Deftones Interview
This interview was made in Clermont, France, the 06th of april 2007.
Manu & O.S have met Stephen Carpenter, the guitar player.

How is the "Saturday Night Wrist" Tour going ?

It’s going good, I mean we’ve been touring since February last year, been on tour well over a year already even before the record even came out.

It’s funny because I saw Deftones only once on stage, it was 10 years ago, that was with Will Haven and you’re back with them now...

Yeah, some people told me that the other day when we played in Austria, they saw us 10 years ago with them there and I was like "Damn it’s been that long!?"

How is Chino now, we heard he had a sore throat?

Yeah he lost his voice a couple of weeks ago, been like two or three weeks, I mean it’s alright, still messed up though I think.

Ok, in my opinion "Saturday Night Wrist" is very close to "White Pony", it has the same anger and the same sweetness mixed together but in my opinion it doesn’t have the same dark side to it that "White Pony" had?

Yeah, I mean it’s not anything intentional, our songs are always just snapshots in time of where we’re at y’know, depending on how we’re feeling when we’re writing music y‘know that’s how the music’s gonna sound.

Do you think it’s maybe "happier" than your previous records?

I think they’re all different from each other; we’ve obviously been growing up the whole time we’ve been making ‘em, y’know, different time and place for everything.

That’s strange because we had this feeling and at the same time we heard that it was hard for you to record this album as you had problem with Chino and Bob (Ezrin – Producer)?

Chino and Abe both! Abe took just as much time as Chino, y’know Chino took a break to go play with Team Sleep for awhile, y’know they were both slow.

What were the most important differences between Terry and Bob for you?

Y’know Terry was like us, he let’s us do what we do, but Bob’s whole role was him trying to change things, but y’know, it just didn’t work! (Laughs)

So, Are you back with Terry for the next one?

I love to work with Terry, but in whole reality, I’d like to do everything ourselves the next time.

Frank seems to be more and more involved in the writing process, because of the different atmospheres; everything seems to be worked in detail, for you do you think it is one of the most important differences between this record and your last?

I dunno’, I feel that Franks been involved in every record, I mean he’s been on every record we’ve done you know, including "Adrenaline", we just didn’t have him, you know he just wasn’t on tour with us or anything so it didn’t seem like he was part of the group, but he was, he was already in the group.

We also heard that you have a few more songs from the recording sessions; do you plan to release them?

I dunno, I mean we have extra songs from every record, the only songs that don’t ever make it on the record are the ones that Chino doesn’t do anything to ‘em.

What about the original version of "Mein", I heard that Serj was supposed to sing the whole song?

No, when he first got the song, he actually did the whole song, it was already done before Chino even added anything to it, and I guess that’s when Chino got inspired to do something to it.

Do you not want to release the previous version of the song?

I dunno, I’ve never even heard it all the way through with him on it!

You don’t want to listen to it?

I mean I don’t even have it! I’ve never heard it.

Still about "Mein", to invite Serj onto a Deftones song, was it a friendly thing? Or was it to gain some System of a Down fans?

Nah, we’re all friends already for one and second of all: we have the same management, and three: Serj was involved because at the point in time you know, Chino didn’t have any ideas or anything, he was working with a bunch of different people and that was the song that Serj happened to get, I don’t know gave it to him, whether it was Chino or management or whoever but Serj is responsible, he produced the lyrics for the whole song. He did it all when Chino’s head wasn’t even focused on it. I think when he heard the whole thing finished in one day; it kinda shook him up, made him do something.

Ok, a few years ago you released an EP called "Back to School" with a small movie called "White Pony EPK". Do you plan to release anything quite similar in the near future?

Were talking about doing a DVD, but shit; we talk about that stuff all the time y’know. We’d like to make our own movie too but we’re too busy doing nothing all the time! Too lazy! (Laughs)

You were talking about a DVD; do you plan to release a live DVD?

We would like to but I don’t think we’re gonna be releasing anything like that until next year probably. Maybe something will come out later in the year but its all talk.

