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30 Seconds To Mars Leads Fans To "War"

Of the Oakland Press

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With actor Jared Leto and his brother Shannon onboard, 30 Seconds to Mars is a family affair.

And the group’s new album, “This is War,” makes it a fanily affair, too.

The album was released Dec. 8 with 2,000 different covers, featuring a photo of a 30 Seconds to Mars fan who answered the band’s call for submissions. The group also invited more than 1,000 fans in eight countries to contribute backing vocals that are used on the album.

“I was just thinking what would be a fun way to celebrate the release of the CD and to say thank you to some of our fans out there,” says Leto, 37, who cofounded the band in 1998 and has operated it intermittently between roles in films such as “Requiem For a Dream,” “American Psycho,” “Alexander,” “Panic Room” and “Fight Club.” His latest movie, “Mr. Nobody,” is awaiting U.S. distribution.

“Some of these experiments, these ideas, are just organic extensions from the idea ... that it’s not about the band, it’s about all of us. It’s about all the people that are part of this community. So for us to turn the microphone or turn the lens on our audience, on the community, is like a really natural thing to do.

“We appreciate the support and for us, you know, we’re a band that has had to go out and work for it. We’ve gone out and earned it, and I think people realize that we are even that much more grateful as a result of having that experience.”

There was a bit of a battle before “This is War” — the follow-up to 2005’s platinum “A Beautiful Lie” — came out, however. The group sued to leave its record company, Virgin/EMI, last year claiming that under California law it was free to leave after seven years. The label responded with a $30 million lawsuit of its own.

A settlement was ultimately reached out of court, and 30 Seconds to Mars remains with the company and, according to Leto, happy to finally have a new album out.

“For us, this was a chance to reset the bar for ourselves,” he says. “It was a chance for us to say something new. The last record came out in 2005, and some of the songs I had written for that record I wrote in 2003. So we were excited about making an album that reflected who and what we’re all about today.”

30 Seconds to Mars, Flyleaf, Thousand Foot Krutch, the Veer Union and After Midnight Project perform at the Night 89X Stole Christmas, 6:30 p.m. Friday (Dec. 18) at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Tickets are sold out. Call (313) 961-5451 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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