The highly anticipated At The Drive-In reunion has kicked off in spectacular fashion at a venue, where else but their home state Texas, that saw the five musicians play a rousing set as if a whole bunch of Mars Volta records never happened.
The gig served as a prelude for a performance at Coachella in a few weeks as the members attempt to bury the hatchet after years of fighting.
The reformation of the band has been a hot topic for years since the band split under acrimonious circumstances in 2001 when frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala felt that some of the other members were holding him back creatively.
Cedric and other member Omar Rodriguez-Lopez both left and went on to form The Mars Volta, while the remaining three members, Jim Ward, Paul Hinojos and Tony Hajjar, formed the band Sparta.
The group all agreed a few months back to a jam session in El Paso, Texas after putting an end to the fighting – but no one was quite sure what would come out of it.
“We knew within 15 minutes of jamming that we were good,” says Hajjar, in an interview with LA Weekly. “We didn’t play old songs, we just started playing. I could tell from everyone’s movements and smiles that this was right.”
“We started talking about it, and then of course people hear we’re talking about it,” guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez revealed. “And then Paul Tollet at Coachella, who offers us money every year to get back together and play hears about it…then it all starts to become a reality.”
“The most exciting part to me is that there’s not a firm ending to this band,” Ward added. “This isn’t the sort of thing where we’re taking advantage of the reunion status and going and doing as many festivals as we can. We’re doing this very slowly and we literally don’t know what’s going to happen.”
But fans that were hoping for anything more than a string of shows could be left disappointed.
Rodriguez-Lopez has already put rumours of new material to bed in an interview shortly after their reformation was announced saying, “Will there be a new album? No, no, no. At The Drive-In is more of a nostalgia thing – it’s songs we wrote when we were all in our 20s and we’re doing a couple of shows.”
No word yet on whether the group will be journeying down to Australia to play any shows – but we’ve got our fingers crossed.
The only clue we have is that they’re booked to play Fuji Rock in Japan around the same time as Splendour In The Grass. The gap in their schedule is easily large enough for them to hop down under and play a small tour. Either way we’ll know in a few weeks when the Splendour In The Grass lineup is revealed.
You can watch some footage of the band’s first show in 11 years below.