Stephen (Stef) Carpenter (born August 3, 1970 in Sacramento, California) is the co-founder and lead guitarist of the American rock band Deftones. His guitar technique makes use of both ringing open strings and dissonant chord voicings, as well as stock power chords in polyrhythms. Carpenter is a noted 7 and 8 string guitar player, being influenced by such bands as Fear Factory and Meshuggah.
Stephen Carpenter was born on August 3, 1970 in Sacramento, California to a family consisting of his mother Maria and his sister Marci. He grew up in the Sacramento area and pursued many hobbies, including skateboarding.
When Carpenter was 15 years old, he was hit by a car while skateboarding. This left him confined to a wheelchair for several months. It was at this point that he began teaching himself guitar by playing along with bands such as Anthrax, Stormtroopers of Death and Metallica. It has been reported that the driver paid Carpenter a cash settlement that allowed the band to purchase equipment, but drummer Abe Cunningham commented in an interview that this was "a myth about how our band was started."
Carpenter attended high school with future band mates Chino Moreno and Abe Cunningham. They were childhood friends and remained friends through the skateboarding scene in Sacramento. When Moreno found out Carpenter played guitar, he set up a jam session with Cunningham and the three began playing regularly in Carpenter's garage circa 1988. After playing with several bassists, the band settled on Chi Cheng and within two years the band began playing club shows and later expanded their playing territory to San Francisco and Los Angeles where they played shows alongside bands such as Korn.
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