“Summer touring a lot of fun. The weather's nice, you're out with a bunch of buds,” Deftones' keyboardist/sampler/turntable manipulator Frank Delgado tells me, laughing before adding, “It's much better than touring in the snow.”
Delgado is calling in from Sacramento as the band is gearing up to hit the road with Rise Against on a coheadlining run that sees the hard rock acts switching who closes the night city to city. At this point in time, there's still production to be finalized, but even though this is amphitheater tour, the band doesn't want to get too crazy with the production.
“Sometimes you want to pull back, less is more,” he says.
There are two ways to look at this pairing of the odd nu-metal outsiders and the political punk powerhouse. One is to look at it and think, “that's weird, I would not peg those bands as potential tour mates.” The other is to look at it and get extremely excited, because while they may have sonic differences they're both among the best live rock acts you'll find. Delgado, however, doesn't think it's any weirder than the band they opened for last time they were in town.
“It's the same amount of weird as going out with Incubus,” he explains. “Our whole existence has been like that. We're the band that is kind of like a thorn. We never really fit with whoever we bring or go out with.
We like that. We stand out.”
Touring with your friends, even if they don't sound the same as your band, sounds like the way to go.
“Not only is it successful, but it's a lot of fun to be able to tour with people you enjoy being around.”
“Everyone is getting along,” Rise Against guitarist Joe Principe tells me a few weeks later. “It makes it a lot easier when you're gone for a month from home when everyone gets along.”
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He's calling from the road, the day of the fourth show of the tour. Three shows in and things are going “really well” for the band, who also didn't want to get too crazy with the production.
“We didn't want to go overboard,” he says.
While Deftones have lived with their most recent album Gore for over a year now, Rise Against is hitting the road with an album that's just been released, and from the sound of it the songs they're playing off of it are working.
“Some songs just don't translate well live, but these songs – 'Wolves', ' The Violence' and 'Welcome to the Breakdown' – are build for the live setting, so it's been amazing.”
However weird it might look like from the outside, the tour is working, and there haven't been any mass exoduses of fans before the headliners.
“We try to have our setlist appeal to our core fans, and then we try to throw in some slower songs that might appeal to Deftones' fans,” he tells us. “So far it's been great for both bands. People have been staying every show.”
Right now, both Delgado and Principe are into playing their band's newer material. Deftones have been playing shows with diverse setlists over in Europe, giving Delgado and company the chance to dig into some of their deep cuts as well. For Principe, one song in particular stands out for him right now.
“Without a doubt, 'Welcome to the Breakdown' is for me the most fun. First and formost a fast punk song still gets me going at 42 years old,” he says.
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Soon, both conversations turn to the live music experience in a post-Manchester world. Both men grew up going to shows, and touring is a way of life for them now. 2017 has been a very weird year for all of us, but for both live music still matters.
“For me it was everything,” Principe says of going to see hardcore bands like Bad Brains as a teenager. “It was the outlet that I had to let loose and just be myself. It was safe haven for like-minded people. That still carries over into 2017.”
“It's scary that some people are putting others in the position where they're scared to go out and participate in live music,” Delgado says. “But that's where you find the art the culture of where you're at. I think it's still important to be able to do those things without fear.”
Deftones and Rise Against perform Monday, June 26, at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Dr., The Woodlands.