Ex-Deftones Bassist Sergio Vega Says Management Compared Paying Him to Paying for Storage Space: “I [Was] a Line Item”


Back in March, Deftones bassist Sergio Vega announced that he was no longer a member of the band after they posted a photo on Spotify that featured all members but him. Later, in an interview, Sergio explained that his departure wasn’t about money, but about equal footing and a sense of belonging. Now, speaking to Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta on his podcast, Vega has elaborated further on this point, saying that the band’s management often made the issue solely financial — and saying that he felt like a “line item.”

Speaking to Jasta, Vega describes how he’d joined the band to help Deftones after the death of bassist Chi Cheng, and how he never initially expected to be anything other than a hired gun (as transcribed by Blabbermouth):

“At the beginning, I was up for anything. I was just, like, ‘My friends are in trouble, and I just wanna help.’ My thing was, ‘Whatever you need I got.’ If it was to be, ‘Hey, play these bass lines. We got this thing.’ I’m, like, ‘Yeah. Cool.’ Being a hired gun, there’s no room for creative input — that’s fine. That would have been a thing, and you wrap your head around that. Initially, my only goal was to put my best foot forward and be a help to people in need and people that I cared about. And it was only because of the way that it was presented to me as, ‘This is how it’s gonna go down,’ where something that I started to go, ‘Hey…’”

However, Sergio then goes on to explain that he felt his role was problematic, in that he was contributing artistically to the band, but was never included on the same footing as his bandmates. He later reveals that he was compared to paying for storage space:

“Part of this weird dynamic was that having a dual kind of role in a sense of 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. And so 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. When there’s no income, you just hold on to your thing.

“It was 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.’ 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.’ It’s not the money. It’s just the dynamic. So 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, ‘Okay, cool. 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.

Vegan then makes it clear that while he harbors no ill will toward Deftones, he had to do what he felt was right:

“Basically, everything that I had said in [my initial video] statement is what kind of happened. And I totally understand their position. But mine is I have to respect my situation and my position as well, that it wasn’t something that…having that dissonance, for lack of a better word, was something that was pervasive, and it was something that ultimately was affecting me mentally as well.”

You can check out the whole interview here:

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