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Interview: Deftones

Deftones
Questions answered by:
Abe Cunningham (Drums)
03/24/01
Interviewed by Brian Webb

Related Links:
Official Website

PRP: Although "White Pony" has been embraced by the fans and hailed by the critics as one of the great albums of last year, yet in terms of sales it hasn't seen you take the leap many had expected, with the album recently falling off the Billboard charts and not yet selling platinum. How do you feel about that?
Abe: Every record we've done except for the first one there has been hype about being the next big thing. We don't care, we don't give a shit about what people expect. Its the biggest record we have ever had and we do what we do at our own pace. Doing it this long, we are happy with ourselves. The music business is a strange business.

PRP: Nearly a year after its release, what songs have really stood out for you on the "White Pony"? 
Abe: I like it all. I love playing "Feiticeira" live though.

PRP: What has been the highlight of this past year? What with Rock In Rio, Grammy, key to city, etc.... 
Abe: The whole year man. All these years we've been waiting for 2001 to come. It's been amazing and it's not over yet. It's been great and I can't really highlight anything. Just the fact that we can still do it.

PRP: So how did it feel to win the Grammy?
Abe: Even just being nominated we were amazed. It was totally out of the blue. It was exciting, but more so for our parents.

PRP: Since the release of your third album, yet again, another host of new bands have appeared. Do you have any favorites of the current crop?
Abe: I don't really buy any of those records. I like to listen to older stuff but I really like Glassjaw.

PRP: How does it feel to have Linkin Park support you despite the fact they are more commercially successful right now?
Abe: I think its funny. I couldn't give a shit. They have never been over here before. Linkin Park are a band that you either love or hate and they got a lot of shit.

PRP: At theprp.com we ran a feature asking bands such as Machine Head, A Perfect Circle, System Of A Down and more what their fave albums for the year were and "White Pony" consistently appeared more than any other album. It seems that amongst artists you are the most respected band out there. How do you feel about that?
Abe: That's the best thing in the world, better than selling millions, to have the respect of your peers. It's very cool.

PRP: A lot of younger bands who've toured with you like Taproot and Glassjaw have said its like a dream come true, how does it feel to have such an impact on these groups?
Abe: Yeah, we've done the same thing too though, touring with bands we grew up listening to. You listen to a band and you hope their cool people and not pricks. Treat people how you want to be treated.

PRP: There has been rumors circulating lately that Maverick Records may shut down sometime in the not too distant future, are you guys confident with your future on the label?
Abe:
I heard that they gave it some more time. Either way it wont affect us.

PRP:  With "Change (In The House Of Flies)" making TRL, the following singles never quite lived up to the success that "Change" had. Do you find this frustrating? 
Abe: No because you have to understand that we never have had any radio play before. So its all a success. We built everything we have on touring. Our worries are elsewhere, we are beyond that.

PRP: How many other singles do you plan to release from the album and are there any other tracks being eyed as potential candidates?
Abe: To us, the whole record could be singles. For the label its a whole different story, they could consider it to be a dead record now.
PRP: A lot of people would love to see "Knife Party" as a single.
Abe: That was supposed to be the first single so who knows.

PRP: It seems that with Warren Entner managing you guys and also putting together the Faith No More tribute record, it would be a perfect fit for you to show up on the tribute. Have there been any discussions about this and which Faith No More track would you like to cover if given the choice?
Abe: I think their songs are too perfect to be touched, why fuck with it. We talked about doing some really early stuff off the very first record. "RV" is what we came to and then we decided to fuck it, there's a lot of bands on the album we aren't too keen on.

PRP: Does it anger you that whenever you release an album, your style of music becomes copied quite quickly by other acts?
Abe: I mean everyone copies and we've certainly copied bands too, I think its how you take it. You cant just TAKE IT, you got to run it through your heart and soul and give it your own pace. Bands should try to get their own fucking thing.

PRP: Where do you feel the band will head with your new album and have you been writing any new songs recently? 
Abe: Anywhere, that's the beauty of it. We set ourselves up to do whatever we want and people can't expect anything. We have so many ideas but mainly we are just trying to find different sounds rather than the simple standard instruments. We haven't written anything yet, its all in our heads.

PRP: How much of a shock was it in seeing Chi without his dreads and how have the fans reacted?
Abe: No, it was great. He came in the next day and we were like god, it was quite a shock. Those dreads stunk, I felt sorry for his wife and kids.

PRP: With Chino cutting his dreads, Stef cutting his long hair, Chi cutting his dreads, what dramatic appearance change do you have in mind?
Abe: I'm growing mine long! Like back In the old days, it's been a long time.

PRP: Speaking of the old days, what can you tell us about you old band Phallucy?
Abe: We did a record almost eight years ago but it was never finished.  We were home last month and I got together and we talked about it and we went and finished it, mixed it and it sounded really good. We are going to put it out just on the internet on a site we are going to make for it. It's just kind of cool and interesting. Even eight years later it's still sounding good.

PRP: This summer it seems like you'll be doing an Amphitheater tour with Godsmack in what seems an unlikely partnership. Are you excited about this tour?
Abe: Initially we were like fuck that and there will probably be a backlash from people but I couldn't give a fuck. Lets make it in to a positive thing, it doesn't need to be negative. Why not tour with Godsmack, it's one tour and I think it could be a good thing. I'm not a Godsmack fan but we can still have fun, its summertime.
PRP: You've yet to hit Australia or east Asia yet. Any plans to?
Abe: We were going to be playing Japan but I don't think that's happening now. We'd love to get to those places but its more to do with the dollar down there and also the yen. It's all to do with our management and basically it's to expensive to go at this point but we cant wait to get to those places.

PRP: With the amount of covers you guys have both recorded and played live, will we ever see a covers album?
Abe: Yeah, maybe when we have time. It's not at the top of our minds.

PRP: You also have a number of acoustic songs that fans, particularly on the net, cant get enough of. You could really shine on something like MTV unplugged. How would you react to that? and is that something you have ever thought of in terms of performing acoustically live?
Abe: Yeah we just did this thing called "Music In High Places". A show that takes bands around exotic locations and we did four acoustic songs on this lava flow. I think the songs translate really well, even the heavier shit.

PRP: The rumors of the band touring with Tool or Weezer never seem to cease, are possible tours with these acts any closer to a reality yet?
Abe: Same as it is. Rumors.

PRP: Apparently you have a home video in the works. Any firm plans for that and if so what kind of footage can we expect?
Abe: Well the "Digital Bath" video is out. The cool thing is we did it all ourselves. We all have cameras and stuff, most of it was my footage. We hired a friend to edit it. Chino and I went to school with this kid and he went to film school and now he has backing for this company to do documentaries and stuff. The last tour we did in the states he came out and documented most of that. This is different from the home video that we will put out though before the end of the year though.

PRP: With many of the band having their own outlet other than the Deftones, do you feel this has a negative or positive affect on the band.
Abe: I think its healthy. It makes us tighter and relieves some of the pressure.

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