Deftones’ Chino Moreno Speaks Of Straying From Nü-Metal, How A Danzig Song Got Him To Sing


Deftones frontman/guitarist Chino Moreno had a conversation with NPR that spanned the band’s origins to now. When asked if the band intentionally decided to sidestep nü-metal in the late 90’s and branch out from the trend, he offered:

“We actually made a conscious decision back then, though we didn’t really talk about it per se, but we knew in our beings that we wanted to challenge people and challenge ourselves. When we did the ‘White Pony‘ record in 2000, it was really us just going on instincts but it was also us testing ourselves. That’s when it really felt like, “Wow. This is what feels the best for us.”

I’ll be honest, too, when the record came out, half the people didn’t like it and especially people that knew us from ‘Adrenaline‘ who were like, “Why aren’t you rapping?” or “Why are you singing all the time?” For me, hearing that I kind of took it hard. I was still proud of it at the same time, and obviously now in retrospect I feel the same way.

I think we all learned from that experience to follow where we wanna go without having any too preconceived idea. We’ll be ourselves and we’ll capture that moment in time. That’s what we did with ‘Gore‘, and I honestly don’t feel that much different than I did then. A lot of things around us have changed, though. Obviously rock and roll in general isn’t the same or isn’t as big now in a way.

There’s a lot of uphill battles that we have to fight. People don’t buy records anymore. We’re not really in the video age. What worth would it be if we spent all this money making videos if nobody’s gonna watch it? It might go on YouTube or something. But it’s stuff like that, and a lot of other things that aren’t the same as they were when we started the band. I think we’ve adapted comfortably well enough that we feel good.”

On how a Danzig song helped him get his role in the band:

“…It’s pretty funny, honestly. Stef had a bunch of gear in his garage when we were kids. I wanna say we were like maybe fourteen or fifteen years old at the time, which was right around the time when we were gonna start the band. But everybody from the neighborhood would just go there and pick up an instrument and play.

It was basically a bunch of mixed together or half-put-together bands or whatever, but every time I’d go over there, I’d want to play the drums but there would always be somebody there playing drums who could play better than me.

So eventually I just had to figure out something I could do. I didn’t know I could sing, and that first Danzig record was one of my favorite records. I’d bought it the day it came out when I was in 10th grade. They were playing one of the songs, and I just started singing along with it

A few weeks later Stef was putting a band together, and he called me and said, “I’m putting this band together, and I want you to sing.” Of course, I’m like, “No, man. I can’t sing,” and he comes back with, “Dude, you sang that Danzig song the other night at my crib. You can totally sing. You’re in.” And that was pretty much it back in 1988 or 1989.”

There’s a lot more to read from Moreno over at NPR.

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