THE MARS VOLTA was an American rock band from
El Paso, Texas
In 2009, the band won a
In September 2012 the Mars Volta entered a hiatus, with Omar Rodríguez-López and Parks forming a new project, Bosnian Rainbows . Four months later, the band formally broke up. Bixler-Zavala and Alderete subsequently formed a new band, Zavalaz . Rodríguez-López and Bixler-Zavala eventually reunited in 2014 for a new project, Antemasque .
* 1 Band name
* 2 History
* 2.1 Formation and beginning (2001–2002) * 2.2 De-Loused in the Comatorium (2003–2004) * 2.3 Frances the Mute (2005) * 2.4 Amputechture (2006–2007) * 2.5 The Bedlam in Goliath (2008) * 2.6 Octahedron (2009–2010) * 2.7 Noctourniquet (2011–2012) * 2.8 Hiatus and breakup (2012–2014)
* 3 Musical style and influences * 4 Comments from other musicians
* 5 Band members
* 5.1 Final lineup (July 2012)
* 5.2 Former contributors
* 5.2.1 Keyboardists * 5.2.2 Sound-manipulators * 5.2.3 Guitarists * 5.2.4 Bassists * 5.2.5 Drummers * 5.2.6 Woodwind
* 5.3 Timeline
* 6 Discography * 7 Filmography * 8 Tour List * 9 References * 10 External links
Cedric Bixler-Zavala stated in an interview:
The Volta is taken from a
FORMATION AND BEGINNING (2001–2002)
The roots of the Mars Volta are found in the band At the Drive-In . ATDI imploded on the verge of breakthrough, partly due to boredom, partly to musical differences. Members Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodríguez-López began to further explore their experimental, dub -influenced side project called De Facto , which featured Bixler-Zavala on drums, Rodríguez-López on bass, Isaiah "Ikey" Owens on keyboards, and Jeremy Michael Ward on vocals, loops and sound effects.
Due to creative differences and discomfort with mainstream success
and drug abuse, Rodríguez-López and Bixler-Zavala quit At the
Drive-In in 2001. The remaining members of the band formed Sparta .
After the demise of At the Drive-In, Rodríguez-López and Bixler-Zavala found themselves once again starting from the ground up, touring and performing in smaller venues. In their early years the Mars Volta were characterized by chaotic live shows and heavy drug use.
DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM (2003–2004)
Main article: De-Loused in the Comatorium
Following Tremulant , the Mars Volta continued touring with a fluid
line-up while preparing to record their debut full-length album
De-Loused in the Comatorium , produced with
In an interview with The Aquarian Weekly in 2008, Cedric Bixler-Zavala said about working with Rubin, "Rick really over-simplified some of the parts that we thought were unique, and just made them very digestible. He's got this thing about representing the common man's ears—I'd rather jab the common man's ears. If we don't, we'll never get to a place where future music exists."
The Mars Volta
Despite limited promotion, De-Loused earned strong reviews, and
appeared on several 'year-end best-of' lists. The album remains the
Mars Volta's best-seller, with over 500,000 copies sold. Rolling Stone
ranked a track from De-Loused, "Drunkship of Lanterns", the 91st Best
While on tour with the
Red Hot Chili Peppers
FRANCES THE MUTE (2005)
Main article: Frances the Mute
As the band resumed touring to support De-Loused, they added Marcel
Rodríguez-López (Omar's brother) on percussion. Work on their second
album began in 2004. That year the band received the American Society
of Composers, Authors and Publishers Vanguard Award. Live at
In 2005, the band released Frances the Mute . The story given by the band on the album's concept concerns a diary that had been found in a repossessed car by late sound technician Jeremy Ward, while working as a repo-man. The author of the diary is unknown but appeared to be someone who was adopted and was searching for their birth parents, and who may have suffered from mental illness caused by the death of a loved one. The lyrics for each track on the album are loosely based on characters and life events described in this person's diary.
Frances the Mute started as a bigger commercial hit than De-Loused,
moving 123,000 copies in its first week, and debuting at No. 4 on the
Billboard album charts . Reviews of Frances were generally positive
(with a 75 on Metacritic) if somewhat polarized;
Rodríguez-López wrote all of the instrumental parts as well as
arranging and producing the recording sessions himself. He used a
Several songs written during the original recording sessions for the album never made the final cut. Notably, the self-titled 14-minute epic " Frances the Mute ", which was originally to open the album and was ultimately supposed to decode the album's concept, was not included due to time constraints. Instead the track was featured as a b-side to the single release for "The Widow ". Live at Birmingham Academy November 30, 2005 with drummer Jon Theodore .