Deftones is definitely a band which creates its own style and it is easy to compare you to other bands like Radiohead and Led Zeppelin. Where those bands and influence for you?

We like everything really; there isn’t much music we don’t like. Music is inspirational, life experiences are inspirational so it could be anything, there’s no direct source where we draw any specific influence from.

Still even if you don’t, Deftones seems completely different from the time of your first two records, in a way Deftones now sounds more like a rock band and less like a metal band…

Oh yeah, definitely more rock band than anything, I dunno if I can even say ‘Rock’! I mean, I dunno it’s kinda hard to describe it, I mean I always tell people when they ask what kinda band I’m in that its ‘Metal hard rock’ but I mean it’s a mix of things, it’s dynamic really that’s what it is.

Besides Deftones, Chino has a side project called Team Sleep and you have Kush. Can you tell us more about the band, and if you have plans on recording something?

Christian and Raymond are from Fear Factory and B-Real from Cypress Hill. And we’re gonna get a bass player, we don’t have a bass player right now, when we started Christian was playing bass but he switched to guitar so we’re both kinda playing guitar, so we haven’t really decided on who we’re gonna have to play bass. We’re actually planning to record a record later this year for it and then probably put it out next year.

You appeared as a guest on the first Chimaira record. Do you still look at what they’re doing or was it just a one off thing?

Yeah I love Chimaira; I mean they’re a great band.
They just put a new one out real recently and it’s fucking great! They got the original drummer back now and everything.

We talk a lot about music but usually when we meet Americans, we like to talk about politics and we want to know what they think about Bush politics inside and outside the U.S. Do you have an opinion about that?

Nah, I mean I do but it doesn’t really matter whose governing, who governs the country, any country in the world at the end of the day you know… I constantly tell people all the time, the world is divided into two groups: 1% and 99%. 1% is the world’s richest; the rest is everyone else… to be part of the 1% group you gotta be either born into it or you’re willing to do anything to get it, to be part of it. I mean you’ll do anything, there’s nothing that someone would not do to be part of that. 99% doesn’t care, the 1% rules the whole world, rules the 99% and the only reason 1% can dictate policy to 99% cos 99% can’t even control themselves. That is why the 1% can because the 1% has enough self-control, aside from being born into it, had enough self-control to do whatever it takes to get and be part of 1%. So no matter who the government is or who the leader is of any government, there’s just one guy and he doesn’t dictate anything, it’s the corporations in every country that dictate it all. He who has the most money dictates policy for everyone.
The world banks are the ones who are leading everything, everybody has to put their money in a bank and every bank goes through a bigger bank all the way to the top, doesn’t matter who the president is, George Bush is just a guy that everybody can pick on cos he’s fuckin goofy... so everybody thinks he’s at fault for everything. I mean he aint nothing , he’s just one man, one man that’s doing what he’s told, he’s not dictating anything, none of these guys are y’know, it’s absolute corruption all the way around the planet, no-one in any government anywhere represents the people on the streets, anywhere. The people on the streets all want to have fun; live their lives and have great lives with their friends and family. And yet, everyone one of us feels controlled and restraints from laws that are… unrealistic to life, I mean, I live in an age where I can’t travel with Marijuana around the world, for why? I mean, there’s absolutely zero for why you couldn’t travel with it! Well you can’t! There’s rules for everything y’know, it’s insane! Y’know and it’s, who oppresses the weed laws, who makes weed illegal? Somebody who’s got enough money to say so. People who sell weed all paid money to the government and bought off the right to have it y’know available, I mean it would be available everywhere. Same thing with any substance. Alcohol’s only sold everywhere because alcohol pays off everybody; Tobacco’s everywhere because tobacco pays off everybody. Period, y’know, politics are a joke! The people that follow it most of the time are so confused they don’t even know what’s going on! And like I said, at the end of the day, it’s all about self-control. Everybody’s so worried about everybody else. Nobody can control themselves, when you can control yourself? You live a great life by yourself and maybe it will rub off on the next person next to you! Give him some advice, help him out y’know, people should all get along y’know, there’s too much, too much, were all divided y’know.
Big corporations keep us all divided from each other y’know. I mean they profit off of us not getting along, by all our differences y’know. I like this that person likes that, well they’re gonna keep it that way because as long as I don’t get along with that person, they can sell it both sides. It’s just about money y’know and it’s… I’m just like everyone else: I love money, I wanna have money, but I’m not willing to sell out or harm my neighbor to get it y’know. And like I said the difference between 1% and 99%, is that 1% is willing to do anything in the world to have it whereas 99% doesn’t care, mainly cos they can’t control themselves! How they gonna control everyone else?

