Video: Deftones performing My Own Summer (Shove It) Live @ Npa, France – 14 October 1997 (Chi on backing vocals)
I heard the sad news yesterday that Chi Cheng from Deftones passed away from a heart failure on Saturday. Chi was a founding member of Deftones and their bass player in the band up until his horrific car accident in 2008 which left him temporarily in a coma.
I was lucky enough to see Chi play bass in Deftones a few times. The first time I saw Deftones was at The Corner Hotel in Melbourne, I think it was 1998. That would have been the year after I was madly obsessed with their album Around The Fur. Which lead me to their first album Adrenaline which I also became madly obsessed with, albeit for different reasons.
It was amazing to see their intensity up close and personal in a medium-sized venue, as fierce as I imagined they might have played back in their home town of Sacramento.
Despite using all my resolve not to pull up Chino Moreno’s ass-riding pants I still thoroughly enjoyed their performance because they threw themselves around on stage and screamed passionately in our faces. Equally, the set was perfect for me as they played only amazing songs from Around The Fur and the Adrenaline era.
I remember how excited I was when I found a signed copy of Around The Fur in good old Gaslight Records not long after their visit to Melbourne. I was so pleased with myself months later when I heard Soulfly were in town doing a signing that I shipped off the album with a friend to get Max Cavalera to sign it since he guests on the album, and as the album was also dedicated to his late stepson, Dana.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t make the Soulfly signing due to some other commitment, in retrospect the commitment probably was not very important. Argh!
Anyways, for me Chi was integral to the Deftones sound. He also was a musician you actually wanted to watch perform on stage, bouncing around and spinning around his long dreads. Chi was well loved in the music community, particularly by Korn who dedicated a song to him called Chi on their 1996 album Life is Peachy.
Chi is survived by his wife and son, and close-knit family who had been looking after him for the last 5 years since the accident. In the letter from Chi’s family announcing his death on the One Love For Chi website his mother said she sung his favourite tunes to him in hospital before he passed away.
I think I’ll go and console myself by watching the Music In High Places Live in Hawaii DVD to see Chi in happier times.