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The Mars Volta Seeks Sonic Perfection

Of the Oakland Press

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The Mars Volta have released four albums in the seven years since Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez split from their previous band, At the Drive-In. And in that time Bixler-Zavala has grown to champion the recent rather than the past.

“I can’t stand our first record,” the singer, 33, says of 2003’s “De-Loused in the Comatorium,” blaming Grammywinning producer Rick Rubin for his dissatisfaction. “Rick took all the parts that were interesting to us and just dumbed them down. I hate that, and I hate the people that attracts.

“We’re not Badfinger. We’re not Slade. I love to listen to those bands, but what I do personally cannot Xerox copy that. That’s the way they do their music, and for us it’s different.”

The Mars Volta is, in fact, defined by the kind of lengthy, intricately played pieces that fill the group’s other three releases, including this year’s “The Bedlam in Goliath.” It’s music, Bixler-Zavala happily acknowledges, that “pries on your patience” — and, he adds, also makes it a challenge to find a place for his vocals.

“I think I’m still fighting for some space in there, ‘cause it’s so busy,” he says. “There’s so much information coming at you. But I think there are moments that have opened up for me. I just use the voice as more of an instrument, as part of the mix rather than trying to fight it.”

The Mars Volta performs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (May 15) at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $36.75. Call (313) 961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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