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InfluencesWork in progress - last update: 2/6/07

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#1 Stalktheground11


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Posted 09 August 2004 - 02:50 AM


Be sure to also check out the band's songwriting process and the influence of their ethnicities in relation to their music.


NOTE: This is a perpetual work in progress - I will attempt to update this on a regular basis so check back frequently. Still, compiling a list of influences for a band like TMV is a great undertaking, considering that they draw inspiration from film, books, art, and music so if you have anything to add to the following please post RELEVANT quotes, links to transcriptions, etc. (You should probably send me a personal message (PM) about what you're going to add before you do.)

ALSO, I consider the term "influences" very loosely. Thus, in some cases, I might be listing something that the band has cited as something that they like or that they listen to but does not seek to draw from or replicate in their music - or if they do, it might be at the most minimal level.

Listed below are artists that the band has namedropped in various interviews - check out the SCANS and INTERVIEW sections on the frontpage of the site for direct quotations, although i'll try to add specific quotes where the band elaborates. PM me if you find a specific quote appropriate for an artist.

It should also be noted that many of the quotes that you read have been translated from non-English/foreign magazines and thus, they may not necessarily be verbatim. But for the most part, you should be able to get the idea.

-Fela Kuti
"The MOJO feature on James Brown touring Vietnam was inspirational, but Fela lived his Vietnam every single day...Fela wasn't being cut out of pleasure. His scars were deep. Musically, he just pushed forward, never feared bad reactions. He was 100,000 percent funky." - Cedric
Additional Info: Jon played some Fela tracks during his appearances on GTFU Radio.

-Dub Syndicate's Pounding System
Additional Info: Jon played a track off this album during one of his appearances on GTFU Radio.

-Jaco Pastorius
"...It's true. Every time I pick up the instrument, I'm thinking of Jaco, more than any other bass player. I've always believed that even though a lot of dudes play fretless and claim to be influenced by Jaco, many miss a key element to his playing: He played R&B and funk for years, in clubs, every night. So when Jaco played jazz or anything else, he still had an undeniable R&B feel. I hear lots of great fretless players who just don't have that feel -- there's no groove. Jaco just happened to be great at many things, but lots of guys focus on only one or two aspects and never learn how important R&B/funk feel is. His lyrical fretless playing was amazing, but then you hear him rock some James Brown song, and you realize it's insane how thick his groove is. Listen to "Chromatic Fantasy" off his second album, Word of Mouth. Many guys have covered that song but it never sounds as good. That's because of his feel, the way he sat with the groove." - Juan
Additional Info: Hear Juan's playing during "Take the Veil"- Wiltern Jams (May 6th and 13th)

-Billy Cobham (Mahavishnu Orchestra)
"My all-time favorite drummer is Billy Cobham. I love the way he plays. I even listen to his less-than-stellar '80s albums, 'The Traveler' and 'Powerplay.' But Cobham's playing is so natural, powerful and dynamic at the same time. I pattern a lot of stuff after him." - Jon
Additional Info: Jon played some tracks from Cobham's Spectrum album during one of his GTFU radio appearances.

-Johnny Cash
"He was such a pure talent. [His 'Peace in the Valley'] would clean the palette." - Omar
Additional Info: When Cedric and Omar stopped by 94.9 FM in San Diego, they requested the same song [from Cash's live At San Quentin album] for their playlist.

-Dr. Who
"I got into Doctor Who through public TV in the US. It's so lo-fi and low budget, but it's really disturbing. I loved the storylines." - Cedric
Additional Info: The backdrop for the band's 2006-07 tours in support of Amputechture featured images of the Axons, from the episode The Claws of Axos.

-Brian Eno (see also Fripp/Eno)
Additional Info: Cedric quoted Eno's "Baby's on Fire" during many live shows in 2003. Also, when Cedric and Omar stopped by 94.9 FM in San Diego, they requested "In Dark Trees" [from Eno's Another Green World].

-Tony Williams

-Elvin Jones
"Of course, there's Tony Williams and Elvin Jones, who I listen to every single day." - Jon

-Ray Barretto

-David Bowie
Additional Info: Cedric frequently says, "My mother says to get things done, you better not mess with Major Tom," during live versions of Cicatriz ESP.

-Augustus Pablo

-Forbidden Planet
Additional info: Cedric has a Robbie the Robot tattoo on his right wrist.

-Robert Fripp (see also Fripp/Eno and King Crimson)

-The Kids in the Hall
"Laughter is the voice of the universe, such a strong tool. The Kids in the Hall commented on the world around them in a very indirect way, saying so much through laughter; they're really moving mountains with their words. That's what all art should be about." - Omar

-Steve Reich
"Reich was a massively visionary composer from the '60s onwards, so far ahead of his time." - Cedric

-Dr. Alimantado

-Billie Holiday
"When she sings you can hear her upbringing. You can hear the fact that she worked in a brothel and that she was raped at an early age. You can hear the drinking and the smoking and what it was like to be a black woman at that time." - Omar

-The Fall
"His [Mark E. Smith] music shows a real tortured artist. You know, you can't go up to him and say, 'Hey, I love you man!' He'd just shoot you down. He hasn't enjoyed the success he deserves and he's been around forever." - Cedric
Additional Info: When Omar stopped by Atlanta's 99x radio, he played the song "Wings" from The Fall's Perverted by Language album. Cedric and Omar requested the same track when they visited Austin's 101X.

-Sonny Sharrock

-League of Gentlemen (Papa Lazarou)
"I first saw him [Papa Lazarou] when I was watching the TV show on a flight back to America. I just thought, 'Shit, they've blacked up his face! That's some dangerous ground!' Papa Lazarou is fucking great. All I do is walk around, put my head through the doors and say, 'Hello Daaave...'" - Cedric
Additional Info: On the audio source of TMV's performance at Big Day Out in Australia, you can hear Cedric's impersonation of Papa Lazarou.

-Vincent Van Gogh
"You can tell that Vincent Van Gogh had a hairy life. He cut off his ear, right? I'm not sure if I'd do that, but I like to think I'm surrounded by passionate people and we all live life to the extreme sometimes. It's part of being a typical fucking hispanic, with that Latin temperament. I'd probably cut off my forehead because it's so huge." - Cedric

-Bill Bruford (see also King Crimson)

-David Lynch

-Twin Peaks
"My favorite TV show was Twin Peaks. There's no way in hell that I think David Lynch would compromise like 80 percent of his intent." - Cedric

-Joy Division
"His [Ian Curtis] suicide was a real tragedy. We love Joy Division. He was another great mind. I love watching footage of the guy, watching him dance. His awkwardness is there before you. When i see him dance or sing, I can see his personality and i know what a conversation with him would be like." - Omar

-Nick Drake
"He died really young. I really love the Pink Moon album. The guitar, the voice, the intimacy of it is amazing...There are certain people where you never question their sincerity because you can hear it in their voice. It strikes a chord in your heart." - Omar
Additional Info: When Cedric and Omar stopped by 94.9 FM in San Diego, they included "Things Behind the Sun" [from Pink Moon] on their playlist.

-Ennio Morricone (see also the films of Sergio Leone)
Additional Info: The theme to "A Fistful of Dollars" has been used as the intro to the band on their tour in support of Deloused and Frances the Mute.

-Carlos Castaneda
"I dropped out of high school and hitch-hiked across the states; a homeless guy gave me The Teachings of Don Juan. It was such a huge metaphor for so many things happening in my life, it really attacked my senses." - Omar

-Andy Kaufman
"Like punk rock, he wanted to stir up a reaction. No one knew when he was joking or when it was the real thing, and that's great. I remember this one picture, he has a mohawk and a leather jacket on, and that's as close as he'll get to the uniform, but he was punk." - Cedric

-Al di Meola
Additional Info: Here's a pic of Cedric wearing an Al Di Meola shirt. (I assume if he wears the shirt, he likes the musician.)

-Frida Kahlo
"Most arts are white-male dominated...She was a hispanic female in a wheelchair. She had so many things against her, but she kept creating art amidst all her suffering. She poured it all into her paintings and her politics...That's inspirational." - Omar

-Sylvia Plath

-Talk Talk
"The last one [album] they did, where they did a complete turnaround musically - Laughing Stock - it's a good rainy day album. I think a person in the band was getting a major divorce and you can hear it in the album. I was attracted to it cause the guy who told us about it told us that they recorded it with candles and stuff and it was real dark album for them and the label hated it. So instantly I was attracted to it...It's a big downer, but you know, downer music is good, though, too." - Cedric

-Sergio Leone (also see Ennio Morricone)

-Salvador Dali
Additional Info: Cedric has some Dali imagery tattooed on his arm and back.

-Max Ernst
Additional Info: The "Footstab" image used on various Mars Volta items is from Ernst's book, Une Semaine De Bonte: A Surrealistic Novel in Collage. For those who have it, the image is "Wednesday" and the element is blood. Omar also has this image tattooed on his forearm. The image has also served as the backdrop for their 2005 tour in support of Frances the Mute.
EDIT: The site with the entire novel is now back up. If you're looking for the specific image of the "Footstab," here it is.

-Luis Bunuel
"He was always surreal in a subtle way. He left Spain because of the politics, moved to France and started making movies in French...People like him make you feel every problem has a solution." - Omar

-Federico Fellini

-Werner Herzog

-Klaus Kinski
"He was the definition of a tortured genius, especially for his collaborations with director Werner Herzog. People died during the making of some of their movies. Despite everything, they ploughed through all the criticism and saw things differently. They made Fitzcarraldo, which is one of the most incredible movies ever." - Cedric

-Alejandro Jodorowsky
Additional Info: Cedric and Omar intended to work on a video with the surreal filmmaker, although he was busy at the time. Regardless, they have repeatedly used imagery and terms from his films throughout their music careers. For example, At the Drive-In's El Gran Orgo is derived from the trailer of one of Jodorowsky's characters in "Santa Sangre," while the same image of the spider-lady (Arachne) is used on both the band's Live EP and t-shirts and the posters for Jodorowsky's film "Fando y Lis".

-Shuggie Otis

-Led Zeppelin
Additional Info: In Q magazine, Cedric stated that his favorite song is "In the Light" and Physical Graffiti is his favorite album by Led Zeppelin, saying, "It was '92 or '93. Omar and I scored four hits of micro acid from this Jewish kid that stole my girlfriend at the time. The night we took it 'In the Light' was playing. It opened up a hole in the floor of the room from which tentacles sprouted with puckered lips singing, 'Everybody needs some light.' We all fell in the hole years later."

-Alice Coltrane
[speaking of her song "Journey in Satchidananda"] "You get to hear what an amazing pianist she was. What amazing heart and soul she had..." - Cedric
Additional Info: When Cedric and Omar stopped by 94.9 FM in San Diego, they requested Coltrane's "Shiva Loka" [from her album Journey in Satchidananda] for their playlist.

-Roni Size

-The Pretty Things


-Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd)
"He definitely taps into certain feelings; when i hear Barrett, I think of my worst trips, the worst times in my life, when i've been the most fragile. The music he made, you hear him unraveling. It's really honest." - Cedric
Additional Info: When Cedric and Omar stopped by 94.9 FM in San Diego, they requested the song "Bike" [from Pink Floyd's album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn] for their playlist. Later, after his death in 2006, Cedric dedicated their performance of Tetragrammaton to him (August 7, 2006 in Santa Cruz).

-King Tubby

-Mahavishnu Orchestra
"People keep telling us we sound like them. We think everyone should have their records." - Cedric
Additional Info: When Cedric and Omar visited 94.9 FM in San Diego, they requested the song "Miles Beyond" [from Birds of Fire] for their playlist.

-Miles Davis

-Fania All-Stars (see also Larry Harlow)

-Lenny Bruce
"Lenny Bruce tore down the walls for anything that is punk rock or has a subversive voice that's in danger of being quieted. He was punk until the day he died; it's sad that paparazzi were willing to shoot that final photograph of him with a needle in his arm. He caused a strong reaction, even in death." - Cedric

-Herbie Hancock
"[speaking about Herbie and the Headhunters]...this could possibly the tightest band in the history...I know a lot of people will probably argue with me over this...but I've had several moments with this album [Man-Child]. Specifically this song [Hang Up Your Hang Ups]." - Jon
Additional Info: Jon played "Hang Up Your Hang Ups" on one of his GTFU Radio appearances.

-Larry Harlow (see also Fania All-Stars)
"The most influential album [on my guitar playing] would definitely be ELECTRIC HARLOW (1971) by Orchestra Harlow. Just because it's a record I grew up with, it was always played in my house - and it was probably the best salsa record of that era. You know, I really wanted to be a piano player, but I got stuck with the guitar [laughs]. But every time I hear that record, I come up with new ideas." - Omar

"Harlow was a Jewish guy who moved to Puerto Rico and there was always something nicely 'outsider' about his music. I always think there's a salsa group fighting its way out of The Mars Volta." - Omar

"You can learn to stick to your guns and stay stubborn and it's not necessarily a bad thing because I don't know how long it's been since I've been listening to the Fania records and Fania All-Stars which Larry is a part of and then actually getting to play with him, it just proves that all of what people might of thought of us making a mistake by quitting our old band, actually we are doing the right thing. It didn't even matter if someone was going to tell us you are doing the right thing or you are doing the wrong thing because it only mattered what we felt in our heart and then four years later to be on stage with Larry Harlow, we could just look at each other and say "Yup, we were right man!" - Cedric

Additional Info: Larry Harlow is featured on the band's second LP, Frances the Mute, on the songs "L'Via L'Viaquez" and "Cassandra Gemini," respectively playing piano and clavinet. Also, when Cedric and Omar visited 94.9 FM in San Diego, they requested Harlow's "El Malecon."

