Deftones’ Chino Moreno always searching for new sounds

The Deftones (frontman Chino Moreno is center) play the Greek Theatre this week. (Courtesy Frank Maddocks)

The Deftones (frontman Chino Moreno is center) play the Greek Theatre this week. (Courtesy Frank Maddocks)

For a punk-metal vocalist, Deftones anchor Chino Moreno has an unusually eclectic list of musical influences, which includes Nirvana, The Cure, The Smiths, P.J. Harvey, Smashing Pumpkins, and even Duran Duran. But he was schooled in one of the coolest academies around – Tower Records in his native Sacramento, where he and his warehouse co-workers discovered life-changing new albums on a weekly basis.That might explain why Deftones’ latest eighth effort, “Gore,” is almost prog-rock experimental in places, with classic crooning. “Some of the best music of my life I was listening to there at Tower,” he says.

Tower Records was kind of a magical place to work, right? No dress code, music spinning all day long.

I was there for a year or so, maybe ’93 to ’94, and I worked there up until the day that we signed our record deal. And I quit at that point, and that was my last real job. All the people that worked there were in bands, or in music somehow. And I worked in the magazine section, so we spent a lot of time reading rock magazines – we got NME and Melody Maker, periodicals that I’d never seen before. And this was pre-internet, so I had a lot of music knowledge, and it came from reading all these magazines from all over the world.

And that spirit stayed with you to this day?

Yeah. I never once placed myself in a position where I decided that, “This is what type of music that I like, and I shut myself off to anything besides that.” And definitely in high school, when things became very clique-y and you started to choose what type of person you wanted to be? I never made that choice. I’d hang out with the preppie kids on the weekend and go to their catered parties, because there were girls there. And I’d hang out with some of the Goth kids and go to dance clubs, and I skateboarded all the time, so I had all these different friends, and I never felt weird about it. And musically, I’ve always been in that same headspace.

So you’re still searching for new sounds?

We’re always striving to find something to turn one another onto. I love to be shown new music, and one of my favorite things to do is get up in the morning and go on the ‘net and just start searching for things. And then I start texting my friends and sending them videos, YouTube clips, and sharing things back and forth. Before that, it was all word of mouth. But now we have cellphones and the technology to do it on a bigger scale – just talking and sharing, you know?


Where: Greek Theatre, 2001 Gayley Road, Berkeley
When: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 26
Tickets: $47.50

Chino MorenoDeftonesGoremetalPop MusicpunkTower Records

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