Close-up Interviews Deftones Frontman
Band Photo: Deftones (?)
Sweden's Close-Up magazine recently conducted an interview with DEFTONES frontman Chino Moreno. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
Close-Up: Why did you first opt to work with producer Bob Ezrin?
Chino: "Well, we didn't have a producer for a while. We were in Malibu writing songs. We rented this house and all lived there. It was in the summer time and right on the beach. We'd wake up and start writing music. We were writing all this music, but we weren't recording it professionally, just recording it so that we could remember the songs. We wanted a producer and we talked to a couple of people. [Former THE CARS frontman] Ric Ocasek was one person we were possibly thinking about working with. Bob Ezrin had called and said he was interested in doing it, so he came down to see us practice and perform. We started playing one of our songs and he stopped us right in the middle. He said 'Stop!' and nobody's ever really told us to stop playing. I could tell he was very militant. He said 'Try this! Try this!' He was very hands-on, wanting to take control right off the top. I thought that might be good for us, because we've never had anyone discipline us in the studio. We just write and do whatever we do, which I think is good for a certain reason. But I thought it would be good to have someone outside of the band give their point of point. It worked up to a certain amount of time. We ended up going to Connecticut and recording all the stuff we had written in Malibu up to that point. We got to vocals and it just didn't work when I started working with him on vocals. We didn't vibe."
Close-Up: I read what Bob Ezrin had to say about it. He pretty much said that you walked out on your band in Connecticut and you ragged on him in the press as well. What was the reason behind the two of you not being able to see eye-to-eye on things?
Chino: "I think he wasn't focused on our record. He didn't really know what was going on. He had too many things going on. We were in Connecticut and he was getting up at eight or sex o' clock in the morning to drive to New York to produce another band he was doing in New York in the day. By the time he got to the studio where we were working, at two or three o' clock in the afternoon, he'd just come in and throw around a couple of opinions. He helped build [PINK FLOYD's] 'The Wall' and make that album. In interviews of his that I read, he said that he actually took the songs and was building an album. That's what I wanted to do, I wanted to build a record together with him, with his help. I thought that's why you hire a producer. You pay them a lot of money to do something other than to sit around and give an opinion. Anyone could do that. It just didn't work. I noticed that from Terry Date to him, it's a completely different person. Terry Date is one of the best engineers in the world. You sit with him and I'll say 'I really want this to sound like this' and I'll play him a DEPECHE MODE song or something 'See this, where his vocals are?" and in two minutes he'll make it sound like that. That's how Terry Date works and that's what I like about him. I think, with the creative part of the band, it wasn't working with Bob. Some of the music we wrote that we recorded was good, but I don't think we were ready to put out a record yet. The songs that we had, the excitement wasn't there. It felt like we were just making a record to make a record. It wasn't fun at all and I kinda went 'I'm done with it'. At the time, with TEAM SLEEP it was so creative and I didn't have to worry about making… At the time, nobody [in DEFTONES] really cared that much, so I didn't really cared that much. We weren't really talking that much and I thought 'Why am I sitting here working on this record that nobody really fucking cares about?' So I went and did TEAM SLEEP shit and it calmed a lot of the tension in the band. I mean, I didn't know if there was gonna be a DEFTONES anymore. I don't think they knew and I honestly didn't care.
Close-Up: If you take Bob's version, it was him and the band on one side and you on the other.
Chino: "No, Bob didn't get along with Abe and Abe didn't get along with Bob. He's just really bossy. He's an asshole, that's the only way I can explain it!"
Close-Up: Another way to put it is that he's an old-school producer from an era when the producer was the star.
Chino: "I guess so, but he wasn't shining like a star. He wasn't bringing anything to the table. If he would've had one idea where I'd say 'Oh, that's great!'… But it wasn't like that. To me it seemed like there was no fire behind him and that's usually not what I expect. From Terry Date, I expect him to come fire us up. We are our own fire, but I figured 'We're paying a producer a lot of money and it isn't working, so I'll do this shit on my own.'"
Close-Up: Abe has likened this album to "White Pony".
Chino: "That's because it's a really diverse album, just like "White Pony" was. The musical parts on it are really good. It's not just riffs and parts where people can jump up and down and shit. We took our time making it."
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