Revolver has teamed with Deftones for an array of special limited-edition 'White Pony' 20th anniversary bundles including the new White Pony|Black Stallion 4LP release, a hand-numbered Richey Beckett print and Revolver's Deftones Summer 2020 box set. Quantities are limited so order yours now!
Deftones' debut, Adrenaline, introduced a powerful, if still raw and unfocused, new force in heavy music. Around the Fur marked the first evolutionary step toward the transcendent sound and vision we know and love today. But White Pony was the major leap, a dive off the deep end into a sensual world without sonic limits. The Sacramento-bred trailblazers' signature alt-metal grooves were wedded with ambient electronics, synth-pop, experimental rock and trip-hop. Tool's Maynard James Keenan guested (on the immortal "Passenger"). "Elite" won a Grammy. And a generation of fans were inspired to make their own impactful music — including Bethany Cosentino, vocalist-guitarist of indie-rock group Best Coast. We talked to her about her connection to White Pony and its enduring impact on her.
HOW DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER THE DEFTONES?
BETHANY COSENTINO My cousin worked A&R for Maverick records in the Nineties and early 2000s, so I was always being exposed to artists through him. I was young at the time, but I remember he would give me promotional CD copies of records he was working on for Christmas, and would black out all the curse words in the liner notes. Around the Fur, which introduced me to Deftones, was one of those albums — as well as Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette. I remember thinking they were so cool and the music sort of scared me, but I loved it. It felt like the kind of music my mom wouldn't approve of me listening to which made me like it even more. [Laughs]
TELL US THE STORY ABOUT THE FIRST TIME YOU HEARD WHITE PONY?
I was 14 when this album came out, kind of at the peak of my "I hate everything" teen angst — but I listened mostly to pop punk: Blink-182, NOFX, Operation Ivy and stuff like that. I knew of the Deftones because of my cousin … but I didn't get really into them until I was in my mid-twenties. Around the time we were making our third album, [2015's] California Nights, I was dealing with really horrible insomnia and I would listen to White Pony all the time, that's when I got really, really into it. I feel like this album sounds like what it feels like to be awake for really long stretches of time operating at like two hours of sleep.
WHAT DOES THE ALBUM MEAN TO YOU NOW?
I love it just as much as I did when I got really into it. I will say that now my life looks a lot different than it did in my twenties, and I'm in a much healthier, less under-slept place. [Laughs] But these songs still can transport me back to that weird dark time where I was really struggling, without pulling me down into a bad place.
THE ALBUM TITLE IS UP FOR INTERPRETATION. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?
To be honest, I have never really thought about what it means! It's just one of those classic album titles to me, that works so perfectly, and feels so natural, I have never even dug into it.
WHITE PONY WAS RELEASED IN A VARIETY OF PHYSICAL EDITIONS. WHICH, IF ANY, DID YOU OR DO YOU OWN?
I definitely had this on CD from my cousin who worked for Maverick, but I don't have those promotional CDs anymore, which is a huge bummer because there were so many cool ones.
HOW, IF AT ALL, DID WHITE PONY INFLUENCE YOUR OWN CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT, OR THE WAY YOU THOUGHT ABOUT WRITING MUSIC?
I can't say Deftones have been a huge influence on the music I write for Best Coast, but I can say they are a band that [Best Coast multi-instrumentalist] Bobb [Bruno] and I have always shared a mutual respect and adoration for, so they have been a topic of conversation for us on many tours and in many studios working on music.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WHITE PONY TRACK AND WHY?
"Rx Queen." I often say that I think Deftones are one of the most romantic bands on the planet, which seems to confuse a lot of people, but I'm fully serious. [Laughs] I've had many boyfriends that I would listen to Deftones with, especially this song, and it feels like a very "nothing can touch us" moment. The lyrics "I'll steal a carcass for you" are so fucking dark but also weirdly romantic to me? I'm a Scorpio, which is sort of the cliché "dark" astrological sign, especially romantically, so I think it makes a ton of sense that I would have specific memories of "Rx Queen" and other Deftones songs linked to love and romance. I also just think this is one of the sickest bass lines ever.
HAVE YOU EVER SEEN DEFTONES IN CONCERT?
I haven't. I really wanted to go see them play in Pasadena at the Daydream festival last year, but I had to fly to Australia to speak at a music conference. I was literally trying to figure out how I could see them and also make my flight, but it just wasn't possible to do both! I have watched so many live Deftones videos over the years, which I know isn't the same as seeing them, but I feel like at this point I have seen them from how many times I've watched live videos of them.
IS WHITE PONY SOMETHING YOU REGULARLY GO BACK AND LISTEN TO? OR DOES IT REPRESENT A CERTAIN PERIOD OF TIME IN YOUR HISTORY?
I definitely do listen to it often. It reminds me of a darker period of my life, but, like I said before, it doesn't drag me back to that time. I can listen to it and sort of disconnect from those darker moments in life. It also reminds me of being on tour, because we listen to a lot of Deftones to pump ourselves up for shows and press and stuff. For being a "dark" band, I have a million joyful Deftones-related memories!