Chi Cheng (musician)

Chi Cheng

Cheng performing with Deftones at Hultsfred Festival in June 2006.
Background information
Birth name Chi Ling Dai Cheng
Born July 15, 1970 (1970-07-15) (age 41)
Davis, California
Genres Alternative metal, heavy metal, nu metal, experimental rock
Occupations Musician
Instruments Bass, backing vocals
Years active 1988–2008
Labels Warner Bros., Maverick
Associated acts Deftones, Dredg

Chi Cheng, (born July 15, 1970 in Davis, California) is a Chinese American musician, best known as the bass guitarist for the American band Deftones.[1]


Personal life

Cheng went to school for a little while at CSU Sacramento.[2] He is the author of a collection of poetry entitled The Bamboo Parachute released in 2000 as a spoken word album. He has a wife, Colleen, and a son with ex-wife Adrienne. He is also a practicing Buddhist, and maintains an interest in Taoism and Shamanism.

Cheng also sponsors a community service group based out of the band's hometown of Sacramento, California. The group aids homeless citizens in developing their musical talents, among other things. Cheng is also a vegetarian. During college, he read No Denial!: A Handbook for Becoming a Socially, Environmentally, and Personally Responsible Citizen of the Planet by Neill S. Cohen and decided to make the switch.

Car accident

Cheng was seriously injured in an automobile accident in Santa Clara, California, on November 4, 2008. Cheng had been traveling with his sister, Mae, when their vehicle flipped three times after hitting another car going 60 mph, ultimately ejecting Cheng, who was in the passenger seat, not wearing a seat belt. Mae sustained more minor injuries, as she had been wearing her seat belt. She attended to Cheng, holding his head until two off-duty EMTs approached, fortunate to have had medical equipment with them. They were able to insert a tube into Cheng's throat to help him breathe until the ambulance arrived, to which action doctors later attributed his survival.[3]

Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno stated on the Deftones' blog:

It deeply saddens me to inform you all that our brother Chi Cheng was involved in a terrible car accident last night. He is currently in a Northern California Hospital in serious, but stable condition. I am on my way up North right now to be by his side along with the rest of our band mates and family. Chi is one of the strongest people I know, and I'm praying that his strength will get him through this. Please say a prayer for him as well.[4]

The accident left Cheng in a coma, and Deftones announced in February, 2009 that the band would perform at Bamboozle Left in April, with their friend Sergio Vega (formerly of Quicksand) filling in for Cheng on stage.[5] On April 26, Cheng was readmitted to ICU following a near-fatal septicemia infection;[6] he survived the infection following treatment and was released from ICU about a week later.[7] Following the release, a rumor started to spread in early May that Cheng had awakened fully from his coma[8] but this was denied on, stating that Cheng is in a semi-conscious state.[9] On August 18, Cheng underwent surgery to replace a bone flap in his skull that had been removed after the accident, in order to relieve intracranial pressure.[10] was created in March to help raise funds for Cheng and his medical expenses, where fans can donate to help towards an initial target of $20,000 (later raised to $50,000, $100,000 and then again to $500,000 in 2010). It is also a place where fans can read personal blogs and comments from the Cheng family, and record a message that will be played to Cheng to further speed his recovery. In late April, PETA announced that 20% of the income from a "Happy Families, Not Happy Meals" T-shirt designed by Chi would go to the One Love For Chi foundation.[11] There is also a "Get well soon" card on MySpace[12] for Cheng that fans from all over the world can sign by posting comments. Fans and some rock celebrities have posted comments, including Sonic Youth, Thursday, The Used, Flaw, Evans Blue, Ill Niño, and Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst.

On April 27, Shepard Fairey put three signed copies of his Obama inauguration posters up for auction on eBay, with the proceeds of the auction going to the One Love For Chi foundation.

Long time friend and fellow bassist Fieldy of Korn has recorded an instrumental song along with other musicians. All proceeds will be donated to Chi's family.[13][14] The song entitled "A Song for Chi" was released for free via digital download on its official website where donations to Cheng and his family are also accepted. A few months later, in October, Răzvan Rădulescu (aka DJ Hefe) of the Romanian nu metal band Coma, released a compilation album entitled From Eastern Europe with Love, featuring bands from Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia, and Serbia - the proceeds from the sale of the album will also go to the One Love For Chi foundation.[15]

Deftones played a two-night benefit show on November 19–20 at Avalon in Hollywood. Proceeds went to the Chi Ling Cheng Special Needs Trust.[16] Guests included Far, Cypress Hill, Rodleen Getsic, Ben Kenney, Greg Puciato, Rick Verret, Tommy Lee, Mike Shinoda, P.O.D., Mark McGrath, Xzibit, Robert Trujillo, Rocky George and Mike Muir (Suicidal Tendencies), Dave Lombardo, Alexi Laiho, Daron Malakian, Shavo Odadjian, John Dolmayan, and Max Cavalera.

