Deftones, Under the Influence

Do you remember Nu-metal? Those heady days of baggy jeans, wallet chains, chunky Vans and ill-advised piercings? If you’re of a certain age (and by “a certain age” I mean my age) you won’t be able to stop yourself getting dewy eyed when you hear the opening riff to “Last Resort” or catch a glimpse of a faded Slipknot hoodie, now being worn by a tramp outside Pret.


It was not to last though, and the genre imploded on itself in a glut of rip off bands, bad crossover singles and POD. Few bands survived this critical and cultural backlash, Linkin Park reacted by becoming a cross between Metallica, U2 and Depeche Mode (which is exactly as shit as it sounds) Slipknot did manage to achieve their dream of becoming this generation’s answer to KISS, and Korn dovetailed in Dubstep (which is even shittier than it sounds).

Only one band has remained 100% on top of their game since day one. Deftones, formed in Sacramento way back in 1988, released their debut album Adrenaline in 1995, right at the start of the Ne-Metal boom. The reason for their continued artistic genius, is because they aren’t really a Nu-Metal band at all, they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The band’s spirit has always been closer to Post-Hardcore or alt-rock, keeping more in line with the post-punk spirit of invention and experimentation than any of their contemporaries.

To celebrate the imminent release of their latest album Koi No Yokan, we take a look at some of the bands that inspired Deftones – you need these bands in your life.

Bad Brains and Jawbox

L to R – Bad Brains & Jawbox

Bad Brains

One of the original godheads of American Hardcore music, these four African American hard-line Rastafarians broke onto a scene made up predominantly of angry white kids, and ended up conquering it. Incorporating everything from super-fast punk, dub, metal and indie into their sound, they were one of the defining bands of the 80s, and one of the most underrated. Singer H.R. contributed some vocals to Deftones debut album, and the band hasn’t exactly been quiet about their love for Bad Brains over the years.

Bad Brains – I Against I


One of the early Post-Hardcore bands, Jawbox helped to pave the way for everyone from the Smashing Pumpkins to Blink 182. They were heavy yet poppy and introspective without be pretentious (sound familiar) Coming together at the arse end of the DC hardcore scene (singer J. Robbins had played with Government Issue before forming the band) they were instrumental in helping to take the music in new and exciting directions. Inspired as much by Joy Division as by Black Flag they released a series of acclaimed albums before disbanding in 1997.

Jawbox – Savory

Charles Bukowski and My Bloody Valentine

L to R –Charles Bukowski & My Bloody Valentine

Charles Bukowski

Ok, not technically a musical influence but bear with me. The writer and poet Charles Bukowski was the laureate of the American boozer. A hard living, hard drinking man with a passion for womanising and high literature, Bukowski has been cited as one of Chino Moreno’s primary lyrical influences. His love of language and contempt for almost everything else has made him one of the pop culture icons of the 20th century.

Charles Bukowski – Love

My Bloody Valentine

The ultimate shoegaze group, My Bloody Valentine where one of the most critically acclaimed bands of the late 80s/early 90s. Mixing Velvet Underground style noise with introspective pop, the band created a sound that transcended the indie scene to influence everyone from extreme drone band, Sunn O))) to M83, and off course, Deftones. Chino’s unique vocal style and the bands chiming lead guitar sound owe more to Kevin Shields and company than they ever get credit for.

My Bloody Valentine – Only Shallow

Words by Dan Cadwallader



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