Deftones Bassist Sergio Vega Splits With Band Over Contract Dispute

Sandra Mu/Getty Images

Deftones Bassist Sergio Vega Splits With Band Over Contract Dispute

Sandra Mu/Getty Images

After more than a decade, bassist Sergio Vega has parted ways with Deftones, the band he joined in tragic circumstances. Vega was originally supposed to fill in for original bassist Chi Cheng after Cheng went into a comatose state after a 2008 car crash. But Cheng never fully regained consciousness, and he died in 2013. Vega, who was a member of New York post-hardcore greats Quicksand, had originally filled in for an injured Cheng on a 1999 tour. He has been a Deftones member since their 2010 album Diamond Eyes, but he’s out now.

As Blabbermouth points out, Vega explained what’s going on with Deftones in a video that he posted on Instagram last night. The short version is that the band had Vega on a contract, and when that contract expired, the two parties couldn’t come to terms. Vega posted his video after fans noticed that Deftones’ new Spotify-avatar photo didn’t include him, and he thanks both the band and their fans. Here’s what Vega says:

Hi, everybody. I hope this finds you well. I didn’t want to have to make a video about this, but after the recent band photo posted on Deftones’ Spotify, I feel that I have to clear the air. I’m not very good at this, so I wrote out a statement, and I will read it to you now.

To give a brief history about me and my friendship with Deftones, we met in 1995. I filled in for Chi — rest in peace — in 1999 and was asked to work with the band after his tragedy in 2009. Because of the love they have for Quicksand, I was asked to bring the same approach as a songwriter and arranger to them as well. I was also told that, similarly to Frank [Delgado], I would be brought in over time to become an official member. I had worked with the band for 12 years, and at the start of every album cycle, I asked about becoming an official member, but the contract would be improved instead.

COVID was a breaking point for a lot of people, and I started to question my place in the band and the future that I wanted for my career. I really started to need something stable because at that point, my contract with them was canceled. One day, I got a call from the guys about an internal band situation, and they asked me if I was solid and that I would have to fly out to LA to help work it out right away. I said of course, I was all in, and we can handle my situation later. But I can’t go back to my old contract. Our respective management had a conversation to discuss a new contract, and they offered me the same deal.

At that point, it was clear there was no opportunity for growth for me, so I declined the offer. And then I called the guys immediately to see where the miscommunication was to resolve it, but there was no response. A couple of days later, I received an e-mail from their lawyer that their offer was withdrawn and that they wished me the best. So I left the band early last year, and since, then I’ve been focused on my band Quicksand as well as working as a producer and writer for other artists and projects. And I’m mentioning this because there was some speculation about me selling my gear and quitting music altogether.

Out of respect for the people who have held tickets for this tour the past couple of years and everyone who supports the band, I felt it important to bring some clarity to the situation.

Lots of love and thanks to Deftones’ amazing fanbase for always being engaged and supportive of the band through good times and bad. I appreciate every single one of you. All my love to the fans that have become friends, the people that have supported my other projects. It brought me so much joy to see Deftones shirts at Quicksand shows, and I will cherish this forever.

Lastly, thanks so much to the ‘Tones. I wish I had the chance to tell you this in person. I want you to know that I appreciate all the years we spent together, writing, performing, being taken into your worlds. I learned a lot from each one of you. When you brought me in, you created a new sense of passion for music that I will always cherish and carry with me. You truly changed my life.

Sergio Vega remains with Quicksand, who reunited in 2012. That band released the excellent Distant Populations, their second post-reunion album, last year.

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