As of May 2010, Chi Cheng has shown significant signs of improvement, as he is able to track individual people with his eyes, occasionally make worded responses, and slightly move his hands.[17] Chino Moreno has stated that the Cheng family will be paying a doctor with the International Brain Research Foundation, who is experienced in the field of coma and trauma patients using funds raised through to use an experimental medicine to bring Chi out of his coma-like state. The treatment has an 84% success rate.[17] As of May 2011, Cheng is currently undergoing rehabilitation and more operations in New Jersey. As of October 2011, Cheng is beginning to use vocalizations


Cheng performing in 2006.


Cheng exclusively uses Fender Basses. On tour, Cheng uses around 5 or 6 basses. His main basses are two '59 Fender Precision Bass Reissues which both feature a Precision Bass Split-coil Pickup (Mid), and a Humbucking Pickup (Bridge); made by Alex Perez of the Fender Custom Shop. Cheng also uses a '51 Fender Precision Bass tuned in EADG, for all Adrenaline songs.

Cheng occasionally makes innovative use of a fretless 4 string Precision Bass with a single EMG split pickup (mid). The smooth slides can be heard on tracks such as "Knife Prty" from the album White Pony.

Although he generally prefers to stick to 4-Strings, Cheng acknowledged that he pulled out a couple of Fender 5-Strings during the making of Deftones' self-titled album. Ever since, until the accident, he played a Fender Roscoe Beck V 5-String Bass when performing live.

Amplifiers and effects

Cheng uses two 300-watt, all-tube Ampeg SVT 2 Pro Heads, two Ampeg 8x10 Cabinets and a rack-mounted Tech 21 SansAmp PSA-1 for extra distortion. He also uses a Boss OD-3 OverDrive and Boss CE-5 Chorus Ensemble pedals.


  • Fender heavy-gauge (.065-.120) Strings
  • Sennheiser Wireless System



With Deftones

Guest appearances

In pop culture

  • Korn has a song entitled "Chi" from their second album Life Is Peachy (1996), which is named after Cheng.[18]
  • Dredg dedicated their 2009 album The Pariah, the Parrot, the Delusion to Cheng, who had previously been a special guest on Dredg's 2006 live album Live at the Fillmore.
  • Far frontman, Jonah Matranga, has stated that the title track "At Night We Live" from their 2010 album, is inspired by a dream he had, shortly following a hospital visit to see Cheng.[19]


  1. ^ Tony Sauro. "Deftones' Cheng, Tokay grad, still hospitalized". Retrieved 2011-07-05. 
  2. ^ Sauro, Tony. "Deftones' Cheng, Tokay grad, still hospitalized". Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  3. ^ "Deftones | Chi Cheng | One Love For Chi Documentary… | One Love For Chi™". 2010-07-17. Retrieved 2011-07-05. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ [2][dead link]
  6. ^ 05/03/2009 1:01am Update from the ICU… Author: gina (2009-05-03). "Deftones | Chi Cheng | Update from the ICU… | One Love For Chi™". Retrieved 2011-07-05. 
  7. ^ 05/05/2009 6:22am Chi Is OUT OF ICU! Author: gina (2009-05-05). "Deftones | Chi Cheng | Chi Is OUT OF ICU! | One Love For Chi™". Retrieved 2011-07-05. 
  8. ^ Hot right now:    . "Deftones Bassist Chi Cheng Comes Out Of Coma". Gigwise. Retrieved 2011-07-05. 
  9. ^ "Deftones | Chi Cheng | Rumor : Deftones Bassist Chi Cheng Comes Out Of Coma | One Love For Chi™". 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2011-07-05. 
  10. ^ 08/18/2009 8:52pm Chi’s Surgery Done.. Author: gina (2009-08-18). "Deftones | Chi Cheng | Chi’s Surgery Done.. | One Love For Chi™". Retrieved 2011-07-05. 
  11. ^ Rachel. "The Deftones Need Your Help | peta2 Blog". Retrieved 2011-07-05. 
  12. ^ US. "Get Well Soon Chi Cheng Card | Gratis muziek, tourneedata, foto's, video's". Retrieved 2011-07-05. 
  13. ^ Korn MySpace blog - Chi Song
  14. ^ "KoЯn // News". Retrieved 2011-07-05. 
  15. ^ "Deftones | Chi Cheng | Hefe/Compilation CD For Chi Cheng | One Love For Chi™". 2009-10-07. Retrieved 2011-07-05. 
  16. ^ [3][dead link]
  17. ^ a b "BLABBERMOUTH.NET - DEFTONES Bassist CHI CHENG Showing Signs Of Improvement". Retrieved 2011-07-05. 
  18. ^ "It's all about the deftones". Deftonesworld.Com. Retrieved 2011-07-05. 
  19. ^ "Deftones | Chi Cheng | Far Frontman Talks About Chi Cheng | One Love For Chi™". 2010-01-11. Retrieved 2011-07-05. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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