On May 20, 2005, instead of playing a traditional set at KROQ's Weenie Roast Festival, the band played a 50-minute improvisation jam that was jokingly named on-the-spot as "Abortion, The Other White Meat" by Rodríguez-López. In keeping with the Mars Volta's tradition of testing and developing new work live, parts of "Abortion" later appeared on "Population Council's Wet Dream" from Rodríguez-López's 2009 album Old Money .
Midway through their headlining U.S. tour, former At the Drive-In member Paul Hinojos left the band Sparta to join the Mars Volta, claiming, "My time with Sparta has run its course, and simply wasn't fun anymore." Hinojos joined as rhythm guitarist and became the band's sound manipulator, the position previously held by the late Ward. Hinojos had previously toured with the Mars Volta in 2003 and 2004.
During mid-2005, the band toured in support of the album with System of a Down and curated the All Tomorrow\'s Parties festival at Camber Sands in England. In addition, a full-length live album named Scabdates was released on November 8, 2005.
Main article: Amputechture
Upon finishing the majority of touring for
Frances the Mute in fall
2005, Rodríguez-López traveled to
Amputechture was produced by Rodríguez-López and mixed by Rich
Costey . Jeff Jordan provided the artwork, making it their first album
not to feature the work of
Storm Thorgerson . It was once again a
concept album, but rather than telling a story, the album was a series
of vignettes, with each song telling a different story. It became the
last album with drummer Jon Theodore, whom Rodríguez-López fired
before touring in support of the album. Rodríguez-López said in an
interview with an Italian fan site that Theodore was the only member
in the band who wasn't happy playing live and brought down the moods
of the rest.
The Mars Volta
On July 28, 2006, the drummer's spot was filled by Blake Fleming , formerly of Laddio Bolocko , Dazzling Killmen , and the very first Mars Volta demos. A new song titled "Rapid Fire Tollbooth" was debuted live on September 22, 2006 in Chicago, Illinois, as reported by fans and attendees of the show who had received set lists from the stage. The song originally appears on Rodríguez-López's solo album Se Dice Bisonte, No Búfalo . The song eventually evolved into the track "Goliath" from the band's fourth studio album.
On September 25, 2006, the Mars Volta played a unique set on the
opening night of a double-header in Toronto, Ontario. Cedric
Bixler-Zavala fell ill and could not perform, so the Mars Volta played
On a 2006 episode of The Henry Rollins Show , the Mars Volta performed "Tetragrammaton" and "Day of the Baphomets" in a rare television performance. Afterwards, they did an interview with Rollins about the creation of Amputechture.
THE BEDLAM IN GOLIATH (2008)
Despite finding a permanent drummer and getting the band back on track, the recording and production of the album was reportedly plagued by difficulties related to a bad experience with a Ouija board purchased in a curio shop in Jerusalem. According to Rodríguez-López, their original engineer experienced a nervous breakdown, his studio flooded twice, and both he and mixer Rich Costey claimed that various tracks would disappear at random.
On November 5, 2007, the Mars Volta released a document by Jeremy Robert Johnson titled, "The Mars Volta's Descent into Bedlam: A Rhapsody in Three Parts." The document includes a history of the band and describes the obstacles and inspirations they encountered in the creation of The Bedlam in Goliath. On November 20, 2007 "Wax Simulacra ", the first single from the forthcoming album, was released with a cover of "Pulled to Bits" by Siouxsie and the Banshees as the b-side.
The band kicked off their supporting tour with a December 29, 2007 "secret show" at the Echoplex in Los Angeles, California, followed by a special New Year's Eve performance at San Francisco's Bill Graham Civic Auditorium . That night they played their first ever acoustic set, which included six songs and a live performance of "Miranda, That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore". The band then departed on a club tour of the U.S. east coast throughout January, with an album release show at San Diego's Soma , followed by another month's worth of European dates from mid-February to mid-March.
On January 2, 2008, the Mars Volta released an online game called
"Goliath: The Soothsayer", based on a true story that inspired their
forthcoming album The Bedlam In Goliath. The album chronicles the
band's purported experience with the "Soothsayer", a
Ouija board owned
Cedric Bixler-Zavala and its transition from a source of
fun on tour to a psycho-spiritual force that almost tore the band
apart. The game was available for a limited time exclusively via
On January 17, 2008, the band made their U.S. network television
debut, performing "Wax Simulacra" on the Late Show with David
Letterman (Rodríguez-López, Bixler-Zavala and Hinojos had appeared
on the show with
At the Drive-In in 2000). On January 22, they made a
surprise appearance at
The song "Wax Simulacra" won the 2009
Main article: Octahedron (album)
Omar Rodríguez-López had discussed the band's next album as early as January 2008, the month that The Bedlam in Goliath was released, claiming "I consider it to be our acoustic album." Cedric Bixler-Zavala had expressed an urge for the album to not be released on a major label. In February 2009, Rodríguez-López claimed "the next two Mars Volta records are already recorded and waiting for a release date."