I think the situation is a lot different between Europe and the U.S. Don’t you think it can change if we explain to people what politics are?

I think the only thing that will change the world for a better place is when people from all the world, travel all around the world and see and meet people from all around the world, and embrace the differences y’know and accept that we are different and instead of being frustrated or upset the first time we don’t see or like y’know… try to like it! Y’know and if you don’t like it that’s ok if you don’t like it. At least agree to not like it y’know instead of hating, people hate each other for the most, the most lamest reasons y’know, people hate themselves that’s why they hate other people. Any person with self-respect never disrespects another person, it’s plain and simple.
Like I said y’know it has everything to do with the way we were raised y’know, for every one of us are brought up in most situations where were brought up with nothing y’know, you’ve got a little bit of something or a this and that so you’re just trying to do all you can to get something. While we’re doing that, no government or organisation is going to teach you how to be because to teach you how to become a better person, would mean less money for them, cos then your mind would actually work and you would see all the garbage that there are putting out there for everyone…y’know I mean people gotta learn how to love themselves first and give love y’know. I mean the whole meaning of love is to give love without expecting love in return, and people always expect something for everything they do, it’s like look y’know when you care about someone, just care about them! Don’t expect that they care back y’know, just give it! Give it away! Everybody’s, including myself it’s stuff that I work on myself, when everyone learns how to live a selfless life instead of a selfish life, if we can all get alone and get together and get things moving in the right direction for a better life y’know, a better society y’know in reality society’s, we live in a global society, but people still live locally y’know the world is just one place, were all on it together, were all one species, were all human beings, yet were all divided by language, borders, cultures y’know, cash, I mean just endless shit to keep us split apart y’know, I mean whose gonna make the steps to unite everybody? Were constantly talking about the differences all the time. Who’s right, who’s wrong? No-ones right no-ones wrong! But no-one’s trying to live as one.

But don’t you think Deftones could be this "person" who spread the word all over the world ?

I try to tell the same thing to everybody everywhere I go y’know I’m constantly trying to tell people to let the hate go! There’s no reason to hate anyone y’know, hate is a simple side effect of ignorance. Anyone who tries to be educated and tries to be a better person in life, those feelings won’t exist! It goes against the nature of it I mean but that’s what’s insane about it, I try to tell people, I mean all of existence, everything you cannot see or imagine right, everything at all times is at perfect balance… so if you see something and it seems upsetting to you or it doesn’t seem right, it’s merely your perception of the situation, it’s not whatever it is, it’s just you, so… if somebody gave you an opportunity to disturb the balance of all it is, with your best attempt you couldn’t do it because if you could, all that exists would cease to exist. So every time you’re in a situation that seems negative or whatever, you’re the negative, you’re the thing that is wrong not the situation. Had you not been in the situation you would have never felt the negativity that was there. But because you showed up in the situation, whatever it was that made you feel negative, it was you, it was your perception of it.
You want to have a good life, live a good life, you want people to be happy then be happy yourself. Be happy y’know everything is about doing and so many people, like I said, expect everything y’know, everyone’s got this attitude of doing the least amount of something to get the most back but its not about that, you should be giving the most and expect nothing in return. If everybody gave all the time then y’know there wouldn’t be all this selfishness all the time and everybody would be helping everybody out! People don’t do it cos again back in physics, all of existence, everything travels the path of least resistance y’know negativity is the path of least resistance cos to actually change negativity you actually have to change, you have to make an effort, you have to think positive and you have to do positive. That’s not easy y’know life is not easy, everything we have to do in life is gonna be hard, if it’s worth anything it’ll be hard cos you have to try y’know. I could go out and be a complete fuck-up without even trying, just go out and start fucking up y’know it requires no effort y’know, so to be a good person and have a good life, and be surrounded by good people and to have a good community it requires people to give, not take y’know.

