Say it isn't so –
THE MARS VOLTA HAVE BROKEN UP:
As a loyal fan, this is shocking. Almost devastating. Definitely heartbreaking.
The Mars Volta have been around since my first baby steps into becoming a music fanatic. In fact, I would say they almost directly contributed to the music-obsessed freak that I am today.
I guess the saying is true: You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the enemy.
As a sophomore in high school, I was just transitioning from my angst-filled headphones of bands like Nirvana, Marilyn Manson, Foo Fighters, and System of a Down. No joke, I was a seriously obsessed SOAD fan. I don't know why. Something about their music spoke to the hormonal rage inside of me. But like I said, I was transitioning and leaving them behind for the birth of indie rock. Now, before I seriously digress, the beginning of indie rock in the 2000's was probably the most exciting time. For me, it was a discovery of something that could be raw and beautiful and bitter yet happy. I'm talking early Death Cab and Rilo Kiley, Mirah and Mates of State. There was something really unrefined and genuine about their music that I have to say I feel that they've lost.
Okay, I digressed, but that was important for me to say. The point is that I was in indie rock heaven in high school, when one fateful birthday my Dad presented me with System of a Down concert tickets (unbeknownst to him, I had changed my music preference drastically). I accepted them hesitantly, but shrugged and figured I'd have a great time even if I didn't listen to SOAD anymore – if I loved this band so much at one point in time that my Dad knew to single them out, then there must be something of that love left inside of me. So I went.
It was a 30-ish minute trip to arrive there via the Dart, my favorite mode of transportation back then (and maybe even still). So there I was, at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX, wearing a brown bohemian skirt in a sea of goth black. I stuck out like a sore thumb, but no one seemed to mind – we were all here for the same reason.
The first opening band was indescribably bad. Their name was Bad Acid Trip, and perhaps that's all the description needed. Needless to say, I was wary of what the rest of the night had in store for me, and that's when a band I had never heard of took the stage – The Mars Volta.
Now this is where things aren't as clear – I remember the music, but I moreso remember the feeling. It was amazing. Their music was psychedelic and progressive, serious rock yet you could lose yourself in a dancing frenzy. I danced so hard that my sunglasses flew off my head, and a good concert-going samaritan helped me find them in the dark. I basically lost myself in the music. If you took everything that people love about latin music and fused it with what we love about rock n' roll, that would be this sound. That would be this band. I fell in love.
After their set, I just remember feeling really great. Inspired even. SOAD came on afterwards, and they really rocked. I remembered every reason that I fell in love with them in the first place, and it ended up being one of the best experiences of my life.
I don't know what drives anyone, what drives me, to love a certain sound so painfully much that it actually becomes a part of who I am. But I've never forgotten that night, and looking back I've always seen it as a turning point when I realized right then EXACTLY what I wanted to do with my life. Being at that concert, I had never felt S O A L I V E.
I don't think bands realize that when they break up, they're breaking up with their fans too. I know that Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez have had other bands and may have other bands in the future, but The Mars Volta specifically meant something to me – not At The Drive-In, and not Bosnian Rainbows. And although they don't know, Zavala and Lopez both shared something profound with me. The Mars Volta set my soul on fire that night, and for a while we shared a love of really great music.
I will never forget the night I saw them. And even though there won't be anymore new music from them, I will never stop listening to The Mars Volta. R.I.P.