Together for nearly a quarter century, after humble beginnings in a south Sacramento garage, Deftones couldn't be busier. The band already spent a chunk of August touring with System of a Down, and is on the verge of a hometown show Sunday at Discovery Park that's co-headlined by Stone Temple Pilots and Bush.
Once October hits, Deftones will rev up the tour bus for another round of gigs across the country.
All of this rocking is a prelude to Nov. 13 the day Deftones release their seventh studio album, "Koi No Yokan."
"It's a Japanese phrase that loosely means 'love at first sight,' " said singer Chino Moreno, on the phone from a Southern California recording studio. "We didn't go into the studio with this certain ideal. It just kind of happened, possibly because we're in a good place in our lives. It's a very optimistic sort of feeling."
Those sunny feelings follow the most harrowing times in Deftones' career, an otherwise successful run that has included a Grammy Award and the platinum-selling album "White Pony." Bassist Chi Cheng was nearly killed in a 2008 car accident and has remained in a coma ever since. The band soldiered on with help from former Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega and entered one of its most productive phases, both as a touring and recording band.
While Deftones were once fairly notorious for taking their sweet time in the studio, "Koi No Yokan" will arrive just two years after 2010's "Diamond Eyes."
"I've said it before, but if it wasn't for (Vega), I don't think we would've continued after Chi's accident," Moreno said. "Writing with him is awesome. He's a very enthusiastic person, and having new blood come in really psyches everyone up again. He's a great dude who motivates us, and we have a lot of respect for him."
Back in Sacramento, on a sweltering afternoon, drummer Abe Cunningham navigated his black Cadillac toward the new Zocalo restaurant in Roseville. Along with DJ Frank Delgado, Cunningham's the remaining Deftones member who lives in Sacramento. Moreno and guitarist Stephen Carpenter have lived in Southern California for years, while Vega calls New York home when he's not on Deftones duty.
Cunningham turns up the volume on his car stereo, which quickly fills with chunky guitar rhythms and Moreno's ethereal vocals. These are the nearly finished mixes of "Koi No Yokan," which even in their preliminary state sound especially full and dynamic.
"Check this one out it's kind of like Pink Floyd," Cunningham said about one track with a spacey intro.
The new songs have such names as "Rosemary," "Dazzle" and "Swerve City," though some are working titles and could change by the time the album is released. The hallmark Deftones sounds are all there, magnified, even: a mix of beauty and guitar-and-drum bombast, keyboard and turntable soundscapes, all punctuated with Moreno's patented screams. They're songs that'll bang your head, and then soothe any neck pain via Moreno's vocal melodies and other dreamy textures.
"We've just been on a stride lately with the last record and this one," Cunningham said. "We've been maximizing our time. I think this is some of the best music we've ever done. Everyone always says that, but it's the truth. We have a respect for what we're able to do, and it feels great. There's still the craving to want to do it, and we have a blast."
Moreno also feels stoked about the new batch of songs. Deftones always has been heavy enough for hard-rock radio, but with enough twists and a diversity of influences to set the band apart from the typical head-banging hordes.
"We never go in with a preconceived idea of what record we're going to make," Moreno said. "We look at it like capturing three months of our lives together, and this is what it is. One word that always comes back is 'dynamic.' There's a lot of different moods, and I think people are really going to enjoy it."
The band might preview a couple new songs at Sunday's show but will likely focus on the back catalog that made Deftones one of the biggest acts to break from Sacramento. Though Moreno's a Southern California guy now, his heart remains in Sacramento the city where Deftones got their start and then took on the world.
"That's my city," Moreno said. "I miss my buddies and my family in Sacto, and I get back pretty often. We were out with System of a Down getting our feet wet, and we are jazzed up to play."
MONSTER ENERGY AFTERSHOCK
What: A daylong rock festival with Deftones, Stone Temple Pilots, Bush, Chevelle, Oleander and more
When: 11 a.m. Sunday
Where: Discovery Park, off Garden Highway, Sacramento
Cost: $54.50; $99.50 for VIP ticket, which includes lounge area and view of the main stage.
Information: (800) 745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com