This Cool Night Air is Curious - White Pony Turns 20

In the year 2000, I bought the album White Pony three different times.

The first time was on its release date—June 20th. I was 16, just shy of 17, and on that Tuesday, after summer school1 had let out, my friend Peter and I drove my hulking, white mini-van downtown to the small record store that was in our hometown at the time—Ear Wax Records, and I bought what is commonly referred to as the original, or the standard, edition of the album—light gray cover, and a white pony icon on the bottom right.

I opened the CD before I started my van back up, and tossing the shrink wrap somewhere onto the floor—putting the disc into the CD player I had purchased for the van only a few months earlier, we skipped right to track 10 to underscore the ride back to Peter’s house; the album’s first single, “Change (In The House of Flies.)”

It was not long after the album’s release that I discovered there was a ‘special edition’ of White Pony—two different, limited editions that were encased in unique packaging, and included a bonus track tacked on at the end—“The Boy’s Republic,” taking the album’s running from 11 songs to 12.

I purchased the album again, without even batting an eyelash, from a record store2 in the Cherryvale Mall, in Rockford, Illinois—selecting the solid red jewel case version over the completely black jewel case. 20 years later, this is the only version of the album I still have—the case, scuffed, from having been shuffled around between college and back home, year after year, and subsequent moves (both out of state, and from apartment, to apartment, to house.) The disc itself has seen better days—the top, worn from years of being sandwiched into the sleeve of one of those enormous booklets everybody kept in their cars in the 90s, full of CDs The bottom, scratched, obviously, from having been in my possession 20 years, but somehow, it still plays when I choose to revisit the album.

The third, and final copy of the Deftones’ third album, White Pony, that I owned in the year 2000, was the cash grab re-release, issued near the tail end of the year. Changing the cover to white, with a large outline of the pony icon placed in the center, this edition forced an additional track, “Back to School,” into the album’s sequencing—tossing it on first, and throwing everything else off by one. “Back to School” isn’t even all that great of a song, and is contentious among the band itself, as well as its fanbase, but as a 17 year old, I had to have it, so with only a few days remaining in 2000, this edition of White Pony was given to me for Christmas that year. 

This was in a time before the iTunes store, and before high speed internet—up until I left for college in the summer of 2001, we used dial up internet and America Online—so even if it was a ‘thing,’ there would have been no way for me to just download a new, ‘bonus track’ from the record; this third copy had to be purchased, though now, I am uncertain whatever happened to those first and third copies of White Pony, or how long I hung onto each of them for before possibly trading them in as part of a larger purging of compact discs. 


For a band that, for argument’s sake, makes ‘heavy metal,’ or ‘hard rock music,’ the Deftones have always had a wildly experimental streak in them, and that’s what makes their music something I still am willing to listen to now, so many years after, more or less, ‘growing out’ of regularly listening to other bands within the genre. White Pony, now 20 years old, and the band’s third full length (coming five years after its ramshackle debut), is where the band hit its stride and subjectively, you could say that they peaked in this moment with all of the elements tumbling together perfectly. 

The group, almost always citing influences as diverse and unexpected as The Cure, PJ Harvey, Failure, and The Smiths, among others, this was the first time you could really hear that kind of desire to experiment, and change the dynamics of their sound. Yes, it is still a ‘rock’ album, but it’s one that is able to transcend being pigeonholed into one clear genre—and, structurally, is utterly flawless as it glides into its second half, which is, beginning with the trip-hop love song “Teenager,” and ending with the proper closing track, “Pink Maggit,” a wild, cathartic, gorgeous run of songs that, for better or for worse, still holds up today.

The Deftones were always on the verge of collapsing into themselves. Prior to their ‘re-birth’ as a functioning act in 2010, the tensions and in-fighting were infamous, with rumors of break ups regularly swirling. Following White Pony, they could never really quite match this album’s perfect blend of hard rock and literally everything else they had a passing interest in sonically—the group’s self-titled effort, arriving in the spring of 2003, felt phoned in, with its lead single, “Minerva,” coming across as someone with their label asking them to write another song that was a photocopy of “Change (In The House of Flies.)” By 2006, the group, weighed down by tensions among its members, as well as disinterest coming from lyricist and vocalist Chino Moreno, who was in, what he described as his ‘drug phase,’ was able to shit out a bizarre, unsettling3, angsty fifth record, Saturday Night Wrist. 

