I have talked to Chi a few times in the past. Deftones have been a part of my life from early on. I witnessed shows and have experienced great moments in the past which involved Deftones and Chi. I would go through the history with Chi and talk about these things and bring back memories…. I would bring up these moments:
Adrenaline came out and I accidently picked it up because in a record store they put a sticker on it that said: 'For fans of Helmet’. Hadn’t heard of the band at all. The artwork looked like it was a dark, alternative band, had nice silver lettering on the cover and I saw in the booklet it was recorded at Bad Animals Studio’s by Terry Date… I was not disappointed… Such great songs, awesome sound and the drumming was badass!
I had to wait for the band to come to Europe until October 1997, just before Around The Fur came out. They only played Roskilde Festival in Denmark in 1996 before that. I was blown away after that first Deftones show I witnessed in Amsterdam. On the streets I ran into Stef and you: Chi. You took time to have a little chat and sign autographs, which was a cool thing to ask for at that time haha, I was 21 years old. The whole expierience was so great, so I decided I wanted to see this band live as much as I could. Deftones came back in January of 1998 for 2 shows in Holland. Again I ran into you and you were so damn kind and took time to take pictures and sign stuff. The day after the first show I got to hang out with your band backstage in Rotterdam and I remember this so well. I brought some of my Deftones collection which consisted of bootlegs CD’s with my own artwork, some self made Deftones cartoon drawings, collectibles and flyers. Understand this was way before youtube, facebook or internet, and before the band was big. Your band liked it a lot and treated me like you were fans of me! When I left you said to me: ’Thanks Sly, you’re a cool guy, you’re no punk’! I will never forget that. Saw them again later that year at Dynamo, Pinkpop and the Lowlands festival. The whole Around The Fur period is my favorite in Deftones history because I witnessed it so well. It was also the first Deftones record I went out for to buy on the date of release. Best time ever.
In 1999 they used my drawings on a official Around The Fur shirt. I was honored. I also started a fansite called Dutchdeftones.com.
Deftones came back to play a small pre-White Pony tour in Europe in June 2000. The record had leaked way before it’s release date so everyone knew the songs but the show in Amsterdam was great. This was the 'new Deftones'. A little more drunk, a little more sloppy but way darker and they had better songs. It was great. After the show I hung out backstage again, brought even cooler fan stuff to show to the band and they liked it a lot. You wrote a note to me after seeing all my artwork: 'You are the man brother. Art is breath. Much respect.’ I remember that you were different then the rest of the band. They were all so cool but you were more mellow, more down to earth. Don’t get me wrong, Chino was a bit drunk but still supernice and Stef took time to talk to fans for hours! Abe was super funny as always.
More shows followed and in 2001 I was at the infamous Waldrock show. I was very dissapointed of course and wrote a review which was even picked up by MTV news. Years after this show I look back at it as one of my favorites hahaha. During the show, Chino was in the crowd and even recognized me while being all wasted: ’Let this guy here right up, this is one of the oldest Deftones fans I fuckin know right here’ he said when he saw me. I remember well that you laughed a lot on stage, just watching Chino go all crazy haha.
In May 2003 I met Deftones again at the Download festival in the UK. Again you were supernice… In September they did a tour in huge venues with A Perfect Circle. I was invited onstage in Rotterdam to sing Headup with them. I used your mic and you gave me a big hug after the song was over. I will never forget this. Being onstage, in front of a lot of people, and the band waiting for me to kick in the last part of Headup…. ’When you walk into this wooooorrlllld!’ It was awesome. I was singing the parts you are normally singing!…
I would be very curious to see Chi’s reaction on all these things which have been a great part of my life. These are 'just' moments, moments in my life, involving Chi. I would love to hear his side of these experiences. Probably a different view. I know he would remember some small details, things which happened during shows or just being on the road… I would spend the whole day in a coffeeshop or bar and talk about this. If you like it or not. Haha.
After this, life went on…
I still went to every show I could possibly could and in 2007 I witnessed my last Deftones show with Chi in Amsterdam. In 2008 I was on vacation in Australia where I heard the news of Chi’s accident. I was devastated… It felt like it was not true. Shortly after his accident the One Love For Chi site was founded, which got me in contact with Gina Blackmore and Momma J. A drawing I made of Chi in 1998 was used on their merchandise to raise money for Chi’s treatment. I was checking out updates and news on Chi’s recovery every day… This period brought fans together and I met a lot of nice people. In 2013 the sad news came that Chi had passed…
Great memories will be there forever which I am thankful for. Good times I will never forget. I will always be a Deftones fan by heart. Buckle Up For Chi! One love.
from The Netherlands