The Mars Volta was an American rock band from El Paso, Texas, formed in 2001. The band's final lineup consisted of Omar Rodríguez-López (guitar, producer, direction), Cedric Bixler-Zavala (vocals, lyrics), Juan Alderete (bass), Marcel Rodríguez-López (keyboards, percussion) and Deantoni Parks (drums). The band formed following the break-up of Rodríguez-López and Bixler-Zavala's previous band, At the Drive-In. They are known for their energetic live shows and their concept albums.
In 2009, the band won a Grammy Award in the Best Hard Rock Performance category for the song "Wax Simulacra". In 2008, they were named "Best Prog-Rock Band" by Rolling Stone magazine. In September 2012 it was announced that the Mars Volta had entered a hiatus, with Rodríguez-López and Parks forming a new project, Bosnian Rainbows. Four months later, the band announced their breakup. Bixler-Zavala and Alderete subsequently formed a new band, Zavalaz. Rodríguez-López and Bixler-Zavala eventually reunited in 2014 for a new project, Antemasque.
The band's music has been described as progressive rock and experimental rock and also features elements of a wide variety of genres, including hardcore, psychedelic rock, and free jazz. Omar Rodríguez-López commented, "Progressive is not a dirty word for people to use about us. If you're not moving forward, you're stagnant. And that's no way to live."
Cedric Bixler-Zavala stated in an interview: "The Volta is taken from a Federico Fellini book about his films, what he characterizes as a changing of scene, or a turnaround; a new scene to him is called Volta. Y'know, changing of time and the changeover. And Mars, we're just fascinated by science fiction so and it's something that ultimately looked as in anything I write, its meaning is always up to the listener."
Album artwork for Mars Volta's 'De-loused in the Comatorium' from 2003 designed by Storm Thorgerson and set in West London
Album cover for Mars Volta's 'Frances the Mute' created in Bedfordshire, UK in 2004 by Storm Thorgerson