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The Mars Volta Comment On Going “Yacht Rock” & Scientology Contributing To Their Past Hiatus


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In a new interview with The Guardian, The Mars Volta‘s core duo of vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitarist/vocalist Omar Rodríguez-López speak on what led to their hiatus in 2012, the direction of their nearing self-titled comeback album and more.

As some fans may have suspected, it was Bixler-Zavala‘s turn to Scientology back in 2009 and his increasing interest of the beliefs shared via that movement which helped to drive a wedge between himself and his aforementioned long-time bandmate.

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These days, Bixler-Zavala no longer follows the church’s teachings and is among the plaintiffs in a civil case against the organization and actor/Scientologist Danny Masterson. It has been long been alleged that Masterson raped Bixler-Zavala‘s wife Chrissy Carnell back in the early 2000s, with a song from At The Drive In‘s 2017 album “in•ter a•li•areferencing the alleged incident.

Reflecting now on his time as a member of the church, Bixler-Zavala stated, “Scientology becomes habitual, [a] crutch. What becoming involved actually did was to alienate me from a lot of close friends.” Rodríguez-López added, “Cedric joining the Church of Scientology contributed to The Mars Volta breaking up [because of] the types of absolutist ideas he started to believe.”

As referenced above, the pair did eventually put aside their differences, reuniting their pre-The Mars Volta band At The Drive In for an album and respective touring in 2017, before deciding to relaunch The Mars Volta around 2019. As such, that group will be back in full force this year with a new self-titled album due out on September 16th.

Those who have heard the first two singles from it (“Blacklight Shine” & “Graveyard Love“) may have noticed a somewhat dramatic shift in tone. As Rodríguez-López put it, “I’m not bound by genre. The only thing that matters is if music makes you feel something.”

Speaking of the reaction he has seen to the first two advance tracks, Bixler-Zavala had the following to say about their dissenters:

“Some people might see it as betrayal. I’ve seen some people call it yacht rock. But yacht rock slaps so hard that hip-hop producers sample it all the time.”

Rodríguez-López shared a similar belief, stating:

“Losing ‘fans’ is baked into what we do. I don’t know a greater happiness than losing ‘fans’. A true fan is someone interested in what’s happening now, and then there’s everyone else trying to control what you do or project on to it. I have an aversion to that. That sounds like school. That sounds like the government. That sounds like the police. And unfortunately that’s what a lot of people who think they’re fans end up thinking like.”

Bixler-Zavala added, “The most revolutionary thing we could do would be to make a pop record, really.” You can find more from the pair over at The Guardian. Their reunion tour will kick off next month with the below dates booked. Teri Gender Bender will be opening that run:

09/22 Dallas, TX – The Factory in Deep Ellum
09/23 Dallas, TX – The Factory in Deep Ellum
09/25 Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle
09/27 Philadelphia, PA – The Metropolitan Opera House
09/29 New York, NY – Terminal 5
09/30 New York, NY – Terminal 5
10/01 Boston, MA – MGM Music Hall at Fenway
10/03 Washington, DC – The Anthem
10/05 Toronto, ON – Massey Hall
10/06 Detroit, MI – Royal Oak Music Theatre
10/08 Chicago, IL – Aragon Ballroom
10/09 Milwaukee, WI – The Rave / Eagles Club
10/11 Denver, CO – The Mission Ballroom
10/14 Seattle, WA – Moore Theatre
10/15 Seattle, WA – Moore Theatre
10/18 San Francisco, CA – The Warfield
10/19 San Francisco, CA – The Warfield
10/21 Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Palladium
10/22 Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Palladium
10/23 Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Palladium

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