Deftones Band Members: Past and Present


Deftones Band Members

Explore Deftones’ history through a complete overview of their band members! Including current members such as Chino Moreno and Stephen Carpenter and former bassists such as Chi Cheng and Sergio Vega, learn about their lineup’s evolution and who drives its signature sound now.

Deftones Band Members

  • Current Lineup
    • Chino Moreno (Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar)
    • Stephen Carpenter (Lead Guitar)
    • Abe Cunningham (Drums, Percussion)
    • Frank Delgado (Keyboards, Turntables)
  • Past Members
    • Chi Cheng (Bass) (1990-2008)
    • Dominic Garcia (Bass) (briefly in early 1990s)
    • John Taylor (Drums) (briefly in 1991)
    • Sergio Vega (Bass) (2009-2021)

Biography of the current band members:

Deftones Band Members

Chino Moreno (Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar)

Chino Moreno, born Camillo Wong Moreno, is the heartbeat center of Deftones. As the group’s vocalist lead and the primary lyrics writer, his powerful voice, haunting screams, and mysterious lyrics are now synonymous with Deftone’s distinctive style in alternative rock.

  • More than just vocals: Beyond his vocal talent, Chino Moreno is a multifaceted musician. Since 2000, he has been adding the rhythm guitar to the Deftones’ repertoire, adding another layer of depth to their sound tapestry.
  • Deftones Legacy: The band was formed in 1988. Under Chino’s edgy direction, Deftones has grown into a trendy metal band. Their unique sound and contemplative lyrics have won them praise from critics and a dedicated fanbase worldwide.
  • Beyond Deftones: Chino Moreno’s journey in music goes beyond Deftones. He is a critical player in the rock group with an experimental approach, Team Sleep, the electronic project Crosses, along with the group called Palms.
  • The Voice of a Generation: Chino Moreno’s distinct voice and empathetic songwriting have made him an icon in the music world. His influence is continuing to invigorate the next generation of musicians and further cement Deftones’ position in the history of music.

Stephen Carpenter (Lead Guitar)

Stephen Carpenter is the riff mastermind behind Deftones’ sonic pounding. As the band’s lead guitarist, his unique style of playing and ability to seamlessly weave melodies into a savage sound have been key (pun intended) in forming Deftones, the band’s music identity.

  • A Basis of Groove: Carpenter’s distinctive sound is defined using alternate tunings, drop tunings, and various unconventional chords. These methods create a base of deep grooves and heavy chords that are the basis of Deftone’s music.
  • Beyond the Heavy: Besides his formidable guitar-playing skills, Stephen Carpenter is an incredible guitarist with incredible depth. He combines elements of jazz, funk, and even flamenco in his playing and adds unexpected layers of sophisticatedness to Deftones’ sound palette.
  • A-Pillar Of Deftones: Carpenter was an original member of the Deftones in 1988. His unwavering commitment to the group has been the driving force in its continued success. His collaboration with Chino Moreno is a cornerstone of the Deftones’ distinctive sound.
  • Impact on Genres: Stephen Carpenter’s unique technique for guitars has had an enormous influence on contemporary metal. His influence is evident in numerous bands and has solidified his position among the top revered and admired guitarists of his time.
  • A Deftones Legacy: Stephen Carpenter’s outstanding musicianship and unwavering devotion to Deftones have earned him his status as a legend in the world of music. His songs continue to enthrall and inspire fans worldwide, leaving a permanent mark on the history of rock music.

Abe Cunningham (Drums, Percussion)

Abe Cunningham, often called simply Abe, is the mighty drummer who anchors Deftones’ powerful sonic attack. His unique rhythmic design and range of dynamics have been instrumental in bringing Deftones to the top of the alternative metal scene.

  • More than beats: Abe’s drumming goes beyond keeping time. He is an expert at creating intricate grooves and polyrhythms that seamlessly blend with Deftone’s intricate song structures. He employs a unique mix of technical expertise and raw power to give distinctive rhythmic characteristics to Deftone’s music.
  • Beyond the Metal: Although known for his pounding sound, Abe Cunningham is a versatile drummer who admires the diverse influences of music. His drumming combines elements of jazz, funk, and electronica, which adds surprising depth to Deftones’ sound.
  • A Collaborative Spirit: Abe’s drumming skills aren’t limited to showing his technical proficiency. Abe is a true team player who is always looking to improve and enhance that of the band. This team spirit is crucial in Deftones, the band’s cohesive and powerful sound.
  • A Deftones Stalwart: Abe has been a founding member of the Deftones since 1988. His unwavering commitment has been a constant factor in the band’s growth. His rhythmic pocket serves as the foundation on which the Deftones create their soundscapes.
  • An Inspiration for Drummers: Abe Cunningham’s inventive drumming style and tight rhythms have enthralled many drummers worldwide. His ability to effortlessly blend power, precision, and musicality has solidified his status among the top drummers of the current generation.
  • A Deftones Legacy: Abe Cunningham’s unquestionable talent and unwavering dedication to the Deftones have established his status as a legend within the world of music. His band’s drumming continues to amaze fans and motivate drummers, leaving a lasting impression on the history of rock music.

