Deftones Had a Pretty Miserable Time Opening for Kiss in the 90’s

Chino Moreno by Gie Knaeps/Getty Images. Kiss by Jim Dyson/Getty Images
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If the idea of Deftones playing shows with Kiss is perplexing to you, too, don’t worry- you’re not alone. Even Chino Moreno himself agrees that it’s a whacky combo.

In 1996, during the Adrenaline touring cycle, Deftones received an unexpected invite to open a few weeks of Kiss’s Alive/Worldwide reunion tour (which, for the astute, also happened to feature some of Alice In Chains’ last shows with Layne Staley on different dates).

While the opportunity was enormous for the band, Deftones didn’t look back with the fondest of memories about the tour. Here’s what Chino Moreno had to say when reflecting on the strange experience:

“One time, the second biggest tour we ever got –  I still don’t know how we even got on this tour – but we got a chance to open up for Kiss for a whole month, playing in arenas.

The hardest band to open up for ever. And not because they’re the best band, but basically the people that go to see Kiss are there to see Kiss, they could give a shit less who’s the opening band.

And at that point it was on Adrenaline, our songs were pretty abrasive, that sound had not really developed yet and people didn’t really understand it. So we’d be playing and there would literally be guys in the front row in full Kiss make-up just standing there flipping us off for the whole set.

Wouldn’t put their arms down. There’d be times where I’d be like, “Motherfucker, I know your arm’s tired, you can put it down, I know you hate us.”

It was really rough, but at the same time still the experience of a lifetime. It’s not like we cared, we were just like, “Fuck it”. We played so hard every night, it was a learning experience.”

Guitarist Stephen Carpenter shared similar sentiments in a conversation that took place directly after one of the Kiss shows:

“Kiss for the most part, it was just boring… the best show I had, I remember one night where he [Chino] went out to the crowd and there’s NO one there- it seats forever. There’s just, you know, a couple people there. And he went out and we were doing one of our songs and he sat right next to them [people in the crowd] and he’s singing to the people and he’s like how are you doing? And people are like ‘what’s going on’?.

Chino, elaborating on Stephen’s thoughts about the show, would add:

“We’re like taking up [the audience’s] time, you know? But I really think we did good. I mean, when we went out there I didn’t really pay attention… I just played the songs and it was so much fun just to play our songs. I mean, I like playing, period.

But if we had to pick one tour that was, you know, boring/pain in the ass, like he [Stephen] said – aside from what we’re used to, I mean our shows are usually very intimate with the crowd. It was like I was practicing… it was almost like there was a curtain in front of us, and after our songs would end it’d be like the young people would fade into the old and the old people would be like ‘get off the stage’.”

Definitely sounds like a rough one, but thankfully their love of playing shows helped them keep their sanity. And who knows, you never how many people actually left those shows as newly converted Deftones heads. Here’s the guys talking about the experience below:

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