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The Mars Volta is an American progressive rock band from El Paso, Texas, formed in 2001. The band's only constant members are Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (guitar, producer, direction) and Cedric Bixler-Zavala (vocals, lyrics), whose partnership forms the core of the band. The band's current line-up also includes founding member Eva Gardner (bass), Omar's brother Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez (keyboards, synths, percussion), Leo Genovese (piano, keyboard) and Linda-Philomène Tsoungui (drums).
The Mars Volta
|Origin||El Paso, Texas, U.S.|
Known for their energetic live shows and concept albums, The Mars Volta formed following the break-up of Rodríguez-López and Bixler-Zavala's previous band, At the Drive-In. Seeking to experiment and expand their sound, Rodríguez-López and Bixler-Zavala recruited Gardner, Isaiah "Ikey" Owens (keyboards), Jon Theodore (drums) and Jeremy Ward (sound manipulation) to form The Mars Volta. The band released their debut EP, Tremulant, in 2002, with Gardner leaving the band prior to recording their debut album, De-Loused in the Comatorium. She was replaced by Red Hot Chili Peppers' bass guitarist Flea for the sessions. The Rick Rubin-produced album received widespread critical acclaim upon its release in 2003.
The band's second studio album, Frances the Mute (2005), was self-produced by Rodríguez-López and was the first to feature longterm members Juan Alderete (bass) and Marcel Rodríguez-López. The album debuted at #4 on the US Billboard 200 and became the band's biggest commercial success, selling over 500,000 copies in the US and achieving Gold certification from the RIAA. The band's third studio album, Amputechture, was released in 2006 and was the last album to feature Theodore. In 2008, the band released The Bedlam in Goliath, a concept album inspired by the band's turbulent experiences with a ouija-type talking board. The album's first single, "Wax Simulacra" was awarded a Grammy Award in 2009 for Best Hard Rock Performance. The band released its fifth album, Octahedron, in June 2009.
Following the release of their sixth album, Noctourniquet (2012), and a run of reunion shows with At the Drive-In, The Mars Volta entered a hiatus in September 2012. Rodríguez-López subsequently formed a new project, Bosnian Rainbows, and the band formally broke up after disagreements between Rodríguez-López and Bixler-Zavala. The duo repaired their friendship and reunited in 2014 for a new project, Antemasque, and further At the Drive-In tours and recording sessions.
Reuniting in secret in 2019, Rodríguez-López and Bixler-Zavala recorded a new studio album, The Mars Volta, with Gardner, Marcel Rodríguez-López and drummer Willy Rodriguez Quiñones. The band announced their reunion – after ten years of public inactivity – with an art installation called L'ytome Hodorxí Telesterion, in June 2022. For the band's live return, jazz pianist Leo Genovese and drummer Linda-Philomène Tsoungui were added to the line-up.
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