Music: Deftones

Related Acts:
  • Sol Invicto (Carpenter)
  • Kush (Carpenter)
  • Team Sleep (Moreno)
  • Phallucy (Cunningam)
  • Decibel Devils (Delgado)
  • The Bamboo Parachute (Cheng)
  • Quicksand (Vega)
  • †​††​ (Moreno)

Deftones is a metal/modern rock/experimental rock/whatever-else-they-feel-like band formed in 1988 in Sacramento, California. Deftones has released 7 studio albums to date. In 2008, bassist Chi Cheng was seriously injured in a car accident in Santa Clara, California, and remained in a minimally conscious state since that time, sadly passing away on April 13, 2013. With a temporary replacement bassist (Sergio Vega), the band managed to complete and release their sixth studio album, Diamond Eyes; the album they were preparing as their sixth before Cheng's accident, Eros, may be released in the future.

The band's distinctive musical style is often disputed by the band's fans, and trying to categorize them will result in a lot of Internet Backlash. Specifically, a lot of the band's music has a lot in common with Nu Metal (particularly their early work), including the vocalization (a mix of screams, whispers, spoken word, melodic singing and occasional rapping), the use of turntables for additional instrumentation and sound development and syncopated, riff-based instrumentation (although there is a lot of experimentation and complexity in many of their songs). However, fans argue that Deftones isn't really Nu Metal, because of the lack of angst, or claim that they're "too good" to be a Nu Metal band. Adding to the dispute is the band's diverse influences and mix of an abundance of styles, including Alternative Metal, Alternative Rock, Dream Pop, Shoegazing, Grunge, Hardcore Punk, Hip Hop, New Wave, Progressive Rock and Rap Metal. Their music could fall into any number of categorizations as a result.

The band's magnum opus is generally considered to be either White Pony or Diamond Eyes by fans and Koi No Yokan by critics. The band is generally considered an influence on Nu Metal, even with the debate over whether or not they belong to the genre, and many bands in the genre have cited Deftones as an influence, including Trope Maker Korn and Trope Codifier Limp Bizkit.

Current lineup:
  • Chino Moreno (vocals, and guitar starting with White Pony) (1988–present)
  • Stephen Carpenter (guitar) (1988–present)
  • Abe Cunningham (drums) (1988–present)
  • Sergio Vega (bass) (2009–present)
  • Frank Delgado (turntables and keyboards) (1997–present)

Former members:
  • Chi Cheng (bass) (1988–2008, died 2013)

Studio albums:
  • Adrenaline, 1995
  • Around the Fur, 1997
  • White Pony, 2000
  • Deftones, 2003
  • B-Sides & Rarities, 2005
  • Saturday Night Wrist, 2006
  • Diamond Eyes, 2010
  • Koi No Yokan, 2012
  • Untitled eighth album, 2015
  • Eros, eventually

Tropes that apply to Deftones:

