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Passenger by Deftones

Album: White PonyReleased: 2000
  • This is about having sex in a car: "Roll these (misty) windows down."
  • This features Maynard James Keenan - lead singer of Tool and A Perfect Circle. (thanks, Ryan - Rosemount, MN)
  • Lead singer Chino Moreno (on Maynard's appearance): "Having Maynard perform on the record wasn't something that we planned on doing. We didn't plan on having any guest on the record. But being a fan of Tool and A Perfect Circle, once Maynard was involved, it was just a magical thing for us. Honestly, when he first started working with us, he wasn't supposed to sing with us. He was just working on the arrangements, riff structures, time signatures, and things like that. I don't know if you're a big fan of Tool's music, but they're really mathematical. I've been to their rehearsal space, and there's this big chart that just looks like calculus--the way they write songs, it's just crazy. It was good to have someone else who has different ways of writing songs, 'cause everyone has a different way of doing it. He came in and we started working on this one song in particular, and he just grabbed the microphone and started singing along to it, and my jaw just dropped. All of a sudden our band sounded like Tool; it was just crazy. Then, probably two months later, we went in to record the album, and I went in to record the vocals on it, and I just kept hearing his voice, this re-occurring melody with his voice coming over it. So I called him and asked him if he wanted to come down and sing on the record, and he had no problem with it. Once he came in, I gave him sort of what I wanted the song to be about, and he wrote a couple of ideas down, and the next day he came in with all the lyrics written all out with blank spaces where my lyrics were supposed to be. He's very professional like that. He wants everything set perfectly, which is the complete opposite to the way that I write, so it was cool. And then I went in and did my vocals over it, and it just seemed that our voices blended together pretty good. Yeah, it came out pretty good, so we decided to put it on the record." (thanks, Tim - Pittsburgh, PA)
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Comments: 41

I think that forgoing all of the physical aspects of the song (sex, drugs, whatever it may actually be) the song has a much deeper meaning than any of it. I think it's less about what's actually happening and more about the meaning behind the actions. In spite of having sex in a car, the song is more about the thrill of letting go, letting somebody else take the wheel, and putting your very life in the hands of another. You have become a passenger, not only in the physical sense, but in that you are no longer driving behind your own actions. You've taken the passenger seat in somebody else's car- in your own even- and now the driver can literally do whatever they want with you. Regardless, I wish that Maynard and the Deftones would collaborate more often. This song is almost a guilty pleasure for me. They used to play it all the time at the strip club next to where I worked. I would hear it blaring through the walls every night and I would totally jam out. I think the song- melody, lyrics, its entirety- is perfect for stripping. It's all about giving in to desire and temptation. not to mention the combination of their voices is way intense, almost romantic even.Robbie - Berthoud, Co
Yeah... I remember watching "The Crow" for, like, the millionth time... and Draven jumps in the car with T-Bird... and when he asks who Draven is, he says, "I'm your passenger," and subsequently, "Drive,,," and "faster." Always kinda made me scratch my chin a little and wonder. Regardless of if Moreno consciously borrowed this or not, amazing song.Tony - Usa, Oh
In my opinion, seeing how Maynards involed, i think its about your phisical body holding back your inner self or "soul" from progressing. Tools huge on outside influences, such as religion,polotics,govnerment and pretty much anything that holds a person back from full freedom to find there mind/souls full potential. Its all about the third eye. in the begining they talk about laying thinking. "Mirrors sideways, Who cares whats behind" i think is talking about the outside apperence is pointless because the physical out side apperence dosnt matter, its the soul hes pondering on. In the chorus i think the car is seen as his body and hes saying "roll the windows down" meaning let your true self out without putting filters on to be judged by the world. when you do that s--t gets crazy so im assuming that would be the "drive faster" refference, and of course the "passenger" refference is your mind being the passenger to your phisical self. The rest of the song follows that idea.... Thats just my opinio. being greatly influenced by maynard and tool and Bill Hicks (who Maynard was good freinds that "shared the same views" as Bill) most of the stuff they write about is on the subject of expanding and evolving the mind. Maynards a huge fan of using metifors in this way.Justin - Bowling Greeen, Oh
I COMPLETELY agree with the guy below...STOP MAKING EVERYTHING ABOUT DRUGS, BECAUSE IT'S NOT!! How simple-minded can you be??! Apparantly drugs are the only thing you can wrap your mind around....extremely sad. The lyrics obviously describe sex in a car (even sounds like they're actually driving at the same time). They talk about the car mirrors, cool seats (leather car seats get cool), windows, the air blowing in while they're driving. Maybe there's a sexual thrill because of the danger involved in driving while having sex. The music and the singers' voices are sound sexual and erotic throughout the song. Drugs are, if anything, just an afterthought. Maybe they're doing drugs while they're doing this, maybe they're not. Either way the song is about sex, not drugs!Jenna - Knoxville, Tn
i cant believe some of you are simple minded enough to think this song is about drug addiction in any way if you look at the credists for the song you will see that maynard wrote ALL of the lyrics maynard has been know to experiment with bisexuality (as have close friends of his such as trent reznor of nine inch nails) i feel that it may be about a homosexual encounter in a car i dont deny this could be wrong but either way gay sex or not his song is about getting busy in a car i think some of you are trying to derive some kind of deeper meaning for this song when its pretty clear cut. and for those of your who dont think its about sex in a car explain the lyric "nice cool seats there to cusion your knees" i think the lyric mirrors sideways, who cares whats behind is in reference to one person telling another not to regret the encounter and whats done is done ANYONE WHO THINKS THIS SONG IS ABOUT DRUG ADDICTION OR GETTING HIGH SHOULD BE SLAPPED for the most part both deftones and tool leave drug refernces out of their music they are to original to sing about the same run of the mill crap all the other bands sing about like depression and drugs chino and maynards lyrics while cryptic and sometime withdrawn are nearly deviod of any kind of drug referencesDick - Anusville, Hi
Ok, Here you go, Straight from the horse's mouth.

Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan co-wrote and volleys vocals with Chino on "Passenger," an aphrodisiacal road trip of echoes and twinkling keys punctuated by explosive choruses.
"It's about being the passenger in a car with a girl who's taking you around the world, literally, sexually, in a whirlwind of time," Chino says. "I can barely tell where I end and Maynard begins." (taken from deftonesworld.com)

Hope that clears it up for some of you who are insisting it's something else.
Nicole - Denver, Co
The song is about whatever you want to... love, friends, sex, drugs, violence.
Life is experience and feelings.
One song is lyrics and music. Here the lyrics describe an experience and music is like feelings because of.
For me, the meaning of the song is all passion. The edge of the madness. Take a seat, be cool and enjoy the trip One of the best song that i've ever listened. Thank you deftones.
Ricardo - Morelia, Mexico
As any true fan of Tool APC or Deftones knows, there are always several meanings behind each song.
Anyone remember The Crow?
When Dravin gets into one of the criminals car outside the convenience store?
The guy asks " who are you?"
Dravin says "I'm Your Passenger" he tells him to "Drive" Then he says "Faster"

Just a thought
Sheridan - Williamsport, Pa
this song is writtent about havin sex in the car and how sad is having sex in the car.
faceless painfull its no t about sexism its about the tragic part of having sex in the car..
Alex - Athens, Greece
This song is not only about sex. Period. It is in fact about an addiction, whether it's to a person or drug. It's being the passenger and letting that addiction drive you and not being in control, but you love that feeling any ways, feeling just as good as sex. Think about it. Listen to it.Sophia - Bay Area, Ca
alright they guy that said chino is addicted to herion...wat does the song have to do with heroin..its obvious that the song is about sex..where in the song do u hear that they say something about needles or anything about heroin..that would be the most stupidest thing i ever heard in my whole life...if u would just listen closely to the song..n take the balls out ur ear u would understand what the song is really about..so hop offHector - Houston, Tx
I feel the song is about two friends - very bored -very doped up -takes a drive -feels good -the nice wind feels great like they are free -they have a sudden urge of excitement that they need to fulfill their rush they're having.(i hear it's about a bank robbery too?)That would definitely be a rush -especially getting away with it -feeling almost like "still i want some more" and these other lucky witnesses? who cares what's behind -we feel like superman - just go and Go! and DON'T just drive me home and back again -now talking to the highness asking it to just let him be a free spirit in the cool night wind forever -take me to the end. they don't want this feeling to go away.Coral - Mt.vernon, Il
Ok first of all maynard would never sing a song with such a simplistic meaning. And we all know Chino was addicted to Heroin. Ok 2+2 still equals four. The car and driver are a metaphor in his life for his drug addiction. He has no choice because the drug drives him everywhere he is the "passenger" "im your passenger" he likes whats going on because he is flying high and the melodic sound and feel throughout the whole song characterizes his euphoria his dream his experience now he has no control but he likes it he is in the cosmos he is one. Songs about sex and one dimensional ideas are meant for fm radio not maynard and chino aight??Vernon - Charleston, Tn
This song, whether it was meant to or not, can be completely explained when looking at the lyrics from the point of view of an addict. The metaphorical lyrics of being a passenger in a car explain better than literal language when trying to describe the feeling to a non-addict that an addict's object-of-dependence gives them. To an addict, their addiction shuts the entire world off, and all of their cares disappear. Nothing matters, they feel so good and relieved that breathing might not even be normal during their "high." They'll do anything for that feeling, that relief, and they can't get enough, they keep going back. They really are a passenger to their addiction--it is in complete control of their life. The truth is, the relationship between an addict and their addiction is very very similar to being in love with a girl. You can take lots of songs and interpret them as not really speaking about women or loving an actual person, but thinking of their addiction as their "girl," and they're "in love" with it. Sex is probably the closest thing an addict can use to describe how they feel when trying to explain it to a normal non-addict.Vince - Ann Arbor, Mi
Personally, i have yet to see an explanation of this song which fully describes it. Sure, it definitely seems to be about sex (probably in a car), but when you consider the quote supplied by Lin in Vancouver, it's probably not that obvious. Even the fact that it was mainly written by Maynard should tell us that it's meaning is not as obvious as we would think. Maynard is not known for his simplistic lyrics, take Forty-Six & 2, for example. That song goes deep into psychology, the Jungian theory, and trying to reach a higher state of consciousness. I don't care to explain it all, Google it and see what i'm talking about. Only Maynard and Chino could actually say what it's about for sure; although it could have actually been there goal for the song to be interperated differently by each person who listened to it, in which case i'd say they succeeded with flying colors.Anonymous
