Deftones ride wave of energy after tragedy
Special to The Commercial Appeal
Sergio Vega is no stranger to fans of the acclaimed metal band Deftones.
A friend of the group since they played on the first Warped Tour back in 1995, the former Quicksand bassist filled in for Deftones bassist Chi Cheng for a month in 1999 when Cheng was injured. So it was no surprise when almost a decade later, the band turned to Vega under considerably more dire circumstances.
In November 2008, Cheng, a founding member of the band, was seriously injured in an automobile accident in which he was thrown from the vehicle. He is undergoing experimental treatment in New Jersey and is reportedly making progress. A charity, One Love For Chi, has been established to raise funds for his rehabilitation, with a web site that accepts donations and tracks his progress.
Once they got over the shock of what had happened, the members of Deftones were faced with a string of commitments and burning desire to make music if for no other reason than to help themselves process what had happened.
With a gig the following April at California’s Bamboozle Left festival, the band reached out to Vega, who, following the demise of Quicksand, was deejaying in New York City.
“That sucked,” says Vega matter-of-factly of the phone call. “Learning about what had happened to Chi and them reaching out to me about the possibility of holding it down for the time being was tough. But for me the choice to do it was obviously super easy because these are really good people. Just great people.”
Vega was stepping into a band that already had a reputation as one of the most creative and unpredictable in rock. Started in 1988 in Sacramento, Calif., Deftones was formed by high school friends Moreno, Stephen Carpenter and Abe Cunningham. After auditioning several players, Cheng was brought in on bass.
Inspired by the growing ranks of alternative metal bands like Tool and Faith No More, Deftones began to craft a unique sound around tight grooves and Moreno’s understated vocals. In 1995 the band released their debut, Adrenaline , on Madonna’s Maverick label.
With deejay/keyboardist Frank Delgado joining the band in 1997, subsequent Deftones releases varied wildly from each other; from the nü metal flourishes of Around the Fur to the
Acclaimed metal band Deftones — Abe Cunningham, Frank Delgado, Chino Moreno, Sergio Vega and Stephen Carpenter — perform at Minglewood Hall on Sunday.