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Deftones Tour Through 2010 to Support Diamond Eyes

Deftones Tour Through 2010 to Support Diamond Eyes
By: Melanie Wolfson

The Deftones have been to hell and back since bassist Chi Cheng suffered traumatic brain injury in late 2008, but the band has continued on, releasing their first album since the incident. Last month’s Diamond Eyes, the band’s sixth album, proved to be a fine effort from the guys, debuting at No. 6 on the Billboard 200. In the midst of touring in support of the new release, Define the Meaning had the opportunity to catch up with Deftones’ Frank Delgado (keyboard/turntables), who shared his thoughts on Diamond Eyes and life since the accident.

A couple of months after it was apparent Cheng would have a lengthy recovery, the band unanimously agreed to set aside the album they had been working on, Eros. Set for a 2009 release date, the work in progress was put on hold indefinitely. Then the band recruited friend and former Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega to hit the studio with them to begin something new.

“We were about a year and a half into finishing Eros, and that’s when the accident happened with Chi. A couple months went by after that happened and we realized how serious the situation was. We wanted to get together, we wanted to play, so we called Sergio,” Delgado said. “The very night Sergio showed up, we wrote a song, and it became the song ‘Royal’ on the record.”

After that first night, the band knew they had the potential to prevail through the tragedy with Cheng and to keep doing what they do best- make music.

“We were like check this out, we need to see if we can keep this going. I think within a week, we were in LA and we started writing. We just wanted to see what would happen, and Diamond Eyes ended up happening,” he said. “Everything kept coming really fast and really quick.”

Diamond Eyes, which Delgado described as a very “optimistic and positive” work, came together more quickly than any of the band’s previous albums.

“Everything was so immediate. It was just happening really fast. We were capturing it, we were recording it, and we weren’t letting any ideas disappear,” Delgado said. “Before [Diamond Eyes] we would jam for an hour or two, and what we initially started jamming out, we’d end up being far away from. With this album, we utilized our time, and we were creative. We recorded it, documented it, and we built it from there. It had a lot to do with our producer. He was really good at keeping us to hone in on our original ideas,” he said.

“It was much more efficient this way. We had made it harder on ourselves for many, many years. It was a lot of fun to make, and that’s the most important thing, you know?”

The band’s creative process for the album gave a certain cohesion to their live sound, according to Delgado.

“We were actually playing this whole record before we started recording. Last couple records, we had gone into the studio with maybe half the record, and we’d create the rest of it in the studio, which wasn’t cost or time effective. So being able to play the whole record before we even went into record it- in a two month time frame- it was a lot different,” he said.

“The difference is, and the effect it has is, when we went in to record, we were done. When we started rehearsing to play live, we were able to play the whole record, which we were never able to do before. So in turn, we’ve been playing six to eight new songs on this tour, which we’ve never been able to do before.”

While Eros remains on the shelf for now, Delgado admitted the Deftones would end up releasing the songs eventually, it’s just not a priority right now.

“We haven’t really sat around and listened to it and talk about it all together. I know we’re all thinking we’ll get it out there it some point, it’s just a matter of when. We want to do it peacefully. At some point though, yes,” Delgado said.

The band headlined a handful of US shows before embarking on their current European Tour. They will hit the road with Alice In Chains and Mastodon in the fall on a US tour, and will keep going for awhile.

“We plan on being out for a couple of years. We’re just getting started, but we plan on being everywhere at least twice this year. We’re really looking forward to the fall. When Alice in Chains calls you up to go on tour, you don’t turn it down.”

Delgado noted that despite the hardships through the years, and especially the most recent blow of Cheng’s accident, the Deftones have managed to stay strong because of their friendship.

“We’ve been together for so long. Most of these guys, they’ve known each other since they were 10 or 11 and that’s unheard of. It’s not like everyone has come from other bands first. This band started with just kids jamming. There’s something special about that longevity of friendship,” he said. “To be able to do this for so long, and dealing with everything- the ups and downs- you learn to cope with all types of situations and to be able to do that with four other guys is a special thing.”

Delgado said that he is elated with how successful the Deftones have been, and that he has never been more proud.

“I think the fact that we’re still having fun and making relevant records that people are still talking about, is a great thing. We’re trying to rock and we’re trying to do it good and sexy. We’re trying to make it fresh and be original,” he said. “I think we’re getting better at that, and I think Diamond Eyes is our best effort yet.”

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