Friday, November 20, 2009

Reunited (Wishful Thinking Edition)

Each month we profile a band that is no more and imagine what it would be like if they were still playing. Contributing writer Casey Buckler's review of the lastest Mars Volta album has inspired me to take a look back at the band whose smoldering ashes the Mars Volta rose from, At The Drive In.

El Paso, Texas' At The Drive In were just getting started. They could lull you like a Southwesten desert sunset or blow up in your face like a border drug-raid gone horribly awry. They had a video on MTV2, "One Arm Scissor," that was being played quite a bit, and a growing following of fans and critics alike that were daring to call them the next Nirvana. And then in 2001, just a week before I was going to see them live at Liberty Hall in Lawrence, Kansas, they called it quits. The band split into two parties, one forming the aformentioned Mars Volta, the other, Sparta. Both bands have, at times, been captivating, but neither has lived up to their former glory.

The Break Up

What they said: In early 2001 lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala called a crowd in Sydney, Austrailia a bunch of sheep and then bleeted at them before walking off stage mid-show. It went downhill from there. He eventually broke up the band and said it was because he didn't like having his music confined to being labeled as post-punk or hardcore. He then went on to form a post-punk, hardcore band.
Translation: "I'm fucking sick of hanging out with a couple of my bandmates, and besides, the stage is too crowed with all these bloody afros."


What they said: In July of this year, Bixler-Zavala told The Skinny, "The fact of the matter is that we’re in our thirties now and that breakup happened ten years ago. As a human being you just don’t want that kind of karma. We did a lot of shit talking, and they (Sparta) did a lot of shit talking, so I just called everybody up and invited them to my house and said ‘Hey, listen, we’re in our thirties now, I’m sorry for whatever I said – Let’s be friends again."
Translation: "Look guys, neither one of our bands are making as much money as we did with At The Drive In. What do you say?"

Why you should care: Remember all that talk of 'The next Nirvana?' Sparta on its own is too tame and The Mars Volta often too prog-rock. With their powers combined you get all the ape-shit rage plus pop sensibilities. Win-win.

1 comment:

  1. Hell yeah!, I would go as far as to say that they were the next Nirvana, IMO... but I've seen a couple of recent interviews where Zavala exclaims that during the writing process in ATDI, and I quote, "There were too many cooks in the kitchen". Maybe that's why they went to the extreme in the Mars Volta where Omar Rodriguez Lopez does all the writing, then put's a gun-in-your-face learn it-record it on the 1st take method.
    But, I'd vote to see ATDI, very underrated group of musicians.