“Well it’s about damn time”
That was the the first thought that popped into my head when I found out the Deftones would be releasing a CD/DVD set of unreleased material and music videos. There are so many great, hard to find Deftones classics out there, it’s high time some of them were presented in proper form to the public! “B-Sides & Rarities” comes at a good time, as we are still waiting for the fifth Deftones album (which keeps getting pushed back into oblivion). Along with Team Sleep’s debut earlier this year, this set provides a nice placeholder for the new album. Something to keep us occupied until new music presents itself.
Right off the bat, any Deftones fan who has spent time on the ‘net downloading bootlegs and b-sides (or even buying those pricey imports) will tell you how much excellent material is missing. For starters, none of the group’s original demos (of which, there are many) are included. One of the best demos, “Like Linus” would have fit in perfectly. Likewise, Charlie Clouser’s rare remix of “My Own Summer (Shove It)” would have been great as well. But complaints aside, let’s talk about what is actually on here. The CD is comprised of 14 tracks, mostly cover songs or acoustic versions of Deftones’ classics. There are quite a few choice covers that show the obvious influences (i.e. The Cure, Helmet, Duran Duran) and a few totally bizarre, left-field choices as well. The one song that sticks out like a sore-thumb would be their cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man.” Musically, they nail the song, and make it their own. But unfortunately, Chino’s vocal performance is rather uninspired, as he shows little to no emotion while singing a very sentimental song (reportedly, Chino didn’t dig the song until after they recorded it). “No Oridnary Love” stands as one of the best covers they have done to date (a Sade cover) and also appeared on the “Change (In The House Of Flies)” single. This marks the first of four, count ‘em, four collaborations on this disc with Jonah Matranga (of Far/Gratitude fame). The acoustic versions are all superb. I’ve had the acoustics of “Change” and “Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away)” for quite some time, but the inclusion of “Digital Bath” (one of my favorite songs) was especially appreciated, and well performed. I was a little disappointed in “Black Moon” and “Teenager (Idiot Pilot Version).” The former features B-Real of Cypress Hill, which could be a good thing, as they are one of the best hip-hop acts still around. But the song, unfortunately, carries absolutely no stamp of the Deftones. It’s basically a Cypress Hill song, produced by Chino. The latter is Chino collaborating with a group by the name of Idiot Pilot for a reworking of “Teenager.” This version sounds flat when compared to the “White Pony” version, and makes you wonder why they even bothered.
The DVD contains every music video the Deftones have done to date (even though that rare “Around The Fur” video still eludes us). All the classics like “My Own Summer (Shove It)” and “Change (In The House Of Flies)” are here, along with some lesser-known videos. For example, I didn’t know “Bloody Cape” even had a video! And quite an entertaining one, at that. The videos for “Engine No. 9″ and “Root” are, as expected, low budget montages of live footage. In between videos, various interview and live-clips pop-up, but unfortunately, don’t amount to much. The highlights being Chino’s reworking of Eminem’s “Kill You” performed live, and Shavo from System Of A Down sharing an amusing anecdote about confusing the Deftones for Korn (all about the dreadlocks).
Obviously, much more could have been done with this compilation, which is why it only gets 4-stars. They have such an enormous library of unreleased music, it seems criminal that the CD portion is only 14 tracks long. Also, the fact that the DVD is mainly just music videos is kinda boring as well. What about some (complete) live performances or behind the scenes footage? Making of albums? I guess you just gotta take what you got. As it is, “B-Sides & Rarities” is a welcome addition to the collection of any Deftones fan. The packaging is great, with in-depth liner notes talking about each song and their origins. I only recommend this disc to those who have immersed themselves completely in the Deftones’ four albums. Otherwise, the material on here may be hard to swallow.