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Deftones' Chino Moreno

Deftones’ Chino Moreno Talks “Eros”, Limp Bizkit, “Adrenaline” Disappointment & More


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Deftones frontman/guitarist  Chino Moreno has given an in-depth interview covering the band’s discography to Spin.com. In it he provides insight into each album leading up to their impending new release, “Gore“, which hits stores this coming Friday, April 08th. Some interesting excerpts from the chat can be found below:

On 1995’s “Adrenaline” and whether they had any goals with it:

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“No, honestly, I still don’t think we really had that great of a vision of what we were trying to do at that time. I think it’s good, because we were very naïve going in, making that record, and because of that, we didn’t box ourselves in a corner of like, “This is what we are completely.”

People always say that that’s our heaviest record. I guess, in a way, it’s a lot more aggressive or angry. But if you listen to that record, there’s a lot of what still exists in the Deftones’ music today, which is a lot of that dynamic and sort of the more lush side, too, or the opposite of straight aggression. All those influences somehow made their way in, but I think that it was done in an organic way. It wasn’t so much like we sat and thought about what we were trying to do.

That being said, I was sort of bummed [about that album] because I didn’t think it was as good as it could have been. I felt like our rehearsals were great, like we were playing for nobody, just us four in a little, tiny space. I remember, we’d sit and play these songs and look at each other and go, “Wow. This stuff is incredibly heavy and infectious.” And then we recorded it, and it didn’t really transfer that well over on our first record. So as happy as I was that we were able to make a record, I always thought that there were better things to come.”

On if its follow-up, 1997’s “Around The Fur“, was a better representation of the band’s live sound:

“With ‘Around The Fur‘ we definitely did. To this day, I feel like that’s one of our best records because for one, we had a second chance to make a record at a time when we got signed to a pretty decent-sized record deal [for] that time. Bands like us weren’t really anything in the mainstream; they wouldn’t play us on the radio. When they did even play us on college radio, they totally edited the songs and even took out screams, because there was nobody really screaming on the radio at that time. So the fact that we even got a chance to make a second record is just like, ‘Let’s just do this and really engulf ourselves in it.’ I feel like we totally captured that time in our youth.”

On the surprise of the more experimental nature of 2000’s “White Pony” being their most commercially successful album:

“Yeah, mostly because it was the start of records being very difficult to make [for us]. With ‘Around The Fur‘, we recorded that record in four months from the time we started writing it to the time it was mixed and done. And when we started on ‘White Pony‘, there was a lot of… I don’t want to say arguing, but there was a lot of passion back and forth of how this should be done and there was a lot of tension. And that record took about a year to make. It probably cost us close to a million dollars to make. At that time, budgets were obviously a lot bigger, but it was a difficult record to make.

But in the end, it worked because, all that tension and trying to outdo each other just escalated the project into somewhere where I didn’t expect, or any of the other guys in the band expected it to go. It was hard to get there, but when we got there, it was like, “Wow, I guess it was worth it.”

In regards to competing for radio play with band’s that sounded like them:

“I’ve always had this issue with trying to steer left of what’s expected. I still do it. It’s sort of a natural instinct now that I can’t even help.

I had mixed feelings about it. Some things are hard to swallow. When a band like Limp Bizkit — who definitely were a good band, they wrote fucking hit songs… But to me, I was looking at, “Okay, if it wasn’t for us, if it wasn’t for something that we started doing, there would be no Limp Bizkit, straight up.” Not that I cared about that, but what did hurt me was, okay, yes, we are successful, but the success is like a whole other level with a band like that. Where with ‘White Pony‘, which is our most successful record, we barely sold a million records. Limp Bizkit sold about seven million records.

So it’s success on another level, where those dudes don’t need to work for the rest of their lives and make that much fucking money. And us, we’re still hustling to do it. It’s a whole different level of things. So a part of me wanted to just be mad about it, but at the end of the day, it is what it is.”

On reconnecting as a band after Chi Cheng‘s passing and their unreleased album “Eros“:

“Most definitely. At the time [after ‘Saturday Night Wrist‘] we started making another record, which was tentatively titled ‘Eros‘. The band started to reconnect on a friendship level. We were having fun again — we’d get into our rehearsal spot, and no one would show up till like 8 p.m., and as soon as we’d get there, we’d play dominoes or Risk. We’d have games of Risk that would last weeks at a time. So we’d spend hours just playing games, talking shit, just hanging out really. But as far as our work ethic, the music was coming together very slow, and it wasn’t that great — a lot of meandering, a lot of jammy sort of stuff.

When Chi had his accident, we were probably another six months away or something from finishing it. But at that point, everything halted. We all sort of just stepped back from [recording], all our thoughts [were] with Chi and his well-being and what was gonna happen with him. It wasn’t till maybe six months after his accident where the whole band had gotten together, back in Sacramento in our rehearsal spot. And we sat and talked for a few hours about Chi and about everything else. And before we even had a chance to really start talking about the future of the band, everybody walked over to their gear and just started playing. We started writing music that day, pretty much what became [2010’s] ‘Diamond Eyes‘.

And at that point, we were like, “Well, okay, if we’re gonna do this, obviously we’re not gonna go look for bass players, but maybe one of us will play bass on this record. But if not, let’s hit up Sergio [Vega] if he’s down.” He filled in for Chi before when he broke his foot a few years back when we were on tour with Black Sabbath and we didn’t wanna leave the tour. So we asked Vega to come and play with us and he did on a whim and it was great.

In two months we had the whole ‘Diamond Eyes‘ record written and there was this whole reconnecting of everything that had been missing for the last ten years or so. And we had totally gotten into a groove and I think we [took] our grieving, everything that we were going through, and put it into our work. And a couple months later, we came out with ‘Diamond Eyes‘ and we were just like, “Wow.” There was this feeling of creating a record together, all of us in a room together, rediscovering this excitement for making music together all accumulating at once. And I think that record is a great testament to that.”

There’s a whole lot more to take in over at Spin.com, including Rick Rubin passing on producing their record, “Saturday Night Wrist” being “boring”, the story behind “Pink Cellphone” and more.

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