In November 2008, Deftones bassist Chi Cheng was traveling through Santa Clara with his sister when they suffered from a horrific accident. His sister, Mae, only suffered minor injuries. Unfortunately, Chi was ejected from the car after it rolled three times due to him not wearing a seat belt. The accident left him in coma for quite some time and he now resides in a semi-conscious state. Since then, there has been an overwhelming amount of support from people all over the world, young and old, famous and not so famous, musicians and non-musicians.
Most notable is the website http://oneloveforchi.com, which was opened about four months after the accident by Deftones fan Gina Blackmore, where people can donate towards his immense recovery fees, read any updates regarding Chi’s condition, check out some of his poetry, read stories from fans, his family and other artists about their experience with Chi and how he’s touched their lives, and buy merchandise that all goes to his fund.
In 2009, Korn bassist Fieldy organized a collab alternative metal song called “A Song For Chi” that included thirteen other big name music artists to all pitch in and was released for free or donation. It was recorded during Korn’s “Escape From the Studio Tour,” where the other individuals recorded their sections either on stage or in studios all over the world.
Dj Hefe of the nu-metal band Coma released a compilation album called From Eastern Europe With Love to help benefit Chi. In late April of that year, PETA announced that 20% of the “Happy families, not happy meals” T-shirt designed by Chi will go to the One Love For Chi Foundation. Deftones have also played numerous benefit shows as well. All of this is still not enough. Right now, he is going through a treatment program that has a 84% success rate from the International Brain Research Foundation, which anyone could imagine is very costly. Out of the donations received so far, the One Love For Chi Foundation still has $232,505 left to pay on all those bills.
Before the accident, Deftones were wrapping up the recording process for an album entitled Eros. Chino Moreno was half way done tracking his vocals over the music when the accident happened, thus resulting in the complete halt of the album. According to Chi back in 2008, he described the album as “heavy as fuck with a shitload of groove. I always say this shit, but I truly believe this album to be well worth the wait and appreciate all your support and kind loyalty.” At a surprise show at Spaceland in 2008, they played one of the songs from this album titled “Melanie” (each song title is reportedly based on a stripper’s name).
The album is described as a very dark and experimental album (not like pretty much every Deftones album wasn’t already experimental) with lengthy spaced-out songs, psychedelic vibes, and plenty of jamming, as described by someone who listened to the album at Revolver Magazine. The song “Dallas” was specifically compared to the song “Minerva” from their self-titled album. In a 2010 interview with fill-in bassist Sergio Vega on absolutepunk.net, he described Eros as “longer and more complex than Diamond Eyes… longer and more stuff going on…”
Interestingly enough, this was also their first album with producer Terry Date since their self titled album in 2003. They did not revisit Terry for the recording of Diamond Eyes, going instead with Nick Raskulinecz, but they used the same song-writing process, albeit more uplifting songs to cope with what happened, and avoided Pro Tools. The most unorthodox album in Deftones history has reached cult status at this point, not too much unlike Guns N Roses’ Chinese Democracy album.
Now let’s talk about logistics. Releasing Eros at this point and time would be a smart decision. When the first single (“Rocket Skates”) was released from their last album Diamond Eyes for free download for 24 hours, the overwhelming amount of people who scrambled to get it crashed their servers. The single “Diamond Eyes” charted at the #14 spot on the Billboard US Rock Songs chart and charted on 2 other charts, while the entire album itself charted at #6 in the Billboard US chart, showing that people are still actively interested in Deftones.
The first single should be “Melanie,” which only a very few select people are already familiar with. According to writer Rick Florino of artistdirect.com, who attended a show on 09-19-08, he described the song “Melanie” as “It proved simultaneously rapturous and deadly. The song’s sharp riff clashed and killed, while the chorus soared. The singer lunged into the crowd, and his voice sailed across Carpenter’s tidal wave of distortion during the hook. The new cut was edgy and vibrant—like all great Deftones songs are.” It will no doubt catch on with the public and start building hype for the album.