White Pony really represents not so much a ‘peak’ for the band, but maybe the conclusion of one chapter, and a point in their career when they felt like they had nothing to lose, and found that, once in the studio (taking five months to write and record the album—the longest they had spent on a record at that time) they could push themselves to make the record that they wanted to make. It’s a moment in time—both, with the culture of ‘rock music’ at large, as the band had always been kind of looked at as outsiders to an extent, and White Pony was leaps and bounds more intelligent than any other hard rock music coming out at this time; but it’s also a moment for the band, when things were more or less working or at least any tension was resulting in ‘creative tension,’ and the group found themselves in a place where they felt free to experiment, fully immersed in the present, but giving both a nod to the past, and looking ahead to what the future may hold for them.


As a sullen, overweight, somewhat lonely 17 year old boy, I spent a lot of time on our dial-up internet, using America Online, finding and reading whatever I could about the Deftones, specifically around the time of White Pony’s release. It’s a pretty infamous quote, at this point, or at least one that has stuck with me for two decades, but I remember reading somewhere that Chino Moreno had played My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless for there producer, Terry Date, and said they wanted the record to sound like that; to which he responded by telling Moreno that Loveless was the most ‘coked out mix’ he had ever heard. 

While the band would eventual lean hard into its admiration of shoegaze and a dreamier sound on later songs and albums, you can hear the beginning of it on White Pony, or, at the very least, it fighting for its place in the torrential downpour of heavy metal guitar riffs from the group’s lead guitarist, Steph Carpenter. 

Does the album sound like Loveless? No. Absolutely not. I mean, nothing really could ever come close to the meticulous, painstaking attention to detail that Kevin Shields had on that record. However, the influence and the aesthetic are both clearly there in the way its mixed, with Chi Cheng’s bass line not so much being flattened or sandwiched in with everything else, but it is not a ‘bass heavy’ record in the way that its predecessor, Around The Fur was—a record with a clearly cut ‘low end’ that you could hear rumbling; you can also hear it in the way Abe Cunningham’s drum kit: the snare pops, and the cymbals crash with a frenetic energy you can still feel when you listen today—it sounds crisp, especially the moment that the album’s second track, “Digital Bath” begin. But it, much like how the bass is mixed through a bulk of the record, arrives sounding a little restrained, and not as thundering as it is on Around The Fur, or even on the band’s self-titled effort. 

It’s an interesting mix—coked out? No. Well maybe. ‘White Pony’ is famously slang for cocaine.  But it’s record that is presented, sonically, as something reveling in the balance, or imbalance, of tension and release—musically, and lyrically, too, White Pony almost revels in that space—the collision of volatile or horrific with the beautiful and haunting, which is why, 20 years after the fact, so much of this album still works, or at the very least, still lingers in my memory, and is, at times, thought of often—not, like, that often, but often enough. 

Often enough that, I struggle to categorize the Deftones in my life, at this point, staring down the end of 40. There’s different phrasing and implication when you talk about something from the past, like this album, and this band, for example. Saying you grew up listening to it implies that it holds a sense of importance in your life, still, to this day; saying that it was something you ‘used to listen to when you were in high school’ implies some regret on your part, or misgivings about it being a part of your past.

I am at a place where I can say that I both ‘grew up’ listening to the Deftones, because I found them in my formative, teenage years, and attempted to carry them with me out into my 20s, but they are also a band that I ‘used to listen to in high school,’ both literally and metaphorically, and I found, once I got into college, and met new people who had different tastes than me, that ‘hard rock’ is something that you have to grow out of, and it’s difficult—at times embarrassing and impossible—to hang onto it the older you get. 

