The Mars Volta began in 2001 with core members Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (guitar, producer) and Cedric Bixler-Zavala (vocals, lyrics). Following At the Drive-In’s departure, the former members began working on their side project, De Facto with Isaiah “Ikey” Owens (keyboard) and Jeremy Ward (vocals). The four were joined by Eva Gardner (bass) and Blake Fleming (drummer) and the outfit recorded their first EP, Tremulant. The group continued touring while recording their debut album, De-Loused in the Comatorium, telling the story of someone battling a drug-induced coma. Released in 2003, it remains their best-selling album.
The Mars Volta began to prepare for their second album, Frances the Mute, which arrived in 2005 and told stories about characters based on a diary found by the late Jeremy Ward. Following the success of their album, the group played a number of festivals including KROQ’s Weenie Roast Festival and All Tomorrow’s Parties festival. In 2006, the group released their third record, Amputechture, a series of songs that acted as vignettes, a majority of which were written by Rodriguez-Lopez in Amsterdam.
After difficulties finding a drummer, the group welcomed Thomas Pridgen to the band and began recording their fourth record, The Bedlam in Goliath. The group played shows throughout the U.S. and Europe, and later released an online game, “Goliath: The Soothsayer,” inspired by their fourth LP. Their lead single "Wax Simulacra" won them their first Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2009. That same year, the group announced their fifth studio album, Octahedron.
Following Octahedron, Rodriguez-Lopez began working on a solo project, putting The Mars Volta on hold. The group broke their silence after releasing their sixth studio album, Noctourniquet in March 2012. Rodriguez-Lopez continued to pursue his solo career and the band members went their separate ways.
Ten years later, on June 18, 2022, the group released a secret location in Los Angeles where they debuted their single “Blacklight Shine” and announced their upcoming tour.