|Birth name||Omar Alfredo Rodríguez-López|
|Born||(1975-09-01) September 1, 1975 (age 45)|
|Origin||El Paso, Texas, U.S.|
Omar Alfredo Rodríguez-López (born September 1, 1975) is an American guitarist, songwriter, producer and filmmaker.
He is known for being the guitarist and band-leader of the Mars Volta from 2001 until their breakup in 2012, and is the guitarist for the alternative rock groups At the Drive-In, Antemasque and Bosnian Rainbows.
He has embarked on a solo career, both in studio and in concert, frequently described as experimental, avant-garde and/or progressive.
He began playing the bass at age 12, but then switched to guitar at 15 because he "needed more strings".
Since then Rodríguez-López has spent most of his career living and working with his close friend Bixler-Zavala.
During this time he frequently collaborated with his friends and future bandmates from El Paso, which included people such as Paul Hinojos, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Julio Venegas and the late Jeremy Michael Ward.
He says he enjoys the company of his close friends and family when not fulfilling obligations to his many bands and projects.
Rodríguez-López has been a vegetarian for most of his life.
At the Drive-In (1996–2001, 2012–2018)
Main article: At the Drive-In
At 17, Rodríguez-López left El Paso to hitchhike around the country for a year in the early 1990s, during which he acquired an addiction to opiates.
Eventually he got in touch with friend Cedric Bixler-Zavala who suggested he come back to El Paso.
With the help of Bixler-Zavala, he was able to return to El Paso where he could begin to reclaim his life from addiction and join At the Drive-In as backup vocalist and bass guitarist.
After several years and two more critically acclaimed albums, for a variety of reasons, Rodríguez-López and Bixler-Zavala left At the Drive-In and the band went on "indefinite hiatus".
On January 9, 2012, At the Drive-In announced that they were reforming for a tour.
The Mars Volta (2001–2012)
Main article: The Mars Volta
Eventually the same collective of musicians in De Facto would be expanded into Rodríguez-López's new band, The Mars Volta.
Once again starting from scratch he wrote and toured with the band which consumed almost all his time and money.
On May 25, 2003 less than a month before the release of their first full-length album, De-Loused in the Comatorium, bandmate and close friend Jeremy Ward was found dead of a heroin overdose.
This event, coupled with the memories of the suicide of his friend Julio Venegas years earlier, finally convinced both him and Bixler-Zavala to quit using opiates.
Since then he has been clean and credited his newfound musical work ethic on his new lifestyle.
The Mars Volta's second album, Frances the Mute, would later be dedicated to Ward.
During the early years of the band he also worked on a low budget movie called A Manual Dexterity which starred Jeremy Ward.
The soundtrack A Manual Dexterity: Soundtrack Volume 1 was released in 2004.
The release of the second volume, which was originally planned for Spring of 2005, and the film were both delayed indefinitely due to legal problems.
Conflicts over ownership of certain footage and Rodríguez-López's reluctance to revisit the project which featured his late friend Jeremy Michael Ward were both cited as reasons for the delay.
However, Rodríguez-López stated that he does intend to release both Volume 2 and the film at some point in the future.
On February 8, 2009, he and his fellow Mars Volta bandmates won the Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance.
On January 23, 2013, the Mars Volta officially announced that they had broken up, following a series of tweets posted by Cedric Bixler-Zavala stating that he had departed the band.
Their future was uncertain at this point, although Rodriguez-Lopez has not ruled out the possibility of reuniting in the future.
Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group (2005–2012, 2018)
Main article: Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group
In 2005 Rodríguez-López relocated to Amsterdam, where he eventually wrote and recorded four separate albums.
His first solo project was the "Omar Rodríguez-López Quintet".
Rodríguez-López played several live shows in Europe with his quintet, which in 2005 also included three members of the Mars Volta Group (Juan Alderete, Marcel Rodríguez-López and Adrián Terrazas-González) and Money Mark.
The songs featured on this tour later appeared on the album Omar Rodriguez.
It was characterized by long, improvisational songs with Dutch titles and no lyrics.
On May 29, 2007, Se Dice Bisonte, No Búfalo was released.
