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The Japanese emo band Dir en Grey says its lyrics are complex.

Deftones bassist Chi Cheng says the only major challenge his band has experienced is lack of communication.

"Every time we have a problem, it stems from us not talking with each other," Cheng said by phone from Detroit. "When that happens, it gets very bad. We are all friends. But sometimes we have to make sure we stay friends. And all it takes is communication. There have been times when the band could have broken up because of how bad we get when we don't talk with each other."

In fact, one of those dark times happened while the band — comprised of Cheng, guitarist Stephen Carpenter, programmer/sampler Frank Delgado, drummer Abe Cunningham and vocalist Chino Moreno — was recording the new album "Saturday Night Wrist."

"We had been waiting for Chino to complete the vocals and complete the lyrics for the album, but it seemed his heart wasn't into it," said Cheng. "In fact, before we were finished with the album, he took off on tour with his side band and left us hanging."

The tension got so bad the band called a meeting with management. Moreno showed up late — more than 3 hours late. We were able to throw everything on the table and let it all out. We're now back to being friends again. And we're in a good space.

"This is normal for us. I do know there is still the best Deftones album inside of us and I hope we can get it out before the band implodes."

When the Deftones first hit the scene back in the early 1990s, it was part of the NuMetal movement. A lot of tension, anger and dark rantings created the band's trademark sound.

"It came from our relationships with each other," said Cheng, who cited Iron Maiden, Metallica and The Cure as some of his musical influences. "We started off as friends to see if we could get free beer and more than a $5 per diem."

These days Cheng's goals are making his house payment and seeing how many non-alcoholic O'Douls he can drink.

"The band is beautiful but volatile," he said. "And that's how it will be until the end."

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Dir en Grey, the Japanese emo band, has made a name for itself the past couple of years making music and albums as if that was all it wanted to do.

"I liked the music of Al diMeola," said Dir en Grey guitarist Kaoru, speaking by phone through a translator from Worchester, Mass. "When the band got together, all we wanted to do was play music and get up on stage. That really hasn't changed.

The bonus and highlight of being in the band — which features singer Kyo, guitarist Die, bassist Toshiya and drummer Shinya — is to see an album get released, he said. "An album is a culmination of all the hardships we go through as a band and the hard work we put into it. And we do it together."

Still, said Kaoru, making the new album "Marrow of the Bone" went a little differently than the previous album, "Withering to Death." "Basically we were on tour when we were making the new album. We would write songs on the bus and try out some of the songs in sound checks. Then we would finish them up, and, when we went home for a few days to take a break, we would go into the studio and record two or three songs."

Then it would be back on the road with the band and the process would start all over. "The good thing about doing it that way was the fact that we were able to come back to a song and hear it again to see if we had to change it."

As far as fans trying to understand the band — with all its songs in Japanese — Kaoru said the lyrics aren't necessarily the focus of the song. "We use music to get our point across. Our lyrics are very multi-dimensional. In fact, they can get so complex that even our fans who are Japanese can't grasp what we're saying. So to us, all that matters is if the fans feel the music. Dir en Gray has no intention of making an English-language album."

If you go

What: Deftones, Dir en Grey

Where: In the Venue, 219 S. 600 West

When: Saturday and Sunday, 7 p.m.

How much: $29.50

Phone: 467-8499 or 800-888-8499


t-->E-MAIL: scott@desnews.com