“It was never about the money, it was about a sense of belonging”
Sergio Vega has opened up about his recent departure from Deftones, saying he left the California alternative metal band in March because it didn’t offer him “a sense of belonging”.
Vega first performed with Deftones in 1999, filling in for bassist Chi Chang on a tour leading up to their “White Pony” release. After a serious car accident forced Chang out of the band in 2008, Vega was brought in to replace him full-time. He has appeared on Deftones’ last four studio albums, starting with 2010’s ‘Diamond Eyes’ and most recently 2020’s ‘Ohms’.
But in a new interview with the Speak Toomey podcast (transcribed by PRP), Vega alleged that he was never officially made an official band member. He explained: “Over the years it started to become like ‘Hey, I’d really like to belong to this’, and every time it came up it was really more like they were good with the status. what.”
The bassist – who also performs in Quicksand and has his own solo project – went on to say that his exit from Deftones was “not financial”, noting that while the band would not agree to include Vega in their relationship formal business, they offered him a raise.
He continued: “It was never about the money, it was about a sense of belonging. So that was really it. And ultimately, parting ways, it wasn’t a function for me trying to renegotiate during the pandemic. It was a function of contract cancellation. And me having a little chat with Chino [Moreno, vocals/rhythm guitar]then another conversation with a few guys saying “hey” when they wanted to re-enter [the contract].
“I was like, ‘I think the way forward is we can all be in this together. It’s time to get out of that kind of structure. Because it’s not really working for anybody, especially now that we don’t we’re not on tour, we’re not doing anything And it doesn’t make sense to have that kind of structure, it’s been twelve years at this point and doing good on that I just can’t talk about salary because it doesn’t work for us.” And that was it.
Explaining his experience of feeling like an outsider in the band, Vega said, “It’s the security and stability of feeling like a part of something that you invest in and belong to. For me, the key word is this feeling of belonging. Something you invest in. Now, if it had been from the start, “This is the vibe, this is the help we need”, then that’s cool…
“But at the end of the day, I guess the perception that he’s impinging on anyone’s income might have been the thing that made it possible not to reunite.”
In addition to his ongoing activity with Quicksand – who released their fourth album, “Distant Populations” last August – Vega is currently working on a series of elusive new projects, including “a single-based project” with drummer Spotlight Chris Enriquez.
Detailing the unique way this project works, Vega explained, “[We] get together with a singer, [we] let’s talk about a little vibe, and we write a song together. And that’s all. We write and record the song, we give it a little digital component… It was kind of inspired by an Argentinian hip-hop producer, who has this series of songs that he does with a lot of artists.
“[It’s] mostly rappers and a few singers – [he] make a song, record it, that’s it. It’s a serie. And the idea of building that as a modality in that kind of music was really, really exciting. You don’t have the gimmick of trying to build the band. You don’t have to deal with time conflicts with the people you want to work with, it opens up a lot.
“So currently we have a song made. We have [another] one almost done. And then last week we started working on a track with [former Every Time I Die frontman] Keith Buckley. It’s super exciting because we called each other and just talked about life. Him, Chris and I had a quick FaceTime. We hadn’t met [but] obviously [we’re] well aware of each other. And we got on really, really well. So it’s a rare time that I feel compelled to mention the person because of the situation.
Earlier this month, Deftones unveiled their new touring line-up, with former Marilyn Manson bassist Fred Sablan taking on the former role of Vega.