Saturday to Bury The Mars Volta Deep in Uranus
I have loved The Mars Volta ever since they first hit the scene, and have written about them aplenty on this here website. Thus I was saddened to learn that this past week that the band is calling it quits….at least, according to their singer.
Via Rolling Stone:
The Mars Volta have broken up, singer Cedric Bixler Zavala announced last night in a series of tweets. “I can’t sit here and pretend anymore,” he wrote. “I am no longer a member of the Mars Volta.” The lyricist didn’t explain what led to the split, apart from writing that he had favored launching “a full-scale American tour” for last year’s album Noctourniquet, while bandmate Omar Rodríguez-Lopéz didn’t. Instead, the guitarist started another group, Bosnian Rainbows. [listen here]
“I tried my hardest to keep it going but Bosnian Rainbows was all we got instead,” Zavala tweeted. He thanked the Mars Volta’s audience for “ever giving a fuck about our band” and said that pretending the breakup was a hiatus “is just an insult to the fans.”
Zavala and Rodríguez-Lopéz formed the Mars Volta in 2001 after the dissolution of their previous band, the El Paso, Texas, post-hardcore group At the Drive-In. The Mars Volta released six LPs of knotty, dense progressive rock, starting with 2003’s De-Loused in the Comatorium. At the Drive-In reunited last year to play a string of shows and festivals. There’s no indication that the group, which originally formed in 1993, has any further plans, though Zavala tweeted, “For the record, I’m still in love with ATDI.”
The singer talked about his own plans only in vague terms. “All I can do is move forward with my music and just be happy that Mars Volta ever happened at all,” he wrote. “God Damn we had a blast. Thank u again.”
Rodríguez-López has yet to respond in public to Zavala.
Via The Guardian:
It appears that Bixler-Zavala made this announcement without consulting the rest of the band. “Are we on break? This explains so much,” tweeted sometime keyboard player Ikey Owens. After reading the announcement, he sent Bixler-Zavala a further message: “Hopefully one day we’ll all get back together again.”
So although this is not an official band statement, there really can’t be a “Mars Volta” without Cedric (or Omar), and therefore things seem bleak for now. Which is a shame because of how brash and defiantly they have pushed the envelope, which we could use a bit more of in today’s landscape of rock and roll.
Many folks have always had mixed feelings about the band’s challenging sound and mission, but clearly this is to be expected for such an adventurous, uncompromising group of progressive marauders. True, they could be hit or miss live — I’ve seen them razor sharp, ripping through mega-tight tunes, and also (one time allbeit) much more experimental, trying several variations of the same jam in a row. In their defense, that was when the almighty Thomas Pridgen first started playing drums with them, and perhaps he didn’t really know enough old songs to fill the entire set yet. Omar was yelling at him throughout, possibly because Pridgen was fucking up but more likely to get a rise out of him. Either way it was quite a sight to see this fiery little dude badgering the beast behind the drumkit.
If you’ve never heard this powerful band, go back to the beginning and work your way forward. If you’ve given up on them, go back to the beginning and work your way forward again. It almost seems bandwagon at this point to say “oh, I only dig their first album” — and don’t get me wrong, that first album is truly a gem — but there are so many treasures within the following records as well…you just may have to be patient through the stuff you don’t like to get to the gold.
Some of my favorite Volta tracks…
A few full Volta albums for your ears…