Frank Delgado (Keyboards, Turntables)

Frank Delgado is the sonic creator behind Deftones, which has mysterious soundscapes and atmospheric textures. As the group’s turntablist and keyboardist, his distinctive approach to instruments adds profundity and intrigue that has become an essential aspect of Deftones’ sound.

  • More Than Scratches:  Unlike traditional DJs, Frank Delgado utilizes turntables not for beat juggling or scratching and beat juggling but as sound sampling devices. He carefully curates a vast array of sound samples, sounds, and atmospheric sound effects, incorporating them into Deftone music, which creates an unforgettable listening experience.
  • Evolving Audioscapes: Delgado’s contributions go beyond turntables. He also incorporates synthesizers and keyboards, creating intricate melodies and eerie soundscapes that increase the emotional impact of Deftones’ music. His ability to seamlessly mix electronic elements into Deftones’ natural rock sound is the hallmark of the band’s distinctive sound.
  • Subtle Force: Although his contributions may not always be the most prominent, his influence on Deftones’ music is indisputable. His ability to subtlely alter the soundscape is a source of mystery and fascination, taking listeners further into Deftones, their sonic realm.
  • A Deftones Journey: As a guest on Deftones, the band’s debut two studio albums. Frank Delgado officially joined the group in 1999 and became an integral component of the development process. His unique style of music has been an influential factor in Deftones, the band’s artistic evolution.
  • A Genre-Bending Inspiration: Frank Delgado’s ingenuous use of keyboards and turntables has inspired many musicians across genres. His work has blurred distinctions between traditional rock instruments in electronic music and soundscapes, opening his way to an experimental new generation of music.
  • A Deftones Legacy: Frank Delgado’s revolutionary approach to music and his unwavering commitment to Deftones have earned him his position as a legendary figure in the world of music. His unique sonic chemistry continues to define Deftones’ sound and leave an indelible mark on the music history of alternative music.

Biography of the Past band members:

Deftones Band Members

Chi Cheng (Bass) (1990-2008)

Chi Cheng was the driving bassist, and Chi Cheng was the driving force behind the low end for Deftones in their early times. As the bassist between 1990 and 2008, his soulful play style and lyrical sensibilities were the foundation of the group’s sound, leaving an indelible impression on Deftones’ history.

  • Groove or Melody: Chi Cheng’s bass tones were not only about laying the low-end base. He also incorporated counterpoint and melody in his performance, resulting in an original interplay with the riffs of Stephen Carpenter’s guitar. This soulful style added an element of richness and depth to Deftones’ music.
  • The Vocal Powerhouse: Vocal Powerhouse: Beyond his impressive bass skills, Chi Cheng was also a talented singer. He provided backing vocals and harmony for the Deftones and added a new dimension to their musical tapestry. His sultry voice and silky, seamless combination with Chino Moreno’s vocals were integral to The Deftones’ sound.
  • The Tragic Cost: The year 2008 was the time that Chi Cheng was involved in a fatal car accident that put Chi Cheng in a coma for many years. Chi Cheng died from complications in the year 2013. The passing of his father was a tragic sadness for the Deftones family and the music industry in general.
  • An X-ray Heritage of Inspiration: Despite the tragic ending of his professional career, Chi Cheng’s effect on Deftones is unquestionable. Chi Cheng’s soulful bass lines and melodic and soaring vocals continue to inspire musicians and fans across the globe.
  • A Persistent Influence: Chi Cheng’s contribution is woven into the structure of Deftones, one of the most famous albums, like “Around the Fire” and “White Pony.” Chi Cheng’s influence is evident in the efforts of many bassists, while his legacy as a skilled musician and soulful singer continues to invigorate.

