Monday, April 15, 2013

4.15.13 Hero of the Day: Chi Cheng

Bee-otch of the Day honors are awarded Monday through Thursday, Bee-otch of the Week is awarded Friday on


Name: Chi Cheng
Age: was 42
Occupation: former bassist, Deftones
Last Seen: in the great beyond
Awarded For: helping to change rock 'n roll

God has added a new bass player to his band.

Chi Cheng was part of one of rock's most-groundbreaking bands, The Deftones. As their bass player, he played on the band's first six albums and even recorded a solo album in 2000 of spoken word recordings called The Bamboo Parachute. When The Deftones arrived on the scene with their first album Adrenaline in 1995, rock itself was going through major changes. It was a year after the death of Kurt Cobain and grunge was dead and gone. Alternative rock had gone in two directions: pop or metal.

In 1995 while I was on my 8th grade class trip to Washington, DC, one of the cities we drove through was Cleveland, and my Walkman was tuned to WENZ/107.9 The End, a killer alternative station that has sadly since flipped to urban. I even remembered them playing the uncensored version of Alanis Morissette's "Hand In My Pocket" ("I'm brave, but I'm chicken shit"). One of the songs I heard was Deftones' "Seven Words", and thought it was one of the most-badassed tunes I've ever heard. I thought Chino Moreno was yelling "fuck" multiple times, but he was only saying "suck". To me, it was bands like Deftones, KoRn, Limp Bizkit, Tool and others that were saving rock from late 90's wussiness by adding in a sense of rebellion and raw power.

Like many rockers, Chi Cheng was very outspoken. He was a vegetarian and a Buddhist. But he loved his basses. He often toured with five or six Fenders and moved over to five-stringers before the incident that ended his professional playing career.

And it happened on November 4th, 2008.

While riding passenger in a car driven by his sister, Mae, the car he was in struck another car and flipped three times. He wasn't wearing his seat belt and was ejected from the car. Mae, who was wearing her seat belt and only sustained minor injuries held up Chi's head until EMTs arrived. A tube was fed into his throat to help him breathe. Although he survived the accident, Chi was left in a coma. Although his condition improved, he was still in a semi-conscious state. He started recognizing people and started to sound out words a few years after the accident.

A website, was created by his family to help offset his medical expenses. A myriad of support came from his fans and friends. Many benefit concerts were thrown by Deftones and other bands to help pay his bills.

Although his condition improved tremendously, on Saturday, Chi was rushed to the hospital after his heart stopped. He passed away that evening at the age of 42. Although he made a stupid mistake by not wearing his seat belt, which would have saved his life, his fans forgave him and helped offset his growing medical bills. After his passing, several fans donated $1,000 as a word of thanks to the now-fallen musician.

Sometimes, you need to be a bee-otch to be a hero. Some people think that wearing helmets on bikes is stupid, but when they get into an accident, they think otherwise. Same goes with car accidents and the lack of seat belts. I always wear mine, and I've been in two accidents. They are life savers.

Lack of restraint or not, Chi was a genius on the bass, and made the Deftones who they are. Now that he's gone, I do hope the band will release the long-awaited Eros, the last album he played on (since his accident, the band has released two albums without Chi). I think it will be a fitting tribute to him, and his family and fans will agree. It's a shame that in a world filled with no-talents, Chi had to be taken from us.
Although The Deftones have found his replacement, nobody will ever replace Chi Cheng.

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