DEFTONES have parted ways with their longtime bassist Sergio Vega.
The 51-year-old musician, who officially joined DEFTONES in 2009, confirmed his exit Tuesday night (March 8),just days after a new photo of the band without him emerged online on various digital service providers (see below).
In a video message posted to his Instagram, Sergio said: "Hi everybody. I hope this finds you well. I didn't wanna 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 [late DEFTONES bassist] Chi [Cheng] — 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 and turntablist], 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 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 A couple of days later, I received an e-mail from their lawyer that their offer was withdrawn and that they wished me the best.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 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."
Vega cut his teeth in the New York City hardcore scene in the late 1980s before going on to play in the influential post-hardcore trio QUICKSAND. QUICKSAND released two major-label albums ("Manic Compression" and "Slip") before calling it a day. Soon after, Vega found himself filling in with the DEFTONES and eventually joined the band as the full-time replacement for Cheng.
QUICKSAND reformed in 2012 and released a comeback album, "Interiors", in 2017, ending the band's 22-year interval between LPs. A follow-up effort, "Distant Populations", arrived last August.
Chi died in April 2013 at the age of 42. He had been in a semi-comatose state for more than four years after being seriously injured in a car accident in November 2008. In addition to not recovering full consciousness, Cheng had been in and out of hospitals for various infections as his family has struggled with the mounting costs of care since he had lost his health insurance a few months after the accident.
Cheng required surgery after the car accident to remove part of his brain, but his recovery was strong enough that he was taken off life support seven months later.
Over the course of the last couple of years of his life, Cheng emerged from his coma for brief intervals. He was able to open his eyes and apparently could see and hear things going on around him but could not respond verbally.