Has time been kind to White Pony? Has time been kind to anything from the year 2000? The hairstyles? Clothing? Other music from this time period? This, again, is where White Pony lands in between two contrasting things—it is, inherently, a total product of its time in a number of ways, and parts of it have aged very poorly—the lyrics to “Elite” come to mind right away (“When you’re ripe, you’ll bleed out of control,” Moreno screams.) But, there are parts of it that are still so strange to hear, or so captivating, that you still can’t help but get caught up in it, even after all this time. Hearing it today, 20 years after the fact, there are parts of it that are so fascinating and just fucking beautiful it is no wonder this record is both such a milestone for the band, but why it it had such an impact on me at the time.


The thing about White Pony that I definitely can see now, and maybe even saw it when I was younger, is that structurally, yes, it is an album that works from beginning to end, but subjectively speaking, a bulk of the album’s first half is something to skip over, with the really interesting, memorable tracks arriving after the halfway point.

One of the things that, to this day, is still so fascinating and impressive about White Pony are the album’s lyrics. The Deftones, and specifically Moreno as a writer, had, up until this point, dabbled slightly in ambiguity—the shadowy, vague imagery of “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)” comes to mind—but here, Moreno was very up front about he was more or less writing fiction, and removing himself from a bulk of the album’s lyrical content. He did, in an interview about the album, allude to “RX Queen” being about his wife4, and that he wasn’t going to elaborate more on the song—but outside of that, a majority of White Pony is written from the outside, which is what makes it so arresting at times.

The album opens with the blistering, explosive “Feiticeira,” a name that Moreno apparently read in a magazine. Originally titled “New Murder,” it’s the first of two songs on White Pony that are about being taken somewhere, possibly against your will, possibly not. There, of course, is the ambiguity written into the lyrics, and the way they unfold and tumble against the music.

Fuck I’m drunk,” are the first words you hear on the album. “But I’m on my knees; the police stopped chasing…She pops the trunk and she removes me—and a machine takes pictures of us. Now my jaw and my teeth hurt—I’m choking from gnawing on the ball.”

Songs don’t have to have lyrics that rhyme, but there is barely a ‘near rhyme’ in the beginning of “Feiticeira,” as Moreno just kind of freely howls this opening stanza of lyrics, the words almost falling where they may against the music, painting a horribly evocative, erotic, and violent image of being ball gagged in the trunk of a car—but maybe the song’s narrator, the protagonist, if will, is into it? “First untie me…untie me for now,” Moreno pleads. “You said you would, right?”

The song, even though it is not one of the ‘best’ songs on White Pony, is still a frenetic, dizzying opening track—sending the listener into utter, spiraling, palpable chaos, especially with the hypnotic, ominous repetition of the phrase, “Soon I’ll let you go,” which is used throughout a majority of the song’s second half and takes you through to the sudden, shuddering end.

The thing about writing fictional lyrics, or less personal lyrics, is that you, without really understanding how, might end up taking things into dark places, which is what happens with the song “Digital Bath,” the album’s second track, and the third single (with accompanying video) to be released.

“Digital Bath” is where you can first hear all of those idiosyncratic and unlikely influences—4AD stuff like the Cocteau Twins, or The Cure; it’s one of the dreamiest songs the band has ever written, only managing to top it a decade later with “Sex Tape” from Diamond Eyes. “Digital Bath” is also, lyrically, very menacing—again, a fiction, but with thematic similarities that echo throughout other parts of the record, of being taken somewhere, possibly against your will, possibly not. 

The reason that “Digital Bath” is one of the most memorable songs from the album, as well as one of the best executed from the first half, is the way Moreno uses his voice to actually sing, and not just shred his larynx with screaming, as well as the way the music is arranged to be as dreamy and gauzy as possible—this is juxtaposed against the absolutely horrific nature of the song’s lyrics, which, even dressed up with a little ambiguity are, as described from Moreno himself, about the idea of luring a female friend away from a party, asking her to take a bath, then dropping an electrical device in the tub to electrocute her. “Why the hell did I just write that?,” he reflected in an interview about the song. It’s eerie, unsettling, but even within that, it’s still a surprisingly beautiful moment on the record that is impossible to shake.


