Deftones’ 2006 ‘Conan’ Performance Shows How Great Chi Cheng Was

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Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons, Daniel Jordahl, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
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Sacramento, CA metal band Deftones‘ bassist Chi Cheng was born today July 15 in 1970. Born in Stockton, CA, Cheng helped define Deftones’ incredible sound from the band’s debut. He was an all-out great behind the bass, and one of the best to ever do it.

One particular performance that exemplifies his greatness is Deftones’ appearance on the late-night talk show “Conan” in 2006. This memorable performance not only showcased the band’s musical prowess but also highlighted Chi Cheng’s exceptional skills and charismatic stage presence.

During the ‘Conan’ performance, Deftones delivered a mesmerizing rendition of their hit song “Hole in the Earth” from their album “Saturday Night Wrist.” From the very first note, it was evident that Chi Cheng’s bass playing formed the backbone of the band’s unique sound. His distinctive style and technical proficiency shone through, effortlessly driving the rhythm and providing a solid foundation for the band’s atmospheric and heavy soundscapes.

Beyond his remarkable bass skills, Chi Cheng’s stage presence was captivating. He possessed a quiet confidence that drew the audience in, his cool and composed demeanor a testament to his modesty and genuine love for the music. Chi’s magnetic energy and deep connection with his instrument were palpable, creating an unforgettable experience for both the live audience and viewers at home.

Tragically, Chi Cheng’s career was cut short in 2008 when he was involved in a devastating car accident that left him in a semi-comatose state. Despite the immense challenges he faced, his impact on Deftones’ music and legacy continues to resonate. His bandmates, as well as the music community as a whole, recognized his invaluable contributions and paid tribute to his talent, friendship, and spirituality.

The ‘Conan’ performance serves as a poignant reminder of Chi Cheng’s greatness and the profound loss that the music world suffered. It stands as a testament to his instrumental role in shaping Deftones’ unique sound and his ability to captivate audiences with his exceptional musicianship. Chi Cheng’s legacy lives on in the hearts of fans and fellow musicians alike, as they continue to cherish his memory and celebrate the extraordinary talent he brought to the world of music.

Although Chi Cheng’s time with Deftones was tragically cut short, his impact on the band’s music and the admiration he garnered from fans and fellow musicians endure to this day. His contribution to the world of alternative metal and his lasting influence on Deftones’ sound solidify his status as one of the great bassists of his generation.

Watch Deftones Perform “Hole in the Earth” on Late Night With Conan O’Brien below.