On April 14, 2009, the Mars Volta announced their fifth studio album,
entitled Octahedron . It was released June 23 in the
The first single released in North America was "Since We\'ve Been Wrong ". The first European single was "Cotopaxi ".
An excerpt from the Mars Volta's performance at the All Tomorrow\'s Parties, UK 2005 A Nightmare Before Christmas festival was featured in the All Tomorrow\'s Parties film , which was released in cinemas during October 2009.
During the Octahedron tour, the show on October 23 in Raleigh, NC was unexpectedly cancelled. It was supposed to be the final show of the North American leg of the tour, but was cancelled due to an argument between Bixler-Zavala and Thomas Pridgen, the drummer at the time, which ended with Pridgen abruptly leaving the venue. A month later, Pridgen confirmed his departure from the Mars Volta via Facebook stating he was "not in TMV anymore". In a February 2011 interview, Pridgen said he left the group "because the singer had a jealous ego trip. There's nothing more to elaborate on"; however, Juan Alderete stated in 2013 that "Thomas got really drunk, did some bad things and did some real damage to the trust we all had with him." The band later completed the tour with drummer Dave Elitch . They played throughout Europe and Australia until the end of January 2010.
In October 2010, the Mars Volta played two shows in Brazil and Chile. Long-time keyboardist, Ikey Owens, was absent during these dates due to touring commitments with his own project, Free Moral Agents .
Main article: Noctourniquet
Shortly after Octahedron's release, Rodríguez-López claimed to have put the supposed follow-up "on hold" and was starting work on a completely new album. In an April 2010 interview with Rolling Stone, Rodríguez-López talked about trying to loosen his grip in the studio. He claimed to have finished writing the album, and was awaiting lyrics and vocals from Bixler-Zavala. Rodríguez-López spent most of 2010 focusing on his solo career, and little information regarding the sixth Mars Volta album was released. During this year drummer Deantoni Parks began touring with Rodríguez-López as well as appearing on several solo records, and Cathy Pellow of Sargent House Records confirmed that Parks was in talks to become the next drummer for the Mars Volta.
In 2011 Rodríguez-López spoke about the band's new album in several interviews, saying that it would feature thirteen songs which, " a simplified version of what we've done before", and would be released "Whenever the record label decides to put it out". Bixler-Zavala took the opportunity to make a few remarks on the sound of the album, indicating a drastic change in sound for the band, referring to the new sound as "future punk".
On March 19, 2011 the
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group performed at
Keyboardist Ikey Owens, who had played with the band since its inception, was noticeably absent from all 2011 dates. When asked in an interview, Owens stated that he knew "Absolutely nothing . I haven't heard one note of it; I haven't played on it. I don't know if I am going to play on it; I have no idea". Bassist Juan Alderete later revealed via his Twitter page that Owens was no longer playing with the Mars Volta as he was busy "producing bands". Marcel Rodríguez-López and Lars Stalfors took over keyboard and synth duties with the band in lieu of Owens.
On 5 January 2012, a new song titled "Zed and Two Naughts", a song revealed to be from the band's upcoming album, was confirmed to be included on the MLB 12: The Show Soundtrack.
On 12 January it was revealed that the upcoming album would be called Noctourniquet . Later that week, an official page went up confirming Noctourniquet as the album title along with unveiling the album art and a full track listing and announcing March 27, 2012 as the release date. The album's first single, "The Malkin Jewel," was first broadcast on February 13 and subsequently released on February 14.
HIATUS AND BREAKUP (2012–2014)
After the conclusion of the Noctourniquet tour, Omar Rodríguez-López decided to put the Mars Volta on hold to fully concentrate on his new project, Bosnian Rainbows , which also features Deantoni Parks. When asked in an interview if the band will reunite, he stated:
I don't know, and I'm not insecure enough to have to ask myself that. It's like, we've done that for ten years, eleven years. Now we're all doing different things, and everything that we're doing informs how we express ourselves, and so if that happens then it happens and if it doesn't it doesn't. It's not something to be worried about. It shouldn't occupy a space in the mind. There's way too many things that are much too important to occupy space in the mind.
