The Mars Volta

Zopwx2 03-10-2005 05:30 PM


What the? Didn't expect this thread from me, did ya?



Who are these two dudes with afro's, and why should I listen to them you say? Becuase they are The Mars Volta, and they are the most awesome band in recent years. Cerpin Taxt here on PCF gave me some of their stuff a while back and now I can't stop listening to them. In fact I'm going to see them live next month!

They're a Progressive, Punk, Latin, Experimental, ..... hell you can't label 'em. They bring back the era of Pink Floyd and Led Zepplin and put their own spin on it. Including some of the strangest lyrics you'll hear in a while. If you want to listen to something that sounds like nothing else out there today, listen to their first full album: De-Loused In the Comatorium, which is pretty much a classic by now.



quote:
The music contained in De-Loused is distinguished by its enigmatic lyrics, unusual time signature and tempo changes, and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's frenetic riffs, which sometimes conform to no definable musical scales.
- Wikipedia

The cover art is done by the same people who do all the Pink Floyd covers.

And recently they're new album Frances the Mute has become a minor hit. Its definatley something different love it or hate it. Its a longer, darker, more intense album:



Check them out now.
Travis Bickle 03-10-2005 05:50 PM
Sweetness. I've been an Omar and Cedric fan since 1997 (when they were in At The Drive-In) and have seen the Volta a few times in New York. If I can (due to finals and such), I'm going to see them during this tour in Montreal.

I got you addicted, Zopwx. Na na na na na na ha ha ha ha ha ha
Volt 03-10-2005 05:51 PM
I first heard them from Cerpin Taxt's sig and now I can't stop lisetening to them. I got both albums recently, both for less than $10. I can't believe more people don't know about this band. One of the best bands ever, seriously. Right now my favorite songs are Televators, Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus, and Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt. Anyone have any clues about the story of Frances the Mute? Very cryptic lyrics. The beginning of Cassandra Geminni sounds like something about prostitution. By the way, that raspy voice is so awesomely weird.

P.S.: WHO-OO DO-OOO-OO YOU TRUST?
Travis Bickle 03-10-2005 06:03 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Volt
Anyone have any clues about the story of Frances the Mute? Very cryptic lyrics. The beginning of Cassandra Geminni sounds like something about prostituion. By the way, that raspy voice is so awesoemly weird.


Yes, it's another concept album, but that's a good thing. According to The Mars Volta, the album is based on a diary that ex-sound manipulator (who died of a drug overdose just before De-Loused came out) Jeremy Michael-Ward found in the back of a car when he worked as a repo guy. It was written by some guy who seemed to have some mental illness. He was adopted as a child, and continued to look for his mother. The album is suppoed to be about the journeys he has, and the songs are the names of the charachters written in the journal.

This might explain it a little bit better:

quote:
Taken from the official Mars Volta forum

Vismund Cygnus is a twenty-five year old, HIV positive, IV drug-addicted prostitute. He was born to Frances, and is the product of a rape. He was either abandoned or simply adopted out to another family. He is on a quest to unravel the mystery of his origins. He seems to have some deep guilt going on at having been born male, and thus involuntarily aligned with the sort of male aggression that leads to things like rape and murder. He seems keenly tuned into the rapes and murders that occur in the world around him, seemingly making reference to the Juarez murders ("All the brittle tombs/five hundred little queues/I'm splitting hairs/to match the faces") and the deaths of innocent civilians due to the U.S. military presence on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico ("And with every body that I find/and with every claymore that they mine/I won't forget who I'm looking for"). On the other hand, he is described by one frequent client as knowingly having unprotected sex with his clientele, thus exposing them to possible infection, about which he doesn't seem concerned in the least. It appears that, in the final song, Cygnus takes his revenge through raping (and effectively murdering, since in so doing, he spreads his disease) 25 people, thus becoming "one of the others" -- becoming the very thing he most fears and despises in other men.

The Widow is a person of indeterminate gender, having been previously described as "El Viudo" (masculine) which has subsequently been translated to "The Widow" (feminine). It seems as if the loss of their partner has been relatively recent, as they are wracked by profound grief and loneliness. For this reason, they turn to Cygnus' professional services, and become rather addicted to him. They are initially in a bit of denial about the nature of Cygnus' illness (he coughs and wheezes a lot), but as they tell their story, it becomes clear that deep down, they know he has AIDS. They feel great shame about paying for sex, especially from someone as evidently defiled as Cygnus, but would much rather feel that than the aching emptiness that sleeping alone would bring. They yearn to be infected by Cygnus, so that they might finally have hope for a speedy death, and reunion with their beloved.

