DEFTONES Drummer On Late Bassist CHI CHENG: 'I Miss That Dude More Than Anything'

May 9, 2016

DEFTONES drummer Abe Cunningham has dismissed rumors that Stephen Carpenter might leave the band, after the guitarist made comments in which he expressed being unhappy with the direction of the group's new album, "Gore".

"Stephen has been on a media blackout since 2000," Cunningham told the Broward Palm Beach New Times. "He doesn't do press. Stephen is brutally honest, and I love him for that, and, of course, that's clickbait and things go viral. But if you read the article, you'll see that it says, 'At first, I had a hard time getting into it...' But it's nothing different in the world of DEFTONES."

According to Cunningham, the "most emotionally draining and cathartic" album DEFTONES have ever made was 2010's "Diamond Eyes", which followed the auto accident in 2008 in which longtime bassist Chi Cheng was seriously injured. (He eventually died in April 2013.)

"['Diamond Eyes'] is when everything happened," Cunningham said of the time surrounding Cheng's accident. "His passing, for me, was a relief. For him, for his family, for us, when his accident happened, it wasn't immediate. He was seriously injured and left in a minimally conscious state for five years. All the initial emotion was when the accident happened, and to have him pass was a relief after all those years... This is the first album with him not being here, but he's still here. He had a tremendous spirit, and he's here with us. I miss that dude more than anything."

DEFTONES singer Chino Moreno recently described Carpenter as the "odd man out" while the band recorded its eighth studio album, although he added that it "wasn't our intention to exclude him."

Carpenter admitted previously that he initially didn't want to work on the record, saying: "All the songs were all a challenge for me to get into. I would never leave the band, but the band starting to leave me, I can't control that."

"Gore" debuted at No. 2 on The Billboard 200, having shifted 71,000 equivalent album units in the week ending April 14. It is the band's highest-charting effort since their self-titled fourth album bowed and peaked at No. 2 in 2003.

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