On January 23, 2013, Cedric Bixler-Zavala revealed that he was no longer a part of the Mars Volta on Twitter and that the band had broken up.
Bixler-Zavala subsequently focused on his solo music and eventually formed a new band, Zavalaz , which also includes Juan Alderete. He stated shortly after that he was "currently not on speaking terms" with Rodríguez-López and that "the falling out had been four years in the making, so the final announcement on my part was really just to let the children know that Mom and Dad were splitting up".
Rodríguez-López, meanwhile, didn't rule out the possibility of the Mars Volta reuniting in the future: "Because of all my anger and how I dealt with people, I spent so much of my life just closing doors left and right. At this point, I refuse to close any, only to open new ones. Whatever comes my way - as long as it's filled with joy and positivity - I want to give my talents to it. I'm not interested in throwing tantrums any more." He elaborated further on an article with Billboard, acknowledging Bixler-Zavala's decision to depart TMV, effectively ending the over 20 year musical partnership between Rodríguez-López and Bixler-Zavala for the foreseeable future. Rodríguez-López stated, "I was making a film and heard about it hours later; people were like, 'Are you OK?' I understand where he's coming from; I've known the guy for 22 years. I'll always respect and support any decision he makes. If that's how he wants it, I totally get it and I support it."
In August 2013, a collection of unreleased songs, demos, alternate versions, and in-studio jams roughly spanning from 2005 until the Noctourniquet sessions was leaked online. The source of these recordings still remains unknown.
In a July 11, 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, when asked about a potential return of The Mars Volta, Rodriguez-Lopez stated, “At some point, we’d love to do again too, you know what I mean? There’s so much to do there as well.”
MUSICAL STYLE AND INFLUENCES
The band's music has been described as progressive rock and experimental rock .
The band's music includes elements from a wide variety of genres,
including hardcore , psychedelic rock , and free jazz . Omar
Rodríguez-López commented, "Progressive is not a dirty word for
people to use about us. If you're not moving forward, you're stagnant.
And that's no way to live." Almost the entire band's output was
composed solely by Rodríguez-López, with lyrics and vocal melodies
written by Cedric Bixler-Zavala. They cited artists/bands such as King
COMMENTS FROM OTHER MUSICIANS
Some artists and bands have cited
The Mars Volta
In addition, other artists have been quoted expressing admiration for
their work including
According to the liner notes for Amputechture, The Bedlam in Goliath, Octahedron and Noctourniquet: "The partnership between Omar Rodríguez-López keyboards , synthesizers (2005–2012) * Deantoni Parks – drums (September–November 2006, November 2010 – 2012)
* Lars Stalfors – keyboards , sound manipulation (2008–2010 live offstage, 2011 on stage; also works as recording and mixing engineer in studio) * Paul Hinojos – sound manipulation , live guitar (2003–2004 live offstage, 2005–2008 joined officially in recording and onstage) * Jeremy Michael Ward – sound manipulation (2001–2003; died 2003)
Blake Fleming – drums (March–August 2001, July–September
Jon Theodore – drums (August 2001 – July 2006)
* Adrián Terrazas-González – woodwind, percussion (2004 in studio, 2005–2008 joined officially in recording and onstage)
Main article: The Mars Volta discography
* Coachella (2006) * All Tomorrow\'s Parties (2009) * Get Him to the Greek (2010)
Main article: The Mars Volta tours
* ^ "
The Mars Volta
* ^ Eames, Tom. "The Mars Volta\'s
Cedric Bixler-Zavala announces
* ^ "A chat with Protest the Hero". The Citizen . April 22, 2015.
Retrieved March 18, 2017. Q: You probably get asked this quite a lot,
but who / what are your musical influences?
The Mars Volta
* ^ Kat King (August 7, 2012). "Interview with Nick Hipa of As I Lay Dying". www.seymourduncan.com . Retrieved March 19, 2017. Q: What bands have influenced you personally? Nick Hipa: During my college years I got into the less technical but creative style of bands like The Refused, At The Drive-In, Radiohead, and The Mars Volta. * ^ "Interview: Andrew Forsman from The Fall of Troy". ozprog.com. June 27, 2016. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
* ^ Somcutean, Cristina (February 2015). "Interview with Danny
Marino - February 2015". PowerOfMetal.dk. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
Q: Which artists and bands is your songwriting influenced by?
Danny Marino: So many different ones - Opeth, Devin Townsend, The
Mars Volta * ^ Rosen, Steven (August 1, 2016). "\'We Are Our Own
Worst Critics\' - An Interview With Leprous\' Tor Oddmund Suhrke".
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