Dominic Garcia (Bass) (briefly in early 1990s)

Dominic Garcia, one of the founding members of Deftones, was a crucial player in an essential role in the band’s initial times. Let’s look into the musical history of his band:

  • The formation of the Deftones:  In 1988, the Deftones formed in Sacramento, California. The initial lineup comprised frontman Chino Moreno, lead guitarist Stephen Carpenter, drummer Abe Cunningham, and bassist Dominic Garcia. Then, turntablist and keyboardist Frank Delgado joined in 1999.
  • The Role Switching: Dominic initially held the bassist position but switched from bass to drummer during the years 1990-91. His versatility enabled the band to experiment with different soundscapes in the early years of its existence.
  • Recording demo: Four-piece lineup, Deftones recorded a four-track demo showing their unbridled energy and distinct style.
  • Chi Cheng’s arrival: Then, Chi Cheng became the permanent bassist and consolidated the band’s lineup. Chi’s contribution would be integral to the group’s evolution.

While Dominic Garcia didn’t appear on any of the Deftones recordings, his appearance in the band’s early stages left a permanent impression. The band’s innovative design and genre-blending style have caused some critics to call the band “the Radiohead of metal.”

John Taylor (Drums) (briefly in 1991)

John Taylor’s involvement with Deftones might have been short; however, his contribution to the group’s beginning development is not to be undervalued. John Taylor joined the band in 1991. He played the drummer role for only a few minutes and left his footprints on Deftones, which was their first sound.

  • A Stepp Stone to the Top: Although details regarding John Taylor’s unique drumming style are not available, his participation in the group helped bridge gaps between Dominic Garcia’s drumming style and the introduction of Deftones, the longtime drummer Abe Cunningham.
  • Links to early Demos: John Taylor is credited with drumming in”(Like) Linus,” a demo “(Like) Linus” demo. This vital recording recorded Deftones’ sound as it changed from its roots in punk and funk to the heavier sound they would later be famous for.
  • The Coming of Abe Cunningham: John Taylor’s involvement with Deftones was brief. Then, Abe Cunningham joined the group, establishing the group that would lead Deftones to the top of the charts.
  • A part of Deftones”History: Although he was only a short time in the band, John Taylor played a part in shaping Deftones sound of the band during an important period in the development of their sound. Taylor’s involvement in the “(Like) Linus” demo offers an insight into the group’s beginnings of sound explorations.
  • A Footnote from Deftones”Legacy: John Taylor’s story is an example of the many talented musicians who contribute to the development of a band regardless of whether their moment in the spotlight is brief. John Taylor is still a part of Deftones’ past, and his drumming skills were instrumental in paving the way to the band’s success in the future.

Sergio Vega (Bass) (2009-2021)

Sergio Vega stepped in to play a vital role for Deftones after the tragic car crash, which left Chi Cheng unable to perform. As their bassist from 2009 until 2021, he was entrusted with preserving Chi Cheng’s legacy and providing his unique passion to the group.

  • Picking up the Bass: After Chi Cheng’s tragic accident in 2008, Deftones recruited Sergio Vega, an experienced bassist well-versed in their songs, to join the group. Sergio has previously played with Chino Moreno as part of a side group project called Team Sleep, making him the perfect match.
  • Solid Foundation as well as the ability to adapt: Sergio Vega’s solid bass play created a solid foundation for Deftones’ sound in an era of change. He effortlessly adapted to Deftone’s distinctive style while capturing the groove and musical sensibilities of Chi Cheng. Chi Cheng had established.
  • Contributing to the New Territory: In addition to reviving what had previously been done, Sergio Vega brought his ideas and influence. His influence can be seen in Deftones’ subsequent albums, which include “Diamond Eyes” and “Ohms,” contributing to the band’s ongoing musical evolution.
  • A Respectful Tenure: Throughout his entire time with Deftones, Sergio Vega was always determined to honor Chi Cheng’s work. He was never looking to succeed Chi Cheng but rather to ensure that the band’s music was thriving by introducing a new sound on bass.
  • Moving on: The year 2021 was the year that Deftones made public the news of their bassist Sergio Vegna’s exile from the band. Although the reason for his departure is not known, this announcement marked the end of Deftones and Sergio’s tenure as their bassist.
  • A Long-Term Impact: Even though he’s no longer a member, Sergio’s contribution to Deftones music in an era of great importance must not be lost in the dust. His bass-based playing skills and apprehension assisted Deftones through a turbulent time, making their music popular with worldwide fans.

