Sergio Vega has confirmed in a video message that he’s no longer part of the Deftones lineup.

Rumours had swirled about the band’s longtime bassist’s fate over the last few days after a new band picture emerged online without Vega.

The 51-year-old took to Instagram to explain his side of the situation. “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,” he started.

Vega then offered a brief history of his time 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), 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.”

It turns out the COVID-19 pandemic was a pivotal turning point for Vega. “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,” he explained. “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.’

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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 A couple of days later, I received an e-mail from their lawyer that their offer was withdrawn and that they wished me the best.”

After revealing that he’s been focusing on his other band Quicksand since last year, Vega ended by expressing his best wishes to both Deftones and their fanbase. “Lots of love and thanks to Deftones’ amazing fanbase for always being engaged and supportive of the band through good times and bad,” he said. “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 joined Deftones in 2009, replacing Chi Cheng after a tragic car accident left him in a semi-conscious state (he eventually died in 2013). Vega appeared on four of the band’s albums: 2010’s Diamond Eyes, 2012’s Koi No Yokan, 2016’s Gore, and 2020’s Ohms.

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