L' Via L' Viaquez is the sister of Frances, and the aunt of Cygnus. She witnessed the rape of Cygnus' mother, and fled the scene of the crime. Her escape was noticed by the witnesses (described as the owls) who take advantage of the situation to blackmail her, and to silence her with threats. Cygnus somehow tracks her down, and she tells him a partial version of the story -- basically that she found his mother's dress, and cleaned up the blood, but saw nothing. He is able to tell by her omissions more about the story than her words tell him. He warns her to look out for herself, as there are many who would like to kill her. And, she does in fact wind up raped and murdered. Cygnus is so distraught by her death that he not only vows to avenge her, but also starts to lose his grip on reality. He knows he doesn't have much time left to live, but he intends to spend it making her murderers, and his mother's rapist, pay for what they have done.

Miranda is the mother of Frances and L' Via, and the grandmother of Cygnus. The coquis at the beginning of her song appear to place her in Puerto Rico. Cygnus tracks her down, led on by clues he has gotten from L' Via. They have a rather intense conversation, and she expresses deep sadness and anger at how these corrupt men have caused him so much pain that he takes it out on himself in the form of his drug abuse. She has tried in the past to tell what she knows about the details of the crime against Frances, but nobody will listen to her, because they are afraid of reprisals by the powerful men behind the crime.

Cassandra Gemini is a complete mystery at this time. Her name seems to signify that she will prophesy and curse, but will not be believed (as was the case with Miranda), and that she is a "twin". She could literally be Cygnus' twin. She could be Miranda's wrathful side. Or, she could be Cygnus' wratful alter-ego. Whatever the case, her song appears clearly to be narrated by none other than Cygnus.

The Stripper from the spoken word part is likewise a mystery. The passage appears to be something Cygnus has written in his journal. My current theory is that, given Cygnus' line of work, she is a feminine alter-ego of hi. She may even be Cassandra -- assuming that that character is a wrathful feminine alter-ego of Cygnus'.

The Owls are those who have profitted off of Cygnus' mother's misfortune by blackmailing L' Via. They may be higher-ups in the church.

The Crows are most probably predatory priests (read: birds who wear black). Cygnus or Cassandra vows they will be exposed and defrocked.
Volt 03-10-2005 06:12 PM
Holy crap. That's some confusing stuff. But I knew there was something about prostitution in there!

quote:
(who died of a drug overdose just before De-Loused came out)

I read that the other day. That's so sad... and before De-Loused even came out. He did some pretty awesome work, though, it seems. R.I.P.
Zopwx2 03-10-2005 06:31 PM
The lyrics are fun and the stories help give you a theme to listen to, (becuase MV albums sound sound alot better when listened from start to finish) but I don't think that you have to understand everything to very last detail and attempt to decipher every word, I bet they made alot of it up when they were high.

Either way its still some awesome sh**.
Travis Bickle 03-10-2005 06:34 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Seebach: [Zopwx2]
I bet they made alot of it up when they were high.


They're pretty straight edge actually, except Omar gets baked every once in a while, according to a recent rolling stone interview </fandom>
Volt 03-10-2005 06:51 PM
Hahaha... I bet Omar did write some stuff while high. Case in point: "mink handjob in sarcaophagus heels".
So, does anyone have any pictures of the other band members? Practically all of them are of Omar and Cedric. I'd really like to see the drummer.
Zopwx2 03-10-2005 07:39 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Volt
Hahaha... I bet Omar did write some stuff while high. Case in point: "mink handjob in sarcaophagus heels".
So, does anyone have any pictures of the other band members? Practically all of them are of Omar and Cedric. I'd really like to see the drummer.


quote:
Members: Omar Rodriguez Lopez (guitar), Cedric Bixler Zavala (vocals), Jon Theodore (drums, percussion), Ikey Owens (keyboards), Juan Alderete (bass)

Past and present:
Jeremy Ward (sound effects; 2001-2003), Eva Gardner (bass; 2001-2002), Ralph Jasso (bass; 2002), Jason Lader (bass; 2003), Flea (bass; “De-Loused in the Comatorium”), John Frusciante (guitar, “De-Loused in the Comatorium” - 2 tracks)






I could only dig up a few old pics.
Volt 03-10-2005 07:43 PM
Do you know who the drummer is? And who's the chick?
Zopwx2 03-10-2005 07:53 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Volt
Do you know who the drummer is? And who's the chick?