Deftones: A History of Lineup Evolution

The Deftones band’s musical evolution has been shaped by the abilities and personalities of the band’s members. Through the years, the group’s lineup has changed, and each member has left their mark on Deftones, their distinctive sound. Here’s a look back at the major players in Deftones their past:

The Founding Member (1988):

  • Chino Moreno (Vocals, Guitar)
  • Stephen Carpenter (Guitar)
  • John Taylor (Drums) (briefly in 1991)
  • Dominic Garcia (Bass) (briefly in the early 1990s)

This band’s initial lineup established the foundations for the Deftones’ sound, which experimented with influences of punk, hardcore, and funk. John Taylor and Dominic Garcia didn’t last forever, but their contributions played a role in shaping the band’s early identity.

The Anchoring Trio (1990-2008):

  • Chino Moreno (Vocals, Guitar)
  • Stephen Carpenter (Guitar)
  • Abe Cunningham (Drums) (joined in 1991)
  • Chi Cheng (Bass) (joined in the year 1990)

The addition of Abe Cunningham on drums and Chi Cheng on bass solidified Deftones’ main lineup for two decades. During this time, the band became a household name through albums such as “Around the Finch” and “White Pony” because of the tight interaction between the two musicians. Chi Cheng’s ethereal bass line and melodic inclinations became the defining feature of Deftones’ sound.

The Time of Transformation (2008-2009):

  • Chino Moreno (Vocals, Guitar)
  • Stephen Carpenter (Guitar)
  • Abe Cunningham (Drums)

A fatal car accident resulted in Chi Cheng being unable to perform in the year 2008. Deftones continued to perform as a group during this challenging period.

The Torch Carrying (2009-2021):

  • Chino Moreno (Vocals, Guitar)
  • Stephen Carpenter (Guitar)
  • Abe Cunningham (Drums)
  • Sergio Vega (Bass) (joined in 2009)

Sergio Vega joined Deftones on bass, filling in the gap created by Chi Cheng in the band. While always mindful of the legacy of Chi Cheng, Sergio brought his passion and influence to the band, leading to albums such as “Diamond Eyes” and “Ohms.”

A Current List (2021-Present):

  • Chino Moreno (Vocals, Guitar)
  • Stephen Carpenter (Guitar)
  • Abe Cunningham (Drums)
  • Frank Delgado (Keyboards, Turntables) (Though they are not an element of the main lineup, his contributions to turntables and keyboards since 1999 have been an integral component of Deftones sound)

Deftones continue to grow through the current lineup. Their music remains a potent mix of aggression, melody, and experimentation, an ode to its members’ unending determination and talent.

who’s driving the band’s signature sound today?

The sound that defines Deftones currently, is influenced by various elements listed below. Most important factors:

  • Chino Moreno (Vocals, Guitar): As the band’s lead creative leader and singer, Chino Moreno’s songwriting, high-pitched vocals, and the incorporation of rhythm guitar play the most significant part in creating Deftones’ sound.
  • Stephen Carpenter (Guitar): Stephen Carpenter’s innovative use of tunings and drop chords and his skill in weaving melody into powerful riffs continue to be integral to Deftones’s sonic identity.
  • Abe Cunningham (Drums): Abe Cunningham’s powerhouse drumming, intricate grooves, and ability to effortlessly combine raw power and technicality give the foundational rhythm and the dynamic range that fuel Deftones music.

It’s important to remember that Frank Delgado (Keyboards, Turntables), while not technically part of the core lineup, significantly impacts Deftones’ music today. His skilled use of turntables for sound effects and samples, in addition to his keyboard work, creates layers of atmosphere, depth, and a variety of soundscapes that are now a signature of Deftones music.

Therefore, although Deftones are an ensemble effort, the trio of Chino Moreno, Stephen Carpenter, and Abe Cunningham remain the driving force behind the band’s distinctive sound to this day.

What is Chino Moreno known for besides Deftones?

Chino Moreno is also the vocalist and driving force behind the bands Team Sleep and Crosses, and the supergroup Palms.

What is Stephen Carpenter’s influence on guitar playing?

Stephen Carpenter’s innovative use of tunings and his ability to blend melody with aggression have made him a highly respected and imitated guitarist.

What makes Abe Cunningham’s drumming unique?

Abe Cunningham’s drumming goes beyond keeping time. He incorporates complex grooves, polyrhythms, and influences from various genres, creating a dynamic and powerful foundation for Deftones’ music.

What is Frank Delgado’s role in Deftones?

Frank Delgado utilizes turntables for sonic textures and samples, not scratching. He also incorporates keyboards and synthesizers, adding atmospheric layers and unexpected soundscapes to Deftones’ music.