"All roads lead to Can..." - Omar
Additional Info: Cedric quotes Can's "Vitamin C" from their album Ege Bamyasi ("You're losing, you're losing, you're losing...") frequently during live shows. Also, when Cedric and Omar stopped by 94.9 FM in San Diego, they included "Vitamin C" on their playlist.

Conversely, Holger Czukay, the bassist from Can, had the following to say about TMV:
"What a surprise, attending a concert of The Mars Volta. Thought I got 40 years younger when my heart was beating in excitement. Sounded partly like Can during their best days. One wouldn't think that such a band could come from Junkyard City alias El Paso in Texas. Maybe that's what makes them strong. Guitarist Omar I knew already from L.A. when he opened my show last year together with John Frusciante and Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers but in connection with the Mars Volta band they exceeded my expectations, by far. Good hope that fine music is not dying!"

-King Crimson
Additional Info: When Cedric and Omar stopped by 94.9 FM in San Diego, they requested King Crimson's "Asbury Park" [from their USA album] for their playlist.

-Bjork (see also Sugarcubes)
"Bjork's one of my main vocal influences, her and Wilson Pickett. Her voice is a weapon. Who else would take an entire Inuit choir on-stage with her? Ever since I saw the video for 'Birthday' on some Public Access station, heard that chorus, I've thought, 'God! I wanna do that.'" - Cedric
Additional Info: Cedric quotes the song "Bachelorette" from Bjork's Homogenic ("I'm a fountain of blood....in the shape of a girl...").

-Wilson Pickett
"Old microphones have ribbons in them. They're not really supposed to be used for guitars and stuff like that but on some of the records I have of Wilson Pickett, he has such a strong voice so that you can hear the ribbon fold and it makes it sound like he's muffled and then it becomes clear again. And that's powerful." - Cedric

The majority of the above quotes were taken from the following articles, which in and of themselves are very informative concerning their influences:
Page 1
Page 2
Page 3

Total Guitar World

Modern Drummer - January '04

Kerrang Top 10

#2 emailaddressesaremyenemy



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Posted 09 August 2004 - 01:20 PM

Dante Alighieri

Greek & Roman Mythology

Thread on the "Footstab" Image (Max Ernst)

#3 Cybrid



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Posted 10 August 2004 - 06:45 PM

Larry Harlow - relevant links -
http://www.larryharlow.com/ (Official site)

King Crimson - relevant links -
http://www.king-crimson.com/ (Official site)

John McLaughlin and The Mahavishnu Orchestra - relevant links -
http://www.johnmclaughlin.com/ (Official site)

EDIT: it has been brought to my attention that Santana have never actually been acknowledged as an influence by any of the band members in interviews. So as obvious as the influence might seem to journalists or casual listeners...I've removed the entries regarding Santana for now. That said, you still wouldn't be too far off the mark by listening to some older, quality Santana stuff like Caravanserai, the Lotus live album and the Woodstock performance to hear how the whole band (not just Carlos' guitar playing) might be of some influence.

Edited by Cybrid, 16 March 2005 - 01:58 PM.

#4 Stalktheground11


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Posted 17 August 2004 - 05:02 AM

Be sure to check out this link if you would like to know more about the band's tattoos, which in some cases are revealing regarding their influences (i.e. Dali, Robbie the Robot).

Tattoo Thread

Download this interview to learn a lot, especially if you don't know much about the band, in general.

#5 boop-oop-a-doop



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Posted 13 November 2004 - 12:22 AM

Cedric: "I think there are bands coming up who are a lot more indulgent. Black Dice, Lightning Bolt, The Black Heart Procession. That is, to me, the most subversive stuff out there right now."

He (Cedric) describes Rodriguez-Lopez's guitar playing as "the bastardized child of
Robert Fripp, [Black Flag's] Gregg Ginn and [jazz guitarist] Sonny Sharrock."

At the Drive In days:

(Cedric) influential record: "Blizzard Of Ozz", Ozzy Osbourne
(Omar) influential record: "Jealous Again", Black Flag

What have you been listening to? The Eternals, !!! (Cedric), Breakbeat Era (Omar)

Cedric played in a past band called Phantasmagoria which did covers of Dag Nasty, Misfits, Minor Threat or Pixies.

#6 Stalktheground11


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Posted 28 January 2005 - 01:57 PM

"My main sources of inspiration would be films - creating tension, creating flow, creating scenes, creating fast-paced scenes, creating minimal dialogue - it's one of our biggest influences..." - Omar

From Wav Magazine
"When you have a more intangible form of inspiration like a book or a movie, it's different than being inspired by a song because the transferance of energy is now changing. You have to go 'Fuck, I want to write a song that makes me feel the way that main character made me feel...or that scene made me feel because it was so uncomfortable or I felt so angry when that one character died!' And it's a very different thing to transfer that feeling into a musical feeling then going,'Oh, I really like that lick - I wish I could write a lick like that.'"

"The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, the works of Carlos Castaneda, of course, and The Revolt of the Cockroach People by Oscar Zeta Acosta (aka Hunter S. Thompson's sidekick in Fear and Loathing), are three of my biggest influences when it comes to literature." - Omar

"I'm a big Luis Bunuel fan, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, and [That Obscure] Object of Desire. I'm a big Werner Herzog fan, as well. Fitzcarraldo, definitely, the White Sag, Even Dwarfs Started Small. And one of my main inspirations was Alejandro Jodorowsky with Santa Sangre and Brian De Palma, of course. Body Double or Scarface. They were all so important in guiding me at different times in my life in what it is that I really want to express musically."

Here are the films the band members have mentioned or have referenced in their work:

Directed by Werner Herzog and starring Klaus Kinski (Color, 1982)
[when asked about the truth of The Mars Volta] "The simplest thing I could say is go watch the movie Fitzcarraldo. We've always said that was a metaphor for our band and now we are just looking for other mountains to push the boat over. That's what's true; it's been one big struggle." - Cedric

"Herzog's "Fitzcarraldo" is nothing less than the metaphor for this band when we just started out! 'Get the boat over the fucking mountain!' Whenever we were at a loss and didn't know how to move on, we would throw these words at each other and swear that we'd never cave in." - Omar

-Un Chien Andalou
Directed by Luis Bunuel (Silent, B&W, 1928)

-A Short Film About Killing
Directed by Kryzsztof Kieslowski (Color, 1988)
Additional Info: This is Omar's favorite Kieslowski film.

Directed by Tinto Brass (& Bob Guccione) (Color, 1979)
(Cedric mentioned that Helen Mirren is also one of his favorite actresses.)

-Los Olvidados
Directed by Luis Bunuel (B&W, 1950)

-Blade Runner
Directed by Ridley Scott (Color, 1982)

-A Fistful of Dollars
Directed by Sergio Leone (Color, 1964)

-A Clockwork Orange
Directed by Stanley Kubrick (Color, 1971)

-City of God
Directed by Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund (Color, 2002)

-The Man with a Movie Camera
Directed by Dziga Vertov (Silent, B&W, 1929)

Directed by Benjamin Christensen (Silent, B&W, 1922)

Directed by Federico Fellini (Color, 1969)

-Mulholland Drive
Directed by David Lynch (Color, 2001)
[talking about inexplicable moments and ideas] "Like, why does that monster-looking character pop up from the back of the trash can area in Mulholland when he comes outside of the diner? And that, all of a sudden, comes out and it scares you, and you're like, 'I don't know why that's in a movie, but its my favorite part of the movie.' Everytime I watch it again and someone next to me hasn't seen it, the next thing you know, I go, 'Shhh. Be quiet. Watch. Something's going to happen.' And when it happens, they get freaked out and I go, 'YEAH! I love that!'" - Cedric

-La Dolce Vita
Directed by Federico Fellini (B&W, 1960)

Directed by Akira Kurosawa (B&W, 1961)

-Santa Sangre
Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky (Color, 1989)
[speaking about Jeremy and Frances the Mute] "This album is our gift to him; it's our version of a New Orleans-Jazz-funeral. Like that procession for the dead circus-elephant in "Santa Sangre": beautiful, with dancers and clowns. A celebration, basically." - Cedric

-Another State of Mind
Directed by Adam Small and Peter Stuart (Color, Documentary, 1984)
"I saw that movie as a young kid and I argued with my parents for a long time and said that's what I want to do. And they would say 'but they don't get paid anything' but I said, 'I don't know what it is about it, but I want to do that and I don't mind if I have to quit my job and come back to another job that won't hire me again.'" - Cedric

-Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me
[essentially talking about the idea of returning to things that one previously dismissed] "When I first watched "Fire Walk With Me," it's one of the simplest things that I didn't understand at first. When Laura Palmer goes into her room and finds Bob in the room, and she runs out and she's sitting there crying and then her father leaves the house - to me, at the time, I was fifteen, it didn't make sense. I'm like, 'Why did the dad come out? I thought Bob was the one!' You watch it years later and you're like, 'Oh, she was raped as a child, she's replaced her father with this imaginary person Bob...' Things don't have to make sense right away." - Omar

-El Topo
Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky (Color, 1970)
"In El Topo, when he gets to the village where all the people have been killed and you hear the crazy sounds of the vultures but you don't see vultures - but you hear that. Those types of feelings are really inspiring." - Omar

-The Holy Mountain
Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky (Color, 1973)
"In the movie, one character in the movie teaches the other how to turn shit into gold and at the end of the movie, what they're looking for in the journey, actually ends up being him pointing towards the camera going, 'Look, it's just a movie!' And the jokes on you...It's a really deep movie with all these parallels going on, so many layers, so much philosophy, metaphors and at the end, it backs up and shows the crew filming the actors. And he's laughing at you. That's great..." - Cedric

-Fando y Lis
Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky (B&W, 1967)

-The Man Who Fell to Earth
Directed by Nicolas Roeg (Color, 1976)

-The Wicker Man
Directed by Robin Hardy (Color, 1973)
"I've always been fascinated by cinema that begins from the darkest roots of the human being. One of the movies that directly inspired Frances the Mute is "The Wicker Man" by Robin Hardy, both for the music and for the images that made it nearly legendary. Add the fact that the protagonist is Christopher Lee, my favorite actor together with Gary Oldman..." - Cedric

Directed by David Lynch (B&W, 1977)

-Nuestra Cosa / Our Latin Thing (1970s - more info needed)

-Fania All-Stars Live in Africa (now referred to as "Celia Cruz Live in Africa)

Directed by Takashi Miike (Color, 2003)
"It's like a Lynch movie, there are these moments that test your patience but when something happens, it really happens. It stays with you for such a long time and it's really unnerving. I like stuff like that - I love stuff that just shakes things by the foundation." - Cedric

-Simon, King of the Witches
Directed by Bruce Kessler (Color, 1971)
Additional Info: The tagline of the movie, ("The Evil Spirit Must Choose Evil..."), appears on this TMV t-shirt. I assume the image is related to the film, as well.

Cedric's earliest memory of when music was his life, "unfortunately," was watching Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park on television on Halloween Night.

Thanks to Cybrid, Frank the Tank, Kitt, Diana, Soul 2 Squeeze, CAMiasm, and a host of others who have contributed to this thread, via PM or otherwise.

#7 Stalktheground11


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Posted 25 April 2005 - 02:26 AM


Since it's a bitch to edit my initial, lengthy post, I'm going to continue listing here:

-Lee "Scratch" Perry
Additional Info: Cedric has quoted Perry's "Soul Fire" during live shows ("We ain't got no water!").

-Roberto Roena (see also Fania All-Stars)
Additional Info: When Omar stopped by Atlanta's 99x radio, he played a Roena track, "Te Mantengo y No Me Quieres." He and Cedric also played the same track when they visited Austin's 101X and Chicago's Q101.

-Get in the Van by Henry Rollins

-The Minutemen

-The Soft Machine
Additional Info: When Cedric and Omar visited 101X in Austin, they played the song "Hibou, Anemone and Bear" from The Soft Machine's Volume Two.

-A Tribe Called Quest
Additional Info: When Cedric and Omar visited 94.9 FM in San Diego, they requested "The Infamous Date Rape" [from The Low End Theory] for their playlist.

-The Black Heart Procession

-Elijah P. Lovejoy

-Black Elf Speaks
Additional Info: When Cedric and Omar visited Austin's 101X and Chicago's Q101, they played the song "Creation Story."