Being dismissive of a majority of White Pony’s first half seems unfair, but the album really, for me, comes into its own, and becomes the thing that was so important, and still is so defining, two decades later, once it reaches its halfway point, starting with “Teenager”—at the time, the most uncharacteristically possible song the band could have put together. 

“Teenager” began as a Team Sleep5 song, and it is here, two decades ago, that I was introduced to the first of Chino Moreno’s myriad side projects6—originally a tape trading, collaborative project between himself and guitarist Todd Wilkinson, the project was originally founded well before the Deftones debut album was released, with the intent that Team Sleep would never ‘record’ or put out an album. The project began to shift, though, when DJ Crook, born John Molina, became involved—the roommate of the Deftones’ DJ and keyboardist, Frank Delgado—putting a glitchy, trip-hop inspired beat behind the acoustic, somber song, with lyrics penned by Moreno when he was still, believe it or not, a teenager.

The song, unlike anything else on the record, serves as a bit of a palate cleanser or an interlude, in between the first five tracks, and the final five. 

It never really occurred to me until the other day, when re-listening to White Pony for the first time in a very long time, with more of a ‘critical’ ear, or at least the ear of someone who is writing a verbose thinkpiece about how time has treated the album—but it’s amazing that this is the kind of record, filled with some of the things that it is filled with the major label would put out in the year 2000. In retrospect, it seems too weird and ahead of its time in some regard, and even today, there are things happening in the fabric of the record that would maybe be deemed too unsettling or inaccessible for a major label to even look at today.

The ending to the song “Knife Prty” is one of those things.

“Knife Prty,” or at least its otherworldly climactic moment is even more unsettling and horrific to hear now than it may have been for me 20 years ago; it’s powerful yes, but it’s almost too powerful—it’s almost just too much of a moment. 

The band having a ‘knife party’ is allegedly a real thing, or at least a fictional variant on a real thing, according to lore. Drummer Abe Cunningham, apparently, has a knife collection, and at one point on one of band’s tours, everybody grabbed one of his knives, and began dancing around the tour bus. Moreno, much like he did with “Digital Bath,” penned lyrics that blurred the lines between violence and eroticism about an ‘underworld society of knives,’ comparing it to the secretive orgy from the film Eyes Wide Shut. 

Lyrically, it is not the most ambiguous, but it is dreamy enough in its imagery that it raises slightly more answers than questions. “I can float here forever,” he sings in the song’s second verse. “In this room, we can’t touch the floor. In here, we are all anemic….anemic and sweet…”

Musically, or at least rhythmically, “Knife Prty” is unrelenting in the way it moves itself forward, and there’s a delicate balance the band manages to strike between a swooning dramatic tension and explosive, heavy release—one of the things that makes it such an infectious and memorable track from the record—until it all blurs together to become one beautiful nightmarish descent in the end. “Knife Prty” is one of two songs on the record that features credited guest vocals; here, vocalist Rodleen Getsic7 appears, allegedly having been working in the same recording studio complex as the Deftones were, and was invited to contribute to the track. 

“Knife Prty” would not be the same song without Getsic’s vocals. 

“Wordless howling” would be one way, and an accurate way, to describe her contributions to the latter half of the song. The volatile, unnerving fury that her performance has, though, is like nothing I had heard before at the age of 16, and rarely have I heard anything quite like it since then. Sounding like it is coming from another world all together, Getsic stretches her voice low and high, to the point where it sounds like it is going to tear at the seams, and she contrasts a violent erotic moaning with a horrific, murderous shriek that seems set on shattering everything around you.

Moreno, too, uses a murderous shriek both throughout his career, and especially throughout this record, pushing his voice to places it had not gone just yet—he does this on the album’s eighth track, “Korea,” which isn’t so much the album’s titular track, though it was the first song the band wrote for the album, and it does make reference to ‘the white pony.’

Blistering, and a bit of a chaotic mirror image to “Feiticeira” is, at its core, an ambiguous tale of debauchery involving, as Moreno put it in an interview regarding the album upon its release, “the white pony, strippers, and drugs”—“I taste you much better off teeth taste; Of white skin on red leather…,” he sings in the song’s opening verse, before breathlessly screaming the refrain: “Nighttime, cavity, come in—downtown, pony, work your pitch.”


