Quicksand, Deftones Bassist Sergio Vega: My Top 5 Bass Heroes | Revolver

Quicksand, Deftones Bassist Sergio Vega: My Top 5 Bass Heroes

From Amebix to 'Tom and Jerry,' musician shares stories behind four-string inspirations
quicksand-sergio-solo-by-a.f._cortes_-8524-web-crop.jpg, A.F. Cortés
Quicksand and Deftones bassist Sergio Vega
photograph by A.F. Cortés

Score Quicksand vinyl — including their new album, Distant Populations, on "purple cloudy effect" wax and a "clear with black smoke" version of their 2017 comeback record Interiors — at Revolver's store.

Sergio Vega has made a career out of embracing musical diversity. After cutting his teeth in NYC's late-Eighties hardcore scene, the bassist went on to play in the influential post-hardcore trio Quicksand with singer-guitarist Walter Schreifels. When that group disbanded in the mid-Nineties, Vega switched his focus to DJing, dropped a solo melodic pop-rock EP (2000's The Ray Martin Sessions) and, in 2009, joined alt-metal kings Deftones as the full-time replacement for bassist Chi Cheng.

To this day, Vega still DJs (check his recent indie-heavy playlist here) and pulls double-duty as bassist for both Deftones and the reformed Quicksand. The latest example of his enviable low-end prowess is showcased on Quicksand's recently released new album, Distant Populations.

"It really kind of focuses on Sergio's whole motif in a very simple way," Schreifels said of Distant Populations' single "Missile Command" when it dropped earlier this year. "He and Alan [Cage, drummer] just have this really kind of trademark groove, and I think that really sings on this one to me. …"

Considering Vega's genre-spanning tastes, it's not surprising that the four-string players he looks to for inspiration are also a mixed bag of rhythm masters. Below, Vega discusses his five biggest bass inspirations and reveals how these amazing players have influenced his own creative expressions.

The Baron Rocking Von Aphid (a.k.a. Rob Miller), Amebix

Baron is incredible to me and extremely under-appreciated in my opinion. His tone, his attack, riff structure and overall approach has a massive impact on my writing. Once you hear him, his influence is apparent in songs I've written/co-written for every band I've ever recorded with.  

Robbie Shakespeare, Sly and Robbie

Robbie Shakespeare is another huge inspiration. He is usually the foundation of the song along with his rhythm section/writing partner Sly "Drumbar" and always serves up heavy, spacious and melodic parts. He sings on the bass. He also has a massive impact on my writing. 

DUg Pinnick, King’s X

I remember my friend and mentor Jerry Williams, RIP, playing me King's X for the first time and I was blown away by how big the bass sounded. Jerry also told me they were in drop-D tuning and I immediately copied that. [Laughs] Similar to the Baron and Robbie, DUg affirmed the approach to bass as a proactive, lead instrument and instrument you can write songs on, not just bass lines. 

Deborah Scrogging, ESG

I heard Deborah before my aforementioned heroes on this list. She planted the seed in my mind that bass is a big, heavy, sexy and boss-level instrument. The bass on "Moody" is iconic, and her approach to her part can be applied to any genre and be super impactful. 

Tie: Danny Partridge, The Partridge Family and Tom, Tom and Jerry

These two are literally why I play bass. Danny [Bonaduce, the actor who portrayed the wise-cracking bass-playing character Danny Partridge] made me think bass was rebellious — and when Tom sang "Is you is, or is you ain't my baby" outside a female cat's window my path was set!