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Thursday, October 26, 2000

Deftones' bassist Chi Cheng chat transcript

Deftones' bassist Chi Cheng chatted with JAM! Music on Thursday October 26th about their re-released disc 'White Pony,' band issues and touring. Read the transcript:

BIG_CLEM: What is going on with the side projects of the band?

Chi Cheng: I was talking to a buddy of mine from another band. Deftones is definitely the mother ship. But with a modest degree of success you can springboard into other things. I've been doing spoken word, Chino has been doing Teen Sleep, and Stef has been doing Kush. It is nothing that anyone is disinterested in Deftones. We are all creative people and we feel we can use other avenues.

REED: what does the album title 'White Pony' mean?

Chi Cheng: Chino came up with it before we had written the album It was more a visual concept, almost propaganda than actual definition. It has taken on meanings after that. There is no meaning for me.

mark666: do you think you guys have reached success too fast or at the right controllable speed?

Chi Cheng: Well, after 11 years, I wouldn't say that is too fast. Everything has been in steps, a natural progression, and the hard way. I think everything has been good. It is worse to have success on your first album with one single. Over time, building a fan base through touring is easier to deal with.

Eric from Toronto: I had heard rumours that the band was going to break up at the end of this tour. Have you reconsidered since the tour is going well and the cd is selling?

Chi Cheng: The band was never going to break up. That is probably some goofy rumor someone started on the internet. Something about Canoe chats...(laugh)

Thomas D.: I know you guys like Depeche Mode - and I can hear it a bit on this disc - but what other bands influenced this album? any?

Chi Cheng: Different bands for different members. For me, on this album, I would be more influenced by jazz and reggae. Thelonious Monk, Mingus, Charlie Parker, obviously Coltrane and Davis are great. For reggae, a lot of old school reggae. Only new school I like is Buju Banton.

Terry W. Thomas: One Short Question: What is your opinion on Napster?

Chi Cheng: I think to have an unchangeable opinion is ridiculous and pointless. I am kind of for it. I don't think there is a bad thing trading music. It is music lovers sharing music. I am kind of for it. Whether artists want to have a say or not is irrelevant. My opinion of the color of the sky won't change the color of the sky. We had 300,000 people download the album, and we still debuted at number three. That's my opinion/

Shelley R.: How do you view White Pony compared to Adrenaline? Do you still listen to the first record?

Chi Cheng: I never listened to our albums. We have made a progression. We were not as mature musically and as people when we put out adrenaline. It was more raw or angrier because we were kids. Years later, you are not of the same mindset.

Mauricio: what would your dream tour package be? I can see you guys touring with bad brains or something wicked like that - don't ya agree?

Chi Cheng: We have toured with Bad Brains. That is one of the main tours that stuck out in my mind. It was an honor. It is the only tour poster I have hanging in my house. Touring with them was great. For me, I would love to see Willie Nelson on a bill, so I could watch him. Buju Banton. Put a good punk rock band on there like Rancid. Aimee Mann. I don';t think people would like my bill. I am not going to lie...

andrea scofton (new brunswick): Why did u re-release White Pony? Why not just make an Ep with the new songs? Just curious....

Chi Cheng: It was more the label than us. I was not into the idea, because I didn't want to make it seem we were trying to make a profit off the fans. We were disagreeing, but they got a copy of that song and they were fired up about it. So we said make a way for people who bought the album then knock yourself out. I am sceptical of even seeming disloyal to the fans, because they are everything to me.

Rick Tergen: why are you guys really selective with interviews?I don't see too many interview (or chats) with the band. do you hate doing press?

Chi Cheng: I do press every day! Personally, I am not a huge fan of interviews. If it is done well, it is cool. We do a lot of interviews.

Luis Ortega: Hey Chi: What is 'Change "(In The House Of Flies') about?

Chi Cheng: Hey Luis! Who knows? No clue.