-Peaches and Cream
"Peaches and Cream...a little unknown band, from a little town...little people, lotta heart." - Jon (on GTFU Radio)

"I love Hawkwind just like the next scraggly-haired, scruffy kid who smokes pot does...but if we start thinking of ourselves as a 'Prog Rock' band, I mean, we'll just die a premature death." - Cedric

-The Grateful Dead
"We love Hawkwind and the Grateful Dead so much. Their fans are willing to give themselves unconditionally to what happens during the 2 hours of their concerts. Those people create enjoyment in band that create in themselves. That's a kind of musical masturbation we would like." - Omar
[talking about Scabdates] "Usually the way improv is for us, you start off with a theme, you get lost, and then you come back to the theme...Like the first studio album by Grateful Dead, Anthem of the Sun. You're listening to one song, you think you're in a studio and then suddenly in both speakers you have two different live versions of the same song. There's a lot of inspiration from that album on that, at least the way I see it. It was our punk-rock version of Anthem of the Sun!" - Cedric

-Hunter S. Thompson

-Captain Beefheart

-Black Flag
"...Before that, music in English always sounded like a novelty - very much like how music in Spanish sounds like a novelty to most people - something funny and cute to me, and then I heard Black Flag and it just completely changed my perspective on what I wanted to be doing." - Omar
Additional Info: When Cedric and Omar visited 94.9 FM in San Diego, they requested "Jealous Again" [on various Black Flag recordings (Live '84, Jealous Again EP, etc.)].

-Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins


-Los Lobos
Additional Info: On July 31st 2005, at the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan, Omar and Adrian played with Los Lobos on the song "Mas y Mas" and a brief intro to "La Bamba."

-Caetano Veloso

-Latin Playboys

-El Camaron de la Isla

-Silvio Rodriguez

-Eddie Palmieri

-Grant Morrison
"We love comic books and he's a brilliant Scottish comic writer. He wrote some of the new, revisionist Batman books and came out with The Invisibles." - Cedric

-Frederick Douglass
"He's credited as the first black man to read and write. He was hugely important in the anti-slavery movement in 19th century America." - Omar

Additional Info: When Omar stopped by 99x radio in Atlanta, he played Dillinger's "Cocaine in My Brain" from the album C.B. 200.

-The Butthole Surfers
"I think they were the Lenny Bruce of their time." - Cedric

"...When they started off, I thought they were a great subversive weapon. Their first album Locust Abortion Technician was a great example of Texas's way of playing punk-rock music." - Cedric

Additional Info: The guys in the band reportedly favor the Butthole Surfers' first couple of albums above others (specifically, Locust Abortion Technician). Also, when Omar visited Atlanta's 99x radio, he played the song "Kuntz" from the same aforesaid album. When Cedric and Omar visited 101X in Austin, they played "Moving to Florida" from Rembrandt Pussyhorse.

-The Germs

-Eddie Bo
Additional Info: When Cedric and Omar stopped by Austin's 101X, they played "Eddie's Rubber Band" from The Hook & Sling.

-Gang of Four

"They seem to be one of those bands that make people cringe when you mention them so I embrace that." - Cedric
Additional Info: When Cedric and Omar stopped by Austin's 101X, they played "Chainstore Chant/Pretty Miss Titty" from Gong's Magick Brother.

-Throbbing Gristle
[talking about anxiety-inducing music] Their music to me is like that. I don't understand the 'how,' 'why' or 'what,' but some of the lasting impression is scary." - Cedric
"'Persuasion' is a great song. The cover picture [of 20 Jazz Funk Greats] fools you into thinking Walt Disney but it's more like Jim Jones. It's not so cheery when you know that that cliff is the suicide spot." - Cedric

-Marc Ribot

-Andre Williams
Additional Info: When Omar stopped by Atlanta's 99x Radio (and at Chicago's Q101 with Cedric), he played the song "Bacon Fat."


-Tony Allen (see also Fela Kuti)
"To me Black Voices is - if you listen to that album, you hear a lot of what house, techno, drum n bass came from - but they were actually playing with instruments and it has the afro-beat style of funk but there are so many effects on it - it's an album from the seventies or eighties, but it sounds like an album from 2001..." - Cedric

-Jaga Jazzist
"I'm really fond of this band called Jaga Jazzist. They're a live drum'n'bass group from Norway. It's more on the electronic sounding and on the dancier side of things but its all people really playing. On the new record, there are up to ten people listed on as contributing. A full orchestra of people playing that normally are just sampled or brought in for sessions, you know? I'm really into things that make me wanna dance...so when I heard it, it was really exciting. I signed it to my label in the States, Gold Standard Laboratories, although it comes out through Ninja Tune over here... What's my favourite song? I don't ever have a favorite song of a group, especially a band like this. You really should check them out." - Omar

-Tom Waits
Additional Info: During the band's show in Cologne on 3/3/05 at 16:20 (Track 1), Cedric says, "Hang on, St. Christopher" during Drunkship. "Hang on St. Christopher" is a track (technically, two tracks) off of Tom Waits' album Frank's Wild Years. Also, when Omar stopped by Atlanta's 99x radio, he played "Diamonds and Gold" from the Rain Dogs album. He and Cedric also played the same track during a visit to Austin's 101X.

Also, if you'd like to be greatly amused, check this thread out.

-Betty Davis

-Frank Zappa
Additional Info: Jon played the song "Peaches En Regalia" from Zappa's Hot Rats album during one of his GTFU Radio appearances.
"Zappa was a true master, I'll never get close to that. His knowledge of the finger board's geography was so immense, he must have been able to turn it off while he was playing a solo. You don't hear that he knows what he's doing, but he does - that's what's so amazing about Zappa's guitar-playing. That's where I'm trying to head to." - Omar

Additional Info: Jon played a Rush track during one of his GTFU Radio appearances.

Also, Neil Peart had this to say: "There's and American band called the Mars Volta. Again, they're getting away with it, these guys. It's so great to hear. Their music has sophistication and energy. You know, I was talking before about those qualities that we grew up with, that wild abandon of rock music, but at the same time wanting it to be more sophisticated both as a musician and a songwriter, and the lyrics, all that stuff, is up to every modern standard possible. It's absolutely free, uncomprimising music. Yes, it still exists. These guys have records out."

Additional Info: Jon played a Meshuggah track during one of his GTFU Radio Appearances.

-ZZ Top
Additional Info: Cedric mentioned that he (and Jon) specifically like ZZ Top's older albums and on vinyl, no less (the remastered drums apparently sound like shit). Jon also played some ZZ Top tracks during one of his GTFU Radio appearances.

"Genesis was so extreme live and it really blows my mind that someone like Phil Collins could've been rocking some great drums before he started singing. [laughs]" - Cedric

Additional Info: Jon played the song "Never in My Life" from Mountain's Climbing! album during one of his GTFU radio appearances, remarking, "This is as bad as it gets...it's drum school right here."

Additional Info: Jon played the song "Heart of the Sunrise" off of the Yes album Fragile during one of his GTFU Radio appearances.
"Things like Rick Wakeman - he's great. Super awesome at his instrument, but I think he's one of the fundamental enemies that made it so unappealing to people when he's doing 'Excaliber on Ice'. At the same time, I love Yes too, you know." - Cedric

Conversely, Rick Wakeman had the following to say: "The music is off the wall, and the first time I heard it, I thought, 'What the hell is this?' On the third hearing, however, I thought, 'This is clever stuff. If they can transfer what they do on record to stage, it could be amazing.'"

Additional Info: Jon played the song "Slobtronic" from Phantomsmasher's self-titled debut during one of his GTFU Radio Appearances.

-Van Der Graaf Generator


[when asked about his favorite P-funk Song] "It's hard to pick one. One that wakes me up and makes me feel good is 'Standing on the Verge of Getting It On' [from the Funkadelic album of the same name]." - Omar

-Pier Paolo Pasolini

-Luchino Visconti

-Sergey Rachmaninov

-Karlheinz Stockhausen

-Rudimentary Peni

Omar has also stated that he listens to Vietnamese instrumentals/folk while the band is on tour. Still, he hasn't named any specific musicians or albums, but here's a website to get you started, if you are interested in learning more.

#8 Stalktheground11


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Posted 25 April 2005 - 02:28 AM

Here are a couple of telling pieces from interviews with the band:

"There are things that are happening around us that make us feel electric. And those things, you know, we kind of bring them a little closer - like you hear a new Richard James (Aphex Twin) album or you hear a new Bjork album. Or when you hear Lightning Bolt or Black Elf Speaks or anything from the Stones Throw label. You start hearing certain things and you bring them around you and you want to be aware of them, but you don't what it to be the only thing you look at...If you let it be around, it becomes an influence. If you're just looking at it like, 'I want to be that,' then you're going to be that and you're stuck in a corner...We want to own our influence, but we don't want to be owned by it." - Cedric and Omar


SXP - So would you then say you're attached to any particular scene, whether old or new?
"Not really. But I tend to buy a lot of older stuff all the time, but there are newer things that I like. There's a band called Lightning Bolt and uhhh...Black Dice and Rhythm of Black Lines and things like that. There's these two kids that used to be in At The Drive-In like a long time ago and they have a new band called Crime and Choir and it reminds me of the happy kind of marimba parts in Zappa songs and something else put together. Jean-Luc Ponty (Ponte) or something. It's really interesting because I've seen them grow up and play that kind of music and they're a really interesting band right now. But we usually buy a lot of older stuff all the time." - Cedric

"I think there are bands who are coming up that are a lot more indulgent. Black Dice, Lightning Bolt, The Black Heart Procession. That is, to me, the most subversive stuff out there right now. There's going to be a lot more bands taking the influence of Sonic Youth's more ambient side and I think going to a gig in the future is going to be a lot more interesting." -Cedric

Oor: When was the first time you completely lost yourself in music?
"That was in our teens with King Crimson and Velvet Underground records. That's when I learned what it was to completely give youself to the music. To listen so intensely and completely cut yourself off from the outside world. Julio and Jeremy let us listen to that kind of music. We were still the punk kids, who only listened to really fast punkrock. Julio and Jeremy would say, 'Sit still for once and listen to this.'"- Cedric

Dutch Radio: Does music sometimes make you cry?
"Yeah definitely. Jeez, lots of records can do that. Kate Bush records. Talk Talk records...because you get moved by them...The last one they did, where they did a complete turnaround musically - Laughing Stock - it's a good rainy day album. I think a person in the band was getting a major divorce and you can hear it in the album. I was attracted to it to it cause the guy who told us about it told us that they recorded it with candles and stuff and it was real dark album for them and the label hated it. So instantly I was attracted to it...It's a big downer, but you know, downer music is good, though, too." - Cedric

[on the song "The Widow"]
"And it fits well. It reminds me of our version of "House on the Rising Sun". I think we've always been into The Animals; where it's definitely on the radio but it's dark and it's not played that often." - Cedric


"...So that [The Beatles] was my introduction to rock music, and I didn't really start getting into it until I moved to El Paso and got into skateboarding and heard Black Flag, The Misfits, Metallica, Kiss, the Dead Kennedys...all that stuff. That completely changed my whole perspective, because I never took any other music sung in English seriously. But when I heard those bands, their music spoke to me the way salsa did. It gave me the exact same feeling, the same fire inside." - Omar (taken from the February issue of Guitar World)

Guitar World: Were you ever into the shredders, guys like Yngwie Malmsteen?
"No, not at all. In fact, for a long time, I really opposed the idea of guitar solos. The one exception was [Black Flag's] Greg Ginn. His leads always seemed more impressionistic and completely from the heart. To tell you the truth, my biggest influence as a guitar player is the piano player Larry Harlow (see above). In the seventies, he and Charlie Palmieri were at the forefront of salsa's changing sound, incorporating jazz and electric elements into the music. That is the sound that is in my blood and that I hear in my mother's stomach." - Omar (taken from the February issue of Guitar World)

Oor: Losing yourself in the music, going into trance. Aren't you afraid people will think you're a bunch of old-fashioned hippies?
C: "No, because it think that people can hear our punk roots in the music. And we're not standing arms-crossed on the staged waiting for everyone to go into trance, we shake them up thoroughly every now and then.'
O: "Plus, I think that the concept we are talking about goes beyond the sixties and seventies. I can't imagine that Mozart or Beethoven didn't lose themselves in their music like we did. Same is undoubtedly true for DJ Shadow or Roni Size, they surrender to their total madness when they make music. This isn't limited to a certain era. It's been there since the dawn of times. And it speaks to anyone that is interested in the true power of music, people that see music as a soul, an energy with which people can work. And that's certainly not tied to a decade from the existence of mankind." - Omar

Rolling Stone: What was the last mixtape you made, and who did you give it to?
"I made a mixtape for my girlfriend's brother - he only listens to a certain style of music. So I probably opened the the tape with something heavier like "Jealous Again" by Black Flag Then I threw all sorts of stuff on there - the first track of Alice Coltrane's record, Journey in Satchidananda and some music from Vietnam and a lot of Augustus Pablo and a couple of salsa things. Definitely a lot of Funkadelic and Parliament." - Omar

"I don't really know what's happening in the mainstream world...I know the bands that I follow...like The Locust from San Diego or Le Tigre from New York...The Chromatics from Seattle, Subtitle - a hip-hop artist out of LA..." - Omar

The next three quotes were translated from a Norwegian magazine's interview with Omar...

