Root notes and the ticket - Ming Cheng

January 21, 2014

Every morning starts the same: Sunshine comes into my room and says “I’ll be in the car.” I throw on my flip flops, grab the cell phone and meet her in the car. The song Root, from Deftone’s Adrenaline, will be cranking. And we head to the bus stop. It will be the same song when I pick her up. Other than that we have to share her crappy KISS fm station which plays Keisha, Myle Cyrus, Bruno Mars, and whatnot(Don’t get me wrong though, I will sing along to these songs too). When you find something you can agree on with a fourteen year old, you stick with it. I bought two copies of Adrenaline this year from Hastings for $5.99. It’s been in the car rotation for at least six months. Around the Fur is my favorite for sentimental reasons, but I’m beginning to think Adrenaline is their best cd. Raw Power. More recently, she has let the track sequence continue from Root, to Seven Words, than Lifter, and the Engine Number 9. Classic. It’s hard not to sing along, if you can keep up with Chino’s manic vocal style. When Dai and I were teenagers, we used to take our amps and gear to the neighborhood middle school and rehearse with our makeshift band. We would just find an outlet outside and plug in. We would do songs by AC/DC, Metallica, Judas Priest, etc. There were no houses around the school at the time, so nobody ever complained. When we were first starting out we only knew one song: Live Wire by AC/DC. To play it on bass is mostly just a B note. But we would play it over and over without getting bored. That’s one thing you have to learn to be a good bass player: You have to play the root note and be prepared to ride that thing without going off into, god forbid, a bass solo. Over the years I watched my brother go from playing simple root notes, to slowly evolving to have his own style. You can even hear the evolution as the cds progress. He kept a simple rig: Ampeg SVT heads and Fender Percision basses. The only thing modified on the basses was the only have one knob. Like I said he liked to keep things simple. Outside of that he had one distortion pedal and used a wireless so he could jump around on stage. When we were learning to play, the go to guys for bass were Steve Harris(Iron Maiden), Cliff Burton(R.I.P. Metallica), and Geddy Lee(Rush-no shame in my game). Now that I look at it, if these three dudes ever had a bastard child, it would be my brother. They are all finger players by nature, though my bro did occasionally play with a pick in the studio(tho it always looked odd to me when he did it, almost like it was a foreign language to him). Now anymore I only see my brother in dreams, or on Youtube. It’s hard to imagine that not that long ago there was a world with no Google or Youtube. I’m not gonna lie: it sucks now that my brother ain’t here. For better or worse, as we were only fifteen months apart age wise, we were best friends for life. For that I am eternally grateful. I was watching an interview with Stef on Youtube, and he was going on about how music was bigger than the people that make it. He had a good point. Thankfully we will always have the Deftones catalog to lean on. Had my brother not been a rock star, I don’t think he would have been any different. He was just a hell of a nice, humble guy, that would do anything for you. I always thought this world was made from the love we leave behind. It’s a lyric from a Mark Curry song. I have met so many good people that have helped since Dai’s accident. All the people through the Onelove and buckleup site’s. All the friends along the way. I can say without a doubt, we tried our damdest to put my brother back together again. But sometimes it’s not ours to choose what fate decides. And then all we can do is look back and be grateful for what we had, and hopefully try and learn from any mistakes. Buckle up kids. It’s a hell of a ride, but you bought the ticket, take the ride. Cheers, -M.

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