Today, the music world mourns the loss of bassist Chi Cheng of Deftones. Chi was taken to the emergency room this morning, and passed away at approximately 3:00am with his mother, Jeanne Marie Cheng, by his side. On the One Love for Chi website, Jeanne wrote, “His heart just suddenly stopped. He left this world with me singing songs he liked in his ear. He fought the good fight. You stood by him sending love daily. He knew that he was very loved and never alone.” In recent months, he had been showing some signs of improvement, but not enough to become healthy again. Please visit the One Love for Chi website (linked above) to make a donation to Chi’s family.
Deftones crept onto the nu metal scene in 1995 with the release of their debut LP, Adrenaline. The album was produced by Terry Date (Pantera, Soundgarden, White Zombie, Korn, more), who would go on to produce the band’s next three albums as well. The disc spent 21 weeks on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart, and after relentless touring and promotion, was certified gold in 1999. In 1997, Deftones released their sophomore effort, Around the Fur. The album included a special guest appearance by Max Cavalera (Sepultura, Soufly), and was the first Deftones record to feature future band member Frank Delgado (keyboards, turntables, samples). The album debuted at #29 on the Billboard Top 200, remaining on the chart for 17 weeks. The band hit the road hard again, and the tour featured appearances on Warped Tour and Ozzfest ’97.
In 2000, Deftones released their much-anticipated third album, White Pony. The album massive success, and garnered much acclaim from fans and critics alike. It debuted at #3 on the Billboard Top 200, selling over 178,000 copies in it’s first week out. It’ produced one of the band’s biggest hits ever, “Change (In The House of Flies)”, and “Elite” won the band the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2001. In 2002, the album was certified platinum. The follow-up, 2003′s self-titled LP Deftones, debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200. A much heavier outing for the band, it remained on the charts for nine consecutive weeks and the band received much praise for going heavier and harder.
After six long years of hard touring accompanied with writing and recording, Deftones released their fifth album, Saturday Night Wrist, in 2006. The album debuted at #10 on the Billboard Top 200. The band was on the road relentlessly in 2006 and 2007. Touring throughout in North America, Canada, Europe, South America, Japan, and Australia, the band also took part in festival tours Taste of Chaos, Family Values Tour, and Soundwave Festival. In 2008, the band began recording music for their next album, Eros. However, tragedy struck when bassist Chi Cheng was involved in a bad car accident that left him unable to perform. Longtime friend and bass tech Sergio Vega stepped in and took over the bass guitar duties, and is still with the band today.
Wishing to move in a different direction with the new lineup, Eros was shelved indefinitely, and the band went to work on writing and recording 2010′s Diamond Eyes. The record hit #6 on the Billboard Top 200, and the band toured with Alice In Chains and Mastodon on the Blackdiamondskye Tour. The band took much less time in between albums this time around, and in November 2012, they released Koi No Yokan. Deftones have a long road ahead of them, literally, as they plan to be touring well into 2014. Some highlights in the immediate future are appearance at Ozzfest Japan on May 11, and a co-headlining stand at Orion Music + More Festival, June 8-9 in Detroit, MI along with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rise Against, and Bassnectar. Before Ozzfest, Deftones will co-headline Carolina Rebellion, and closing out summer at Reading and Leeds Festivals in August. With all this relentless touring, there’s plenty of chances to catch Deftones. Get ready for an epic experience of both sight and sound. At this time, my heart goes out to Chi, his family, and Deftones. Chi, thank you so much for all the amazing music, and for touching the lives of all your fans so profoundly. God bless you. – by Matt Bishop