Deftones (1988-present): a Nu-Metal band from Sacramento, California, USA.


ocalsist Chino Morino started Deftones in 1988 with the membership of himself plus Stephen Carpenter (guitar), Abe Cunningham (drums) and Dominic Garcia (bass) to become one of the more promising acts to sign to Madonna's 'Maverick' label (through 'Warner') and released their debut album, Adrenaline (1995). It would be the reputation of Moreno's live shows that helped the Deftones build up a following by coming across as a mix of Jonathan Davis (of Korn) and Zack De La Rocha (Rage Against The Machine).

That debut Adrenaline went on to sell over 220,000 copies and has since been regarded as an important part of the 1990s nu-metal movement. An early track which predated the album but did not make it onto the album's final cut was Teething. This track, however, would find its way onto the soundtrack for the 1996 film The Crow: City of Angels. The album spent 21 weeks on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, reaching a peak position of 23.

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During their first five years, the band's lineup changed several times, but stabilized by 1993 when Cunningham rejoined after his departure in 1990; by this time, Chi Cheng had joined on bass. The lineup remained stable for fifteen years, with the exception of keyboardist and turntablist Frank Delgado joining in 1999, and the death of Cheng.

Legend has it that the act started when Stephen Carpenter was 15 years old and was hit by a car while skateboarding. Confined to a wheelchair for several months, he began teaching himself guitar by playing along to bands such as Anthrax, S.O.D. and Metallica. The driver supposedly paid Carpenter a cash settlement that allowed the band to purchase equipment, but Cunningham commented in a 2007 interview that the story about the settlement was simply "a myth about how our band was started".

It would be their next set, Around The Fur (1997), that got them musical notice, especially with the explosive opener, My Own Summer (Shove It), not to mention the Headup track being a collaboration with Sepultura's Max Cavalera. The album was dedicated to Dana Wells, the late stepson of Max Cavalera (ex-Sepultura, ex-Soulfly and ex-Cavalera Conspiracy). Although not yet a member of the band, Delgado received credited as "audio" on five of the album's tracks. The album entered the Billboard 200 at 29 (its peak position) and remained on the charts for 17 weeks, eventually gaining gold status two years later.

Debuting at 3 on the US Billboard chart with sales of 178,000 copies and Delgado now a full-time band member, White Pony (2000) saw Moreno reflect on his lost youth on the track Teenager, while Tool front man Maynard James Keenan joined in for Passenger. The album was originally released as an 11-track edition beginning with Feiticeira and ending with Pink Maggit, featuring gray cover art. A limited-edition print of 50,000 black-and-red jewel case versions of the album were released at the same time with a bonus twelfth track titled The Boy's Republic added.

White Pony would achieve platinum status on July 17, 2002, selling over 1.3 million copies in the US alone, and earning the band a 2001 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance for the song Elite.

Under the original working title Lovers, Deftones fourth studio album, Deftones (2003) would arrive boasting a broader spectrum of musical styles than the band's previous albums, ranging from some of their heaviest compositions to moody 'trip' hip hop and 'shoegaze' influences, with some songs recorded mostly with seven-string guitars. The album debuted at 2 on the Billboard 200, making it the highest charting album to date by the band.

During the recording process for the self-titled work, Moreno underwent vocal training as a precaution after severely damaging his vocal cords on the band's 2001 summer tour. The band also converted their rehearsal space in Sacramento into a fully equipped studio and recorded most of the album there at far less cost. In January 2003, Deftones left the studio to perform several one-off shows in Australia and New Zealand as part of the annual Big Day Out festival.

Saturday Night Wrist (2006) debuted at 10 on the US Billboard chart with sales of just over 76,000, a significant decrease in the first-week sales of their two previous releases.

On November 4, 2008, Cheng was seriously injured in a car accident in Santa Clara, California. As a result of the injuries sustained in the crash, he remained in a minimally conscious state; friend of the band, Sergio Vega (ex-Quicksand), would be taking over as bassist in Cheng's absence. Korn members Brian "Head" Welch and Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu, along with members of Sevendust, Slipknot, and others released the single A Song for Chi, with proceeds benefiting Cheng and his family.

Diamond Eyes (2010), was originally scheduled for release on April 27, 2010 but somehow it got leaked onto the Internet, so the album's release date was moved forward to May 4 to combat the possible loss in revenue. Teaming up with Mastodon and Alice In Chains, Deftones then went on tour in the fall of 2010 in the United States and Canada.

In honor of Record Store Day, the band released a vinyl format compilation titled Covers (2011), containing several cover songs that the band had recorded over the years, including Drive (originally by The Cars), If Only Tonight We Could Sleep (originally by The Cure) and No Ordinary Love (originally by Sade). On October 25, of that year Deftones released The Vinyl Collection 1995-2011 in a limited edition of 1,000 copies.

On April 13, 2013, despite making a partial recovery and returning home, Cheng died in a hospital in his hometown of Stockton, California, after falling into cardiac arrest. The partially recorded album Eros which would have been the next to feature Cheng was once again put off. Indeed, it stayed off during the releases of Koi No Yokan (2012) and Gore (2016).

In May 2018, Deftones embarked on a South American tour with support from Quicksand and Deadly Apples.

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Nation USA
City Sacramento, California
Promotional Address Unknown
Genre Nu-Metal
Reformations 1
Web Unknown
Active Years 1988-
E-Mail Unknown
Last Modified 2020-09-17
RRCA File Code UC000570
Diskery ID 1018

Artists Linked With This Article:

Alice In Chains Anthrax Jonathan Davis
Korn Metallica Rage Against The Machine
S.O.D. Sepultura Sevendust
Slipknot Soulfly Tool

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