As if failing to impress Depeche Mode royalty wasn’t stomach-churning enough, the same 40 winks conjured yet another eye-twitching scenario.
“I was in the studio that I first learned to produce music in, up in Sacramento – and it was flooding!” he continues. “So there’s another stress dream.”
Mind terrors such as these actually make sense when you factor in Shaun’s journey in recent years. From the towering chorus of Vivien to Sensation’s quaking riff, listen to PERMANENT.RADIANT and you’ll be struck by the confidence of it. Yet all of this comes from an extremely vulnerable headspace. When Crosses returned, they did so not as the holy trinity of Chino, Shaun and Chuck but rather a deconsecrated duo, or what the Deftones star calls “two dudes in a room”. And questions hovered over the two dudes.
“In the back of my mind, and probably in the back of Chino’s, it was like, ‘We took one main writer out,’” explains Shaun. “I wasn’t feeling very confident. If you’re making a fucking soup and you don’t have no pepper, it’s gonna be a different thing, right? It might not be as good.”
The truth, however, is that Shaun’s confidence had been sapped long before that point.
“To be honest, and without being dramatic or bad mouthing people, as it went on, me and Chuck just…” he hesitates. “He was going this way, I was going that way, and Chino was caught in the middle. I think Chuck wanted to do his solo thing and involve Chino, which kind of meant he wanted to do Crosses without me. Which is just fucking comedy. If I’m gonna get on my Liam Gallagher vibe for a minute (laughs) it’s like, ‘Come on, bro, are you kidding me?’ Anytime I would get together with Chuck to make some new tunes, something had seriously changed in the vibe. A close friend of mine was even like, ‘Why aren’t you doing Crosses? I just figured you and Chino were beefing?’ I’m like, ‘No, dude.’ It was a bummer because the whole reason this stopped for that many years is because of one person and that one person isn’t in Crosses now.”
All of this took a toll on Chino, too.
“It was a really tough thing,” he says. “It wasn’t a decision we made, like, ‘We want to do this without Chuck.’ He just really wasn’t present, he had other projects he was taking more interest in. There were two options: either we don’t do it at all, or we try it with just us two. We chose the latter. Mine and Chuck’s friendship has suffered because of that, sadly, because I love that dude. I appreciate him as a musician, and as a friend. Hopefully, we work that out at some point. Shaun and his relationship had been fractured for quite some time before all this. My job wasn’t just to be creative anymore. For lack of a better word, I was ‘refereeing’ the writing project. That wasn’t fun at all. I could have fun making music with Chuck, I could have fun making music with Shaun, but making music together became like pulling teeth. That’s not the reason we started doing this. That’s probably as deep as I’ll go into that. It’s pretty self-explanatory.”
“I’m just happy we’re doing it now,” says Shaun. “It means so much, especially when we came back together against that unknown of, ‘Can we do this?’”
What follows is the story not only of a band that could do this, but were seemingly destined to.