It was the third full-length solo album by Rodríguez-López.
It featured performances by Mars Volta members Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Marcel Rodríguez-López, Juan Alderete, Adrián Terrazas-González as well as cameos by Money Mark, John Frusciante, and John Theodore.
It was written and recorded between 2005–2006 in California and Amsterdam.
The Quintet later resurfaced in 2007, now known as "The Rodríguez-López Group" to perform on the "white" stage at the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan on July 28.
Performing with the group for the first time were singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala and drummer Thomas Pridgen.
Solo releases (2004–present)
The Apocalypse Inside of an Orange is a double LP featuring the original quintet and was released on vinyl November 20, 2007.
It was also released for digital download.
Calibration, a record that Rodríguez-López recorded during his stay in Amsterdam, was released February 5, 2008.
On June 10, 2008 a recording titled Omar Rodriguez-Lopez & Jeremy Michael Ward was released.
It was a collaboration between the two and was recorded in 2001 before the formation of The Mars Volta.
The LP consists of various ambient tracks based on field recordings in the musique concrète tradition.
Rodríguez-López has continued to release a series of albums recorded in 2001 which include Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fungus and Minor Cuts and Scrapes in the Bushes Ahead, both released in late 2008.
Sonny Kay, co-owner of the former Gold Standard Labs label with Omar, created the album covers (and has done so for the majority of future Omar releases).
In mid-2009, a new entity has been created called El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodriguez Lopez (the New Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group) to release the first in a series of three recordings completed in 2006.
Thus far these recordings have only been known as the Omar and Zach Hill collaborations.
The first recording titled Cryptomnesia was released on May 5, 2009.
Vocals written and performed by Bixler-Zavala were recorded in 2008.
The Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group toured Europe in March 2009, supported by Zechs Marquise.
While Xenophanes was also released on CD and vinyl, Los Suenos De Un Higado and Solar Gambling only had a limited vinyl release.
Rodríguez-López also created a video for "Asco Que Conmueve los Puntos Erógenos", from Xenophanes, and posted it on YouTube on November 30, 2009.
In January 2010, Ciencia de los Inútiles was released under a new group, El Trio de Omar Rodriguez-Lopez.
The trio features Rodríguez-López on acoustic guitar, Ximena Sariñana on vocals and Aaron Cruz on upright bass.
A video for "Miércoles" was also released.
All money raised will go to the Keep Music in Schools programs.
The album Tychozorente was scheduled for release on November 1, 2010; however, it received an early release on September 14, 2010 as a digital download.
Another album, titled Cizaña de los Amores, was digitally released on October 11, 2010.
CD and vinyl versions of both albums are only available in Europe.
Mantra Hiroshima, another Omar and Zach Hill collaboration, was digitally released on November 29, followed next day by Dōitashimashite, album of live material recorded in September during the Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group's first US tour.
A video for "Agua Dulce de Pulpo" from the upcoming album Un Escorpión Perfumado was also released during that period, and the album itself was released on December 20 in digital form, with CD and vinyl versions to follow.
On April 16, 2011, Omar released Telesterion a compilation album featuring 38 songs from Omar's solo albums.
Although this has been the only release of 2011, other projects have been hinted at, such as Двойственность вздохов (Russian for Duality of Sighs), a documentary about the Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group's Russian mini-tour, directed by Omar and shot by Paco Ibarra.
The Vinyl edition of Telesterion also contained artwork for 6 solo albums that have yet to be released, and featured a new track, "Cásate Colmillo", off of an album supposedly titled The Somnambulis.
On July 7, 2016, Ipecac Records announced that they are going to release 12 albums by Omar, fortnightly, till December 2016.
They were recorded in the period 2008-2013 and one featured The Mars Volta line-up and a guest appearance by John Frusciante.
The first album Sworn Virgins was released digitally on July 15, 2016, and featured the single "To Kill A Chi Chi".
Recorded in El Paso and Zapopan, the titles include Sworn Virgins, Corazones, Blind Worms Pious Swine, Arañas En La Sombra, Umbrella Mistress, El Bien Y Mal Nos Une, Cell Phone Bikini, Infinity Drips, Weekly Mansions, Zapopan, Nom De Guerre Cabal, Some Need It Lonely.
