Progressive rock is more than a phenomenon of the 1970s. While bands like Yes, Rush, Genesis, King Crimson, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer invented the genre, The Mars Volta took it to new heights. Their courage to always be moving forward musically and their penchant to pull elements from the worlds of rock, punk, jazz, salsa, dub, psychedelic, and electronica has made them one of the top progressive rock bands of all-time. Their unique and virtuoso sound won them a Grammy Award in 2009 and they were named the “Best Prog-Rock Band” by Rolling Stone magazine in 2008.
The Mars Volta released their first album in 2003, De-Loused in the Comatorium. They followed that up with another concept album, Frances the Mute, in 2005. After that they released Amputechture in 2006, The Bedlam in Goliath in 2008, and Octahedron in 2009. De-Loused and Frances were both certified gold while The Bedlam peaked at #3, the band’s highest charting work. In 2012, Mars Volta released their sixth studio album, Noctourniquet. The concept album is about “embracing life” and how everyone is an artist.
The Mars Volta formed in 2001 after the demise of the punk band At The Drive-In. Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, both former members of ATDI, joined forces with Isaiah Ikey Owens, Jeremy Michael Ward, Eva Gardner, and Blake Fleming to form The Mars Volta. The lineup has changed a lot over the years with Bixler-Zavala and Rodriguez-Lopez being the only constant members. For a brief stint, Flea was their bassist and his former Red Hot Chili Peppers cohort, John Frusciante, appeared on their first four albums. Jeremy Michael Ward died in 2003 from a heroin overdose. His passing inspired Bixler-Zavala and Rodriguez-Lopez to quite using.
“The Mars” part of the band’s name came from their admiration of science fiction. The “Volta” part is taken from a book about filmmaker Frederico Fellini. In it, he calls a new scene a “volta.”