Here's my two cents (and several paragraphs) on The Mars Volta breakup.
The blogosphere has been atwitter (as has the Twitterverse) with the news that TMV has broken up, or at least lost its lead singer.
That news broke late Wednesday in a series of tweets by singer Cedric Bixler Zavala proclaiming he was walking away from the band he started nearly 12 years ago with longtime friend, creative partner and fellow El Paso product Omar Rodriguez Lopez.
Of course, we've only heard Cedric's side of it in tweets that announced his departure, complained about Omar's apparent disinterest in TMV, particularly Cedric's desire to follow up last year's European tour in support of the superb "Noctourniquet" album with a string of North American shows.
Much as I would have loved to have seen the band on a hometown stage this year, it doesn't sound like it's going to happen.
Unlike some fans, I wasn't devastated by these developments. I'm certainly not going to take sides. If the breakup is for real, it's very possible it won't be permanent. Both Omar and Cedric showed they can reembrace their past, and old friends, when they took part in the 2012 reunion of the El Paso band that put them on the map, At the Drive-In. They can do it again.
If not, we'll live. They've had quite a run, with six albums that wildly explored the far reaches of what rock, Latin and dub music could do in one band, built a coveted reputation as one of rock's truly great live bands and even won a Grammy Award, if you care about such things.
When you look at the prolific and prodigious output of Mr. Rodriguez Lopez, is it any surprise that he doesn't have a fulltime allegiance to one entity? He's released more solo albums than you can count on all your fingers and toes. He's made movies, including "The Sentimental Engine Slayer," which ust came out on DVD.
He's making another one, "Nino y La Esperanza," now in El Paso, where he has family and to which he moved back from Los Angeles about a year ago.
He's played with other bands, including a run of shows last year with Mexico's Le Butcherettes, which, by the one, provided one of the highlights of last year's Neon Desert Music Festival in Downtown El Paso.
He's currently into a new band, Bosnian Rainbows, which includes the Butcherettes' uninhibited lead singer, Teri Gender Bender. They're a group of songwriters, not a group dominated by one songwriter, that started playing shows in Europe last year, cutting their debut album (due in May) in Germany. They have a string of U.S. dates coming up next month.
For all I know, the guy also paints and likes to knit. He's got a split aesthetic personality.
He also lost his mother last year, which clearly affected his performances with ATDI, at least the one at Tricky Falls. Her prolonged illness before that may have factored in his move back home and willingness to mend old fences, thus the ATDI reunion, which many observers never thought would happen.
He's even left the door open to resuming that at some point.
But he may have broken something with one of his oldest friends and longest running creative partners. There's more to this, I think, than Cedric's simple frustration about TMV's grounding.
Rock music history has taught us time and again that bands that break up and swear they'll never get back together have a tendency to change their minds. Sometimes it's about money. Sometimes it's about righting past wrongs. The Beatles are one of the few who actually stuck to it.
I sure got the sense that Cedric, who has been working on a solo album of his own, was pretty peeved about his inability to persuade Omar to take TMV back out on the road this year. His frustration is understandable. TMV is a great band, and he's the perfect singer and frontman for that band. I'm sure the paychecks aren't bad either.
I say give it time. Let cooler heads prevail. Let Omar do his thing. He's going to anyway. I suspect he'll want that creative outlet when the muse tells him it's time. Hopefully, Cedric will be ready, willing and able when, or if, that time comes.
If they regroup, great. There's no limit to what these guys can do together. If it's not to be, then let's move on.
Who knows? Cedric may have some great music in him just busting to come out.