like Morrissey, who had nothing to do with the music we were making." Deftones have built a following in the last ten years with their icy thrash dirges, bu they take a new appraoch on White Pony, their third album. "It's one of the dopest records of all time," says Carpenter. He's sitting at a table in a New York hotel, having a few cocktails with his band mates and exhibiting zero humility about their new album. "I'm in the band, but it's damn fucking good," says Cheng. "Bands always want to put their music down," says Cunningham, "but our music is right there in tha champion zone with some of the others, like Radiohead." "I'm more into music now, not so much making a song heavy for the sake of being heavy," Moreno says. "Different songs came from entirely different places. This record has two feelings: One is evergy and aggression, the other is real humble. It's soft and heavy, you have to be willing to go with it."
Now that the record is done, Deftones are ready for the road. "If I had it my way," Carpenter says, "I would tour forever. I would come home once every two years for, like, six months." And they'd be willing to tour with just about anybody. "I like the European Festivals," Moreno says. "We've played after, like, Bob Dylan and before Page and Plant, and the same crowd is there listening to us and getting into it. I'd love to put a bill together
like that in America. I'd play with anybody. I'd play with N'sync."