Bosnian Rainbows & Antemasque (2012–present)
Main article: Bosnian Rainbows
On April 8, 2014, Omar announced a new musical project called Antemasque with former At the Drive-In and Mars Volta bandmates Cedric Bixler-Zavala (vocals) and David Elitch (drums) as well as Flea, the bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The group released their first song, "4AM".
Flea said that Antemasque is a project between Omar and Cedric, and that he is only a contributing artist.
In 2012, with Mars Volta going on hiatus, Rodríguez-López formed a solo band that eventually took the name Bosnian Rainbows.
It consists of Deantoni Parks (drums, keyboards), Teri Gender Bender (vocals) and Nicci Kasper (keyboards).
They released one self-titled album in June 2013.
As of 2018, both Bosnian Rainbows & Antemasque have essentially been put on hold due to touring commitments of At the Drive-In.
Aside from music, Rodríguez-López is also involved in filmmaking and photography.
Beginning in his At the Drive-in days he started to document many kinds of things: live shows, sound checks, dressing rooms, hotels, airport lounges, sightseeing, encounters with colleagues.
Since 2001 he has produced many films, of which The Sentimental Engine Slayer was the first to be released.
Rodríguez-López wrote, directed, produced and starred in the film, which was premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in February 2010 and saw the DVD release in January 2013.
Another film directed by Omar, Los Chidos, was premiered in March 2012 at SXSW.
The film was his second collaboration with the writer/director after scoring the 2007 film El Búfalo de la Noche with the Mars Volta; in addition to some original material, the score also includes material used in Amputechture.
Rodríguez-López's first photo book, Hunters in High Heels documenting the years from 2000 to 2006, was slated to release in 2013 but was since postponed indefinitely due to unknown reasons.
Rodríguez-López's compositional and playing style is characterized by, among other factors, riffs, melodies based in minor modes, changing meters, unresolving dissonances (in particular a heavy use of the tritone), chromatic passages, and lengthy improvisation.
In that interview he also stated that he hated the guitar for a very long time.
He only utilized it because it was the instrument his bandmates could "relate to".
He said he "wrestled" guitar by adding effects and playing oddly to attempt "making it sound like anything besides this thing I hate—the guitar!".
However, he claimed to feel more comfortable with the instrument on Amputechture.
Rodríguez-López plays guitar left-handed.
As such, he has cited his main and clearest influence Frank Zappa, Crimson's Robert Fripp, jazz fusion guitarist John McLaughlin as well as hardcore punk and hard rock guitarists Greg Ginn and Jimi Hendrix respectively.
He has also stated that film is a primary influence on him, likening his recording style to that of a film director, where the "scenes are shot out of sequence and the final creation is in the hands of the director.
Omar has endorsed Ibanez guitars since the Mars Volta's inception in 2001.
Previously he used Squier Super-Sonic guitars while playing with At the Drive-In.
In 2008, Ibanez released the ORM-1 Omar Rodriguez-Lopez signature guitar, which was produced through 2012.
He uses Seymour Duncan Little '59 pickups as well.
Although he tunes to E standard tuning, Omar uses Ernie Ball .013-.056 gauge strings with a wound G string, saying that "they feel more real than the really thin ones".
Omar also plays through an Orange Rockerverb combo amp as well.
In recent years, Omar has taken a minimalist approach to his pedals, which at one point was a very complex setup.
During the Mars Volta's 2011 tour with Soundgarden, he used a Boss DD5 Digital Delay, an MXR Phase 90, an Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy analog delay, a Boss PS-6 Harmonist, a Line 6 M9 Stompbox Modeler, an MXR M133 Micro Amp, an Ibanez WH10V2 wah-wah, an Ibanez TC7 tri-mode chorus, and a Line 6 DL4 delay modeler.
During the Mars Volta's final shows and At the Drive-In's reunion tour, Rodriguez-Lopez switched back to a full-sized Ibanez Jetking guitar, although retaining his preferred single-pickup and volume knob configuration and 24" neck scale.
