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Mars Volta Biography

Last updated: 06/21/2012 12:00:00 PM

The Mars Volta is:
[Cedric Bixler Zavala] - Vocals
[Omar Alfredo Rodriguez-Lopez] - Guitar
[Jon Philip Theodore] - Drums
[Juan Alderete] - Bass
[Isaiah Ikey Owens] - Keyboards

It started in the summer of 2001. [Cedric Bixler's] and [Omar Rodriguez's] (both from At the Drive-In) fame had been playing in their dub band De Facto with [Ikey Owens] and [Jeremy Ward]. They had been playing for years, but after ATDI split up, De Facto teamed up with drummer [Jon Theodore] (Golden) and bassist [Eva Gardner] to start The Mars Volta.

They went on tour with The Anniversary in the fall of 2001. They got very mixed responses to the material. Some people expected another ATDI, some just wanted to see what the buzz was about, and a whole lot of people wondered who the freaks with the afros were and why The Anniversary weren't playing yet. With a less than apparent "sound", more often improvised than not and without clear cut beginnings and ends of songs, The Mars Volta was a disappointment to some, but won the hearts of many more.

Original lineup - April 2002
After the band toured Europe in spring of 2002, they teamed up with producer Alex Newport (who had produced ATDI's Vaya) and recorded what was to become the Tremulant EP. By early 2002, the buzz was going around that The Mars Volta was like a bomb ready to explode. After the successful European tour and a quick trip to Japan, Tremulant was released on Omar's label GSL, and most skeptics were quickly silenced. With the three song, 19 minute EP, The Mars Volta made a clear statement of what they were all about, and what was to come.

This Aint No Picnic - Oct 2002
Not much was heard from The Mars Volta for a while, but the fans were adding up. The band played at Goldenvoice's Coachella Valley Festival in May, which was to be the last show with the band for [Eva] and [Ikey]. There was never an official statement as to why the lineup changes were made. Before the summer was over, [Linda Good] had joined on keyboards and [Ralph Jasso], formerly of Universal Recovered, joined on bass.

The rest of the summer was spent writing new tracks, De Facto was seen jamming with The Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Fruiscante, Omar finished up a film project, and a short tour was scheduled for the fall of 2002, including Goldenvoice's This Ain't no Picnic Festival in Irvine.

After the short tour, [Ikey] was back and the band entered the studio with Rick Rubin (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Run DMC, System of a Down) for an LP, De-Loused in the Comatorium, due out June 24th, 2003. The album would have [Flea] on bass and would even feature John Frusciante playing guitar on Cicatriz. After finishing recording, the band supported the Red Hot Chili Peppers throughout the spring of 2003. [Jason Lader] played bass on the European part of the tour, but [Juan Alderete] took over after they landed in the US.

During a break from the Chili tour, tragedy struck the band as [Jeremy Ward], sound manipulator, was found dead in his apartment on May 25th, just under a month before the album release. He was a 27 years old.