I don't think the chick is part of the band anymore, or even that she was a major part of the band.

Glasses = Omar on guitar

Small Dude = Cedric (vocals)

tall guy = drummer

white dude = sound effects (dead)

Black Guy = key boards
enartloc 03-10-2005 11:00 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Volt
Hahaha... I bet Omar did write some stuff while high. Case in point: "mink handjob in sarcaophagus heels".


i do know some people who really think that way ,hearing voices,writing strange lines.

Volta is cool,i'm a little surprised that they seems to be quite popular here.
mmm...anybody here likes porcupine tree?
oh well,i better start another thread about this.
Travis Bickle 03-10-2005 11:42 PM
quote:
Originally posted by enartloc
mmm...anybody here likes porcupine tree?
oh well,i better start another thread about this.


I've heard them before. They remind me of Tool mixed with Filter. They pretty much sound exactly like them. I like the bass in their songs, though. Good stuff.

Anyway, getting back on topic, the girl in the picture is actually a former bassist, Eva Gardner. The Mars Volta have gone through several bassists, but are now sticking with Juan Alderete, who, if you listen on Frances the Mute, is amazing.
enartloc 03-11-2005 12:03 AM
i believe only their lastest studio album had the tool vibe.
i don't know why,tried to catch the trend and played safe with their first US release...i remember the track they do make a video is "strip the soul"
it sounds totally like the tool.i remember i asked myself why.

to me they are more like an genesis-pink floyd-even nick drake hypbrid.
i like the way they use the strings,a few band could employ stings section with this maturity
edwin is fine,he plays a fretless one,too.
if my memory works well.
Travis Bickle 03-11-2005 12:17 AM
quote:
Originally posted by enartloc
i believe only their lastest studio album had the tool vibe.
i don't know why,tried to catch the trend and played safe with their first US release...i remember the track they do make a video is "strip the soul"
it sounds totally like the tool.i remember i asked myself why.

to me they are more like an genesis-pink floyd-even nick drake hypbrid.
i like the way they use the strings,a few band could employ stings section with this maturity
edwin is fine,he plays a fretless one,too.
if my memory works well.


I really like the sound of a fretless bass, but I'm not too fond of playing one myself.

Oh, and here's a photo of the Mars Volta live. When they play live, sometimes they play through the entire album, and sometimes they play a few songs, but improv most of the time. It's a great show:

enartloc 03-11-2005 12:47 AM
yeah,i always considered it's werid if some bands just play one or two songs from some so called "concept album".


gotta jam,man,you gotta jam
that's what's so great about live music
they ain't supposed to sound like cd,they should sound only better,more organic.

fretless is lots fun to play.only disadvantage is that it's hard to get certain chords out of it.
it reminds me all the good times...my old bassist used to play that a lot.
before he was sick of it,then turned upright completely.
we would just jam all night with a girl who was fooling around with a laptop,making strange noises at knitting factory.
Travis Bickle 03-11-2005 07:30 AM
Meh...nobody else decided to post this, so I might as well go ahead:

Cedric and Omar, in the mid 90's, started off in a post-punk emo-core (different from emo) band called At The Drive-In, which remains one of my favorite bands of all time. They released several albums, including Relationship of Command, which is their most known, and sprung to populatrity after quite some time. In about 2001, At The Drive-In broke up. Omar and Cedric moved to a latin-experimental band called De-Facto, where as the rest of the band (Including Jeremy Michael Ward's cousin) formed Sparta, which, in my opinion, is a decent band. After a bit, in late 2002, Cedric and Omar formed the Mars Volta and in 2003 released the Tremulant EP on GSL, and toured with the Red Hot Chili Peppers (they're great friends with Flea and John Friscante, who are both pretty much "in the band"). Inbetween that and De Loused in the Comatorium, Jeremy Michael Ward, the TMV sound manipulator (and "Hidden" member) died from a drug overdose, which was greatly mourned by TMV.