You can't deny that you're influenced by Robert Fripp and King Crimson, right?
""No, of course not! I make no attempt to hide my affection for Fripps work.
I grew up listening to salsa. I knew no music outside of that, so when I heard Black Flag after I had moved between states, I had to re-evaluate everything I thought I knew about music. It lit my heart on fire and I became more certain of my decision of becoming a musician. Four years later, I was introduced to King Crimson and again everything collapsed, but in a constructive way. Many of my friends that liked Black Flag and such hated King Crimson. It was a big mystery to me. Still I don't see Black Flag as diagonal opposites. To me, it's very logical that a Black Flag- fan would also like King Crimson. I feel that Robert Fripp sounds like the Black Flag guitarist if the latter had practiced 11 hours a day. Fripp made the most beautiful notes that I had heard, and he couldn't have been introduced to me at a better time in my life. I had already opened my mind for a marriage between jazz and salsa and found a big Puerto Rico-environment in New York that made it. As soon as someone discovers jazz, it will influence their approach irrespective of which style or band the person concerned contributes to. It can't be denied that Robert Fripp was into jazz throughout his career or the blue notes. The major-scales and euphoric stadium-rock choruses have never appealed to me so when I got familiar with King Crimson's music it was like getting a taste of heaven." - Omar

[when asked about the song "Cassandra Gemini"]
Ever since I was a teenager, and had various listening experiences with the likes of King Crimson, John Coltrane, and Miles Davis's "Bitches Brew", I've always wanted to do something like "Cassandra". Something deformed and out of control. Something enormous and violent, a whole album fitted into one composition. Something ruthless that no one can remain careless to." - Omar

[when asked about the song "Miranda, That Ghost Isn't Holy Anymore"]
I think we nailed it quite well, though. It is a gorgeous song, that branches to certain western-composers. I'm a big fan of spaghetti-western and I think it shows on "Miranda". Our Morricone-influence has always been there, but on "Miranda" we let it all out. The last song [Non-Zero Possibility] on the last At the Drive-In album, the best thing we ever did by the way, had touches of spaghetti-western." - Omar

On punk rock...
Oor: Do you have a hate-love relation with punk?
"Not with the ethics behind it, but with the punk rock idiom that has been cultivated through the years. When I was in high school, I had a mohawk too, and I wore the right clothes. But slowly I discovered the people that were the most punk didn't look like me at all. That punk attitude was on the inside. They looked normal but went to the same shows I did. They pointed out bands to me that I though were great. Then I realized I didn't have to dress like that, and how ridiculous it really was. When the Sex Pistols came in 1977 everyone said: Okay, so this is punk, this is how it sounds and looks like. But that look was only created so Malcolm McLaren could sell the clothes in his store. And John Lydon developed in PiL, he didn't get stuck in that music. Dub, krautrock and Vietnamese folk for my part, are just as punk as the Sex Pistols in 1977." - Omar
..."The punk-idea goes beyond any form of image of music. Fela Kuti who announces his house in Nigeria as an independant republic is more punk to me then any band on the Warped tour can ever be. Green Day, The Libertines, The Distillers, that's not punk to me, that's outfitmusic. It's fun if you're 12 or 13 and you want to develope your own identity, but at a certain moment you'll have to move on. If you're thirty and still play the same tunes, use the same eyeliner and still put the same band stickers on your guitar, you're not punk anymore, you're one of those old dinosaurs the punks rebelled against in the first place." - Cedric


MGW: Which drummers have most directly influenced your playing style with The Mars Volta?
"After Billy [Cobham], I'd have to say John Bonham [Led Zeppelin] because I try to play with as much bombast as I possibly can. I also feel it's important to mention that a lot of my contemporaries are a very serious source of inspiration. Some of these guys include Sebastien Thomsen from Trans Am, Tim Soete from The Fucking Champs, Doug Scharin from June of '44, Chris Forrey, who I jam with all the time and a heavyweight jazz guy named Neil Smith. Then I have to add Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste from The Meters, Mitchell Feldstein from Lung Fish, Damon Che from Don Caballero, Dale Crover from The Melvins, John Herndon of Tortoise, and Ryan Rapsys of Euphone. Without any of these cats, I wouldn't be playing the way I play today." - Jon

"Plus, I get inspiration from listening to bands who jam -- like the Allman Brothers or any jazz band or combo, like Elvin (see above) and John Coltrane –- where it's constantly shifting and constantly dynamic." - Jon

Jon was featured on the cover of Modern Drummer's June '05 issue and one portion of the article listed some of his favorite albums (with an emphasis on drummers):

- Bembeya Jazz National - Authenticite 1973
Drummer: Conde Mory Mangala
- Bastro - Sing the Troubled Beast
Drummer: John McEntire
- Don Caballero - Don Caballero 2
Drummer: Damon Che
- John Coltrane - Live at Birdland
Drummer: Elvin Jones
- Rush - Hemispheres
Drummer: Neil Peart
- Led Zeppelin - Presence
Drummer: John Bonham
- Tony Williams Lifetime - Believe It!
Drummer: Tony Williams
- Mahavishnu Orchestra - Birds of Fire
Drummer: Billy Cobham
- The Who - Live at Leeds
Drummer: Keith Moon
- Azor Racine - Mapou
Drummer: Azor
- King Crimson - Red
Drummer: Bill Bruford
- The Melvins - Lysol
Drummer: Dale Crover
- Neil Young - On the Beach
Drummer: Levon Helm
- Black Sabbath - Volume 4
Drummer: Bill Ward
- James Brown - In the Jungle Groove
Drummer: Clyde Stubblefield
- Fela Anikupolo Kuti - Zombie
Drummer: Tony Allen
- Mastodon - Leviathan
Drummer: Brann Dailor
- Dr. John - Desitively Bonnaroo
Drummer: Zigaboo Modeliste
- Phantomsmasher - Phantomsmasher
Drummer: Dave Witte
- Jimi Hendrix - Band of Gypsys, Axis: Bold as Love
Drummer (respectively): Buddy Miles, Mitch Mitchell
- The Jesus Lizard - Head
Drummer: Mac McNeilly

Modern Drummer: At times your drumming recalls Billy Cobham and The Mahavishnu Orchestra. How did you raise your bar to that level? What did you practice?
"By the time I was hip to Mahavishnu Orchestra, I was already out playing. When I first started, I was playing along to Led Zeppelin and Rush records...But I didn't get really hip to Billy until the end of high school...so when I got into him on Inner Mounting Flame, Spectrum, and Birds of Fire, I was already capable of dropping any sort of preconceived context or notion for anything...It was an idyllic blossoming that allowed me to embrace everything from Elvin Jones and Billy Cobham to Neil Young. It allowed me to derive inspiration from things that weren't just a guy in the magazine with a specific set of drums or cymbals. It became much more cosmic..." - Jon

"I started listening to heavy, simplified music like The Jesus Lizard, Bad Brains, and The Melvins. The drumming was powerful. You couldn't play that hard if you were using proper technique." - Jon

[Jon talking about Led Zeppelin's drummer, Jon Bonham]
"I love everything he played. He had one of the best feels in the history of rock. The fills in the middle of "L'Via L'Viaquez" are fully John Bonham-inspired. And for the second track on the album, "The Widow," I kept thinking about "Since I've Been Loving You" [the fourth track off of Led Zeppelin III]. I wanted to make it sound heavy without sounding like I was in some nu-metal band." - Jon

(Juan's quotes are taken from the terrific Bass Player magazine article, scanned by the lovely Dr. Fong, and now up on the official site in the press section.)

"I can't stop listening to this record [John Coltrane's Om] It makes my heart beat faster. What I would give to have seen him in this era...I've also been listening to a lot of jazz pianist Cecil Taylor. His compositions give me the same feeling I had when I first heard Frank Zappa's music. It's like listening to someone who speaks a different language, yet you understand...Eddie Palmieri and Fela Kuti are two musicians we listen to backstage before we perform; their music inspires us and connects us. I would feel odd if I didn't listen to them each night before we go on." - Juan

"...So I'm being exposed to all sorts of stuff. Omar and Cedric are huge dub fans, and Jon has introduced me to all sorts of music from the Haiti area - plus, he's really into avante-jazz guitarist Sonny Sharrock. And Neil Young - I just never got into him until Jon played me the right cuts, in the right environment, and it was like a lightbulb going on..." - Juan

BP: Who else do you listen to for inspiration?
"John Paul Jones, for sure. James Jamerson, absolutely. And Steve Evans. He plays with slide guitarist Roy Rogers, and he produced several of John Lee Hooker's records. I took lessons from him for years. He really pushed me in all the right ways. He's a sick, sick bass player, he's heavy into Delta blues, and he's in the clubs every night. And there's Paul Farnen, an instructor from my Musicians Institute days. He's one of those guys who can listen to anything and completely break it down. Coltrane? No problem. All these guys made me a better bass player." - Juan

Juan Alderete on the influence of hip-hop on his bassplaying...
From Bass Guitar Magazine

When I first heard hip-hop in the early Eighties, I found it to be compelling and wanted to incorporate it into my playing. I knew this music was going to have a big impact on popular music, but back then I couldn't have fully realized what a huge influence it was going to have on my bass playing. More than any other influence since Jaco Pastorius, the basslines I heard on early hip-hop records had an impact on how I played and thought about the bass. I bought as many hip-hop records as I could afford, from the days of the early East Coast pioneers to the West Coast explosion, but during 1992 and 1993, one record never left my deck, and that was Dr. Dre's The Chronic.


"Peepshot is the real deal—simple, heartfelt rock & roll, delivered without pretense and played by four men who can all handle their instruments..." - Ikey

-Mos Def
"Everything about this album [Black on Both Sides] is amazing. What other rapper has a song about the politics of water and its impact on world economics? Listening to Mos Def makes me very proud to be young, black and a part of the hip-hop nation. Every time the 40-year-old white guys in my office talk about all the stupid stuff they read in the news about Snoop and Puffy, I just want to lock them in a room and blast Black on Both Sides. Mos Def is the Gil Scott-Heron of our generation." - Ikey

Later, after Mos Def released his "New Danger" album, this is what Ikey had to say:
"I think all that stuff is well-intentioned, and I'm glad he's doing it, and I'm glad he's bringing attention to it, but it's not gonna' work...You can't just reclaim something if you don't really, really know about it. A lot of people who are into hip-hop have really rudimentary knowledge of rock music. In the dealings I've had with DJs and MCs, they know rock, but they don't know it know it. They know the big stuff-they know Hendrix, they know Zeppelin, they know some of The Beatles, but they don't know The Byrds or Can..."

-Tom Petty
[Talking about Petty's Echo album) "It’s funny how everyone is talking about the ’80s. All they think about from that era are A Flock of Seagulls and all those really bad one-hit wonders. But what about Tom Petty? His latest album is amazing. It’s full of floaty guitars and perfectly understated keyboards. I was spinning at a party in Eagle Rock a while back, and I slipped in a couple of Petty tracks from this album between UNKLE and Portishead, and it fit great. It’s so ambient, but it still rocks." - Ikey

-TV on the Radio
"The savior of black rock music right now is TV on the Radio. Do you want to know what black rock should be like? That's what black rock should sound like to me. They're the most amazing thing I've heard in a long time..." - Ikey

-The Brand New Heavies
[talking about his album "Black is the New Black"] "As far as the sound of it-there's this Brand New Heavies record called Heavy Rhyme Experiment...it sounds like hip-hop but it's raw and I basically set out to make a record like that, but sadder and dirtier sounding. It's not so clean..." - Ikey

Ikey, continued...

"...That's kind of what I'm after: my version of what I think soul music is. I'm a big fan of The Roots, and Erykah Badu and Jill Scott and all that stuff, but it gets a little boring. It's really clean production-wise. I wanted to make a record like that, but I wanted to make it weird. That stuff, you can listen to it, it's like, 'Okay. It's a nice song on the CD and I'm hearing Rhodes, upright bass and drums again.' They all sound like elevator music to me. So I wanted to make a record like that, but it has some balls, some guts and some feeling-that wasn't perfect."

The quotes from Ikey are taken from either this or this article.

Cedric and Omar hosted an episode of "The Wedge" on MuchMusic, where they played videos of their choice, presumably from artists they enjoy. Here's the transcript.

Jon also appeared on Get The Fuck Up Radio (LA) four times during the summer of 2004. During his stay, he played numerous tracks, which are currently being compiled in this thread. If you remember the titles of some of the songs he played, feel free to add them to the thread.

#9 Stalktheground11


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Posted 02 May 2005 - 10:52 AM

Many thanks to Diana for finding and translating these resources from French.

Biography (taken from this site):

Racine Mapou de Azor

The Haitian traditional music, majorly consisting of african heritage, is mostly present in the rural areas, where it's interpreted by amateur musicians grouped around voodoo temples. However, after several years, carried on by the rasin movement, that preaches a return to the African side of the Haitian roots, it is also present on stage thanks to professional groups, of which the most popular is undoubtedly the band "Racine Mapou de Azor".

"Racine Mapou de Azor" is led by Lénord Fortuné, "Azor", singer and drummer who was part of numerous bands, of konpa (such as "SS One" and "Scorpio") or of folklore (the band "Bakoulou"), before joining the band "Racine Kanga de Wawa". It's this band, led by Jacques Maurice Fortéré, "Wawa", the one that started to play voodoo music in concerts: with him, voodoo music went from the hounfort (voodoo temple) straight to the stage. It then started to get out of its marginalization and to become openly understood to the whole country, taking great advantage of modern means of broadcasting (disk, radio, television). It probably gained a form of recognition with this: the rasin bands take now part of the Port-au-Prince Carnival where they proudly march as part of the whole Haitian music scene. Thus, the success gained by the "Racine Mapou de Azor" band, partly represents the standardization of voodoo, through its music, its recognition as a culture and the acceptance of the African and paesant side of the Haitian identity.