Negating the ‘bonus’ track included on the limited edition version of the album, “The Boy’s Republic,”8 and looking at White Pony as 11 songs, and 11 songs only, I hesitate to say that I challenge you find a more impressive three-song run, leading up to the end of an album, but I would say that the triple shot of “Passenger, “Change (In The House of Flies),” and “Pink Maggit,” sequenced together, is an ambitious, bizarre, cathartic, conclusion to the record, and even two decades removed, it is still really something to behold.

At the time White Pony was released, I was between my junior and senior year in high school, and I was a year into my first job—stocking shelves, primarily, at a local Osco Drugstore9. Maybe a month or two after I had been hired, I became friends with one of my co-workers—Dominick. He was about four or five years older than I was, well meaning and charming when he wanted to be, but mischievous as well. One of the first things that I noticed about him, even before we had hit it off after being paired up on a Friday evening to work together, was that he wore a Tool baseball cap to work every day. 

It turns out Dom really, really, liked Tool—I have no idea if he still does. The last time I saw him was in August of 2001, when we went to a Radiohead concert together in Chicago, and the last time we corresponded was a few years after that. I don’t remember if he even really liked the Deftones at all, but it was the guest vocals from Tool (and A Perfect Circle) frontman Maynard James Keenan that drew his interest to White Pony, specifically the sprawling, evocative track, “Passenger.”

There’s a short mythology surrounding “Passenger,” and Keenan’s involvement with the track—originally, he had connected with the members of the band early on when they were writing and recording the album, giving them suggestions about time signatures and arranging. The band began playing, Keenan starting improvising vocals over the top of it, and Moreno later joined in; months passed, and when they were working on the song that became “Passenger,” they weren’t able to shake Keenan’s vocal contributions from their collective thoughts. The group had never intended to ask him to be a featured guest on the album, but they invited him back down to properly write and record the song—he went as far as writing out lyrics, leaving blanks for Moreno to fill in.

The song itself, while not as violent or horrific as a majority of White Pony is, is among the most evocative when it comes to its narrative—purposefully vague, Moreno gave Keenan this direction: “I told him I wanted to create a scenario of being in a car and taken fo ra drive where you don’t really know what’s goin on….it seems like you’re being held captive, but enjoy what’s going on.”

In a bit of a contrast to the captivity of “Feiticeira,” there is a strange ‘partnership,’ for lack of a better description, that is formed between the given and take between Moreno and Keenan, and the way they trade the song’s lyrics, creating a thick sense of tension, mild eroticism, and a little bit of dread, that is resolved with the explosive refrain. “Roll the windows down, this cool night air is curious. Let the whole world look in—who cares who sees anything? 

The thing, in retrospect, that I’ve had time to think about with the Deftones canon is that there are a lot recurring things, some of them possibly unintentional—one of them, with “Passenger,” and the single from their 1997 album Around The Fur, “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away),”10 is that idea of being taken somewhere—not forcibly, but perhaps asking to be taken. The similarities are there, though, with this shared idea, even though “Passenger” always remains mysterious and partly unsettling, and never reaches the manic, desperate heights that “Be Quiet and Drive” pushes itself into. 

A possibly intentional recurring concept is using parenthetical song titles. 

In the lore of the recording process of White Pony, the band apparently found themselves working together a little better and overcoming whatever tensions were in the studio by the time they figured out “Change (In The House of Flies.)” The first single released in advance of the album, it is the song, out of them all, that clearly had the most commercial potential, and, 20 years later, is arguably one of the bands ‘best known’ songs, and one of their most successful—subjectively, because it’s so accessible in its structure, with slow burning, tense verses that give way to an enormous, soaring refrain that is moderately infectious—I mean, as infectious one can be in a ‘rock’ song.

