Real name: Chino Moreno, Abe Cunningham, Chi Cheng, Frank Delgado, Stephen Carpenter
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They have often been praised as one of the more innovative and unique rock bands of recent years. Johnny Loftus writes, "Rock critics usually reserve a special place for Deftones above or at least away from the rest of the turn-of-the-century metal movement... Deftones have always seemed more curious, more willing to incorporate traditionally revered sounds like dream pop or D.C. hardcore into their northern California alt-metal."
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Adrenaline was released on October 3, 1995. The album sold well, and earned mostly positive reviews. "Bored", "Root" and "7 Words" were minor hits. Delgado was not yet an official member, but he contributed on several songs.
Around the Fur was produced by Terry Date and recorded at Seattle's Studio X. Released on October 26, 1997, the album included a collaboration with singer Max Cavalera (founder and frontman of Sepultura) on "Headup," a tribute to Max's late step-son Dana Wells. The song inspired Cavalera to create Soulfly, a band dedicated to Wells. Also appearing on the album was Cunningham's wife, Annalynn, who provided the female vocals on "MX". "My Own Summer (Shove It)" and "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)" were hits in the alternative circle, with both songs' music videos receiving play. "My Own Summer (Shove It)" was also featured on the soundtrack to The Matrix.
Of White Pony, one reviewer wrote, "Moreno is exquisitely mind-blowing" and that "Deftones went soft, but in an impressive way, to twist around its signature punk sound." But another assumed that "their music is completely uninspired garbage. They have the worst vocalist of any band I have heard."
A limited edition print of 50,000 black and red jewel case versions of White Pony were released with a bonus 12th track titled "The Boy's Republic". The band re-recorded "Back To School (Mini Maggit)," a rap-influenced interpretation of the album's closer, "Pink Maggit," after their record label said they had run out of marketable singles. The song was placed as the new opening track (with "Pink Maggit" still the closer), and, under altered cover art, re-released White Pony on October 3, 2000. The band notably expressed their resentment towards Maverick's lack of faith in their art and immediately regretted recording "Back To School." Moreno has stated that he hates that song, and said that he reluctantly agreed to record it to show his label how mindlessly easy it was to write a hit. Deftones played "Back to School" on tours in support of White Pony but rarely thereafter. It was only until their South American and European tour in early 2007 that the song began appearing on their setlists.
White Pony eventually achieved platinum status as well as a Grammy award for Best Metal Performance for the song "Elite".
The recording sessions were helmed by producers Terry Date and Greg Wells for the first four months in Sacramento and then Seattle. Wells had to return to Los Angeles due to the birth of his second child, and Date continued on the record for months. Wells later produced much of Team Sleep's debut record.
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."