Cheep and the Deftones: A Love Story

For the past hour or so I’ve been listening to the Deftones, something I’ve been wanting to do again since I read Everything Everything’s Jonathan Higgs’ Spotify playlist where he included “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)” as one of his picks.

As one of my favorite tracks of all times, it sparked memories of summer watching the music video on MuchMusic in the late 90’s and making it my business to learn every single thing singer Chino Moreno did in that video. I mean everything. From dances to eye scratches to facial expressions and the quintessential backwards run. Needless to say, I mastered that shit. In a very small room, even.

Come to think of it, Deftones were a huge part of a few of my teen summers. I remember driving around with my dad and his friend looking out the window in the back seat and listening to Around the Fur on loop one year. During the summer of my junior year in h.s., the memory sitting in the back of a school bus in July of 2001 either in an early morning what-am-i doing-awake-this-early-and-going-to-school-during-my-summer-vacation half-awaken daze or in a tired-and-can’t-wait-to-get-home-it’s-shit-ass-hot-outside mode listening to White Pony nonstop to and from NJCU for a smart kid program thinger is still clear.

My crush on Chino was pretty much in the same vein as the ones I have now: Somewhere between wanting to do him and wanting to be him. I loved, and still love everything about the man: he has the kind of velvelty voice that takes me to the creamery, his taste in music is amazing (huge Cure and Depeche Mode fan <3), the way he dresses is the way I would dress if I were a guy. Back in the day, Dickies pants and adidas Campus sneakers were staples in his totally NoCal wardrobe. At that point in my life I was into the cholo and chola clothes the Cali bands I liked wore so I wore Dickies girls’ pants and Campus sneakers all through high school, like a boss since no one else wore that stuff around these parts.

Looking back, not only did Chino’s ability to carry melody, a badass falsetto as well as a mean ass growl and the bands’ fantastic and varied heaviness attract me to the Deftones but they were one the first bands that I found some common ground — culturally (Chino is Mexican and Chinese) and musically, they all grew up loving different kinds of music including hip-hop, metal and new wave. One of the things I love the most about them is their ability to exhibit that mixed influence so seamlessly in their unique sound, it’s had me since day one. Unique, indeed, for when a Deftones song plays, you know it. How can you not love that?

I’m just happy that despite bassist Chi Cheng’s accident the band is still forging ahead, six albums under their belts, supporting their bandmate and friend and still being the band I’ve always known and loved.

Now I’m just waiting for a headlining tour to hit NYC in 2011 so I can finally see they asses live.
Click on the picture above to watch the “Be Quiet and Drive” video and imagine a 13-year-old me doing everything Chino is doing.


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