Accordingly, the members of the group, who all admit of being voodoo practicians, specifically enter the tradition and symbolic universe of voodoo, to which the name of the band makes refference. They aspire to keep the contact with the roots of tradition and of sacredness, with the image of mapou, sacred tree of voodoo, with imposing roots, considered to shelter spirits.

Musically, with chants and percussions, bass drums and congas, "Racine Mapou de Azor" interprets pure traditional rasin music, meaning without modern setups or electric instruments (whereas the other tendency of the rasin musicians gladly adopts the rock rhythms and their instrumentation). Marked by the dynamic beat of the drums of rada, petro or even rara inspiration - hardly sustained at a ???boîte??? rhythm, the powerful voice of Azor, with the characteristic tone of a voodoo priest, assisted by a choir of women, celebrates the voodoo objects, chants the connection to the roots or comments the episodes of the political life and other artistic topics.

After nine years of existence, seven recorded albums, several tours abroad (out of which, nine to Japan) and a documentary movie ("Haiti, beating heart" by Carl Lafontant), the "Racine Mapou de Azor" band succeeds to preserve the authenticity of the traditional music, while resorting to the modern means of broadcasting, which allow it to subscribe to the professional musical scene of Haiti, and to compete with the music present nowadays.

Partial Discography:
Kreyol Jazz in Japan (with Eddy Prophète), Minirecords, 2000
Haitian Spiritual wind : Azor and Harold Faustin
Samba Move #1 to 3, Geronimo Records
Live Samba Move #4 to 7, Geronimo Records

Lineup of the band on stage:
Ronine FAUSTIN : choir
François FORTUNE : bass drums
Lemour FORTUNE : bass drums
Lenord FORTUNE : vocals, drums
Rose-Manie FORTUNE : choir
Augustine FORTUNE-MASSENAT : choir
Elius OZIUS : bass drums
Yvrose PREVILUS : choir
Jérôme SIMEON : drums
Ludner TOUSSAINT : drums

There are also two brief reviews containing biographical snippets of Azor (1 and 2).

#10 Stalktheground11


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Posted 13 May 2005 - 05:28 AM



Big Cheese: So, which bands do you consider to be your musical peers?
"MF Doom, Dudley Perkins. Most of the stuff off the Stones Throw label. It's supposed to be a hip-hop label but it's so obviously anti- that formula, which is a great concept in itself." - Cedric

Later in the article, when talking about the failure of At the Drive-In's Relationship of Command album...
"...To us it's a failure because out of all the stuff that was around at the time, Brainiac, Trans Am, what might be considered our musical peers and bands we could have toured with, those bands were doing stuff that we should have been excelling past and we never did." - Cedric

How do you feel about the Red Hot Chili Peppers? Do you feel influenced by them?
"Yeah, I think every young man who picked up a bass between the years 1986 and now was obviously influenced by Flea. And it’s kinda hard to escape their influence, they were always there. Plus, they were the one band that were kinda music heads. Y’know they would kinda seem to like….every interview I saw, apart from them acting crazy, they would always be throwing names like The Germs or John Coltrane and everything in between. And growing up I thought that was really cool because a lot of young people needed to hear things like that and they needed to look up to someone who was, as crazy as they were, and then have them telling them not just punk rock music is important, really all sorts of music are important. So, I think it..we just grew up with them, kind of…us kinda relating to them that way. So yeah, we are influenced by them." - Cedric

Later, Omar had this to say about meeting the Chili Peppers...

"It was much like meeting them on the street or a concert and than you start talking about music. I’ve never been a fan of the band. The fact is that when I first met John I didn’t realize that he was in the RHCP. I never listened to them before. So I’ve met him and it was pretty much like two artists, two musicians meeting each other. We met at a concert. We were both watching a band and than John came over to me and he goes 'Do you like this film? Do you like this book?' and I said, “Of course and I like this and I like that.' First we started talking about films than we got into books and then into music..." - Omar

When asked which female singer he would like to do a duet with, Cedric responded, "PJ Harvey or Kathleen Hanna."

When asked about two songs he wished he had written, Cedric said either Can's "Vitamin C" or The Sugarcubes' "Birthday."

On screaming...
"I think a classic example of someone who its taken a while to get my head around the vocals, and I love them as people and I love them as a band too are The Blood Brothers. They scream but they sing too in a very odd way. It reminds me of Antioch Arrow, but there's a little more soul to it - as in R&B soul. I like that style, I like what they're doing. It's taken me a while to get around it because I've been around so much screaming music that Blood Brothers came around and I was like, "Aggh... You know, I like them as people and I like them, but I can't listen to all this screaming stuff right now." But then I watched them play at this festival in your Europe they played with us and I understood it more while watching the whole set." - Cedric

Someone like VSS...Angel Hair had a really good screaming thing to it but it also had this PIL [Public Image Ltd.] influence to it - that jagged John Lydon thing - and I really liked that too. Something unnerving, something different...I'm not really into a lot of the hardcore music or a lot of screaming screaming stuff..." - Cedric

Talking about the influence of their previous major label involvement on their present situation...
"I think there are a lot of other bands that are involved in indie-rock, whether it be Don Caballero or Golden [one of Jon Theodore's previous band] or Trans Am or The [Fucking] Champs or Laddio Bolocko, which are not very well known because they split up early and they're just not that popular. But we've had the power of major labels and the cult of personality with people coming in from At the Drive-In...But I think anyone who's known us long enough have known that we've always been making music like this." - Cedric


"...We have little charms too, like a little matchbox with a picture of a man holding the earth that says 'el mundo' and it has little voodoo dolls with us on the inside..." - Omar :ol_cool:

"We're constantly doing other mediums. I think music is just what we're known for and that's what people have the most interest in...Our most obsessive fans probably notice small things like, with our other band De Facto, several of the covers of our albums have been my paintings...We're definitely involved in a world that's multi-layered with many different textures and colors, and music just happens to be the brightest one that people can perceive from a distance, like a light tower of some sort." - Omar

Mojo Issue 140 July 2005

Last Night A Record Change Me Life...


When you get into one particular style of music, you often buy an album because the cover looks a certain way, or because somebody else has recommended it to you. In 1989, at the age of 13 or 14, I was only listening to punk rock. I was into Crass, and  Rudimentary Peni was on the same label for a while, and the cover just stuck out for me. I bought it expecting a certain type of music and it completely blew my mind.

I'd already had Death Church (RP's 1983 debut), which had more of the elements of punk that I was used to. But when I got Cacaphony (Outer Himilayan, 1989), the lyrics and the different movements in it were a real surprise. I forget how many different songs there are; some of them are just verbal pieces. There was so much cut-up on that record I don't know where to begin. I relate it now to reading William Burroughs for the first time, or how hearing Frank Zappa's music makes me feel. But Cacophony was on a level that I could understand at that age. One of my favourite pieces had a sports announcer comentating on an Olympic even that involved a mass murderer, an amputated athlete and a nun. It lasted about a minute and goes, "Oh my God! The look of horror! The mass murderer is devouring the athlete and the nun is watching! This is a strange and perverse event."

And then it ends and the next song comes on, some heavy punk rock or whatever. There was one track called "The Old Man Is Not So Terribly Misanthropic," and that's all it said, over and over again. There was another where [singer/guitarist Nick Blink] just goes, "I'm a little girl/I want out now, I want out now." When you look at the actual record, the grooves are so small - so many songs crunched into one movement. You could see that as a concept album or a 'prog' album if you want to, but people don't throw those words around in the punk rock scene. I think that's what really started opening my world up.

I had a lot of friends who didn't like that album. They'd complain that there weren't enough songs on it, or that it wasn't 'hardcore'. But I kept going back to those lyrics. Right after that I started getting into Captain Beefheart and eventually Frank Zappa. To me, Cacophony is totally comparable.

On what makes him emotional (and a brief, direct opinion on Sparta)...
Many things: traditional music of Russia, the folk songs of Iran and Iraq. The films of Kieslowski, Federico Fellini or Pier Paolo Pasolini (tu accent!), the paintings of Peter Carlo, Hieronymous Bosch, the writings of Carlos Castaneda, the paintings of Max Ernst, the revolutionary thinkers, Frederick Douglass, who was the first black man who thought himself to read and write. These are the things that really inspire me and just everyday life, the people around me – my family, my friends, my friendships, my enemies, my hate, my love. Things that are strong and have no apologies.
Sparta to me is like most pop groups. It sounds like someone who’s kissing ass and apologize all the time. Everything there has to be pretty. For me life is not so pretty. There’s lots of dark sides about life. I need the dark things so I know what the light is. There has to be a perfect balance. There has to be murder and has to be healing. And it’s all beautiful and it’s all connected." - Omar

Cedric and Omar were asked by Musikexpress (a German magazine) to talk about some of their favorite albums...

Pink Floyd - Piper at the Gates of Dawn

OMAR: A classic. Our tour manager, he only knows about the newer Pink Floyd stuff, and he dropped in recently while we were listeng to the original mono-mix of this record. He said, "What the hell's that supposed to be?"
The original cast with Syd Barrett influenced a whole lot of bands but never got appreciated for that. This record influenced Sonic Youth, Radiohead...

CEDRIC: ... even Blur

OMAR: They had pop-songs, weird improvisations, radio frequency interferences. A 'FUCK YOU' to all purists. A great record for escaping into some parallel universe. Mature but somehow childish. The Brainiac guys surely had a listen to it...

Brainiac - Electro-Shock for President

CEDRIC: Without this record there wouldn't be that many electronic-new wave bands nowadays.

So The Bravery listened to Brainiac?

CEDRIC: Don't know about them. But nearly every band is indebted to Brainiac: Blood Brothers, The Locust, At the Drive-In. Also The Faint owe them a lot, and they wouldn't be afriad to admit that. Nobody could ever claim to be the first doing something. We weren't the first doing the music we do as well.

Brainiac were at least the first to have this certain Devo-thing - even though it's not that, obviously: absurd vocals, heavy synths, samples of dogs and trains. All the electronic stuff on this album was done by Steve Albini and Jim O'Rourke. Brainiac recorded only three albums because the singer died in a crashed car. It's like a dark secret you can discover...

Public Image Ltd. - The Flowers of Romance

CEDRIC: This was the real materialization of punk rock. It's very inspiring that Johnny Rotten didn't just make 'Sex Pistols, Part 2.' You learn something from it. And anyway: one should listen to some PIL-records real close and not just rip them off. So many people are simply stealing from their first album. Anyone can make up some disco-beat, get an electro-clash-hairdo and then try to convince journalists that he's the new hot shit. What a load of rubbish..,There's a reason why Johnny Rotten decided to make disco those days: it was the most uncool thing you could imagine at that time. But he knew when to stop. He developed it, and "The Flowers of Romance" shows that. I'd wish some of those fucking New York bands would get influenced by this record. This is the sound of really dark band.

Butthole Surfers - Rembrandt Pussyhorse

CEDRIC: Ths is the American answer to "The Flowers of Romance". This is what was happening if you're from around Texas. They used to be a really scary band you could annoy your parents with, but they were also very different. They crossed all those fucking borders which narrowed punk-music. Listen to 'Mark Says Alright' - Gibby Harris sounds like a Tyrannosaurus Rex. I never heard something like that before.

OMAR: This band used to be dangerous.

CEDRIC: Exactly. If they hadn't happened, the singer of Stone Temple Pilots wouldn't be able to fake that he invented singing through some megaphone. I especially enjoy this certain album cuz a lot ony funny memories are connected to it, when my friends asked me to turn this off. They couldn't stand it any longer.

Orchestra Harlow - Electric Harlow

OMAR: They made some records in the 70's during the hardcore salsa-movement.
I chose this piece because they also use electronic sounds. That was pretty unusual in salsa during those days. Furthermore, there aren't any ballads on it, also a rarity in 1972. There are only hardcore-jams and some of his [Harlow's] best piano and electric solos.

How did you get to know Orchestra Harlow?

CEDRIC: Omar's from Puerto Rico. It's quite common there. Polish people grow up with polka so you see what I mean?

OMAR: You cannot escape it. I learned playing guitar because of this very album. A great record for people who are interested in how salsa actually does sound. It's got nothing to do with that crap they play in restaurants or elevators.

So called world-music...

CEDRIC: Wolrd-music is some term like New Wave: journalists invented it for music that didn't fit in their pigeon-holes. World music sounds to me like some fatso in fucking sandals paying $25 for an import-cd thinking he bought a piece of purest Africa. 'World-music' is the worst name ever. It as shitty as 'Emo' or 'Hardcore.' With all respect due to Peter Gabriel, but not everone has got his lifestyle or financial circumstances. 'World-music' doesn't stand for Shantytown-music...It stands for the dirt under the poorest man's fingernails in Africa. If you say 'world-music,' you think of the people listening to it. A lot of great albums fail in this context. Some might say Fela Kuti is world-music ... for me it's the purest punk-rock.

Can - Monster Movie

CEDRIC: Everybody who's an intellect should listen to Can. Otherwise you don't know anything about your roots. Musicians who never listend to Can reading this, lack the knowledge of being part of a tradition that includes Can. All the roads lead to Can...

