In sad news, Deftones bass player Chi Cheng’s family have announced that the musician passed away on Saturday April 13th. He was 42 years old.
Cheng had been in a semi-comatose state since a car accident in November 2008, and had shown tentative responsiveness to stimuli in recent years, but never regained the ability to communicate with his family and carers. His recovery had been adversely affected by losing his medical insurance and by infections which required expensive hospital treatment – fans and band mates alike contributed to his ongoing medical costs via benefit gigs and the One Love For Chi website.
Deftones were a band who emerged with the Nu-Metal scene in the late nineties and early part of the 2000’s, but endured as many of their contemporaries drifted out of fashion in the post-Emo rock scene thanks to a sound which blended the best parts of punk, metal and experimental rock – I’ve always compared them more to Black Sabbath jamming Radiohead songs in Fugazi’s rehearsal space – and by refraining from adopting the loutish posturing which so blighted a lot of their contemporaries.
The band have continued to record and tour with bassist Sergio Vega (formerly of Quicksand), releasing the excellent “Koi No Yokan” album last autumn.
It hardly needs saying, but he will be missed – R.I.P. Chi.
Of course, the world isn’t always a happy place and it seems that Deftones bassist Chi Cheng’s health travails continue with this latest update from the great man’s mum on the One Love For Chi site.
I’m sure you’ll join me in sending good vibes and best wishes to Chi and his family – it’s a long and uncertain road for him, but we can but hope that one day soon I’ll be writing more positive news about his road to recovery…
If you follow heavy music at all, there’s a good chance that you’ll be familiar with the Deftones.
Ah, the Deftones, how do I love thee? Lots, mate.
Having survived association with the Nu-Metal era by, well, not being one-trick (white) ponies, the Deftones have managed to make compelling music since the mid-1990s by eschewing affiliation with scenes and trends, resolutely following their own path and holding onto a following even as the bands considered their peers – the likes of Linkin Park, Korn and Limp Bizkit – have fallen into bland stadium irrelevance, near obscurity and apparent obsolescence respectively.
Now there's a fellow after my heart - keep fighting the good fight, Chi.
Even founding member and bassist Chi Cheng’s 2008 car crash and subsequent coma hospitalization hasn’t stopped the band from continuing – and news reaches us today that Cheng is beginning to make welcome progress in his recovery – he’s responding to requests to move his legs.
Obviously, recovering from any traumatic injury is a fraught and lengthy process with setbacks to deal with as well as minor victories to celebrate, but this news has properly cheered me up today and I can only hope that I’m updating more news on his recovery in the weeks and months and years to come.
If you want to keep up the latest news about Chi or want to donate money towards his medical expenses, you can find more information at the OneLoveForChi site.