Chino Moreno Blames Weed and Trauma for Turning Stephen Carpenter Into a Conspiracy Theorist


One of the more fascinating/terrifying aspects of living in The End Times is seeing a lot of crazy/stupid people out themselves as being crazy/stupid by unashamedly expressing crazy/stupid ideas in public.

One such example is Deftones guitarist Stephen Carpenter, who last year revealed himself to be both a flat-earther and an anti-vaxxer who believes COVID-19 is a hoax. Then, this past March, Carpenter hit the crazy/stupid trifecta by spouting 9/11 conspiracy theories, too. This dude is in a band of five people and they can’t keep an upcoming tour announcement secret, but somehow, he finds it plausible that literally thousands of people are working together to lie to the public about photos taken from space, the efficacy of modern medicine, and the most horrific terrorist attack ever perpetrated on American soil. Cool cool cool. Whatever you say, bruh!

Understandably, the other Deftoners have kept quiet regarding their bandmate being a total whack-a-doo up ’til now (Richie Londres from Carpenter’s side project, Sol Invicto, came to the guitarist’s defense, but nobody cares about Sol Invicto). But The Peer Pleasure Podcast finally got a chance to ask singer Chino Moreno about Carpenter’s comments, and he basically blames weed [transcribed by theprp.com]:

“I’m surprised he’s not more of a meme… I think there may be a couple. But, it was actually tough for a minute, because obviously I’ve been friends with him since I was 10-years-old. And you know he wasn’t always this way.

“I will say that the weed probably has a ‘lil bit to do with his conspiracies and this and that and whatever, because he just, you know… And then probably sitting at home, just looking on whatever sites he looks at. [It] probably doesn’t help being smoked out and all that stuff and whatever.”

I call bullshit. I smoke more weed than any one human being should, and the only conspiracy theory I find even remotely plausible is that Edsel Dope is the Wayne Static cosplayer in Static-X. But okay.

Moreno continued:

“It’s weird though, when we’re together it’s like we don’t even talk about any of that stuff. We play music, we laugh, we have a blast playing music. [We’re] still friends the way we were when we were kids. But it’s not like I haven’t heard him go on his tangents before and it’s just like I’ll listen for two minutes and then I just can’t, you know what I mean? ‘Cause he’ll just go off into no man’s land.

“But yeah it’s kinda tough, because obviously I want to support him—I feel like everybody should have their opinion on certain things here and there, whatever.

“I’m not one to say that he’s got to think this way or whatever. I think it’s a little outlandish, some of his views on the world, the planet itself… But I mean you know I fucking love him, man.”

After giving the listener twenty minutes to guffaw at calling Carpenter’s ideas “a little outlandish,” Moreno went on to address the ensuing backlash:

“I understand too, that it’s like, yeah you can have your opinion but you gotta know the consequence once you say it. And the consequence is probably gonna be a lot of people talking shit.

“Kinda like what I was saying earlier, sometimes it’s like just keep it to yourself, you can believe in whatever—I’m saying for his own good. I’m not saying that he has to keep it to himself because we don’t want to hear it. I’m just saying if you don’t want to get ridiculed sometimes just don’t say some outlandish shit.

“But I will say that I don’t think anything that he says is coming from a negative place either.”

(Let’s just pause here briefly to remember that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.)

“Because he’s like really worried about society… And I think it’s a little bit of paranoia. I don’t want to speak for him, but I do feel like a little bit of it, and like I said earlier maybe the weed doesn’t help with that, but he’s paranoid.

“And he has some right to be about certain things. I don’t know if a lot of people know this, but I’ll share this. We were in Paris during the Bataclan attack. And we were scheduled to play at the Bataclan the next night, the next three nights—we were doing three nights there.

“And we had flown in a few days earlier and the night that we got there, or the next night that we were there—this is still a night before our show—Eagles of Death Metal were playing. And Stephen and Juan our band assistant and someone else, I think our guitar tech, they went to the show.

“And they were in the audience, they watched probably half the show and I think they decided ‘Alright, let’s leave early, go get something to eat,’ and they left the show like minutes before the terrorists came in and shot it up.

“And I mean… I was at the hotel watching the news, and I saw it go on. And then I started getting calls with everyone calling me from here. Saying ‘what’s going on?, what’s goin on?’… But yo, I could kind of tell he was disturbed by it then, escaping that situation.

“But I think like… wow, how close he was to that tragedy. So I know that that’s affected him. So I know certain reasons why he has a little bit of trauma from that. And that’s tough, I couldn’t imagine.

“I mean I wasn’t there, but I was gonna be the next night. What if it happened the next night? And my daughter was with me, she was probably 13 or something like that. And my wife, they were with us. If they were there, they would have been on the side of the stage watching the show.

“I think about all this stuff and it’s heavy. And I know that I couldn’t imagine being there that night.”

I can certainly see where narrowly avoiding violent death would mess with your head. It still feels like quite a leap from “I was almost shot” to “the Moon landing was faked,” but this is certainly a more plausible explanation than “he smokes too much weed.”

Look, I understand that friendship will give you a natural bias in someone’s favor. I guess I should count myself #blessed that none of my friends have ever gone this far off the deep end. But legitimizing this kind of stuff in any way strikes me as increasingly dangerous. We’re at this absolutely bonkers point in history where people find facts irrelevant. It’s one thing to debate about the best way to clear the snow from the driveway after a blizzard; it’s another thing to argue that there is no snow in the driveway.

And remember: Carpenter isn’t just repeating goofy ideas about the shape of our planet — he’s denying that there’s a pandemic and insisting that vaccines don’t work.

We should all feel empathy for Carpenter and whatever experiences twisted him into the person he is today. But he’s also still part of the problem. And if Moreno is really his friend and really believes that he’s latching onto this stuff as a way of dealing with some deeper trauma, shouldn’t he try to get Carpenter some help?

You can listen to the entire interview below.

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