Late Deftones Bassist Chi Cheng’s Spoken Word Album To Be Released Next Month

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In 2013, founding Deftones bassist Chi Cheng passed away of cardiac arrest after being put in a coma by a 2008 car accident. But while fans may never hear Eros, the album that Deftones were working on at the time featuring Cheng’s final recordings, they will be able to experience some of the artist’s posthumous brilliance via a spoken word album to come out next month.

The album, titled The Head Up Project, will feature a set of spoken-word poetry that Chi performed at The Paris Cafe in Sacramento, CA in January of 2001. The record cover describes the material thereon as “A night of poetry, belly dancing, music, insults, alcohol, and other forms of flattery.’

Behind the project is Buckle Up for Chi, which is a seatbelt advocacy group started in Cheng’s memory. The album is set to be released on a yet-unspecified date in January, and is available for preorder.

When it came out, Deftones’ latest album Ohms began to stir up rumors that the eyes featured on its cover were Cheng’s. However, drummer Abe Cunningham put that rumor to rest in an interview this past September.

Speaking to Illionois’ 105.7 The Point, Abe addressed the cover art, saying, “So there’s all these weird theories about the eyes and it’s kind of crazy. There’s this picture of Chi that people have been putting up that’s kind of this famous one that’s been out there, and they actually laid those eyes on top of there and they match up perfectly. Which is a total coincidence and really kind of trippy though too if you think about it.

“Frank Maddocks, he’s the guy from our label that has done all of our records, actually starting with White Pony, he’s done all of our records, all the art for every record since then,” continued Abe. “And you know, we obviously have a nice rapport, a nice working relationship together and so there’s definitely trust. He came out to the studio and we’re talking about things and he was trying to get some ideas of what’s happening so he can go off into his hole and come up with some stuff.

“So he ended up coming back with a few things and we just like, the eyes man, the eyes were just… they have a very sort of ’80s, sort of Prince kind of ‘When Doves Cry‘ video kind of look to them. So yeah it was just one of those things but then all these people started lay that picture over these eyes of Chi and it really matches up crazy…”


Words by Chris Krovatin