In a recent interview with TC Electronic, he is seen using a blue Ibanez Jetking with two full-size humbuckers.
Most recently, while performing with Bosnian Rainbows, Rodriguez-Lopez began to use a mid-1960s era left-handed Supro 3/4 scale guitar with a single pickup in the bridge position.
Shortly afterwards, he was seen playing a custom Ibanez guitar that closely resembled his Supro.
In addition, Rodriguez-Lopez now uses flatwound strings on his guitar.
Rodriguez-Lopez's pedalboard for Bosnian Rainbows consisted of a Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner, an Empress Superdelay, a Blackout Effects Whetstone analog phaser, a Catalinbread Semaphore tremolo pedal, a Boss DD-5 Digital Delay, an EarthQuaker Devices Rainbow Machine, an Empress Fuzz pedal, a Catalinbread Calisto chorus/vibrato pedal, and a Boss SL-20 slicer.
Rodríguez-López is also notable for his recording, producing and songwriting techniques.
He has claimed that he is "ignorant of music theory" and that thus he lacks knowledge in writing music in standard notation, claiming that his songwriting "comes from emotion completely".
Rodríguez-López claims to write all of the music for his projects, then dictates the performance to the musicians involved.
In addition to his producing credits with the Mars Volta and his solo albums, he also produced the only LP from the defunct LA-based band Radio Vago and in 2009, handled the production of a recording titled "Terra Incognita" from actress/singer Juliette Lewis' band The New Romantiques.
Main article: Omar Rodríguez-López discography
- Please Heat This Eventually (EP) (2006; as Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Damo Suzuki; featuring Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group)
- Omar Rodriguez-Lopez & Lydia Lunch (EP) (2007; as Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Lydia Lunch; featuring Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group)
- Omar Rodriguez-Lopez & Jeremy Michael Ward (2008; as Omar Rodriguez-Lopez & Jeremy Michael Ward)
- The Burning Plain soundtrack (promo only) (2008; as Hans Zimmer and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez)
- Omar Rodriguez-Lopez & John Frusciante (2010; as Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and John Frusciante)
- Faust & Omar Rodriguez Lopez Live at Clouds Hill (2012; part of Live at Clouds Hill box set; as Faust and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez)
- Birth of a Ghost (2017; with With Lions)
- I Love Being Trendy (1993)
- Acrobatic Tenement (1996)
- El Gran Orgo (1997)
- In/Casino/Out (1998, re-release 2004)
- Vaya (1999, re-release 2004)
- Sunshine / At the Drive-In (2000)
- Relationship of Command (2000, re-release 2004)
- This Station Is Non-Operational (2005)
- in ter a li a (2017)
- Diamanté (2017)
- 456132015 (2001)
- Megaton Shotblast (2001)
- How Do You Dub? You Fight For Dub, You Plug Dub In (2001)
- Légende du Scorpion a Quatre Queues (2001)
- Tremulant (2002)
- De-Loused in the Comatorium (2003)
- Live (2003)
- Frances the Mute (2005)
- Scabdates (2005)
- Amputechture (2006)
- The Bedlam in Goliath (2008)
- Octahedron (2009)
- Noctourniquet (2012)
- Bosnian Rainbows Live at Clouds Hill (10" EP) (2012; part of Live at Clouds Hill box set)
- Bosnian Rainbows (2013)
- Hiding in the Light (2014)
- Antemasque (2014)
- Crystal Fairy (2017)
- Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three by Various Artists (Produced by Henry Rollins) (2002)
- Shadows Collide With People by John Frusciante (2004)
- Inside of Emptiness by John Frusciante (2004)
- Curtains by John Frusciante (2005)
