By Paul de Revere
In November 2008, Deftones bassist Chi Cheng suffered a car crash that put him into a coma for almost five years, before succumbing to death in April 2013. It was a trying time for the band, which was recording the now-shelved Eros when tragedy struck its founding member and friend.
Now, as tipped by Rolling Stone, the music from those Eros sessions is starting to get released. Sunday afternoon (April 13), Deftones frontman Chino Moreno shared a new song, “Smile” — one of the band’s final recordings with Cheng — on Twitter, writing, “Chi, we miss you today and every day.”
“Smile” plays like vintage Deftones — soft then loud, loud then soft quite suddenly — with simple, sparse, cheerful lyrics delivered by Moreno in Deftones’ signature languid, digitally processed vocal takes. It’s a gripping, sad, kind of surreal track.
“He’ll always be thought about on a day-to-day basis. It’s not something that goes away, obviously,” Moreno told Rolling Stone in February. “I think that when he did pass, it was very hard. It was five years where he was in a state where he couldn’t speak. He was existing, but not existing. He was here, but not here. It was very hard on us and it was really hard on him.
“I feel like with his passing, not to get back into the supernatural, he is more with us now then he was in the five years when he was stuck in that sort of in-between space. It’s a little bit of a relief because I know that he’s not suffering. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him.”
Despite being without Cheng, Deftones are moving on with the recording of a new album. At the Soundwave Festival in Australia last month, Moreno said that other members of the band had started work on the record, and that the jury was still out in terms of what it might sound like.