This idea is close to Buddhist philosophy...

I'm… not really familiar with any religion, I think religion is the biggest downfall on our planet! (Laughs) It’s the very thing that’s ruined everyone. And for those who think it makes them a better person, they were good people to begin with y’know they just didn’t know it; they never believed it in themselves y’know. It’s just a damn shame y’know; there are just two things that constantly ruin the world: Religion and money. You can’t eat money so what good is it? And not a single person, not one person can prove their faith. Neither side can prove its existence or non-existence. (Laughs) y’know it’s insane that we give our self away to so much that isn’t, that doesn’t make any sense, y’know like I said if whatever your beliefs are if it makes you a better person then I say stick with it. Just don’t expect everyone to be a part of your beliefs just because it makes you a better person y’know. That’s the insanity of it all man if I had all the answers and I figured it all out, It’s just me, I figured it all out for myself. I can’t make someone else live my lifestyle, it’s just what I think is right like I said everything in all existence is in perfect balance at all times y’know… if life seems crazy to you then you need to do something right to make it right cos it aint nothing else it’s just you, you gotta change the way you think, you gotta change the way you act (Laughs) It’s you that needs to change not life.

Do you think people create religion because they don’t believe in themselves?

Oh absolutely like I said just a little bit ago, people are not raised to believe they are capable of everything. They might hear it in their life but they never believe it y’know and I always try to explain to people just on a level of physics y’know, from the surface of my skin to infinity all of existence goes and that’s the same for everyone one of us right? That very equation that goes outward that I can’t imagine that I can’t measure and I can’t perceive it in any way shape or form, my only perception of it is to infinity right? Well that very exact equation exists within us like you, me, everything alive; everything alive is until the day you die will be the perfect balance to all that exists. So by definition, you are worth all that exists, you are the power of all that exists, you have the ability to do whatever you want in life because you possess everything that exists in life within you, just in basic physics. Y’know if you wish to waste that and throw it away? Throw it away! That’s fine by me but just don’t ever blame everyone else for your lack of life because you didn’t want to try, you weren’t willing to do what it takes to get what you want.
Y’know for some people, their goal might be the easiest two steps to achieve their goal, for other people it may be a lifetime’s work to get that goal. But every moment you spend not working towards that goal is a moment you’ll never get back in life and one more moment you’re still away from that goal. So the quicker you start working towards that goal, whatever that goal may be, the quicker you achieve it, y’know just basic shit like that y’know the meaning of life in my personal opinion… is one word…Choice. Until you die you have always got a choice no matter what. And most of us… in worst case scenario somebody takes you and puts you in a box and puts a lock on it, you’re choices have been reduced to: ‘I can stay alive and get out of this box’ or ‘I’m gonna stay alive for as long as I can in this box’ or ‘I’m gonna die in the box’ so since you’re not in that box having to make those limited choices, you’re outside of that box you have an infinite selection of choices to make. If something’s frustrating you and you can’t see the answer it’s only cos you’re focusing on what is not the right choice. Try focusing on something else, think something different. Don’t be afraid! You’re already making a mistake! You can’t make an even worse mistake by already being at a place where you can’t think y’know what I mean? So y’know the meaning of life is choice and you tie all that together like I said, people look at y’know when you talk about the politics, y’know when it comes to George Bush, if people are so focused on that mans fuckin decisions that they cant make life better for themselves and let him be the fool then they’re just as much at fault as that man is. I mean it’s got nothing to do with him; it’s got to do with the individual. Like I said you wanna have a better life and a better planet? Better place to live? Society should be better? Be better! Don’t expect everyone else to be better, you just be better and maybe it will rub off on other people that are around you, you know? Maybe they’ll see it and be like: ‘Oh, its working good for him let me try and a little some of that!’ Like I said everyone’s so selfish they only focus on themselves, they’ve lost track of what life's all about.

