Remember the time Adam Sandler jammed with Deftones and Incubus?

Adam Sandler/Deftones/Incubus
(Image credit: New Line Cinema/Getty Images/Christina Radish/RedfernsGie Knaeps/Getty Images/)

Culturally, if you were looking for a singular event to sum up the year 2000, you’d be hard-pressed to beat a video of Adam Sandler jamming with Deftones and Incubus live on MTV. Surreal as it now seems, the clip captures the intersection of two of rock’s hottest young bands and one of the movie industry’s most reliable stars. At first blush, it made for a fascinating crossover, starting with two of nu metal's rising forces. 

1999 saw Incubus level up with their ambitious Make Yourself album, and by 2000 they were enjoying their first real taste of mainstream success.  Deftones, meanwhile, released White Pony in June — the landmark album that catapulted them into the nu metal stratosphere. Sharing unconventional approaches to the heavy music of the day, the bands became both friends and regular touring partners.

Meanwhile, Adam Sandler had established himself as a bankable comedic force on the back of absurdist, highly-quotable films like Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore and The Waterboy, not to mention a five-year run as one of Saturday Night Live’s most beloved cast members. 

Though critics panned his movies with lusty disdain, Sandler’s goofy humour had generally translated into big returns at the box office. His 2000 film, Little Nicky, however, was not such an outing. In that movie, Sandler played the titular character — the son of Satan, angling to score the position of the next ruler of Hell. The film tanked, grossing $58 million against a budget of nearly $85 million.

To promote the film, MTV hosted a special where Sandler could pump both the movie and its soundtrack, an alt-metal feast that included both Incubus and Deftones, as well as mainstream heavies such as Disturbed, P.O.D., Powerman 5000 and Linkin Park. 

One of the songs on the soundtrack is an acoustic version of Shut Up And Drive (Far Away), by Deftones, and in this clip, we see Incubus and Deftones piled up on couches with Sandler in the middle, holding an acoustic guitar. By then, audiences were used to Sandler performing jokey songs on Saturday Night live with an acoustic guitar but this was something altogether different.

Be Quiet and Drive,” says a bespectacled Sandler. “Great song and it’s on the Little Nicky soundtrack. You guys wanna play it, right?”

“Yeah, you’re gonna play it with us,” replies Deftones frontman Chino Moreno. It’s not yet cringey, but it’s already awkward.

“I’m gonna play it with you and I’m gonna stay out of your way as much as I can,” mumbles Sandler, his deference met by good-natured protests from Moreno and others. Sandler had been playing guitar for years by that point and in the performance, he acquits himself exceedingly well, holding down the low end of the rhythm section along with Incubus’ Mike Einziger as Moreno and Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd trade vocals.

Though his playing fits seamlessly into the performance, Sandler’s quiet demeanour suggests that he’s not all that comfortable. Nonetheless, when they finish, he says, “Well that felt good. Everywhere. Great job, fellas. That was nice, that was nice.”

Weird enough for you? No? Well how about P.O.D. coming out next and joining the gang for what looks like a hastily-rehearsed cover of Steve Miller’s The Joker as the credits roll?

Because that’s exactly what happens next. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the year 2000, in all it’s nu metal-glory.

Joe Daly

Hailing from San Diego, California, Joe Daly is an award-winning music journalist with over thirty years experience. Since 2010, Joe has been a regular contributor for Metal Hammer, penning cover features, news stories, album reviews and other content. Joe also writes for Classic Rock, Bass Player, Men’s Health and Outburn magazines. He has served as Music Editor for several online outlets and he has been a contributor for SPIN, the BBC and a frequent guest on several podcasts. When he’s not serenading his neighbours with black metal, Joe enjoys playing hockey, beating on his bass and fawning over his dogs.