This year, Deftones have been celebrating the 20th anniversary of their landmark third album, White Pony. Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan reflects on working on the album with the band.
So it goes, the band were once in talks with Keenan about executive-producing the Grammy-winning record. This never came into fruition, however, Keenan spent time knuckled down in the band’s rehearsal studio in Los Angeles during the writing sessions. In which he helped the band work through massage out writer’s block.
“Great album. One of their best, in my opinion,” Keenan mused of White Pony in an interview with Revolver. “I honestly had nothing to do with it other than a mental break and temporary change of perspective.”
“I was told the guys were having a bit of writer’s block or some turmoil within the band. Who knows?” Keenan reflected. “They certainly weren’t going to discuss that with me, an almost total stranger. [They were] very strong-willed gents. Dare I say stubborn.
“Up to that point, they seemed to have been able to navigate through their differences in ideas and approaches. Great first efforts. The evidence is all there.”
The Tool rocker went on to detail that he had Deftones experiment with switching instruments and experiment with unorthodox tools like Tibetan Singing bowls.
“I felt like they just needed a bit of new perspective. I had them each switch instruments, play on the bowls, take one loop and try some improvisation. The look on their faces was priceless. I might as well have been wearing hippie beads and bunny ears. I could just feel Stephen thinking, ‘What kind of acid-trip crap is this?'”
Maynard ultimately ended up laying down vocals on album highlight, ‘Passenger’. On that experience, he muses “I don’t recall whether I showed up with completed lyrics or not. Like I said, it’s been awhile.
“But this visit I was able to assume the role that I’ve become accustomed to. Most pieces in place, [now] navigate the puzzle in front of you. Love that track.”
Deftones released their ninth studio album, Ohms, on September 25th.