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DEFTONES' Chino Moreno Discuses How Fighting With Hardcore Kids Fueled Adrenaline

"We were us, we've always been us. And we didn't fit along with their agenda so we'd be at parties."

deftones chinomoreno

Long before we were all freaking out about new Deftones, the band was working on their 1995 debut album Adrenaline. An album that vocalist Chino Moreno tells The Peer Pleasure Podcast was fueled by fights with the local hardcore scene in Sacramento, CA.

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Moreno clarifies that he has nothing against the hardcore scene, and said "there was a couple of individuals who were just dicks or whatever, so I shouldn't say it was all them, it was just a couple dicks."

"I understand that some people were and you know, the music that they make is therapeutic for them for that reason, so I would never say anything negative about that. But I just I just knew that that wasn't me so if you listen to our first record, you hear a song like 'Seven Words' or something like that, you know I'm angry, I'm sorta angry at society. I mean maybe it is a form of bullying but it's like when people just like sort of don't believe in you and stuff like that whatever and people kind of talk shit.

"I went through that thing where there were a lot of bands, like you know some of the other groups, especially the hardcore kids and stuff like, that were straightedge kids or whatever—if that's what you do, that's great, whatever—but I remember a lot of those kids had beef with me, they tried to fuck with me.

"They're, like, kind of on their whole kick like whatever, blah blah, and that just wasn't me either and I just didn't get along with them. So I got in a few fights. It was like a year of my life I remember where I was just getting in fights like a lot. And this was around right before we got signed, but we were sort of like a big group as far as in Sacramento. We were well known and all our shows, we would sell them out, a lot of people would come to our shows.

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"And then with that came in a little bit of backlash and jealousy from a lot of the hardcore kids who had been toughing it out for years and doing whatever, but so had we. But we weren't in their clique, we weren't hardcore. We were us, we've always been us. And we didn't fit along with their agenda so we'd be at parties, and things would like… I used to get in straight-up fistfights. And then one day I just decided I'm not gonna fight anymore. Like if I have to I would, but I just realized like what does it matter.

"So I guess that could be a form of bullying in a way or sort of getting messed with or whatever. But back to what I was saying, is our first record, I think there was a lot of that angst and that anger kind of like you know like fuck you, whatever… But after a while, that sort of like dissipated and it's like why would I make music concerned about someone who's going to say something negative?

"Or just base my whole sort of emotions off that. Even in Deftones' records now it's not like it's all happy music at all times. There's still a little discontent and certain things in there and dark themes and imagery sprinkled in there. But it can't be that all the time, it can't be anything all the time, I think it has to be true to how the music sounds and the music is kind of what inspires every single word that comes out when I'm sitting down writing.

"It's just like, 'How do these notes make me feel?' I mean, I don't actually say that to myself, but I kind of just write as I'm going. And in retrospect, I sit back and look at it go, 'Oh…', you know what I mean? Some certain things will come out but it's pretty much just me responding to the song. The sounds of what we make.

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"I wouldn't say it was any specific gangs. It was just other kids, they were all my same age, so they were just kids too, but in like other bands. But their music of choice was like hardcore music. I know a lot more about it [hardcore music] now than at the time, like, I didn't know much about hardcore music. When I heard it just sounded like metal music to me whatever but it had a message I guess to it, which is great.

"Please don't get me wrong, like I'm hating on hardcore music. But I'm just saying at the time when I was a kid I didn't know it because I wasn't in the same scene as them. But I just remember, there was a couple of individuals who were just dicks or whatever, so I shouldn't say it was all them, it was just a couple dicks. And it would probably mostly stem from like we've all been making music since you know we were like young teenagers and now like Madonna is signing our band. So they were probably just like, 'Fuck these dudes. Why are they getting attention?'"

Deftones new album Ohms is out September 25. The album was produced by Terry Date (Pantera, Soundgarden) and is available for pre-order here.

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