Moreno has said that “Change,” while heavily dressed up in dark, Kafka-esque metaphor, is at the end, about him being an ‘asshole, and getting the complete repercussion for it by having my life taken away.’ While arranged with a surprising warm, especially with the chordal progression and effects of Carpenter’s and Moreno’s guitars, it’s the imagery, and the way it’s delivered, that makes this both one of the band’s signature songs, as well as a stunning moment on the record. “I look at the cross,” Moreno whispers in the song’s third, shadowy verse. “Then I look away. Give you the gun—blow me away.”11


The thing, in retrospect, that I’ve had time to think about with the Deftones, specifically with White Pony, and this is—this is maybe a bit of a reach, or maybe it isn’t, but what I realized is that there are images shared between the album’s opening track, near the opening of the song, and within the final lines of the album’s final song, “Pink Maggit.”

A sprawling, self-indulgent seven minutes and change, the first half of the song is strung along by long, mournful, distended strums of the electric guitar that at one point, actually, viscerally whips and snarls, and Moreno’s dark, fragmented, borderline poetic lyrics that seem to just fall where they may in-between the cascading waves beneath him.

“Pink Maggit” is almost two songs, because there are two distinct parts—a majority of the song’s lyrics are placed in the first half of the song. 

I’ll stick you a little
Enough to take your oxygen away
Then I’ll set you on fire, ‘cause I’m on fire
And I’m with you, alone.
I’m so into this whore
Afraid I might lose her
So forget about me
‘cause I’ll stick you…

From there, Moreno begins making this unsettling, inhuman vocal noise that, then, blends in to a layer of settled guitar distortion that lasts for what feels like an eternity, though it’s really less than 20 seconds before the second portion of the song kicks in with the full band, and ushers in the second set of lyrics.

Moreno claims the song is about trying to spread a little confidence, which is pretty wild considering how it opens. “It’s mean to be triumphant….lots of artists make songs for kids who are tormented in school, telling them it’s okay to be tormented. But it’s not okay. Don’t be ridiculed. Become the leader of your surroundings. Confidence is one of the most important things in life.

There is a triumphant, if not violent, feeling to the way the second portion of the song plays out, with the band more or less just going for it musically, and you can feel a bit of a growing sense of desperate urgency with he way the lyrics are delivered: “Back in school, we are the leaders of it all,” he sings; but also, strangely, “Transpose, or stop your life is what you do.”

The song, after becoming the album’s true moment of catharsis, then, finds itself heading into an epilogue, with the drums and bass slowly fading away, and returning to that aimless guitar strumming, and the haunting final lyrics—“All you are is meat,” and in the album’s liner notes, there are additional lyrics—“All you are to me is meat, now pass the flask,” eerily echoing imagery from the album’s opening track, creating an underlying cyclical nature.


Depending on how I’m feeling at the time, and who I am talking to, I will lie about my ‘first concert.’

My actual first concert was when I was in second grade, and I went to see the New Kids on The Block with my friend Janelle, who got tickets to the show for her birthday. They were horrible seats—behind the stage in an arena, so we just saw the back of everybody, partially obscured by lights and equipment, the entire time. 

Sometimes I don’t count that as a ‘real’ concert because I was a kid—so I say that my first ‘real’ concert was seeing the Deftones with Incubus at the Eagles Ballroom (also known as The Rave) in Milwaukee, in the fall of 2000.

There’s a lot I don’t remember about the concert (it was, 20 years ago, after all) but I remember that we were far away12 from the moshing and crowd surfing—it was a hard rock concert in the year 2000—planted safely in a balcony overlooking the stage. Prior to the Deftones coming on stage, an enormous White Pony flag descended down from a lighting rig, covering everything up while their equipment was put in place. Once the band was ready, lights began flickering from behind it, creating a dizzying, anticipatory atmosphere; you could see shadows of the band members from behind the flag, and the opening drones of “Korea” began filling the room. As the first huge guitar chord and drum hit rang out, the enormous flag covering the stage fell, revealing the band, who all just seemed to appear out of nowhere, fully immersed in the moment.

