Former Deftones Bassist Sergio Vega Details How the Band Treated Him
Back in March, Vega revealed that he and Deftones had split in early 2021, despite his long tenure with the Chino Moreno-led band that included writing and arranging on top of recording and touring with them.
Now, in a May 18 talk with Hatebreed's Jamey Jasta, Vega said he at one point felt his role as a contracted contributor in Deftones was "compared to [renting] a storage space" for the group. After Vega shared word of his departure in March, he gave other interviews where he explained that his intention to become a full Deftone — and not a salaried sideman — was "never about money, it was about a sense of belonging."
Watch the video down toward the bottom of this post.
Two months ago, Vega, who is also the longtime bassist in the post-hardcore outfit Quicksand, indicated that he was never made an official member of Deftones during his time with them. He also hinted that a path for membership given to Deftones keyboardist Frank Delgado wasn't offered to him. (Vega supplanted founding Deftones bassist Chi Cheng after his career-ending car crash in 2008; Cheng died in 2013.)
Vega tells Jasta, "Being a core and key writer, arranger and collaborator, but also being someone who's being paid on a salary, created a dissonance. And not for myself, but for the whole thing." (via Blabbermouth)
Vega continues, "It'd be like, hey, you're home and you're getting paid. But I'm like, these are the parameters that I've been trying to change. I just wanna be in the same boat. Not about equal money or anything, but when times are good, times are good. When there's income, we can draw from it."
Still, the bassist reiterates it was ultimately "never about money and it was never about any of that. It was just about literally being in the same situation so that it didn't create these opportunities for dissonance, where it was like 'Oh, you're doing this, but we're paying you while you're doing this.'"
Vega illustrates, "I got a call that was like, 'We're hemorrhaging a lot of money on storage space and you.' And I was like, 'That's my problem — I'm compared to a storage space. I'm a line item.'"
He adds, "It wasn't me asking for anything during the pandemic. It was the contract being canceled, which is their right. And then I was like … 'This doesn't work for anybody. We can finally address a total restructure.' But at the end of the day, we weren't able to really come to terms on that. So that's fine."
Deftones haven't made a statement on Vega's exit, but his March announcement was spurred by their latest official group photo, which doesn't include him. Deftones are now on tour in North America with former Marilyn Manson member Fred Sablan on bass.
Vega contributes to Deftones' Diamond Eyes (2010), Koi No Yokan (2012), Gore (2016) and their latest, Ohms, which was Loudwire's 2020 Album of the Year. He's maintained that he wishes Deftones and their fans all the best. In addition to Quicksand, Vega is currently working on a new project with a planned collaboration with ex-Every Time I Die vocalist Keith Buckley.