OMAR: Holger Czukay visited one of our shows recently. He liked it pretty much, and he was a pleasure to chat with afterwards. We recommend this record because it's a good starting-point. They made a lot of great records.

Herbie Hancock - Sextant

OMAR: 1972. Hancock's answer to Miles Davis' 'Bitches Brew'.

CEDRIC: Even the cover-artwork looks pretty much the same.

OMAR: An unbelievably intense record. They were breaking new grounds with the hard beat and electronic interludes 'Bitches Brew' would never have dared. If you already got all his early bop-stuff, this is what you should listen to next. Later on his music would become totally electronic, and this record is in between. He experimented with it and made electronic instruments more than just toys.

Some people might find it strenuous...

CEDRIC: Sure. What might sound experimental to some people is quite normal for us. This records sounds like man, machine and acoustic instruments shaking hands.

Throbbing Gristle - 20 Jazz Funk Greats

CEDRIC: Yeah. If you really want get your parents raging, this one's quite effective. Very ahead of the times. They were contemporaries of Kraftwerk, not just experimenting with electronics but with noise as well. Most of it is nowadays called industrial. For me, it's just frightening frenzy-music. We recently listened to it whilst watching a crap movie starring Tom Hanks. "The Green Mile." A real catastrophe. But without sound and with Throbbing Gristle playing over it, it became a fucking awesome movie. This music escorted us along way. When we recorded our last record, Genesis P. Orridge used live in our house. Half the house burned down and a lot of things hint at him being the culprit. Haha!

By the way, I don't see any resemblance to let's say, Nine Inch Nails. That's fashionable trivia compared to Throbbing Gristle. I mean, a whole lot of people claim to be good friends with Satan, but Throbbing Gristle is, in fact, Satan.

#11 Stalktheground11


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Posted 19 May 2005 - 07:50 PM


-The Sugarcubes (see also Bjork)
"Ever since I was in fifth or sixth grade, I've been a Sugarcubes fan..."
Additional Info: Cedric also quotes a song from The Sugarcubes during live shows ("Today was her birthday...")

-Oumou Sangare
Additional Info: Cedric and Omar hosted Krock2's "Hacked" and played "Ne Bi Fe" from Sangare's Oumou album.

-Ingmar Bergman

-De La Soul
Additional Info: Ikey initially met up with Omar and Cedric (mutually through a friend) at a De La Soul concert.

-The Misfits
Additional Info: Cedric quoted the song "Bullet" by The Misfits during the 2005 tour in support of System of a Down ("Texas is the reason the President is dead...").


-The 90 Day Men

-The Make-Up

-Morrissey (see also The Smiths)

-Sly and the Family Stone

-The Exploited
Additional Info: On 8/23/05, as special guests opening for System of a Down, Cedric dedicated "Drunkship of Lanterns" to The Exploited.


-Benchmont Tench

-Rainer Werner Fassbinder
"He has made so many films that, if I go easy on it, I'll have enough inspiration for another dozen albums." -Omar

-Berlin Alexanderplatz
Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Color, 1980)

-Herve Villechaize

-Takashi Miike

-Krzysztof Kieslowski

-Roman Polanski

-David Cronenberg

-Peter Sellers

-Blue Cheer

-Celia Cruz
Additional Info: Cedric dedicated one of the shows in South America (during late 2004) to Cruz.

-The Locust

-Kill Me Tomorrow

-Jeff Buckley

-Diamanda Galas

-Kathleen Hanna (see also Le Tigre)

-Ray Bradbury

-The Cranes

-Rhythm of Black Lines
"They're a three-piece...If you like The Meters and anything very epic and dreamy-sounding, they're a great band which should be up your alley." - Cedric

-Scratch Acid

-A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle
Additional Info: One of the backdrops displayed during The Mars Volta's 2005 tour in support of System of a Down features the same artwork that graces the old cover of L'Engle's book.

-The Big Boys

-Sergio Mendes and the Brasil '66

-The Eternals
Additional Info: When Omar and Cedric stopped by Chicago's Q101, they played "M.O.A.B." by The Eternals.

-Antony and the Johnsons
Additional Info: When Omar and Cedric stopped by Chicago's Q101, they played "Hope There's Someone" from the I Am a Bird Now album.

Additional Info: When Omar and Cedric stopped by Chicago's Q101, they played "Mr. Fingers" from Brainiac's Electro-Shock for President album.

-Thomas Pynchon

-Willem Dafoe

-Johnny Depp

-Alexander the Great

-Public Image Limited
"I think a band like PIL are classic examples of utilizing all the influences that weren't considered punk-rock yet they were a punk-band because they didn't "sound" like a mohawk or what regular punk bands did." - Cedric

-The Circle Jerks

"Someone like Radiohead always changes it up and they don't re-record OK Computer a million times. You know, they can rely on bands like Travis and Coldplay to do the 'nicer parts' of OK Computer for them and it's great to see people like Thom Yorke kind of sticking it to them. That's not their goal, I know, but it comes off that way and I appreciate it so much. It's great to have a diamond in the rough." - Cedric

Additional Info: When Omar and Cedric stopped by Chicago's Q101, they played "Hear the Children Sing" from Lungfish's Love is Love album.

-Angelo Badalamenti (see also David Lynch)

Marcel must like the Zelda series of video games , as seen here. :ol_cool:

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 05:59 AM

In December of 2005, The Mars Volta were given the chance to curate the All Tomorrow's Parties Festival at Camber Sands Holiday Camp, UK called "The Nightmare Before Christmas." The band put forth the following list of artists (who confirmed for the festival):

-The Kills
-Diamanda Galas
-The Eternals
-The Gris Gris
-Cinematic Orchestra
-Blonde Redhead
-Jaga Jazzist
-Weird War
-Damo Suzuki
-Jelly Planet
-High on Fire
-The Fucking Champs
-Les Savy Fav
-Michael Rother (of Neu!)
-Acid Mothers Temple
-The 400 Blows
-Kill Me Tomorrow
-The Locust
-Mr. Quintron
-Miss Pussycat
-Holger Czukay
-Lydia Lunch
-Year Future
-Saul Williams
-Holy Fuck
-Radio Vago
-The Jai-Alai Savant
-JR Ewing

Additionally, The Stones Throw Club Night featured:
-Peanut Butter Wolf
-Gary Wilson
-Dudley Perkins

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 05:43 PM



Ikey was featured on Buddyhead.com's "Music 101" section, wherein he listed some of his favorite albums...

-Tom Petty - Full Moon Fever
"This record is a total pop masterpiece. It was produced by Jeff Lynn and done without Tom Petty's usual band, The Heartbreakers...Every song on this record is amazing and it's definitely a lesson in how to arrange rock music."

-Weezer - Pinkerton
"I get made fun of alot for loving this record. Pinkerton was made after River's [Cuomo] was done boozing and harassing little asian girls and before Rick Rubin transformend him into Alan Watts. I love this record because it chronicles all of his failings and regrets (maybe that's why he hates it) and is recorded super raw. All of the guitars are loud and sloppy, and the drums sound like they were ran into a big ass boom box and then put to tape. It's awesome."

-Sly and the Family Stone - Fresh
"This is my favorite record of all time. The songs on this record are amazing, and the playing is dirty and funky and black as night."

-Fishbone - Fishbone
"I was a ska kid and I'm not afraid to admit it, and one of the reasons why is this record. You can laugh about Save Ferris and Buck O' Nine all you want but this record will always be amazing. Black people's ska!"

-A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory
"This is simply the best hip-hop record ever. Before I heard this record, I didn't even like hip hop. Being the stuck up, boogee-ass black teenager that I was, I thought rap was too thuggish and had very little artistic merit until I heard this record. The sampling on here is weaved together so beautifully and the lyrics are amazing."

-Herbie Hancock - Dedication
"Greboy turned me onto this record. It's Herbie right after he left Miles' [Davis's] band and was totally in his prime. The whole record is Herbie and a room full of sequencers and ARPS. It's very minimalist but very musical."

-Mastodon - Leviathan
"This is the first metal album I've ever owned. I'm not sure why I like it, or what makes it so much different from all the metal albums I didn't buy. All I know is that I listen to it everyday."

-Sublime - 40 Oz. to Freedom
"I'm tired of defending this record. I'm from Long Beach!!!"


When asked about musical connections to prog rock..
"...I prefer comparisons that are not obvious and that are not only music related. You get a better picture of our music by saying that it brings to mind, for example, Thomas Pynchon's texts, Frida Kahlo's paintings or Luis Bunuel's films." - Omar

Once again, thanks to the many who have contributed to this thread, including essaywhu and olenka.

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 08:25 AM


Jon lists the following albums as essential (for drummers):
-Battles - Tras EP
-Nissenen Mondai - Sorede Sozo Suru Neji
-Lungfish - Feral Hymns
-Mastadon - Leviathan
-anything by Elvin Jones

When asked about curating All Tomorrow's Parties [see above], Cedric said the following...
"Best three days of my life I think...You never realize how taxing it is to watch over 31 bands in three days and try and catch at least 5 minutes of everything. Some of 'em I took chances on and had only heard one or two songs over a computer. Coco Rosie was like that...but a friend of mine named Peter, who runs a club in Holland called The Vera, told me, "Yeah, you should see Coco Rosie!" And they...God, they were so phenomenal! It's just so beautiful. It's the most unique thing I've ever seen."

"It was like being on a vacation. We went to play a festival where we got really influenced, we got excited and came back to use what we learned. I want to say some bands like Coco Rosie or Antony and the Johnsons made me re-evaluate my way of singing. Especially Anthony - he's like a modern Nina Simone...It was happening to us at that moment. You should put passion into what you're doing. The mark of a musician is making you feel something special. If you get goosebumps, you're in the right way." - Cedric

Furthermore, Omar has said the following about Coco Rosie...
"From what I know they're a Brooklyn band. They've been described as an electronic band, but I wouldn't limit them to that. They're two sisters who both have amazing and unique voices. One of them's similar to a cross between Bjork and Captain Beefheart. And the other one, you can tell is very classically trained. She can sing some amazing notes, and she plays harp- anything from simple, melodic and beautiful stuff to Alice Coltrane-style playing. And they both play great piano. Their recordings are interesting and super inspiring. I don't know how to describe it. Tom Waits meets I don't know what." - Omar

Talking about the obvious stylistic links between his guitarplaying and that of Frank Zappa and John McLaughlin...
"I definitely love those records, too, but I always forget to mention them...just because my biggest influences come from non-guitarists. Trying to sound like someone like Larry Harlow really helps push me to shape my sound. I'm just fond of music in general. Salsa, dub and dancehall are all huge influences, along with country, folk, pop music and electronic music like Richard James (Aphex Twin) or Roni Size. I love every form of music with the exception of nu-metal." - Omar

When asked how much he was influenced by the immigrant marches for Amputechture...
"It was an influence. I was always think about things like why, in California, a lot of latin people like Morrissey; I don't understand the connection. Then there is the relation between Haile Selassie and Jamaicans; I don't understand why because Haile Selassie wasn't the new messiah, or Jim Jones in Guyana being an influence to a ton of black people and to other people in San Francisco, particularly. I wanted to experiment writing about the girl murdered in Poland, but through the eyes of the Latin community in the USA. Consider it like the first shot, a warning shot. Now in the USA, especially in California, a lot of jubs like cutting the grass, being a nanny or cleaning houses are done by Latin people. This story is about something that is happening far away and has no real connection to what is happening here, but the result is a mess, the kind of revolution that is giving slowly, that people don't see it coming. If you left your kids with a nanny, she's going to be an influence. Those who cut the grass are going to plant things in your house while you're not at home. I think it's going to result in an interesting fiction story when both parts are put together. Seeing this crazy woman in Poland influencing someone who is on the other side of the world and apparently has no connection seems like it makes no sense, but for me it does.

Talking about Amputechture...
"We really took influence from watching old episodic TV shows like The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and Twin Peaks. The idea was to have all these different stories on the record that are only tied together by the host, which is us." - Omar

-Roots Manuva

-Mike Watt

-Jesus Lizard
"Jesus Lizard's singer, David Yow, is a classic example of someone who is mad and would be in a psychiatric hospital it wasn't because of rock music; he is the personification of a shaman. A shaman with good or bad energy, he completely rescripted the book on how to be a frontman. I think more kids need to see a band like Jesus Lizard instead of Good Charlotte or My Chemical Romance. That's not to be disrespectful to those bands, but it's just that are so shiny and polished and punk rock is not shiny and polished - it's sharp, foul and scares you." - Cedric


-Rod Serling's Night Gallery


"I had grown up with The Ramones. That was my first intro into the punk scene... and The Clash and The Jam, because I had an older brother. who was into all of of that stuff. But I had not gotten into the early 80's stuff yet... Black Flag and The Minutemen and The Misfits and all of these sort of bands. They turned me onto a whole new world..." - Blake

On living in New York and The Ramones...
"Basically, it's sort of weird, when I was young knowing that I was always going to be a musician and a drummer, I always knew I was going to live here. It's always been a dream or a vision of mine since probably 11 or 12 years old. I had it in my head too, especially, from the Ramones. They really blew me away and I knew they were from New York. I just had this whole... I just knew I had to be in New York because I knew that this was where there was so much great music coming from." - Blake

Speaking about his time with Laddio Bolocko...
"We were really influenced by Can and Faust. Can for their repetitive locomotive rhythms. That was something we really took into Laddio Bolocko because we realized how far ahead of its time that it was. When drum&bass and techno was just starting to get bigger, we heard it being done electronically, there was no rock... or there was no real sex in that anymore, it had started to become very sterile and very clinical and we thought there were aspects to that music that we liked. We never listened to it a lot, but we knew about it because it was all around us." - Blake



-I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
Directed by Anthony Page (Color, 1977)

-Shock Corridor
Directed by Samuel Fuller (B&W, 1963)
Additional Info: Both this film and the film above it were cited in Visions magazine as importance influences on Amputechture.

-Yoko Ono
"Everybody likes to say that she is guilty for the Beatles end, but she could have made them bigger than their White Album and punk would have been 20 years earlier. Yoko Ono was Riot Grrrl before Riot Grrrrl, avant garde before avant garde - and she was blues too." - Cedric
Additional Info: Cedric cites her Approximately Infinite Universe as a recommended album.

-Pier Paolo Pasolini
Additional Info: Omar appreciates the director for his lyrical work as opposed to his high-profile films. Specifically, he cites Pasolini's Roman Poems as something that moved him, particularly in its atmosphere.

-Helena Blavatsky's "Isis Unveiled"
Additional Info: Cedric has cited this book as one of his favorites (in the past few months).

-The Persuaders
[referring to a singles collection] "It sounds like Sunday without the work." - Omar

-Robert Williams

-Mati Klerwein
Additional Info: Omar had considered Klarwein's Clone painting as an alternate cover for Amputechture.

Thanks to Myrmecophile for the following interview from 2004...

"Mars Volta Guitarist Gets Spiritual"

Interviewer: What was the first riff, song or solo you learned on the guitar?
Omar: It was a traditional Cuban Charanga piece; a salsa riff from Puerto Rico that we'd play during the holidays. When I was young, I used to get together with my friends and we'd go to our other people's house and play the song outside until they gave us a drink.

Interviewer: Who are your all-time favourite guitarists?
Omar: My all-time favourite guitarists would probably have to be East Bay Ray from The Dead Kennedys and Andy Gill from Gang of Four. I also love Nick Drake and Syd Barrett.

Interviewer: Is there a riff or lick you wish you'd written?
Omar: I wish I wrote the riff to this really great song called "Come Wander With Me", which is featured in an episode of the TV series "The Twilight Zone". The theme of the programme explores the idea that once you've created something like a song, it carries on its own life in some other dimension and becomes something that exists beyond you. I believe in that theory myself.

Interviewer: Punk or heavy metal?
Omar: Punk, because it's high on the evolutionary scale and it's, you know, more for real. I think true punk rock is forward-thinking and is made for thinking people, in terms of the feeling and the message it puts forth and the lyrics and politics behind it. Unlike heavy metal, which is masochistic - well, you're not going to find a naked woman on all fours with a chain around her neck on a punk rock record!

Interviewer: If you wanted to impress someone with your guitar skills, what would you play?
Omar: I'd just play the sound of me detuning all my guitar strings at the same time.

Interviewer: You're asked to get onstage at a wedding, and you play a song. What would you play?
Omar: I'd play this Tom Waits song called "Tango 'Til They're Sore" from Rain Dogs. Just because the lyrics of the song would be very appropriate for the occasion.

Interviewer: Currently listening to?
Omar: Can - Monster Movie

All-time favourite album?
Omar: Charlie Palmieri - El Gigante del Teclado.

Thanks to Cybrid for this article from LA Weekly...

Grunge was essentially a conservative movement, restoring rock & roll to an idea of what it sounded like before getting corrupted by marketing and over-production and club music. Sublime, meanwhile, was something new, combining L.A. post-punk with Latino music, rap, reggae and Long Beach surf culture. It was a mixed bag, and what you thought of it depended on what you were looking for. As Ikey Owens, 31-year-old keyboard player for the Mars Volta, puts it,The thing about Sublime is it's all about your perspective."

His own perspective was that of a middle-class black kid from Lakewood, who first came across the band in 1988 at the Long Beach record store Fingerprints, when he picked up a five-song tape called "Jah Don't Pay the Bills." For Owens, it was a musical awakening. "I'd never heard anything like it," he says. I was just out of high school, and I'd heard, like, one reggae album in my life . . . I think I owned Legend or something, but all those rhythms were part of how I learned how to understand how music works."

Owens started going to shows, and eventually was invited to jam with the band at Nowell's house, a few blocks down from Fingerprints. He'd stumbled on a scene where, as a black kid from the suburbs, and as a musician, he didn't feel out of place. Over the years he shared gigs with the band, and after Nowell's death, he played keyboards for the Long Beach Dub All-Stars, formed by the surviving Sublime members. Even though the Mars Volta sounds nothing like Sublime, Owens insists that 40 Oz. to Freedom will be the CD he'll be listening to on the day he dies, not only because of the music, but because of what it evokes.

There was a time," explains Owens, back in the early 90s, when I was optimistic that multiculturalism worked, that music could bring people together, and it was all part of that music."

"I think they're from Northern California, part of this wave of modern Black Sabbath or Hawkwind-style bands. Five years ago these kids were probably in emo bands with bowl cuts. I was into that stuff, and I was made fun of when I was in an emo band. The artwork on "Mammatus" (Holy Mountain) is over-the-top Dungeons & Dragons. It's a good place to escape for a 14-year-old when everyone's making fun of you. In my high school the Mexican cowboys, the chilangos and rancheros, didn't like the punk rockers. The story of my life is the Chicano experience personified. If I speak my version of Spanish in Spain, they laugh. Same with Mexico. It's an alien world to me. This album feels like they let their freak flag fly and got over the rigid, politically correct rules about music. It's great to see music that resembles something from Norway and embraces tongue-in-cheek cheesiness." - Cedric

"I really enjoyed Hand Cranked(Mush). It�€™s from a new hip-hop label that reminds me of Stones Throw Records. It�€™s definitely not your average hip-hop. It pushes boundaries. There's no hip-hop on it. It's like the ambient side of Brian Eno, Squarepusher or airport music. It makes me sit down and stop what I'm doing and listen. It has a feel of the Eno song In Dark Trees," [from Another Green World] which ultimately reminds me of Jeremy Ward, who used to be in our band and passed away. It makes me think of people in my life who are no longer here. It's like paying respect, I guess." - Cedric

-Nick Cave
"I don't know the guy, but I felt so proud that Nick Cave graduated from singer in a band who wrote some books to writing The Proposition (DVD, Tartan Video). The movie slams you. It's a modern Australian spaghetti western. You feel like the flies are a main character. They never leave. They're in everyone's face and eyes. It's like your eyes are the camera. The music is great. The story is heartbreaking. I felt like, 'Right on, he's doing it. That's my dream.' It's a good history lesson. It's graphic but there's no other way to tell it. You can't have Disney tell Caligula's story. Nick Cave is the grandfather of those broken tales of family gone wrong. The actors are really great." - Cedric

"I first picked up an album from him based on the cover. I love doing that. Sometimes you get stinkers, sometimes you get great ones. He was dressed like Merlin. I heard all these samples I'd heard on hip-hop records. It sounds like Moondog (or a sample) on the last Common record. The Viking of Sixth Avenue (Honest Jons Records) throws you for a loop. He reminds me of the guy who just didn't fit in. The song Enough About Human Rights!" is great for any vegan or vegetarian. The chorus asks, 'What about bear rights, what about eel rights?' It sounds like Charlie Brown singing behind the piano. It's almost Lawrence Welk. I imagine little bubbles floating in the air and my grandmother listening to it. It's outsider music." - Cedric

"I hate calling anything a new movement, but there seem to be all these Muppet-looking, over-the-top hippie musicians. It looks like Feathers secluded themselves in a forest, just one hair shy of Charles Manson. It sounds a little like Manson. There's an episode of "The Twilight Zone" where this girl is singing a song about a guy who's going to be murdered. The guy is like, 'I love that song, what's it about?' Then he realizes the lyrics are about him. The songs on"Feathers" (Gnomonsong) are spooky. They're not your average new folk. I skip the happier stuff, the sadder stuff always strikes a chord. I need to listen to something like that after I play to calm myself." - Cedric

-The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
"Guillermo Arriaga wrote The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (DVD, Sony Pictures). He also wrote 21 Grams and Amores Perros. He writes great stuff; they tend to be tearjerkers. This story is about an immigrant seeking acceptance, not just work or one friend. He lies that he has a family just to be accepted. This movie is the immigrant marches and the protests personified. Who is anyone to say who doesn't deserve to come to this country? I'm a mutt, we're all mutts. Immigrants from whatever country are humans, we have to help each other." - Cedric

-Joan Crawford
"Joan Crawford. I'm fascinated by the Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde part of her." - Cedric

On more obvious influences...
"Of course everyone first thinks of Krautrock, Free-Jazz and Art-Rock. But that is a bit too obvious and boring. Most people would be surprised, if I would say that people like Yoko Ono, Slade or the Shangri-Las influenced us at least just as much." - Cedric

Omar continuing (in another interview)...
"You know, there's anything, but the most influence comes from the desire to have songs that take you to different places instead of having linear songs, without movement. Definitely there is an influence from bands like King Crimson, Yes or Frank Zappa, but also someone can go behind that music, looks at its influences and arrive at Rachmaninov, at Tchaikovsky, or any more of those classical composers who had so much movement in their music." - Omar

#15 Stalktheground11


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Posted 06 February 2007 - 10:01 PM


The following are relevant excerpts from an extensive interview Cedric did with JamBase and a couple of additional interviews...

JamBase: "Vicarious Atonement," off the new album, sounds a lot like an eerie, haunting Pink Floyd ballad to me. I wanted to ask you how, if any, has Pink Floyd influenced you as an individual musician or The Mars Volta's music specifically?

Cedric Bixler-Zavala: Well, with our last album and just the way we sound in general, everyone's always throwing Led Zeppelin at us, but I think it's important to clarify; If we're going to own up to anything, it's Syd Barrett's influence. I can't even think of how much he's influenced what we do. I mean, I even just got this really bitchin' fuckin' photo of him with two big sugar cubes in his mouth while he's in Sausalito, which is the tour that he went crazy on in The States, I think. It's a really beautiful, beautiful, beautiful picture of him. What else can I say? He's the original punk. I always dug his guitar playing, but I loved his lyrics. His music, especially his solo albums, those really did it for me. They made me want to make songs like that. Syd Barrett's all over what we do in The Mars Volta. I tend to think that Omar's guitar playing is a weird combination of Greg Ginn, Sonny Sharrock, and Syd Barrett, especially when Omar uses the slide. For me, Syd Barrett is one of the main influences of The Mars Volta.

JamBase: I figured as much and given the news today, I thought it would be a good way to start. One of the other things I wanted to talk about is the role of religion in your music. On the new album, you have song titles like "Vicarious Atonement," "Tetragrammaton," "Asilos Magdalena" – all have obvious religious connotations. What role has religion played in your music or what influence has it had?

Cedric: I think the closest we come to a spiritual band is when we improvise because that's something that's beyond our control. We do have some sort of control of it, but it really is something else coming through us. That's as far as spirituality comes with us.

"Tetragrammaton," meaning the infallible name of God, is the name you're not supposed to say or use. I thought it would be perfect to use it for a song title. I like using these religious terms and subject matters because I think that they could be taboo sometimes, like the whole don't bring up religion and politics conversation because someone might get mad. Using those words is almost like trying to diffuse the potency of it and show that it's just a word. So I'm just dressing the compositions with these kind of taboo things, taboo for me because of growing up in a Catholic family and always having the fear of God looming over me instead of an appreciation for it.

I've been reading a lot of books about DMT use and how some atheists would take DMT and their doctors would tell them that if you took .35 grams, if you're an atheist, you wouldn't be anymore. I'm interested in the parts of religion that aren't talked about. The Bible was just too many cooks in the kitchen. It's just a bunch of men telling you what happened, and I just don't believe it's that way. I think any intelligent person would know that. For all we know, Jesus was a black woman. I'd be excited if that was the case because, God, can you imagine the wrath that's going to come down on the supposed Armageddon Day? I mean, Jesus, all the male species will be wiped out or something... :cool:

Is there any specific piece of art – a book, a painting, a poem, or maybe another piece of music – that informed or influenced the making of this record [Amputechture]?

Cedric: Helena Blavatsky's Isis Unveiled." That stuff's really interesting. I've been watching a couple of documentaries about the occult roots of Nazism and things like that. I just think it's really interesting subject matter.

Are you a practitioner of organized religion today?

Cedric: No, not at all. I don't believe. If anything, I think Americans should look to Native American Indians. They just built a teepee and worshipped in there. In general, white America seems to put this emphasis on everything but spirituality. There's a church. There are monetary donations. There's all this stuff attached to it that's just horrible. Catholicism is horrible in general. They had the chance to stand up to Nazis; that wasn't a shining moment for them. I don't agree with a lot of it. Having grown up Mexican Catholic, I just saw a lot of hypocrisy in it. I don't want to be afraid of my creator, and that's what I was taught to be. If I was afraid of this guy, why would I even want to be friends with him?