Anyway, De-Loused was released and did well amongst the underground (it never hit the billboard charts, but that doesn't matter. After a year and a half of touring, the Mars Volta sat down and recorded Frances the Mute, which was released a couple of weeks ago and debuted on the Billboard charts at the number 4 position. The Widow was released as a single on all the mainstream radio and tv stations, and currently remains as one of the most currently requested songs. TMV are going on the first leg of their tour, as well as releasing a single called "Frances The Mute" on 12" LP, which happens to sound very Zeppelin-esque, but concludes the story of FTM.

That's the gist of it.
Volt 03-11-2005 10:38 PM
Awesome job on that summary. I hope their tour comes by Colorado sometime...
There are two things I'm confused about :
1) Why didn't TMV just release FTM's title track on the album? It's a great song, and would be a good fit (IMO) after the behemoth of a song that is Cassandra Geminni.
2) Frances is Vismund's mother, and she became pregnant with him because of a rape, right? Do we know if she's dead or not?
3) Who is this Moatilliatta mentioned several times throughout De-Loused? It seems to be some sort of Death character, but, then again, I suck with deciphering lyrics.


Edit: Added no. 3.
Zopwx2 03-11-2005 11:52 PM
FTM appearantly wouldn't fit on the album and they didn't want to put out a double CD.

They're trying to get amazon or someone to import the widow/FTM single cd from the UK.
Travis Bickle 03-12-2005 12:46 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Volt
Awesome job on that summary. I hope their tour comes by Colorado sometime...
There are two things I'm confused about :
1) Why didn't TMV just release FTM's title track on the album? It's a great song, and would be a good fit (IMO) after the behemoth of a song that is Cassandra Geminni.
2) Frances is Vismund's mother, and she became pregnant with him because of a rape, right? Do we know if she's dead or not?
3) Who is this Moatilliatta mentioned several times throughout De-Loused? It seems to be some sort of Death character, but, then again, I suck with deciphering lyrics.
Edit: Added no. 3.


1) It's already 75 minutes long (I think...maybe 74...don't remember, because I left the cd in the car)

2) Yes. She got killed, and Vismund Cygnus is avenging the death of her. Try not to dig too deep into the lyrics, but in the song instead.

3) Supposedly, Motilliatta is Cerpin Taxt's alter ego, according to Theory (the main TMV guru that makes the website and also owns http://www.thecomatorium.com). Or, you could always read the De-Loused in the Comatorium storybook...

Also, this is only the first leg of the Frances The Mute tour, and they're touring with an unknown person (DJ Nobody, who has ties to Ikey Owens, the keyboardist). They'll end up in Colorado in the future with an even bigger band (I saw them with A Perfect Circle, and a friend of mine saw them with the Pixies).

quote:
Originally posted by Michael Seebach: [Zopwx2]
FTM appearantly wouldn't fit on the album and they didn't want to put out a double CD.

They're trying to get amazon or someone to import the widow/FTM single cd from the UK.


Frances the Mute was originally supposed to be 5 complete tracks. But, since Universal Records was being a bunch of washed up douchebags, because it has only 5 tracks, it would have been concidered an EP and been released for 5-6 bucks, thus forcing the Mars Volta to record another album the year after (which isn't really a bad thing, if you think about it XD). So, they split it up, making it a full length LP. The title track Frances The Mute couldn't fit on the cd, so in Japan, they released it on the extra dvd that came with the album. In America, Frances The Mute (the song), along with a live version of the Widow, is being released on a 12" vinyl record. It really is a great song, is somewhat heavy, and sounds like Led Zeppelin.

By the way, on At The Drive-In (Omar and Cedric's old band) 's first major album, Acrobatic Tenament, they have a song called Embroglio, which is about Julio Venegas, the same person that De-Loused is about, who happened to be a friend of the band. If I'm not mistaking, he died in 1995. Anyway, it's really a great song.

That reminds me. It's time we have an At The Drive-In thread...

Another thing: Frances the Mute is pretty much the Mars Volta's "Jeremy Michael-Ward" album (seeing that the story somewhat ties into him, in a sense). However, Sparta (the band formed from the other remaining memebers of At The Drive-In) came out with their album Porcelain, which is also pretty much about Jeremy Michael-Ward, being that the lead singer Jim is his cousin. Porcelain is a really good album, but it's nothing like the styles of At The Drive-In or the Mars Volta.