Deftones part ways with longtime bassist Sergio Vega

Sergio Vega
(Image credit: Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic)

Longtime Deftones bassist Sergio Vega has confirmed his departure from the band.

After a photo emerged on various digital streaming services with Vega absent earlier this week, fans were left wondering what this meant for the alt-metal heavyweights' lineup. Now, in a new video on Instagram, Vega has confirmed the split, citing contractual issues as his reason for departure.

“To give a brief history about me and my friendship with Deftones,” he says, “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.”

Cheng was involved in car accident in November 2008, which left him in a coma for some time. While he showed signs of improvement in the years that followed, he was never able to make a complete recovery, and passed away in 2013.

Vega continues: “Because of the love they have for Quicksand [Vega's other band], 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.

As he explains, he was never made an official member of the band, despite asking to become one “at the start of every album cycle”.

“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,” Vega continues. “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 LA 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.’”

He adds that his and the band's respective managements discussed a new contract for Vega, however he was offered the “same deal” as before.

“At that point, it was clear there was no opportunity for growth for me, so I declined the offer,” he says. “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 A couple of days later, I received an email from their lawyer that their offer was withdrawn and that they wished me the best...

"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,” Vega concludes. “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.”

During his tenure in Deftones, Sergio Vega appeared on four albums: Diamond Eyes (2010), Koi No Yokan (2012), Gore (2016) and Ohms (2020).

Despite selling a bounty of used gear on Reverb earlier this year – including a Fractal Axe-Fx loaded with presets that were used on Deftones songs such as Diamond EyesPoltergeist and Tempest – Vega is quick to dispel rumors that he's quitting music altogether. In fact, since his departure from Deftones, he has resumed work with post-hardcore outfit Quicksand.

With Quicksand, Vega has released four albums: Slip (1993), Manic Compression (1995), Interiors (2017) and Distant Populations (2021).

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.