Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com

After gradually building its fan base for several years, the garage-skater-band-turned-Grammy Award-decorated Deftones have returned to the upper regions of The Billboard 200 with their self-titled fourth album.

To build anticipation for the music, the band's members say they decided to carefully shield the album from outside ears until its May 20 debut.

"We tried to build an anticipation that you can't get these days," drummer Abe Cunningham explains.

With three albums and more than 10 years as a band behind them, their Maverick/Warner Bros. project came easily to the group's members.

"It's definitely not forced when it comes to creativity," says turntablist Frank Delgado, who spins on the heady, beat-laden jam "Lucky You."

"But it gets hard because we know what we don't want to do -? but we don't know what we're going to do."

After nine months of studio time with producer Terry Date, the Deftones find their music to be as "exciting as it ever was," Cunningham says. "Our path has been steadily uphill. Ten years later, it's better than ever."

The band's signature backdrop of Stephen Carpenter's frenzied guitar and Cunningham's powerful drums blends melodically with lead singer Chino Moreno's voice.

He excels on such songs as "Anniversary of an Uninteresting Event" and first single, "Minerva."

It is a move that seems to be working for radio, because "Minerva" is now No. 10 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart.

Before embarking on the hotly touted Summer Sanitarium tour with Metallica, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, and Mudvayne, the Deftones are currently playing small clubs across the U.S.

Starting out as a bunch of high-school kids playing in their hometown of Sacramento, Calif., the Deftones consider themselves "first and foremost a live band," even recording their first CD, 1995's Adrenaline, almost completely live.

The fourth time around, the group is able to better appreciate the process.

"Just making the music is our favorite part of what we do," bassist Chi Cheng says. "Whether it's live or in the studio, we're just excited to make music together."

Delgado adds, "Being able to have an outlet to be creative and then being able to travel around the world to do it is the best."





Excerpted from the June 14, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com Premium Services section.

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