Enlarge Photo credit: Nathaniel Shannon

Deftones Frontman Says You Shouldn’t Be Ashamed of Liking Nu-Metal


I was of prime music consumption age when nu-metal hit in the late ’90s and I was already into heavy music, so by most accounts I should’ve been a big fan. But I hated the stuff, not because I was into “real” metal (the burgeoning death metal scene at the time, for example — I wasn’t cool enough for that!) but because I’d been heavy into hair/glam (despite being too young to participate in it) and viewed nu-metal as dumbed down and stupid. I spent the better part of my formative teenage years digging back to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix, and only later came around on some of the better nu-metal bands.

But don’t worry! Deftones frontman Chino Moreno has now assured me and my age cohort that it’s actually OK to listen to nu-metal. If only he’d been uttering these motivational mantras way back when!

Moreno, who has in the past vocally distanced his band from the overall nu-metal movement, recently spoke to Vulture about the band’s new album, Ohms. Towards the end of the chat, the interviewer asked Moreno for his thoughts on those who talk down on the ’90s nu metal explosion for being ignorant and stupid. His answer:

“I think they probably always did look down [on it]. They always felt guilty about listening to certain things. I don’t think it’s us so much but definitely Limp Bizkit and shit like that. I think motherfuckers were embarrassed for that shit back then, too.

“You can’t deny it. It’s fucking stupidly good, some of it, but they knew back then that it was stupid. I mean, listen to the words. It’s stupid. So it’s not like in retrospect they’re like, ‘I can’t believe I listened to that.’ It’s like, ‘No, when you listened to it then, you knew it was dumb, but you liked it.’ And that’s okay. No one should be embarrassed by shit they like that’s dumb. … It wasn’t any smarter back then.”

On one hand, Moreno is right: a lot of folks heard “Nookie,” recognized it as completely stupid and reveled in that stupidity anyway. But on the other hand, he may be giving some folks too much credit: there’s a legion of folks who think “Nookie” was the peak artistic achievement of modern times. On the OTHER other hand, he’s correct that there is nothing wrong with liking dumb music (as long as you acknowledge it’s dumb, I guess).

Think on that as you blast Ohms tomorrow when it comes out.

Deftones recently unveiled their very own Instagram filter that utilizes augmented reality to render the eyes from Frank Maddocks’ album cover artwork onto whatever the user decides to place them on. Fans can now adopt one of the 12,995 dots on the cover for $20 each, with the proceeds all going to charity.

Frontman Chino Moreno recently said that guitarist Stephen Carpenter was much more “engaged” this time around than on their 2016 album, Gore, with drummer Abe Cunningham adding that “Stephen’s guitar tone is so damn thick” on the lead single. Carpenter had said about the previous album that he “wasn’t too interested” in the material the other band members brought to the table, explaining “It wasn’t the style or the sound I was hoping we would take. It wasn’t what I was expecting or wanting.”

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