As for the actual release of the album, one thing that should be observed here is the fact that they were able to shelve this album in the first place. Most major record labels are known to be notorious in refuting decisions like this, but because of Deftones status in the music world, they respected their decisions in shelving an almost complete album that Warner Bros. no doubt shelled out tens of thousands for, and that shows that they have creative power that can be flexed (if need be, though I doubt would ever come to that point) to release this album as a 100% benefit album that will go towards Chi’s fees, if not that then at the very least a percentage that is higher than 45%.
To build even more hype and awareness of the album, there will be tons of coverage that will reach many people and really strike nerves and bring out emotions for those who take their time into reading or watching the story. MTV, Fuse, VH1, and other music channels will no doubt air documentary and “vide-torial” programs of the story. Music magazines and websites such as Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Revolver, and many, many more will have editorial’s and well-described press releases that will at the very least give the reader a brief, if not in-depth, view of the album and it’s importance not only to Deftones, but also to the music world as a whole, but more importantly Chi Cheng himself.
However, there should be no touring behind this album, and none of the songs should be played live at any point until Chi is able to play again. One reason this album has been held out being released is, according to a statement by frontman Chino Moreno, “we don’t want it to be attached to the tragedy of Chi.”
But no matter what the future may hold, Eros will forever be attached to this. The release of Eros should be timed in a manner that will allow Deftones to stay dormant in their writing stage for their next album that they have stated on billboard.com that they will begin writing for shortly. Again, it should be stated by the band that they will not tour or play any songs off of the album in respect for Chi.
An idea for a deluxe edition of the album (and maybe as a separate DVD release as well) is the live recordings of the 2009 benefit concerts on November 19th and 20th. This particular performance is not only significant because of the cause, but also because of the unique covers played those nights (including System Of A Down’s “Aerials,” Metallica’s “Battery,” and Sade’s “No Ordinary Love,” among others).
On top of that, in almost all songs, both covers and original Deftones songs, they were joined by a sheer number of other musicians, which include ¾’s of System Of A Down, Cypress Hill, Mike Shinoda, P.O.D., Far, Robert Trujillo, Max Cavalera, Greg Puciato, Mike Muir, and many others. This will prove to be a very desirable (and emotional) viewing experience for fans all over the world to own and enjoy over and over again.
A making of the Eros album DVD cannot be overlooked. Prior to the accident, there were a total of 5 weekly studio updates that were released by the band on a blog they made specifically for the album, but stopped after the accident. This indicates that there is more behind the scenes footage that exists. Many bands put out these behind the scenes DVD’s with their albums (for example Linkin Park and the deluxe edition of Meteora), and the real die-hard fans eat this stuff up. Because of the gravity of the story behind the album, this will appeal to people beyond just the die-hards as well. Other features such as interviews, commentary from the band, and fan made videos, pictures and letters taken from the One Love For Chi website can complete this DVD.
Overall, the sales of Eros can be described as this: People actively seek out new Deftones as it is. When you combine all of the fans both old and new, brand new fans who will be exposed to the album and the hype that will be shown by the various outlets mentioned earlier in this article, and people who were already aware of Chi Cheng’s situation, their support will be added together and will ultimately sell well. Hell, I know there will be people that will buy this solely for the fact that it’s helping someone out. I have no doubt that Eros will sell at least 80,000 copies in the first week (though I personally think it can sell 95,000), compared to Diamond Eyes selling around 60,000 copies in the first week.
If the standard edition album sells for $11.99 and it moves 60,000 copies ($719,000), and the deluxe edition sells for $19.99 and that moves 20,000 copies ($399,800), that’s $1,118,800 together. If not 100% of the profits go to the One Love fund, 40% still equals $447,520. That’s not counting single sales on outlets like iTunes or any merch (t-shirts, wristbands, etc).