You have a lot of interesting stuff to say about that, you never think about writing lyrics for ‘Deftones’?

No… Nah.

You don’t want to? Or do you think it’s a subject impossible to write about for the Deftones ?

No I very much have my mind set on writing a book about it all someday. But I’m just like everyone else I’m living life and I’m learning too I mean for me to write a book at this period of my life about everything I think is right and then a week later after the book released learned something new that should have been in that book, then my book is fucking void! (Laughs) It’s wrong! I learned something else that should have been in there so it’s like… I don’t know if I’ll ever put it out, I mean like I said, there are things that are very much a fact and the very fact of all existence is y’know the meaning of life is simple, choice. You have a choice at all turns of your life. If you make a bad choice don’t fault the world or anyone you know… for your bad decision y’know and that’s what everyone does, everyone wants to point their finger at everyone for their mistakes and it’s like look, own it, it’s your mistake, don’t make it again if it’s the wrong one, learn right there and then it’s very simple y’know. And it’s perfectly ok to make mistakes, were all people y’know and everyone one of us is learning. Y’know what’s truly amazing? Is that in a period of time where we live in right now, we have all the tools and abilities y’know T.V, radio, print media… the internet, telephones… I mean we have every bit of technological y’know options available for us all too simultaneously be and learn things on the same page at the same time! Everyone! And we use it all for the absolute opposite; we’re all pulling in different directions with it y’know, that bothers my mind y’know! Like I said y’know we live in a world where it’s like… everything is dictated by money y’know… everything is dictated by some law, by someone you don’t even know who didn’t even know you and wrote the law! (Laughs) Y’know it’s just pure insanity! It makes no sense to me.

To finish we have a few strange questions which need only one word as an answer.

(Laughs) Alright!

Interview Bernard Pivot with Stephen Carpenter :

What’s your favorite word? My favorite word? ‘Fuck’ (Laughs)

Everybody says ‘Fuck!’

Cos it’s a great word! It’s a word that’s absolutely dynamic and works into every fucking sentence in the fucking world! (Laughs)

What is your least favorite word? ‘Can’t’
What turns you on creatively? Smiling y’know people’s smiles, so smiles!
What turns you on spiritually? The same thing… smiles!
What turns you on emotionally? Emotionally? Ah… oh man… I guess it would just be… Emotionally I’d have to say emotions cos y’know everyone one of us, there’s only X amount of emotions and we experience them all. Y’know were just not experiencing them all at the same time.
What turns you off? Ignorance.
Your favorite curse word? (Laughs) ‘Fuck!’
What sound or noise do you love? Sound or noise? Umm…let me think…thunder.
The noise you hate? The sound of noise I hate? Umm…screaming.
Your favorite place on earth? California
And the one you hate? Place I hate? I don’t have a place I hate.
Which person influenced you most in your life? Hmm… Which person influenced me the most in my life…I don’t know I think I was like everyone else when I was growing up y’know misguided, immature and foolish y’know I don’t think that my influences when I was young really made that much difference or a moulder…Man who can I think…….Man I really don’t know! I mean I feel like I’m influenced by good people y’know it could be anyone at anytime y’know? People who are genuine.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Golf! (Laughs)
What profession would you not like to do?
What profession would I not like to do? Probably a prison guard.
If Heaven exists, what would you like God to say to you at the Pearly gate? If heaven exists? It doesn’t exist! (Laughs)

Interview Manu & O.S
Translation Bumeyes

Copyright Hammerock - Spiritribe 1999