Chino Moreno's no fan of the Constitution State.
Hardcore poet Moreno and his heavyweight Deftones spent the winter in Stamford, Connecticut, with producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Jane's Addiction). It was there — at Ezrin's studio and abode, the Carriage House — that the band recorded some of the material that will eventually make the final cut on its fifth album.
But something was off with the Deftones while they languished in the bleak, wintry abyss in the richest per-capita state in the union.
"It sucked, dude," Moreno said. "It was the most depressing thing ever. The recording was good, and we got it done really fast. It was mostly to get all of Abe [Cunningham]'s drum tracks down, and we did some overdubs there, too. But it suuuuucked."
The Deftones started writing material in their Sacramento, California, hometown a little more than a year and a half ago, then took the fall off to allow Moreno time to work with his side project, Team Sleep (see "Deftones Singer's Team Sleep Emerge With Dreamy Debut"). They regrouped in the relative tundra of the East Coast, but longed for warmer climes the whole time, according to Moreno. So the band packed its bags, bid Connecticut adieu and headed home just before Christmas.
"We ended up recording a bunch more songs, and we kind of compiled those with the Connecticut stuff," he said. The band revisited some of the Ezrin material and tweaked it a bit, delaying the final product ... well, a bit. "It's just like this roller coaster of sounds. There's really aggressive stuff — super-aggressive stuff — that, like, I don't think we've delved into evil sh-- like this before. And then there's really sad stuff. I don't know — it's a Deftones record. We're trying different things. Frank [Delgado, who handles keyboards and samples] is involved a lot more this time, as far as electronic stuff, and there's a lot more beat stuff going on.
"It's a pretty chaotic record," he continued. "Every time we make a Deftones record, it's taxing on your brain and body. They're hard records to make because you seriously have to outdo yourself. We want to outdo ourselves when we make a record; we don't want to make the same record twice. And we don't really have any formulas we use, so we just try different sh--. And sometimes good sh-- happens, sometimes weird sh-- happens."
The album — which will drop sometime in the fall and be followed by a tour — has not yet been named, Moreno says, although he's been flirting with Saturday Night Wrist. There still aren't any song titles pinned down, either. "That's like my favorite part to do, naming the songs after they're already kind of done," he said. "I have just a couple more weeks of work on it."
Moreno has recorded some vocal tracks, but not all of them; touring with Team Sleep — which he'll be doing until late August — has put that process on hold. When he resumes work with the Deftones this fall, the rest of Team Sleep will hit the studio again to start working on their sophomore offering. They've already written 15 songs for the release, which will be out in late 2006. Moreno also said former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha has signed to work with Team Sleep on some of their new tunes.
Deftones fans who cannot wait for their new album will take solace in the fact that the band is planning an album of rarities, B-sides and covers later this summer. The compilation will feature the band's take on the Smiths' "Please Please Please, Let Me Get What I Want," which has been available online for years, and a song by Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Southern rockers behind "Free Bird."
"It's stuff that we recorded over the years that a lot of people haven't heard," Moreno said. "Like, when I was 16, we did this version of 'Simple Man' by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I heard it the other day, and it was good. ... We remixed everything, and it's actually a pretty good record. I think it matches up to our last record, or even our new record, as far as the quality of it."
The comp also includes a Jawbox cover and a DVD of footage "since we started, when we were little kids jumping around," he said.
The album will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the first Deftones album, Adrenaline. "I grew up listening to all these songs [we covered], so I can hear myself in those songs," Moreno said. "I used to stand in my backyard with a broomstick, pretending like I was Morrissey."
The Deftones will seek a little help from their fans for the rarities disc and companion DVD. On the band's Web site, it's asking anyone who has taken live photos of the group to submit them for consideration as part of the artwork and packaging.