  • Alternative Metal / Alternative Rock: Hard to tell. Many think they aren't the latter, though.
  • Avant-Garde Metal: They have gravitated towards this, beginning with White Pony and getting even more bizarre with every succeeding release.
  • Auto Erotica: "Passenger", natch.
  • Big Fun / Fat Bastard: Chino used to be a pretty skinny guy; this is what he looked like. But around the time the band's self-titled album released, he looked like this. He has since lost weight, however.
  • Book Ends: The re-release of White Pony placed "Back To School (Mini-Maggit)" as the first track, which means that version of the album begins and ends with what are basically different versions of the same song. Though "Back To School" wasn't originally intended to be part of the album, it actually sort of works, especially because Epic Rocking closer "Pink Maggit" takes two and a half minutes to get to the part that "Back To School" was actually based around.
  • Careful with That Axe: Chino has had to cancel tours because of damage caused by heavy screaming. His more recent works may be more violent-sounding than when he began.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Quite a few songs on Adrenaline, but particularly "7 Words" and "Engine No. 9".
  • The Cover Changes The Gender: Done heavily with the B-Sides and Rarities release.
  • Cover Version: They've covered: "Savory" by Jawbox, "Wax and Wane" by the Cocteau Twins, "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Sinatra" by Helmet, "No Ordinary Love" by Sade, "If Only Tonight We Could Sleep" by The Cure, "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" by The Smiths, "The Chauffeur" and Nightboat by Duran Duran, and "Drive" by The Cars, among others.
  • Dark Reprise: Around the Fur's second track, "Lhabia," is one of the slower, more alternative rock-leaning tracks on the album. Later on in the album comes "Lotion," which is one of the heaviest and fastest songs off the album and features an almost identical main riff to that of "Lhabia."
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Adrenaline, while possessed of traces of what they would become, was far closer to Nu Metal than their later material (including multiple songs that absolutely fit within that genre, namely "Engine No. 9") and is one of the main reasons that they're still often classified under that genre.
  • Electrified Bathtub: "Digital Bath". See the entry for Murder Ballad further below.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: Frank Delgado's work. Most notably used in "MX", which features... watery noises, to begin with.
  • Groove Metal: Their material showcases significant influences from the genre, most especially the slow-mid tempo, palm muted, and heavily bent riffs that characterize the modern groove sound. They are occasionally listed as part of the genre, but that is if you don't consider them Nu Metal, Alternative Metal or Avant Gardemetal...
  • Hidden Track: "Bong Hit" and "Damone" off of Around the Fur.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: The verses of "Lhabia" and some of Chino's Careful with That Axe moments
    • "Crenshaw Punch/I'll Throw Rocks at You" even has some lyrics officially written as "incomprehensible".
  • Intercourse with You: Much of the band's lyrical content can be construed as such, so much so that a contingent of their fans nickname them "Sextones".
    • "Sextape", anyone? The song and subsequent video are somewhat mislabeled, as it is a lot more romantic than the title suggests. Also "Crenshaw Punch/I'll Throw Rocks at You", "Passenger", "Pink Cellphone".
    • "MX" is at least partially about this.
    • "You've Seen The Butcher"
    • "Needles and Pins"
    • "Rocket Skates"
    • "Knife Party"
    • Pretty much any time the word "waves" shows up in the lyrics, except in "Anniversary of an Uninteresting Event".
  • Last Note Nightmare: "Beware" and "Diamond Eyes" both end with very violent guitar crunches that follow moments of serenity. Beware's lyrics don't help.
    • Don't forget "Bloody Cape" "GOD HELP ME! GOD HELP ME!"
  • Loudness War: Funnily enough considering their appeal lies in their incorporation of experimental, softer elements to Alternative Metal, their albums are completely fucked mastering-wise (even if they don't clip too egregiously).
    • Though their latest album doesn't seem as loud, and is all the better for it.
  • Love Nostalgia Song: "Teenager"
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Inverted with "Needles And Pins", which appears to be an extremely heavy and dark... love song.
  • Madness Mantra: The end chorus of "Pink Maggit".
  • Meaningful Name: The title of Saturday Night Wrist refers to nerve damage commonly caused by drunks falling asleep with an arm draped over the armrest of a chair. Given that the creative process of the album was heavily affected by Chino's drinking and drug problems (which were reflected in the lyrics), it proves to be very fitting.
  • Metal Scream: Chino pulls this off on occasion (mainly on their earlier releases), but the track "Elite" off White Pony is nothing but a Metal Scream.
    • Speaking of White Pony, Maynard James Keenan does this on "Passenger", and Rodleen Getsic on "Knife Prty".
    • "Tempest", from their most recent album, has a great one towards the end.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Generally a 6, they can go as soft as 3/4, and their heavier stuff borders on 7 (mostly early releases).
    • They get up to an 8, 9 or even a 10 with songs like "When Girls Telephone Boys" (8), "Elite" (10), "Hexagram" (9) and "Headup" (8-9).
  • Murder Ballad: not really a ballad, but "Digital Bath" is about the narrator killing a woman via Electrified Bathtub.
    • A better suggestion would be "Beware", drowning a woman.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Just look at The Other Wiki's description of their style.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Probably a majority of songs.
  • Nu Metal: Ur-Example.
    • Depends on who you ask, really. Their early material certainly could qualify (especially "Engine No. 9", which was a completely straight representation of the genre), but as time went on, their increasing eclecticism and general shunning of the genre's tenets arguably disqualified them. Most people nowadays just label them as "alternative rock" or "alternative metal".
  • One-Woman Wail / One-Scene Wonder: Rodleen Getsic on "Knife Prty". It's kind of hard to miss.
  • Perishing Alt Rock Voice: Chino Moreno, when not screaming.
  • Rap Metal: "Back to School (Mini Maggit)"
    • A few songs off of Adrenaline.
    • Chino's guest appearance on Korn's cover of "Wicked".
  • Sanity Slippage Song: "Rats!Rats!Rats!"
  • Self-Titled Album: See above.
  • Something Completely Different: The Progressive Metal track "Passenger", off White Pony.
    • "Pink Cellphone" lacks a metal sound completely, instead being sort of a straightforward electronic R&B song.
  • Something Something Leonard Bernstein: "Headup" and "7 Words" are notable members of this trope.
  • Spoken Word in Music: Occasionally, such as with "MX" (by Abe's then-wife Annalynn) and "Pink Cellphone" (by Annie Hardy)
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Teenager", which contained no distorted guitars at all and was mostly based around electronics. They would release several more songs like this afterwards.
    • On the previous two albums there was "Mascara" and "Fist"
  • Take That: "7 Words" is a Take That to racist cops, with some unusually (for Chino) direct lyrics.
  • Textless Album Cover: The re-release of White Pony. The band name and title are on the inside back cover though, and thus are visible through the clear CD tray.
  • The Cameo: Max Cavalera on "Headup", Maynard James Keenan on "Passenger", Scott Weiland on "RX Queen", Rodleen Getsic on "Knife Prty", Serj Tankian on "Mein", Annalynn Cunningham on "MX", B-Real of Cypress Hill on "Black Moon", Michael Harris (Idiot Pilot) on "Teenager (Idiot version)", Annie Hardy on "Pink Cellphone".
  • True Companions
  • The Walrus Was Paul: Chino Moreno's songwriting at times can become Mind Screw material.
  • Vapor Ware: Kush, Steve Carpenter's side project with B-Real and a couple of the dudes from Fear Factory. We haven't heard anything on it since 2002, although they were supposedly working on an album.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Bored" in particular, but a lot of their songs have this. Chino Moreno comments on this:
    [Sometimes] my lyrics don't deal with specific topics. I write down on paper the feelings of the moment, it's not easy to explain the contents of the lyrics or give a logical sense to the words.
  • You Make Me Sic: The back cover of White Pony and the credits spell it as "Knife Party", but the lyrics sheet calls it "Knife Prty". The latter is the actual name for the song. This is fixed in the re-release.