BLACK PONY: are you doing any more tribute albums?

Chi Cheng: If we get approached with the right thing and have the time, then definitely. For me, a Deftones tribute album would be weird, although I think I would be curious how they would do it.

Jono in Calgary: Chi, the new album is freakin' great. I have 2 questions. First, how did the duet with Maynard come about? And second, are there any plans for a western Canadian tour (other than just Vancouver)?

Chi Cheng: The thing with Maynard was mutual respect and friendship and a natural, beautiful thing. Very uncontrived. AS far as touring Canada, it is a big place. We do Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto on this tour. But for an extensive tour, it is pretty tough. It is just that we already tour two yeas solid on every album. Kids are always like, why didn't you come to Haiti. It is a big world and we try to hit every place. We are trying to get into Cuba and Russia. It is not that we are sitting around, but it is a very big world.

Jay "Barrie" Smith: Does it bother any members of the band that it took a track like "Change" to put an excellent band like the Deftones in the spot light.

Chi Cheng: No, we're happy people are into it. I was surprised by it, though, personally. I don't think any of us were very surprised. After 11 years, we were thinking after all that time,. I don;'t count on it, but you always hope.

Shelley R.: I want to know if you have met Madonna - how may times? Does she like your music? How is it being on her label?

Chi Cheng: We have met Madonna a coupel of times. She seems to be into the music. She is a fierce person. She is not integral to the label, but she sometimes comes to a show and hangs out.

Omar: Hola! Do yu like to play big festivals? What has been one of your favorite shows?

Chi Cheng: The last festivals we did in Portugal and Spain were amazing. The first festival we did at Roskilde with Sepultura was unbelievable.

Rita Gaston: I think you guyz rock BIG TIME! do you ever get weird things in the mail from fans? anything cool? do you take band demos? my b/f is in a cool band here in Kansas

Chi Cheng: Fortunately no one has my address. Fan things are usually hand-given, and we get a lot of cool, appropriate things. I tend to get a lot of books. Kids know I am a voracious reader. We definitely take band demos. I would love to hear the new At The Drive In

Shelly Hayes: What was the last book you read that changed your life? And who is your favorite author?

Chi Cheng: The new Tom Robbins novel. They don't change my life, but enhance my perception. Or Crooked Cucumber by Shunryu Suzuki

Cecil Persaud: How does it feel to play in arena's instead of clubs

Chi Cheng: I like doing both, and fortunately we still do both. Playing an arena is obviously fun, but it is really cool to play an intimate situation. We would keep doing it even if we were just into stadiums, absolutely

Heather: Tell me about your spoken word album - why or how did it come about? What topics are on it?

Chi Cheng: I did it because I have got all these unpublished books, and I got tired of seeing them sit around the house. It was just easy for me to do. Not that everyone needs to read my work, but it has been getting good reception. As far as topics, people say different things about it, I can't critique my own work. Some people call me the new Kerouac, the new Bukowski, and some say it is just man-woman stuff. So I dont know.

Fly: who do you admire in the music business? (dead or alive)

Chi Cheng: Dead or Alive, You Spin Me didn't move me. I think Marley was cool. I kind of looked up top Jerry Garcia a whole lot I think Max Cavalera, I really looked up to.

Priscilla Paolen: Do you guys like success? Does it bug you? How do you relax and take time off from it?

Chi Cheng: Success has got its ups and downs. Sometimes it is a drag when you want to go out and you get attention you don't necessarily want. But you can't bitch about success. I think it is fine. To get away from it, I write a lot, do charity work and meditate, being a Buddhist, that tends to mellow me out.

Crystal: Have you heard the new Radiohead album yet? I think it rocks. (BUT not as much as all the Deftones albums!)

Chi Cheng: I think it is amazing. I don;'t think we rock that hard, though.

Chi Cheng: Thank you to our fans. We have been blessed with amazing, cool fans. I feel blessed and honored by it.

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