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Edmonton's Vue Weekly Article - There Will Be Chaos


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#1 flipzoso

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 03:28 AM

http://www.vueweekly...cle.php?id=8544

The Mars Volta
There will be chaos
MATTHEW HALLIDAY / matthew@vueweekly.com

‘I’m one of these people who has a really messy room,” says Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. “And if you walk in it seems like a bum is living there. You would want to clean it up, but if you were to organize it for me, I wouldn’t know where anything was. I’d feel naked.”

Lopez, guitarist and musical mastermind behind love ‘em or hate ‘em prog-punkers the Mars Volta, is explaining his own personal chaos theory—which goes something like “chaos just seems to find me, I can’t do anything about it, so I got used to it.”

“Chaos has sort of been just something that’s followed me, and something that people have observed about me from a distance ... In the end though, there’s a form that follows chaos, and something nice has always come out of what’s seemed unstructured.”

The band’s latest album is proof positive of that. The Bedlam in Goliath, while undoubtedly structured (Lopez calls himself “a control freak” and explains that, contrary to popular opinion, there’s little free-form jamming on Mars Volta records) sounds like, yes, complete bedlam. There’s no point describing the sometimes exhausting, sometimes thrilling din the band has created. Just play it loud and hope your speakers hold up.

But the chaos of which Lopez speaks isn’t just to be found in the music—the man sounds like a dangerous person to know. In the last few years alone, he and Mars Volta lyricist and singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala have had more colleagues and friends than they’d like to remember pass away in tragic circumstances. The two best known include friend and fellow Texan artist Julio Venegas, about whose death their first album was written. Jeremy Ward, an early member of the band, died of a heroin overdose not long after, in 2003.

“I’ve spoken with a couple of people who were masters in different fields like astrology and spiritual counsellors and I really like this idea that, ‘Don’t worry it’s not your fault. Chaos is attracted to you.’ Great, so I don’t have to take the blame for it.”

Personal tragedies aside, Lopez’s professional life has been fraught with dysfunction and disaster as well. Most recently, the recording of Bedlam was a “technical and psychological nightmare”, says Lopez, involving malfunctioning computers, a flooded studio and an engineer who suffered a nervous breakdown. For all this, the band blame a cursed Ouija board called the Soothsayer that Lopez bought in Jerusalem.

Likely story. The Ouija board tale has been dutifully repeated in the press, and in the band’s official bio, but maybe the real reason for Lopez’s bum luck is less supernatural: maybe he just can’t help himself from rocking the boat when seas get a little too calm. After all, this is a man who broke up his previous band, At The Drive In, right at the moment that they were finally getting some steam behind them after eight long years together. And when asked about his current artistic fixations, he cites Paul Thomas Anderson’s last film, There Will Be Blood—because he appreciates the way Anderson took all the artistic trademarks people associated with him and threw them out the window.

“I felt lucky that it came out when we made this record, because it seems it has the same spirit—I don’t know quite what that means, but it gives me the same feeling because of all the space and sparseness and the score. And it’s inspiring because Anderson completely changed his shit up. We all thought we knew his fingerprint and all of a sudden he just takes this gigantic leap, not caring what people are expecting. People said, ‘Oh, I don’t like it, it’s not Magnolia.’ As soon as I heard that, I stopped what I was doing and me and my engineer went and watched the movie.”

And recently, Lopez has been talking about putting out an acoustic record, certainly a left-field move for a guy whose fans are used to the everything and the kitchen sink sonic palette of the Mars Volta.

“When I say acoustic I don’t mean an unplugged album,” he says. “I only mean the spirit of acoustic music, the feeling it gives you. It’s the same with any influence—it has to come out with your own fingerprint. Lately when writing songs I was liking mellower acoustic music, especially coming out of Bedlam.”

Whether Lopez is marked by the cosmos, or if he’s just a shit-disturber, may be impossible to know. But whether he’s the creator or the victim of his life’s disarray, he’s resigned to it—he even welcomes it, which is a lesson he says he learned back in the At The Drive In days.
“You know, in our old band, no matter what was happening or how chaotic it was, I loved every minute of it. I remember Jim [Ward, cousin of the deceased Jeremy and now frontman for alt-rockers Sparta] was always complaining and sad and wondering what’s going to happen.

When I broke the band up, we had this conversation with him at a restaurant, and he said, ‘I’m just realizing, I never got to enjoy the group, because I was always worrying about this day, about the end.’ And, God, you know, I never want to live my life like that.” V


Thu, May 22 (7 pm)
The Mars Volta
Edmonton Event Centre, $39.50 (all ages)

#2 Guest_mike59271_*

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 03:36 AM

because I was always worrying about this day, about the end.’ And, God, you know, I never want to live my life like that.”


I love that quote

#3 Athleticist

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 03:42 AM

i thought he made the record two years ago, blood came out in december...

#4 darcym

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 05:22 AM

poor jim, heh :sad:

#5 Anonymous 5

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 05:34 AM

poor jim, heh :sad:


i feel bad for Jim in this video. It seems to me like everyone in the band hates him, haha. like no joke. Cedric seems to like just ignore him and Jim is trying so hard to just "fit in" haha

it's in like the first minute, before the song starts:



#6 Metrognomes

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 05:36 AM

because I was always worrying about this day, about the end.’ And, God, you know, I never want to live my life like that.”


I love that quote

My new Tagline.

:smile:

Thanks Flip!
:biggrin:

#7 Riddle_me_this

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 05:37 AM

i thought he made the record two years ago, blood came out in december...



He's most likely refering to a different album.


and yes, lovely interview! Thanks! :-)

Edit: oh wait, I just read what he said again... I dunno, that is confusing.

#8 darcym

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 07:25 AM

poor jim, heh :sad:


i feel bad for Jim in this video. It seems to me like everyone in the band hates him, haha. like no joke. Cedric seems to like just ignore him and Jim is trying so hard to just "fit in" haha

it's in like the first minute, before the song starts:



i don't like sparta or anything like that, but i've always felt really bad for jim. you are right, he just tries so hard.

omar and cedric have been bring up atd-i a lot lately.

#9 Sorrki

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 09:06 AM

i thought he made the record two years ago, blood came out in december...



He's most likely refering to a different album.


and yes, lovely interview! Thanks! :-)

Edit: oh wait, I just read what he said again... I dunno, that is confusing.


I think with "making the record" he refers to the recording of the album and mixing etc. But he actually wrote all this stuff on acoustic guitar for example a long time before that and then maps out everything in his head.

#10 ppsofdasun

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 02:13 PM

i thought he made the record two years ago, blood came out in december...



He's most likely refering to a different album.


and yes, lovely interview! Thanks! :-)

Edit: oh wait, I just read what he said again... I dunno, that is confusing.



Also, his being an "engineer" does not mean they are in the midst of recording. I am sure Omar hangs out with him otherwise, and not just during the album process.

#11 Athleticist

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 03:44 PM

i thought he made the record two years ago, blood came out in december...



He's most likely refering to a different album.


and yes, lovely interview! Thanks! :-)

Edit: oh wait, I just read what he said again... I dunno, that is confusing.



He's talking about tbig

#12 Athleticist

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 03:45 PM

i thought he made the record two years ago, blood came out in december...



He's most likely refering to a different album.


and yes, lovely interview! Thanks! :-)

Edit: oh wait, I just read what he said again... I dunno, that is confusing.


I think with "making the record" he refers to the recording of the album and mixing etc. But he actually wrote all this stuff on acoustic guitar for example a long time before that and then maps out everything in his head.



Blood was made long before summer 07 when tbig was being recorded and mixed




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