New Omar Rodríguez-López album features original The Mars Volta members

Omar Rodríguez-López Arañas en La Sombra The Mars Volta John Frusciante
Omar Rodríguez-López Arañas en La Sombra The Mars Volta John Frusciante

Arañas en La Sombra, a forthcoming Omar Rodríguez-López solo album, features both original The Mars Volta members and Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante. Mxdwn.com reported that late keyboardist Ikey Owens, bassist Eva Gardner and powerhouse drummer Jon Theodore appear on the album. All three played on the the Tremulant EP, the first The Mars Volta release. Vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala is not listed on the line-up for the forthcoming album.

Frusciante makes a guest appearance on Arañas en La Sombra. The legendary guitarist appeared on the first five albums by The Mars Volta, starting off as a guest and eventually becoming a key contributor to the guitar tracking.

12 Omar Rodríguez-López solo albums due out this year

Omar Rodríguez-López is releasing no less than 12 solo albums this year, which were recorded from 2008 to 2013. An album will be released every two weeks until December. Arañas en La Sombra is the fourth album in the series and it’s due out on August 26. The album was recorded in 2012, before The Mars Volta split up. However it doesn’t feature any of the 2012 line-up of the band.

Sworn Virgins kicks off solo album releases

Fans got a first taste of the solo album series today with Sworn Virgins. The highly eclectic album is streaming via BandCamp (see the player below). The video clip for lead single “To Kill A Chi Chi” was released earlier in the week. Sworn Virgins was recorded as a two-piece band featuring drummer Deantoni Parks. Parks played on the final album by The Mars Volta and also works with Rodríguez-López in Bosnian Rainbows. Rodríguez-López commented on the recording:

“It’s mostly tracked live. It sounds like a band, but I was able to sample myself with my sample pedal. I pitched the guitar down to sound like a bass; he’d play to that. I’d pitch my guitar back up, play to that, sing over it, and he’d play to that. Those are live, one-take cuts. We never did anything a second time. We just talked about it, went through the changes once. The only one who got to do anything twice was me. I re-recorded some vocals here and there, but it was a pretty crazy record I could only do with him.”

At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta back on the cards

Omar Rodríguez-López Arañas en La Sombra The Mars Volta John Frusciante At the Drive-In
Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala performing with At the Drive-In.

The current crop of albums will likely be the last of Omar Rodríguez-López’s solo output. The death of his mother in 2012 prompted a bout of soul-searching. The result was that he swore off any further solo work, telling Rolling Stone:

“I decided that I wanted to dedicate my time, while I’m still here, to collaborating with people and being a part of something and sharing things, rather than working on solo work, where I’m writing everything and doing everything and locked up in my studio.”

The outcome was that Rodríguez-López found a renewed interest in At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta. He is currently writing music for At the Drive-In while on tour with the band. Their current tour commitments in Australia and Asia will keep them busy until August, so perhaps recording will take place towards the end of the year. Last month the band had to cancel six US dates due to nodules on Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s vocal cords. However he’s undergoing treatment and the remainder of their world tour is continuing.

Rodríguez-López has also expressed interest in releasing new music with The Mars Volta. Earlier this week he told Rolling Stone:

“There are only four surviving members of the real Mars Volta, which is Eva Gardner, the original bass player who gave us all our soul but unfortunately had to leave the band because her father died on the second tour; Ikey Owens, who, of course, isn’t with us anymore; Jeremy Ward, who isn’t with us anymore; and Jon Theodore. Jon and Eva are still alive, and we’re so grateful for that. And any true fan of the band knows that’s the real chemistry right there. Whenever we get to that time, we hope that it all lines up with whatever Jon’s doing and whatever Eva’s doing, because she’s been touring with Gwen Stefani. I just have a feeling it will. Life has a funny way of working out that way.”

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