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Rock Sound: Interestingly, in the time since the album was completed, more line-up changes have commenced - this time in the shape of Jon Theodore leaving the drum stool. Ever since the band's earliest days, Theodore's astonishing work has been singled out for praise by both studied musos as well as the kind of people who wouldn't know a hi-hat from a top-hat, so his departure may seem worrying, but singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala is brutally honest about why the parting of ways had to happen.
Cedric: "Omar and I have different work ethic than he does. He's not so interested in the expansion of the group and the hours we like to spend in rehearsals", (he comment's quite bluntly and with a hint of annoyance in his voice.) "He wouldn't want to put anything more in than the minimal amount of effort, and we didn't want to be at the mercy of that. Some of us are put on this earth to do one thing and the extracurricular activities like women, sports and cars all come second. Jon liked all of those things too much for our liking and all of those things ironically would not have existed without us providing the outlet to be in The Mars Volta. When we asked him to play with us, he was working as a waiter and serving politicians wine in Washington. Hopefully there won't be too much mud-sliding, but y'know......it is what it is".
Rock Sound: His grubby hands tell a clear tale; for all of Theodore's genuinely amazing work with the band, Bixler-Zavala's ill-feeling towards his attitude is palatable. But filling this crucial position now is Blake Fleming who, by the singer's reckoning, has more right to be in The Mars Volta than virtually anyone. Fleming came to the attention of Bixler-Zavala and Rodriguez-Lopez during their last days in At The Drive-In, while he was playing in the obscure, NY free-jazz / punk outfit Laddio Bolocko, who proved to be something of an inspiration.
Cedric: "Blake was actually in the very first incarnation of The Mars Volta for a little while but watching him in Laddio Bolocko was definitely a catalyst for me and Omar quitting At The Drive-In. They totally floored us because they were on of the few bands who could combine a look and play really amazing music. I always felt so fucking guilty because after seeing them, I had to go on tour in England with ATD-I, where we were so fucking hyped. I felt like such a fraud because that seemed like a sidestep for me, whereas Laddio Bolocko reminded me of where I needed to be. They were so intense but they never got any recognition".
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