Tragedy can sometimes lead to bigger and better things. Some folks respond to the hard times by shutting down and really reflecting. Others use it to catapult themselves into doing much more than before negativity struck. Today’s band is one that took the latter route. Most folks probably have not heard of them, but even more don’t know the dramatic story of how it all began.
Stephen Carpenter was born in 1970 in Sacramento, California. He was big into skateboarding but at 15 years old, was struck by a car. Confined to a wheelchair for several months, it was a concern if he’d walk again. Carpenter took that as a chance to take on a new challenge and decided to teach himself how to play the guitar.
Learning by ear from metal bands such as Metallica and Anthrax, hard rock was the style of music he began to love. Attending McClatchy High School he met a couple friends that would become future band mates. After getting together just for a jam session, they all felt the sound was good enough to give it a try in the real world. After playing local shows and getting noticed, they began touring with Korn, and success was on the way.
Needing a name for the group, Carpenter wanted to convey his taste of all music styles, while coming up with something different. He borrowed the term ‘Def’ from the hip-hop scene, and ‘Tones’ from the 1950s where it seemed every band ended with that name. From that moment on, the Deftones were born.
Today we look at the third studio album of the Deftones, titled White Pony. The album was released in June of 2000. Pop music was really dominating the mainstream at that time, and the two albums prior for the band had really focused on alt rock with some metal components. The sound of this album was to be a bit more “mature” and incorporate other elements of music to their overall sound. Because of this, the album took nearly two years to make, in spite of pressure from the label to get it done sooner. The result was a record that came out to very positive reviews, and has sold nearly 3 million copies worldwide.
Music like this simply was not commonplace on the radio in 2000. Finally a single off this album made it to MTV’s infamous TRL program. It was almost an introduction to a band that had been making music for over a decade. This is such a hybrid of styles, and the uniqueness is what draws me in. You get a good feel of that alt rock/metal still – but you get a focus on the vocal for a few tracks that slow the pace down, and calm the guitar. It’s such a great change of pace, that it makes the album what it is. In many ways, this album sounds experimental, but almost like that’s what they were comfortable with. And I think that’s a hard sound to attain.
This is the best album to introduce yourself to the Deftones, no doubt. It can be heavy in spots, but it’s also very laid back, which gives you a good blend. After winning a Grammy award in 2001, the exposure of this album took off, justifiably so. Get White Pony 15 years later – for a mere $5 bucks.
Top 3 Tracks: