The Mars Volta Break Up

The founding members Cedric and Omar disagree about the future of the band and Omar's new band Bosnian Rainbows. What could this mean for their original band At The Drive-In?

Ultimate Guitar

The Mars Volta has officially split up, according to singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala.

Cedric quit the band because guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez has committed to the side project Bosnian Rainbows, which you can hear in the player below.

As Cedric and Omar are the central founding members of the Mars Volta, a breakdown in their relationship is effectively the end of the band. Now Cedric is preparing his own solo album, which apparently sounds nothing like his previous projects.

"I tried my hardest to keep [Mars Volta] going, but Bosnian Rainbows was what we all got instead," said Cedric in a long series of tweets. "I can't sit here and pretend any more. I no longer am a member of Mars Volta.

"My dream was to get us to the point were [original drummer and keyboardist] Jon Theodore and Ikey Owens came back but sadly it's over."

Cedric says Omar also blocked efforts to do a full-scale tour for their last album "Noctourniquet".

"And for the record I'm still in love with At The Drive-In. Proof was in MY performance," he said, taking a dig at Omar's reportedly lackluster performance when their legendary band At The Drive-In reformed after a 10-year hiatus.

The last comment raises an interesting question: will At The Drive-In continue beyond their one-off reunion tour without Omar on second guitar?

Listen to "Torn Maps" by Omar's new band Bosnian Rainbows, which evolved from his long-running Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group project:

Bosnian Rainbows North American tour dates (via Antiquiet)

02/15, 2013 Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West 02/16, 2013 Asheville, NC @ Asheville Music Hall 02/17, 2013 Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar 02/18, 2013 Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church 02/19, 2013 New York, NY @ Highline Ballroom 02/20, 2013 Alston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall 02/22, 2013 Montreal, QC @ Cabaret du Mile-end 02/23, 2013 Toronto, ON @ The Mod Club (Early Show) 02/24, 2013 Detroit, MI @ St. Andrews Hall 02/25, 2013 Cleveland Heights, OH @ Grog Shop 02/26, 2013 Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge 02/27, 2013 Madison, WI @ Majestic Theater 02/28, 2013 TBA

107 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Let me just take a moment to say: FU&K! GODD@MMIT! WHAT THE HELL YOU GUYS! GRAAAAAH!!!!! ps. I'll miss you ):
    I'm not really surprised, after their last album. It was good, but it just doesn't surprise that they're breaking up.
    I will give them a lot of my own money to not break up. It will be a lot of money. They will not be able to say no to the a lot of money that I have to give them.
    That's too bad. And goddamnit Cedric, keep your bands together. First At The Drive In breaks up (I know they got back together but you get my point) now Mars Volta breaks up?
    its not really his fault, omar is the one who broke up atdi and got cedric to leave with him, and now he's tired of tmv.
    I don't really listen to The Mars Volta, but couldn't they just replace Omar? I know a lot of bands face situations like this and can either look for a guitarist they think can fill his shoes or one that they think will carry them in a new direction that they may be interested in. I'm sure lots of fans would be disappointed or have mixed feelings about something like that though.
    Have you ever tried replacing the only person in your band that writes any music? That's not something bands generally survive. And if they do, they're never the same again. Usually worse.
    *on my iphone Pull up ultimate guitar, see a picture of omar and cedric *gets really excited* zoom in to read article headline, most dissapointing news i've heard all month.
    This is the worst news I could have got today. Also this Bosnian Rainbows track sounds like Omar's attempt to sell pop music. Cedric SHOULD do something with Ikey and Jon Theodore.
    After hearing about the news of the hiatus (most probably break up) I surprisingly didn't really care as much as I thought I would after slowly losing hope for the band since the last 2 albums and feeling disappointed by Omar's mass produced and routine sounding solo albums. I listened to Frances today for the first time in a while and it's suddenly just hit me how much I'm going to miss these guys. As much as they've changed, there really is nothing out there that compares to what they were doing in their prime and the feelings those records evoke are just so unique. It really is sad to see them go, but part of me thinks it's for the best if it means that they don't tarnish their identity any more by releasing more embarrassing albums. If they get back together, I hope they do it for the right reasons (i.e. having rejuvenated creativity and brilliant musical ideas) rather than just for a bit of easy money (a la ATDI 'reunion'). No offence to anyone who enjoyed Octo and Noct..
    I wouldn't call their most recent albums "embarrasing". Octahedron admittedly was a little weak, and Noctourniquet was really more of an odd curiosity than an enjoyable listen. I'd say that even though I still liked these albums, they were the main reason why I was kind of over these guys. I'm spinning Frances right now as well, hadn't heard it in a few years, and damn you are right on the money about their "prime" albums. Absolutely Unf***ingtouchable. Cygnus Vismund Cygnus after all these years is still the absolute sickest jam I've ever heard
    I'm not really sure of Noctourniquet. I didn't mind Octahedron, but it wasn't as good as their other albums.
    I agree with you guys that Frances was their best album, but when you consider how much Flea and John Frusciante contributed to the album, including the cetnerpiece track, you think maybe the band on it's own really isn't that great.
    The core of the band were Omar and Cedric. They were (emphasis on were) a great team. Problem is, they've really not been on the same page for the last 2 albums. Honestly, as much as people praise "Frances the Mute", I find albums like "The Bedlam in Goliath" to be more of a personal favorite. That said, all of their albums previous to their last 2 were great. Their last 2 were just...average. Meh.
    Flea played trumpet on only 2 songs. John Frusciante played two guitar solos, both on only 1 song. How much did they contribute to the album? Hardly anything at all. They didn't even perform on the centerpiece track.
    Hopefully they do more stuff with ATDI now, You will be missed.
    Even if ATDI get a guitarist to fill in for Omar, Cedric doesn't sing with nearly the same passion as he did when they opened up for Rage Against The Machine. He just can't sing "Arcarsenal" anymore. The only songs that sounded ok were songs like "Lopsided" and "Napoleon Solo."
    What the hell!?!?!? What a great band now over. At least the records they put out were awesome
    Can't say I'm surprised, it seemed like these two have been having trouble working together for a while now. That being said... God****it!!!! Mars Volta definitely peaked a while back with Bedlam in Goliath, but their more recent albums have been at least highly interesting. Cant say i care for this Bosnian Rainbows song, it just sounds like butchered Mars Volta. Or maybe I just don't want to like it because it broke up one of my favorite bands...
    Jack Off Jill
    I don't think it bothers me so much that they won't be making music together anymore, but it does bother me that it's being handled like ATDI was. Like they're blaming each other rather than dying gracefully. About a year ago Omar said in an interview that Cedric didn't want to work at the pace he works at. You could tell it was going to happen after awhile. They didn't seem like they were on the same page after Thomas was fired because of Cedric. It's just sad cause Cedric and Omar used to practically be married and it seems like the end of a friendship I thought was inspiring.
    Can't say I ever really got into the band, but it is sad to see them break up, as I know they were very influential on many musicians (including one of my bandmates). Maybe I'll give Frances another spin.
    This is quite tragic. TMV is one of the bands I really wanted to see live at least once in my life.
    aw no way... haven't even listened to these guys, but what a shame. :/ best of luck in the future.
    Damn, they were such a great band. Their last album was a bit lacking, but I loved it all the same. I'll have to check out there other stuff, see if they'll stay in ensame proggy vein of TMV
    So basically, "You're not allowed to be in any other bands. And if you do start a side project, then I'm going to quit!" What a twat.
    I don't know why you're getting downvoted, dude. i couldn't agree more. I guess a lot of people don't realize Omar has had side projects going on the entire time. only up until recently Cedric hasn't been involved with them cause he has had either Ximena or Teri singing on them.
    You say the same thing, until you're in a band and one of its members is holding you back to do some side project that barely gets off the ground, and then you understand that sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do.
    Was lucky enough to see At The Drive In at reading festival this year and the show was awesome, apart from Omar standing with his back to the audience the entire show. So maybe they will continue without Omar, but Sparta has just announced dates so I doubt it.
    i could never get into their music, sounded very pretentious and annoying to my 'underdeveloped' taste.. sucks to see them break up though considering how many people loved them.
    Good riddance this band is a mess. And talk about horrible live performers and a singer that started to sound like a robotic chipmunk a long time ago.
    Your opinions on this are terrible
    That is your opinion. It is worth as much as GoToSleep's.
    Uh, well, it seems to be the opinion of anyone else who thumbed up his comment, too...
    So? How does this mean that their opinions are worth more?
    You should know that this is Ultimate guitar. Where the rule is, "opinions are fine unless it's a negative one in which case you just keep it to yourself". A lot of kids on this site unfortunately dude.
    The Spoon
    When Cedric started using that voice, I couldn't take it. He has a gorgeous voice, I have no idea why he wanted to sound like that.
    The Mars Volta is the perfect example of why modern progressive rock is shit. Instead of rock bands from the 70s experimenting from different orchestral instruments to different time signatures; it is now a wankfest of who can play a twenty to thirty minute track. The music itself is hardly "progressive"; instead of the music rising to a new movement or an enjoyable section; The Mars Volta boringly stagnates. It stagnates with annoying electronic bleep bloops and uninspired gibberish vocals for more than an hour.
    Give "De-Loused in the Comatorium" a good listen. I agree that their later recordings were a little messy but that first album is great.
    Um...what? Just because it's not your thing doesn't mean it's shit. I get that you may like '70s progressive style, but you can't 1) call a band shit just because you dislike it (you can, but it makes you sound like an asshat) AND 2) discount an entire genre because you dislike one band.
    It sounds like you haven't even heard the band's music. 1)Mars Volta uses orchestral instruments 2)Mars Volta uses odd time signatures and different time signatures 3)Mars Volta has plenty of shorter songs, including 2 minute songs, 4 minute songs, 8 minute songs, and then the occasional 20 or 30 minute song 4)The music is progressive in many ways 5)Mars Volta rises to new movements. They usually do it throughout an album, but sometimes they do it mid song, such as how Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus builds up to a huge climax, reprises the chorus, and then continues onward to something else entirely. 6)Old bands did all of the stuff you mentioned. Pink Floyd boringly stagnates. Rush has 20 minute songs. Electric bleep bloops are all over 70's Prog, and gibberish vocals were also used occasionally.
    Maybe they can get a singer who can actually sing live instead?
    I've seen TMV on several occasions and was at the last ATDI show...Cedric's performances were never short of stellar each time, I know he can be hit and miss, but especially since quitting smoking weed, he has been on top form vocally...check out this if you want proof (If you don't want to watch the whole thing, skip to about 4.50 secs, that wail alone is freakin' sweet) :
    I saw them open up for the Red Hot Chili Peppers a few years ago. They were...atrocious. I couldnt stand to listen to them for a minute.
    I liked Cedric's plan for TMV, but short of that, TMV wasn't going anywhere anyway. Last couple albums were all WTF. Really, ever since Jon Theodore left they have been interesting, but not magical. Hey--this solo on Bosnian Rainbows is nice :o)
    If you haven't even heard of them you really need to branch out on what you listen to.
    Maybe they got tired of it. I got tired of listening to them after Amputechture. Their releases after that weren't nearly as good as everything that came before. They should have quit while they were ahead, honestly.
    Sounds like some sour grapes. TMV needed a break. Even the guys who played on the last album admitted it wasn't as enjoyable as it used to be during the recording process. Cedric and Omar made great music together for over a decade and Omar wanted to try something different. Can you blame him. and come on, replance Deantoni Parks? Are you back on drugs. Cedric?
    This sucks. Last night I decided to listen to their first album for the first time in at least a year. And after listening to it, I got really into The Mars Volta again and today I get online and see that they fvckin broke up! What a terrible coincidence.