- Radio Vago by Radio Vago (2005)
- "Live Private Booths" by Alavaz Relxib Cirdec (uncredited) (2005)
- The Phantom Syndrome by Coaxial (2005)
- Stadium Arcadium by Red Hot Chili Peppers (2006)
- I'll Sleep When You're Dead by El-P (2007)
- New Amerykah Part One by Erykah Badu (2008)
- Leslie White by Taka Takaz (2009)
- Sympathy for Delicious OST by Burnt the Diphthongs (2010)
- Negativa by Hour of the Monarchy (2010)
- Entren Los Que Quieran by Calle 13 (2010)
- The Golden Age of Knowhere by Funeral Party (2011)
- Ximena Sariñana by Ximena Sariñana (2011)
- Tercer Solar by Apolo (2014)
- El Gran Orgo by At the Drive-In (1997) co-produced with Bryan Jones and other members of at the Drive-In
- Sunshine / At the Drive-In by at the Drive-In (2000) co-produced with other members of at the Drive-In
- De-Loused in the Comatorium by The Mars Volta (2003) co-produced with Rick Rubin
- Live by The Mars Volta (2003) co-produced with Cedric Bixler-Zavala
- A Manual Dexterity: Soundtrack Volume 1 (2004)
- Frances the Mute by The Mars Volta (2005)
- Scabdates by The Mars Volta (2005)
- Omar Rodriguez (2005)
- Radio Vago by Radio Vago (2005)
- Amputechture by The Mars Volta (2006)
- Please Heat This Eventually (2007)
- Se Dice Bisonte, No Bùfalo (2007)
- Omar Rodriguez-Lopez & Lydia Lunch (2007)
- The Apocalypse Inside of an Orange (2007)
- Calibration (2007)
- The Bedlam in Goliath by The Mars Volta (2008)
- Omar Rodriguez Lopez & Jeremy Michael Ward (2008)
- Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fungus (2008)
- Minor Cuts and Scrapes in the Bushes Ahead (2008)
- Old Money (2008)
- Megaritual (2009)
- Despair (2009)
- Cryptomnesia (2009)
- Octahedron by The Mars Volta (2009)
- Terra Incognita by Juliette and The New Romantiques (2009)
- Los Sueños de un Higado (2009)
- Xenophanes (2009)
- Solar Gambling (2009)
- Ciencia de los Inútiles (2010)
- Omar Rodriguez Lopez & John Frusciante (2010)
- Sepulcros de Miel (2010)
- Tychozorente (2010) co-produced with Elvin Estela
- Cizaña de los Amores (2010)
- Mantra Hiroshima (2010)
- どういたしまして (Dōitashimashite; 2010)
- Un Escorpión Perfumado (2010)
- Telesterion (2011; compilation)
- Sin Sin Sin by Le Butcherettes (2011)
- Noctourniquet by The Mars Volta (2012)
- Un Corazón de Nadie (2012)
- Saber, Querer, Osar y Callar (2012)
- Octopus Kool Aid (2012)
- Equinox (2013)
- Woman Gives Birth To Tomato! (2013)
- Unicorn Skeleton Mask (2013)
- ¿Sólo Extraño? (2013)
- Guardián by Apolo (2015)
- A Raw Youth by Le Butcherettes (2015)
- Norma by Mon Laferte (2018)
Main article: Omar Rodríguez-López filmography
- The Sentimental Engine Slayer (2010)
- Los Chidos (2011)
- Amalia (2018)
- "Inertiatic ESP" (2003) for The Mars Volta
- "L'Via L'Viaquez" (2005) for The Mars Volta
- "The Widow" (2005) for The Mars Volta
- "Wax Simulacra" (2008) for The Mars Volta
- "Aberinkula" (2008) for The Mars Volta
- "Ilyena" (2008) for The Mars Volta
- "Goliath" (2008) for The Mars Volta
- "Askepios" (2008) for The Mars Volta
- "Calibration" (2008)
- "Cotopaxi" (2009) for The Mars Volta
- "Since We've Been Wrong" (2009) for The Mars Volta
- "Asco Que Conmueve los Puntos Erógenos" (2009)
- "Miercoles" (2010)
- "Polaridad" (2010)
- "Agua Dulce De Pulpo" (2010)
- "Shine Down" (2011) for Ximena Sariñana
- "Pineapple Face" (2016)
- "My Mallely" (2016) for Le Butcherettes
- "Metronome Arthritis" (1999) video for At the Drive-In with Dan Tierney and other members of At the Drive-In
- "One Armed Scissor" (2000) video for At the Drive-In with other members of At the Drive-In
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omar Rodríguez-López.