Music News

Team Sleep

More than two years have passed since Team Sleep last toured, and it's likely that just as much time will go by before the group ventures into venues again following its current jaunt. After all, says Chino Moreno, the Deftones frontman who captains the Team, "We're not putting out a record until 2010."

Why are Moreno and his fellow Sleepers (guitarist Todd Wilkinson, turntablist DJ Crook, bassist Rick Verrett and drummer Zac Hill) waiting so long to commit tunes to plastic? Deference to the Deftones, who are writing a CD planned for release in 2008. Once that recording is in stores, the band will launch a tour expected to continue for eighteen months. Upon the jaunt's completion, Moreno can turn his attention to his beloved side project. "This way, I feel like the Team Sleep record will get its due," he explains. "I feel we'll be able to actually tour on it and not have to worry about 'I have to get back to Deftones.'"

This is not an idle concern. As Team Sleep's self-titled 2005 debut disc was nearing its launch, Moreno was in the studio cutting vocals for the Deftones album Saturday Night Wrist — and things weren't going well. "Oh, man, it was so not fun," he recalls. "It wasn't a good working environment. I was going through a divorce at the same time." So in the midst of the process, Moreno put the Deftones on hold and began gigging with Team Sleep. In his view, "It was a good opportunity to be able to get away from the record, step away from it and go do some other project that had nothing to do with it."

The other Deftones had to sit around for six months waiting for Team Sleep to nod off — and when Moreno finally returned, they weren't happy. "They probably thought I was the hugest dick in the world, which I kind of was, in a way," he concedes. "I guess it was pretty selfish just to vamp out like that."

Fortunately, the players were able to overcome their differences, and Moreno thinks the Deftones are stronger than ever as a result. He doesn't want to risk another meltdown, though. Hence, Team Sleep's 2010 plan, which calls for the release of free online EPs featuring previously unavailable demos to fill the gap.

Meanwhile, Moreno's looking forward to tackling the current Team Sleep dates, despite the challenges inherent in revitalizing a band that's been hibernating. He compares playing live with the unit to "getting high and going to the grocery store. It can be overwhelming to you, but at the same time, it's kind of fun."

Especially if it won't happen again until the end of the decade.

Visit Backbeat Online for more of our interview with Chino Moreno of Team Sleep.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts