Deftones are a multi-platinum selling, Grammy award winning rock band from Sacramento, California. The band consists of Chino Moreno (vocals, guitar), Stephen Carpenter (guitar), Abe Cunningham (drums), Chi Cheng (bass) and turntablist/keyboardist/sampler player Frank Delgado.
Deftones have often been praised as one of the more innovative and unique heavy metal bands of recent years. Moreno's poetic lyrics--described by a Time magazine critic as "furiously intelligent"--are often evocative, yet sparse enough to allow for multiple interpretations, and sometimes make startling use of wordplay. Moreno has cited Morrissey, The Cure's Robert Smith and Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan among his favorite singers, and beyond an occasional similarity in vocal technique, these singers' sweeping sense of drama and delicate vulnerability is often evident in Moreno's vocals.
The founding members of the band met while skateboarding, and their first rehearsals together took place in 1989-1990 while they were in high school; among their early songs was a cover of Danzig's "Twist Of Cain". Cheng joined after their original bassist left.
Carpenter was struck by a drunk driver; this tragedy became a benefit when Carpenter received a large insurance settlement, and was able to buy some expensive, high-quality equipment for the band.
Deftones enjoyed the early sponsorship of local favorites Korn, with whom they shared a fan community drawn largely from skateboarders.
They signed to Maverick Records, which is owned by Madonna, in 1994 and released their debut album, Adrenaline, the following year. The album sold well, and earned mostly positive reviews. "Bored" was a minor hit. Delgado was not yet a member, but he performed on several songs.
One review of '"Adrenaline" noted Cunningham's "surprisingly sophisticated drumming" and wrote that "Unlike many of their contemporaries, the Deftones are very controlled even in the midst of chaos."  (http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:nr6m96hofep6~T1)
About this time, Deftones stopped touring and collaborating with bands like Korn. This was due in part to the fact that Deftones were often lumped into the then-emerging genre of nu-metal. Though Deftones were only tangientially associated with nu metal, they feared the increasingly negative use of the term and separated themselves from other such groups, both professionally and aesthetically.
Around The Fur
Around The Fur was released in 1997. It also sold well, and included a collaboration with Max Cavalera of Sepultura on "Headup," a tribute to Max's late step-son Dana Wells. "Be Quiet and Drive" was a hit, and earned signifigant play on MTV.
Delgado again appeared on several songs, and demonstrated his deft, inventive touch at a time when turntable scratching was in danger of becoming a nu metal cliche.
In 2000, the band's third album, White Pony, was released. It is generally considered by fans to be Deftones' most mature recording.
Delgado was now a full-time band member, and he added greatly to the atmospheric album. Reviews were overwhelmingly positive, noting Moreno's increasing sophistication as a lyricist and singer, and the group's bold experimentalism: The fragile "Teenager", for example, incorporates elements of glitch and trip hop, with programming duties carried out by friend and Team Sleep bandmate, DJ Crook, aka, "Crookone". "Teenager" was originally a Team Sleep song. "Knife Party" features a stunning, Diamanda Galas-like vocal performance by Rodleen. A collaboration with singer Maynard James Keenan of Tool on "Passenger" is a highlight.
Of White Pony, one review wrote, "Moreno is exquisitely mind-blowing, but his fear is also evident" and that "Deftones went soft, but in an impressive way, to twist around its signature punk-thrash sound."  (http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:21o20r1au48n~T1)
White Pony later went on to earn multi-platinum status as well as a Grammy award for Best Metal Performance.
Their fourth and latest album, Deftones, was released in 2003. Again, the album sold well, and "Minerva" received some radio play.
Much of the material on the album was written by guitarist Carpenter, which accounts for the album's more heavy metal feel. Delgado plays synth, keyboards or sampler rather than his previous turntables.
In reviewing Deftones Stephen Thomas Erlewine writes that "Hexagram," the album's opener, " hits hard — harder than they ever have, revealing how mushy Staind is, or how toothless Linkin Park is, even if it's a bit of a shame that Chino Moreno has resorted to guttural barking for singing."
Erlewine is slightly bothered, however, noting that "Deftones feel compelled to strengthen their metallic roots" by forsaking "the very things that make them better and more interesting than the rest — namely, their love of art rock, whether it's via the Cure or My Bloody Valentine." He closes by writing, "When they do play by the rules, they're good, but they're great when they don't follow a map."
As of 2005
The band have a new album, possibly titled "Saturday Morning Wrist" scheduled for release in Spring 2005.
Deftones members have worked on several side projects, including Moreno's Team Sleep and Cunningam's Phallucy.
- Official site (http://www.deftones.com)
- Deftones News (http://bandnews.org/band/Deftones)
- deftonesworld.com (fansite) (http://www.deftonesworld.com)
- thedeftones.com (fansite) (http://www.thedeftones.com)