I suppose the idea of a vengeful God was some sort of preventative measure to keep people in line...

Cedric: Yeah, and then he's also supposed to be loving too? It's a bit too much for me...It is, but it's also loose-ended too. I hope someone doesn't have to walk away thinking that that is the story per se. When I grew up, I didn't know all the lyrics to The Misfits. I came up with whatever Danzig was coming up with.

In terms of this new record, how would you compare it to your two previous studio records, Frances the Mute and Deloused in the Comatorium?

Cedric: There's more of the mellower side. I like that side too, when we don't use drums. I think a lot of people see us as this octopus drumming with really busy parts that demand a lot of your attention. On this album, there's the influence of us doing ATP [London Festival, All Tomorrow's Parties] in the middle of recording the album and playing with people like Anthony or Coco Rosie or even Diamanda Galas. In fact, I would go as far as to say for me, vocally, watching those three and getting to see them that close, because we had access as hosts, it kind of changed the way I viewed singing. It was a good way to get a fire under me to try something different and new. It energized us and was personally inspirational to the point where I think we even mimicked them to a fault...

Do you find yourself doing that sometimes? When you're out on tour either on a regular basis with another band or just hitting festivals and running into the same people, do you find that you sometimes are borrowing a little bit from some of your friends and favorite peers?

Definitely. When we were doing some dates with Hella, I found myself trying to vocally do what Zach [Hill] was doing on the drums. I could never touch that, but I was so jazzed by what he did that it just made me want to do what I do. Blonde Redhead had a big impact on the melancholy side of what we do, I think. That applies to Antony as well. To me, Antony is like the missing link for indie rock kids who don't know about Nina Simone. But it's his own thing, and it's just a great influence to have. I want to turn my mom onto Antony, because she was a huge Boy George fan.

It's interesting you bring up Nina Simone, because that was one of the things I wrote down in my notes about your own vocal approach. Your vocals are very reminiscent in my mind of female jazz singers like Nina Simone with the melismatic approach. Would you consider Nina Simone one of your chief influences?

Cedric: Yeah, definitely one of them. I mean, I've always had a super, super strong Bjork undercurrent in what I do. There have been times where I'm singing something and I think, "Fuck, that's from the first Sugarcubes album. That's 'Coldsweat' to a T." So I have to figure out a way to make it an influence and not a Xerox copy. I would say female energy is more part of what I do vocally than anything else. I did time growing up listening to The Misfits and really angular, angry stuff, but then I graduated and blossomed from that. I'm just more in touch with female energy as far as that's concerned 'cause there's so much aggressive energy going on behind me that I think it needs the high notes. It needs to pierce, it needs to have that banshee quality, I think.

Verb: On a different track: if you had to choose between performing a song with Bjork or doing a show in the floating opera house from Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo, which would you pick?

Cedric: (laughter) I think I'd like the Fitzcarraldo angle better because I'd probably end up choking around someone like Bjork. You know, I wouldn't know what to do. I think I'd just trip all over myself and fuck up. She's kind of intimidating too and I've heard some stories where she's kind of mean-she's one of the people who I don't want to meet because I don't want to ruin the way I've always perceived them.

What would you say has been the biggest influence on how you use language in your songwriting?

Cedric: I'd have to say growing up in a bilingual setting, because it gives you a natural instinct to make up language. I grew up in Texas, specifically in El Paso. My dad's a professor of bilingual education so the seed was planted a long time ago. And my mom speaks half and half all the time, so it became natural to throw the rules out the window and have fun with it. Let someone else walk away with what they think "amputechture" means, or anything else that's made up.

Verb: Your videos, from the Jodorowsky-esque scope of "The Widow" to the Bosch-like moving landscape of "L'Via", have a distinctive surreal feel. And the long stretch of tweaked, filtered backstage ambient noise in Scabdates has the same sort of post-modern and disorienting feel as the end of The Holy Mountain. (laughter) Your press kit even mentions Twin Peaks as an analog to the new album. How strongly is your music influenced by the surreal?

Cedric: 100% influenced by it. We're always talking about how we want our videos to look like Jodorowsky's movies. That's always our goal. To emulate what's going on in our favorite scenes in our favorite movies.

Talking about the possibility of working with Jodorowsky...

Cedric: I think it depends on who he likes. I know he's a big fan of Mastodon. His son is a fan of Mastodon. I think he gravitates toward a lot of what I guess you'd call modern metal. I know Omar camped outside of his house for 8 hours once to no avail. The maid told him to leave. Eventually, Jodorowsky got back to him on email which is really cool, but I don't know if he's too in touch with a lot of modern music other than metal...The fact that he considers "Starship Troopers" one of the best sci-fi movies out there gives me an idea of what he likes musically. I'd hate to pinpoint him like that, but I do know Mastodon is one of his favorites.

Verb: I never thought he'd be into such brutal, stomping stuff. That's strange. Have you ever read any of his comics?

Cedric: Oh yeah, I burned through that stuff really quickly.

Verb: And then, did you ever hear about the version of Dune he was going to film with Salvador Dali shitting in marble dolphins?

Cedric: (laughter) Yeah! And with Pink Floyd and Magma on the soundtrack. I wish he would have done that one. I don't mind David Lynch's version. I love that one. But I think Jodorowsky's version would have been a whole lot darker.

Verb: Along that line, the new song Viscera Eyes opens up with some tumbling, synthetic beats. Have you ever had any interest in absorbing the agressive sonics that come from the jungle or drum & bass genres, the glitchy work that Aphex Twin or Autechre are known for?

Cedric: Yeah, we love that stuff. Frusciante was showing us some really cool Squarepusher stuff. I had no idea that Squarepusher was a great drummer too. Just hearing him fool around, I knew that he had it. I was really disappointed with drum & bass for a while, because when we were in ATD-I, we played in Australia and we had a chance to meet with Roni Size. He was the one person who we made an effort to actually talk to, just because everyone else on the tour was very into pop music and I couldn't relate to a lot of them. Some people were cool; it's just that he's the one person who we went out of our way to say, "Hey, you really have a big influence on what we do." And he was a big asshole. So it turned me off from all electronic music. I thought, "God, are they really that full of themselves?" ATD-I did have some obvious drum & bass elements, and it carried over and amplified a lot more with Mars Volta. I'm always interested in that stuff, but I think for me, the electronic interest comes more from things like Throbbing Gristle and things like that.

Verb: Here's a strange one: I know a lot of people who still desire some metaphysical aspect to their lives, but have been let down by organized religions. Some people run into the desert Castaneda-style to wolf peyote and some people bury themselves in scientific religions like string theory. For those seeking other paths, do you think there are any modern shamans leading the way?

Cedric: I wouldn't say they're anywhere in Middle America. If they are, they may be on Indian reservations. To look for that stuff you'd have to go to South America. And if you do want to look harder, in my opinion, I'd look in the mental institutions. I think I find myself really attracted lately to mental institution movies like Shock Corridor or The Ninth Configuration or I Never Promised You a Rose Garden where the primary problem with the main character, the woman, was that she was being contacted by these pagan-type tribes in another world and she was their leader but the doctor was like, "No, come back to us. Come back to normal living." It's just a strange dynamic the way our culture treats crazy people.
Frances Farmer is a classic example. She's just an [old school] Courtney Love; you may not like her but she's really outspoken. And then we are afraid of that, so we lobotomize her and put her away. That's why I think that the majority of real shamans are locked up and you won't find them in America-but if you do they're in the psycho wards. I think that we could benefit a lot, also, from being in tune with what certain trees and certain environments have as far as answers to the medical problems that we have today.

On writing his lyrics and doing vocals for Amputechture...

Cedric: A lot of it was written on the spot. Omar - because he collects TVs - would set up his wall of TVs again. We used to live together and he would set them up all the time - kind of like in the Bowie movie, The Man Who Fell to Earth, he had a stack of TVs like that. So he would do that while I would record vocals and that would be the main inspiration. So it was everything from The Magnificent Seven and any Akira Kurosawa stuff. And I wouldn't have [lyrics] written right away; I would just do takes of gibberish and then later try to fix them to make them into words. Sometimes he wanted to just keep the gibberish takes which he liked a lot better because it was the first reaction to the music. It's just really about being in a state of being willing to give up to the producer your scratch tracks, as opposed to really working on it and refining it. I think the state that I'm in is having to be on my toes, and being able to just instantly do something. Sometimes its 3 or 4 in the morning and I'm calling Omar and saying, "Get our engineer. Wake 'em up. I've got an idea!" He's the same way so we were constantly on our toes. It's nerve-wracking sometimes. A little stressful.

Another series of excerpts...

There are many stories being told on Amputechture, stories that fall in and out of each other; to Bixler-Zavala, it’s a question of what the reality is. The distortion-laced slow burn of “Asilos Magdalena” (“Magdalena’s Asylum”) found inspiration at the Paramour house in Silver Lake, where Amputechture was recorded; wayward girls of the ’50s found refuge with nuns in that house, and their voices can be heard in the track’s ghostly electronics. The churchy ponderousness of the opening “Vicarious Atonement” came about from Bixler-Zavala’s reading of theosophist Helena Blavatsky’s book Isis Unveiled. “I just like the imagery that it provides,” he says. “You’re trying to make up for your sins by watching someone else go through the punishment; it’s the central theme behind Mexican Catholicism.”

Such explanations aren’t the rule; most artists can barely tell you what was on their mind when they created their best work, and the Mars Volta are no different. “I just wanted to tie it all in together,” says Bixler-Zavala, who’s the same age as Rodriguez-Lopez and is by manner of speech just a regular TV-watching dude, though that’s a bit deceptive. “Kind of like old Outer Limits or Night Gallery, a bunch of different stories, but it’s the same TV program.” Yet determinedly obscure song titles such as “Day of the Baphomets,” “Tetragrammaton” and “El Ciervo Vulnerado” speak for themselves — not. And though they do make reference to ideas he’s culled from Burroughs or shamanism or CNN or, more often, ’70s film and TV — or the deaths of friends such as Mars bandmate Jeremy Ward from a drug overdose in 2003 — the idea is to give the listener something to mull over and debate, much as in the halcyon days of album rock.

“There are certain aspects of speaking in tongues involved in this,” says Bixler-Zavala, with a hint of wryness. “Buuel movies and certain Jodorowsky movies, we can identify with them. I think we live Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo on a day-to-day basis — you know, the one where the Amazon tribe drags a huge boat over a hill in the jungle? This band has been pushing the boat over the hill.”

"Bayamn and El Paso are my roots. When people talk about Puerto Rico, all they know is salsa and now reggaeton, which doesn't move me nor I understand it much. But I have a confusing identity because I'm a Puerto Rican who has lived in the States for a long time, so I'm americanized. I also have Mexican influences: the jackets, Pedro Infante, the films made by Luis Buuel when he lived there, or Jodorowsky's work. Sometimes I feel like part of Jos Vasconcelos' book "The cosmic race", that says that one day everything will be mingled. Just like Blade Runner....

....Fania All-Stars, Hctor Lavoe, Eddie Palmieri and Cheo Feliciano were my gods, while music in English felt funny to me. When I got to the United States with my family I got into skateboarding and that's how I met punk rock. It felt like it had the same fire as salsa. My father, who is a doctor, was playing in an orchestra and I used to go with him to their rehearsals. There I realized that I had to study for many years to be able to equip my band. Once I'd entered the punk world when I was 12, I instantly knew that I could do it myself. I started playing bass, I wrote songs, I created my bands and at 13 I was doing my own thing in El Paso.

...Punk has its rules and a very open way of thinking that brought me to artists such as Fela Kuti. Thanks to punk I cultivated my curiosity and I realized how everything was interconnected. With The Clash I discovered reggae and dub, Bob Marley and Lee "Scratch" Perry. A things leads to another, a question turns into another one. I got to Pil via the Sex Pistols. I knew that Johnny Rotten liked Can and that's how I got into krautrock. Through Neu! I found out there was a band called King Crimson, and that was the connection to Stravinsky." - Omar

"I actually drive around listening to Madlib’s instrumental stuff and sing to it…It keeps me on my toes because he’s got a lot of great melodies and a lot of great rhythm. He’s a really interesting drummer too. When we did ATP, he was there with the Stones Throw people and he took a drum solo. He kind of sounded like the way certain filmmakers want to come off as if it was the first time they’d picked up a camera – it’s really innocent and they’re not actors, but real people – and it’s really cool. His drum solo was kind of like that. He looked like a little kid who had just discovered the drums and he sounded like that and it was just so fresh." - Cedric on Madlib

"Not everyone can do what Fugazi does. It’s a really great, romantic, socialist way of doing things, but having five people in the band and having everyone relegated to a certain task – you book the promoter, you book the shows, you deal with the food – I just want to play, man! The ideas are so over-the-top that I just can’t do it all DIY. But I figure, the way Radiohead have done it, they’ve got their foot in the door, they’ve played the game, they know what they hated about it, they know what they liked about it, and now they’ve playing by their own rules and people will always buy their records now. It just took OK Computer, which spawned a whole bunch of imitators and forged their career for them in a way." -Cedric

2008 edit: Some more artists they have mentioned include Poi Pondering Dogs, the Bodeans, Bob Dylan, Christian Death, Hector Levoe, Luis Alberto Spinetta, Charly Garca, Divididos, Astor Piazzolla

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