Haha wesley from homer! That exact thing happened to me from the first time I heard it I was like this sounds so much like a tool song (am I trippin?) an then I stumbled across this page. Now I get to tell people I knew it!! =DLacie - Slc, Ut
From what I understand the song is about having sex with someone or even maybe with a hooker. When Chino says "put them on me" it sort of sounds like "put their money" as if he's paying off a hooker, haha. And yes, Maynard does like to write his lyrics for multiple meanings. I personally like to deprive my own meaning, to me the song means I'm going on a country cruise in a car to go smoke a bowel with some friends. It's misty not only because of all the green being smoked, but also because we crammed so many people in the car with us to smoke. and the whole mirror sideways thing, thats when we rolled up the jay, we needed a platform to do so. :-)Steve - Boise, Id
Here is a comment from Chino that I found about Passenger: "I did this song with Maynard from Tool. Basically, I told him I wanted to create a scenario of being in a car and being taken for a drive when you don't really know what's going on. I wanted him to create a lot of imagery. he wrote a majority of the of the lyrics and left blanks for me to fill in. It seems like you're being held captive, but enjoy what's going on." - ChinoLin - Vancouver, Canada
When I first heard this song, and then looked up the lyrics, it immediately reminded me of the mythology of what happens immediately after you die. Kind of like traveling the River Styx, only this time it's on a creepy train heading nowhere. Maybe I'm just weird. I have this on my I-Pod, and last night I had a dream while this song was playing- I was on a dead train full of ghosts heading..........Adelineelesa - San Antonio, Tx
My personal interpretation of this song is about being in any situation where you lack control. A passenger in a car has no control over what the driver does, and the passenger is at equal risk as the driver is. If the driver decides to run off a cliff, the passenger has no choice but to go down as well. Maynard and Chino may use a car as one situation, but it can be used in various situations.
It can apply to themes such as rape or drug abuse. Being raped means being under control of whoever is raping you... It can also symbolize the control of addictive drugs on a person.
I'm willing to bet that I'm not even close to the actual meaning of this song, but that's my interpretation. No matter what, this song is a work of art and holds a deep meaning. It's also a collaboration between my favorite band (Deftones) and my favorite singer (Maynard) which makes it my favorite song. Easily.
Erick - Nashua, Nh
when I first heard this song I automatically thought it was about a group of people or a 'passenger' doing cocaine in a social thing. 'still and breathless' and 'mirrors sideways' and 'drive faster'. But the 'sill and breathless' was maybe an overdose. But from experience thats my relation but that is me.-everyone relates differently or maybe its both?I thought the misty windows was because its a hot night and there is a rush from the drugs. But I see more of drugs than the sex but I dont disagree with it. But when I heard this song... I was greatly intrigued... this is a most excellent song.Laura - Baytown, Tx
Haha This is an interesting song..
Here i lay still and breathless just like always, still i want some more??
makes ya wonder. But I think it all depends on your mood sounds stupid but Ive been in a car high listening to this song an it seems like there talking about just driving to nowhere.. but then at other times im like damn this is about sex.. But who cares maynard and Chino are the most amazing people EVER!!!
Courtney - Pahrump, Nv
I actually heard from a "band member" that this song is not about sex, that it is about a bank robbery where someone is shot and dying in the car.Thecyndicate - Las Vegas, Nv
I don't think it's only about sex in a car. If you listen to Tool, you see that many of Maynard's songs can have 2 or 3 meanings depending on who is listening and in what frame of mind. Who doesn't love sex? You don't have to be in a car in the literal sense to go for a drive.Raestar - Somerville, Ma
This may be my perverted conscience, that makes me think so, but from the very beginning it seemed to me that the song was about having sex in a car with a boy. I don't know how it is in other countries, but in Russia it's a stereotype: a pedophile comes over in a car and asks a boy if he wants to have a ride and then molests him. Besides, the words "drive me home..." seem more to be said by a boy than by an adult man.
There is at least one more song by Deftones on this theme: "Watch me with your eyes
Been giving god a pedophile..."
So I suppose that Passenger is also about pedophilia. Sure I may be wrong. Chino or Mynard would say for sure what they meant.
Humble - Moscow, Other
Hehe well I first heard this song and I didn't know what it was about but one day in school I had this song stuck in my head and i'm like wow ... sex in a car for real. haha and its just funny how its two guys singing ... about sex in a car or just plain sex. what's going on here? well anyways one of my favorite songs. awesome. deftones and tool/apc rock!Jessica - Blah, Ca
How can you not know this song is about SEX IN A CAR?! Read the lyrics, it says right there nice and blunt what's going on...

