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Deftones’ Chino Moreno reveals Stef Carpenter “wasn’t too happy” about him playing guitar on White Pony

Deftones' Chino Moreno and Stephen Carpenter
(Image credit: Olly Curtis/Future)

This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of Deftones’ pivotal 2000 release, White Pony, which saw the band brave altogether more ethereal sonic territories. This change in direction has in part been attributed to the advent of Chino Moreno’s electric guitar contributions, in conjunction with wrecking-ball riff merchant Stephen Carpenter - although, if you ask Chino, Stef had mixed feelings about the frontman’s new six-string role.

In a press conference celebrating the album’s anniversary, Moreno shared his reflections on the recording process and the band’s expansive new sound.

“For me, it was really experimenting, because I was just sort of learning how to play the guitar,” he recalled. “So to learn how to play the guitar while making a record was kind of crazy.

“I remember Stephen and myself just riffing back and forth to each other, and I was just looking at his hands on the fretboard, seeing what he was doing and just figuring stuff out.

“Initially, I don’t think the idea was that I was going to actually play on the record, even. Then I remember Stephen specifically saying, ‘Dude, if you’re going to play it in practice, then you’re going to play on the record!’ and I was like, ‘Oh, okay… If that’s cool with you!’ I don’t think he was too happy about it, to be honest, then.”

Thankfully, the two reconciled their differences by the time they listened back to the album’s lead-off single, the eerie Change (In the House of Flies).

As Moreno followed up: “I do remember us both smiling at each other when we were sitting listening to the track being made, and the fusing of both our guitars, the sound of it, the way that Terry [Date] produced it.”

During the press conference, the band also confirmed a reissue of the album for later this year, which will include a remixed version entitled Black Stallion.

Black Stallion will feature input from a host of artists, with DJ Shadow already slated to contribute. A release date is yet to be confirmed.

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Digital Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World, having spent nine storied years contributing to guitar journalism and a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). He has written and edited for MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, and makes prog-ish instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.