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Chino Moreno

Deftones’ Chino Moreno Speaks Of The X-Rated Original Title Of Their Grammy Winning Song


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Deftones frontman/guitarist Chino Moreno had a reflective chat with The Quietus, sharing some insightful details of the band’s past and present. Speaking of how “Back To School” came to be on their 2000 release “White Pony“, he explained that it all came down to label pressure to cash in on nü metal:

“We put ourselves in a bit of a problematic position with White Pony. We made that record with absolutely no interference from our label, Maverick. They didn’t hear anything until it was done, and we gave it to them. And they were pleased with it, and released it as it was. But in their minds, they wanted to shoot us into the stratosphere. We were told that we were primed to be there, but they just needed that one song to do it. So they said to us, “Why don’t you take this song from off the record,” which was ‘Pink Maggit’, “and use the chorus but rewrite it into a nu metal song.” At least, that’s pretty much what they said.

We naturally resisted them. The record was out, and the critics liked it, and we were getting great reviews because it was something left of centre. But the label kept on asking. They offered us a million dollars to make this video with Paul Hunter, who’d made videos for Eminem, and this and that and whatever. And we looked around and saw Limp Bizkit and Papa Roach selling millions and millions of records, and at that point we’d not sold a million records. So, we decided that we had nothing to lose. The record was already out, we had the songs we wanted, so we wrote what became ‘Back To School’ in literally an hour. It was super fast, and I was trying to show how easy it was to write a formulaic, simple rap rock song, that was like all those other bands.

But when all’s said and done, we took a shot at it, and did it work? Maybe. But the original album still exists as we wanted it to, and the people who are into our group, they know that.”

More amusingly though, as it turns out the band’s 2001 Grammy win for ‘Best Metal Performance‘ has a dark side the Recording Academy probably wouldn’t appreciate:

“Honestly, I was going through this punk rock head phase, where I thought I didn’t want this really corporate thing, and I didn’t care about it. So I didn’t even go to the ceremony (in 2001). But the rest of the band went. I don’t know what I was thinking. I was just anti a lot of stuff, and I didn’t want to go.

But then I got the call. They told me that we had won (in the Best Metal Performance category), and sent me a picture of everybody off stage, after accepting the award. And then, the little kid inside me kind of emerged. I’d never expected this, and I was genuinely happy inside. I tried to pretend that I didn’t care, though. In retrospect, and it’s 15 years ago now, I sort of wish I had gone.

One of the funniest things about it all though, and I don’t think we’ve ever told anyone this, but every time we write a riff, or put down the foundation for a song, we just give it a name really quick, so that we can reference it later. So, the name of the riff in ‘Elite’, when we first wrote it, was called ‘Cum On Your Face’. So, it wasn’t until the record was done that we called it ‘Elite’, and on all the masters, it’s still got the acronym on there, ‘COYF’. So it’s funny that we won a Grammy for a song first called ‘Cum On Your Face’.”

You can take in a lot more from Moreno over at The Quietus. The band’s new album “Gore” is now in stores.

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