I can remember they played a lot of ‘the hits,’ with a set full of crowd favorites from both Around The Fur and White Pony, saving some of their oldest material from Adrenaline for the short encore. I remember they had a black backdrop behind them, full of small lights, forming what looked like a star filled night sky, but buried deep within that was the pattern of the White Pony icon. 

I can remember when they played “Teenager,” most of the band left the stage, leaving Moreno and Delgado on stage together, in dimmed lights, with a mirror ball spinning above them, reflecting a slow moving, hypnotic pattern of light across into crowd. 


Has time been kind to White Pony? Has time been kind to the Deftones? Do things like this, and bands like that age well? These are questions that are either difficult for me to answer, or perhaps, have no answer at all.

White Pony is a record that I both listened to when I was growing up, as well as a record that I listened to when I was in high school, and this band has always found itself in that strange middle place of being something that I feel like I have grown out of and need to let go of, but am unable to. It was, after all, less than two years ago that I bought a replica White Pony t-shirt from a Hot Topic at the Mall of America without batting an eyelash; and I more or less give every new Deftones record (there have been three in the last 10 years) a listen to see if they’ve made something that rivals the balance they found in the year 2000.

It has been very, very easy to leave a lot of things from my teenage years behind, w/r/t popular culture, but the Deftones are one of those things that I have never really been able to ‘grow out’ of, and that is okay. I don’t think it could even be described as a guilty pleasure, because there is nothing to feel guilty about here. 

Has time been kind to White Pony? Does it matter? It has aged about as well as an album of its kind, from a band like this, can age after 20 years, and there is little, if anything, that is embarrassing or cringe-worthy to hear today. Parts of it no longer resonate or are as exciting as they once were to hear, but there are parts of it that still hit just as hard. It is representative of a moment in time—for the band, and the place of surprising, gorgeous, ferocious complexity and intelligence they pushed themselves to, and a moment in time for me, as a teenager listener, captivated by what I heard. 

1- Quick clarifying aside: I am not good with math. I never have been. During my junior year of high school, I found myself in geometry, and I was very, very bad at it, and I failed. But I took a very rudimentary math class offered in summer school and, somehow, got an A.

2- I do not remember the name of this record store, unfortunately, but I know I have written it into pieces or reviews, at least once, in the past.

3- The most unsettling thing on Saturday Night Wrist is the extended outro to “Pink Cellphone,” featuring vocals by Annie Hardy of Giant Drag. The last 90 seconds of the song involve a monologue that talks about buttfucking, handjobs, and ‘Hot Carling,’ among other things.

4- According to Chino Moreno’s Wikipedia entry, he has been married twice; I am uncertain when his first marriage ended. 

5- I, truthfully, could write a whole thinkpiece on Team Sleep alone—specifically the early ‘demos’ the band recorded that were leaked onto file sharing services in 2002, and then the re-tooled and re-recorded version of the album finally arriving in 2005, and how the band has been more or less inactive for the last 15 years.

6- Sometimes I think Moreno must hate his day job in the Deftones since he is in at least three other bands.

7- A search for Getsic only provided me with a few things about her contribution to “Knife Prty,” and a horrific film she was involved in called The Bunny Game, where she portrays a sex worker who is kidnapped, raped, and tortured, by a truck driver; she also, sadly, fell and hit her head a number of years ago, and has suffered traumatic brain injury as a result.

8- Like, “The Boy’s Republic” is a fine song; it’s just not great, and doesn’t really add anything to the album, especially being sandwiched in at the end of “Pink Maggit,” which is a definitive closing track.

9- Oscos were an Illinois thing but they are now all CVS’.

10- The lyrics to “Be Quiet and Drive” are pretty vague and unnerving, and for a majority of my life, I’ve found eerie similarities between them and the film Vertigo.

11- Clarification: so the liner notes to White Pony omit all of the profanity on the album, presumably to avoid it being labeled with a Parental Advisory sticker; the lyrics for “Change” read, “Give you the lungs to blow me away,” and Moreno kind of whispers, mumbles them anyway, so I guess there is some moderate ambiguity here.

12- I went to the concert with my aforementioned friend Dominick, and another co-worker of ours, Andrew.