This song rocks my socks. It's by far my favorite Deftones song. Yes, by far!
Tiffany - Conroe, Tx
seriously, what is with these people saying that they didn't realize it was about sex? first off, the obvious. roll these misty windows down. i know we've all either been in that position or seen it on film, but...nuff said. drive faster, take me home again...referring to speed of it with drive faster, and take me home again is orgasming. now lets go to the less obvious listen to the way the music swells...mimics penetration and climax.Erin - Shithole, Ok
Never thought it was about sex but it makes sense now kinda. I just love the chorus how it comes in with so much power and the two voices go so well together. My favourite Deftones song.Dev01d - Wollongong, Australia
it kind of reminds me of Stinkfist by Tool
but not so heavy, not so much power
just quiet but scary simultaneously
Brian - Winchester, Ma
Kevin, do not take my word for it, take Chino's. Do you honestly believe I sit down and write out these quotes? No. What evidence do you have to suggest that you are correct, anyway?Tim - Pgh, Pa
The Song is Disturbing considering that its about sex (in a car? who knows) and its sung by 2 guys.... hmmm... Chino, Maynard, What are u hiding? hahahaha, well, anyways its one of my favorite deftones songs, even its kinda gay, but who cares?Diego - Panama, Other
Ah, tim from pittsberg is horribly wrong. Chino and Maynard wanted to do a song together for a long time. But yes this song as funny as it may seem, is about having sex. I dont believe in a car. But i have been wrong before. Yes definatly about sex though.Kevin - Independence, Mo
Sex in a car? That's kind of funny, but kind of disturbing in a way.Ashley - Moncton, Canada
I had my ipod on random and this deftones song came on ive never heard before... then i hear maynard and i'm like... "whaaaa?? am i insane is that maynard. it is!" then i checked google and this site came up and, well i'm stoked. thank you very muchWesley - Homer, Ak
It doesn't matter what it is about really, It is a cool song anyhow (TooL is the best band in the universe and this song is the best song in the universe)!!!Brett - Adelaide, Australia
Yip Nic, it's absolutely super fantastic!L-j - Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
My favorite Band is Deftones, My bestest friends band is TOOL.
So to have my band and Luljie Pies favorite lead singer to do a song together is amazing.

Hey Lulj?????
Nic - Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Well........
Start off with the best band in THE world, then add one of THE best vocalists in the world,

and you have magic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nic - Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
i had no idea it was about having sex in a carAndrea - San Antonio, Tx
Awesome song. Period.Tim - Pittsburgh, Pa