Deftones bassist Sergio Vega has announced that he's left the band. The 51-year-old had been playing with the alt-metal group since 2009, having been asked to fill in after the death of longtime bassist Chi Cheng. Throughout his 12 years in the group, Vega, whose main project is the post-hardcore pioneers Quicksand, was a full-time touring member and played on the last four Deftones albums, from 2010's Diamond Eyes to 2020's Ohms. However, in a lengthy statement he wrote and read in a new Instagram video, Vega says that he was technically always a contracted collaborator, not an official member like the other Deftones players.
In the statement, Vega makes sure to thank his former Deftones bandmates and the band's enthusiastic fanbase for the years of support, but also makes clear that he had financial qualms with his place in the group and reveals that there was some tension regarding the renewal of his contract and his opportunity to one day become an official member of Deftones. Read the full message below.
"I didn't want to have to make a video about this, but after the recent band photo posted on Deftones' Spotify, I feel the need 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, Deftones keyboardist] I will 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 L.A. 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 email 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.
"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 they 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."