Cedric Bixler-Zavala

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Cedric Bixler-Zavala
Cedric Bixler-Zavala live at the LC Pavilion in Columbus, OH
Background information
Born (1974-11-04) November 4, 1974 (age 44)
Redwood City, California, U.S.
Origin El Paso, Texas, U.S.
Genres Progressive rock, jazz fusion, post-hardcore, metal, experimental rock, art rock, psychedelic rock, hardcore punk, alternative rock, dub
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, singer, drummer
Instruments Vocals, drums, guitar, maracas, tambourine, keyboard, bass
Years active 1993–present
Associated acts The Mars Volta, At the Drive-In, Antemasque, Anywhere, De Facto, Los Dregtones, The Fall on Deaf Ears, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group, El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodriguez Lopez, Zavalaz, Big Sir

Cedric Bixler-Zavala (born November 4, 1974 in Redwood City, California) is a Grammy Award-winning American musician known for his work as frontman and lyricist of the progressive rock band The Mars Volta, and as frontman and occasional guitarist of the post-hardcore group At the Drive-In. Currently he is a singer in the band Antemasque, and also sings and plays guitar in his band Zavalaz. He has also played drums for a number of acts, including the dub act De Facto and more recently Big Sir and Anywhere.


Bixler-Zavala has a Tenor vocal range, spanning from the G below Low C (G2) to Soprano C (C6). His vocal work for At the Drive-In consisted mainly of a rhythmic shouted style.

Lyric style

Bixler-Zavala is fond of Frank Zappaesque humour and writes in English, Spanish, and Latin. “I love to take common sayings, pervert them, mutate them a little. So you think I am singing one thing, but when you read it, it is different.”[1]

On-stage behavior

Cedric Bixler-Zavala in 2008

When performing with At the Drive-in and The Mars Volta, Bixler-Zavala was known for his eccentric on-stage behavior. He frequently did somersaults on stage, swung his microphone (once unintentionally hitting band mate Ikey Owens in the head), threw objects such as cymbals, microphone stands, and trash cans into the audience, salsa danced, adjusted Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s effects pedals and occasionally played the maracas.

Solo recordings, collaborations and Zavalaz

Under the pseudonym "Alavaz Relxib Cirdec" ("Cedric Bixler-Zavala" backwards), Bixler-Zavala contributed a two-song single to the GSL Special 12" Singles Series, released in December 2005. Closer to the dub of De Facto and the ambient experimentation shown in Omar Rodríguez-López's records than the prog-rock of The Mars Volta, the two songs Bixler-Zavala has produced under this alias are entirely instrumental.

In 2010, he commented on Facebook about the recording process:

This is my failed attempt at ghost noted shuffeling Tony Allen beats! Ha! There is a digital tabla machine running through some DD-5 delay pedal that is being played by a mini hand held tape recorder playing throughout! I wrote the bass line...hummed it to Juan...Omar came up with the guitar and chorus section and Adrian played flute on it. It was squeezed in during tracking drums for Amputechture, and rushed...very very rushed. I had other parts and chorus bits but I didn't want to get in the way of the record (studio time is expensive!). The samples are from 2 places [...] On "Private Booths" the samples at the start are from a interview with a psychic who participated in the Montauk Project...I sampled it from a UK TV show called Disinformation (RIP!) [...] The other sample is from a movie called Shock Corridor by the late Sam Fuller. Side 2 "Sapta Loka" is a bit of an homage to ambient German music from the 70's....it's one long drone spliced in four places and stacked on each other playing at the same time. A shitty Casio and a banged up Chaos pad (very 2005!) are being run and it's all recorded through a hand held mini recorder dumped onto a ProTools file. [...] Omar co-wrote the piece.

Late 2011 saw the release of the first 7" record from Bixler's new project Anywhere, a collaboration with Christian Eric Beaulieu of Triclops! and Mike Watt of The Stooges/Firehose/Minutemen.[2] Their self-titled debut album was released by ATP Records in June 2012.

Bixler has stated that he has been working on an album with the last Mars Volta drummer Deantoni Parks, although it remains unreleased to date.[3]

Since 2011 Bixler was working on another album, which he described as "mostly ballady type stuff...a very sunday morning record. Very soft".[4] Eventually the solo project turned into a full-fledged band named Zavalaz, which features Bixler on lead vocals and guitar, Dan Elkan on guitar, Juan Alderete on bass and Gregory Rogove on drums. The band is set to play a number of West Coast tour dates throughout June, supported by Dot Hacker and EV Kain.[5] On June 3, 2013, a snippet from song "Blue Rose of Grand Street" off their upcoming album All the Nights We Never Met was released on YouTube.[6]

Cedric has been back into the studio after reuniting with Omar Rodriguez López due to Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist, Flea, wanting them to reunite. They have now formed a supergroup together called Antemasque with ex-Mars Volta drummer Dave Elitch. Recording new material and new a new album to be released in 2014. Fans have cited that as Flea & Dave have played with the Mars Volta prior, a Mars Volta reunion could be in the works. (Flea played bass on 2002's De-loused in the Comatorium and trumpet on 2004's Frances the Mute, Dave played with The Mars Volta from 2009-2010)

Personal life

In 2009 Bixler-Zavala married actress and model Chrissie Carnell. The couple reside in Los Angeles, California. They had their first children, twin boys Ulysses and Xanthus, in 2013.

Cedric's life has been heavily impacted by the deaths of people who have been in close association with him, several of which have become themes for his lyrics. Jimmy Hernandez, bass player for Los Dregtones, died of cancer in 1994. Bernie Rincon, an original drummer of At The Drive-In, committed suicide.[7] In 1996, two of his bandmates of the group The Fall on Deaf Ears, Laura Beard and Sarah Reiser, died in a car accident.[8] Also in 1996, a close friend and band-mate of Cedric's named Julio Venegas committed suicide. The story behind The Mars Volta's first album De-Loused in the Comatorium was loosely inspired by "life and death of Julio Venegas". Shortly before the release of De-Loused, in May 2003, their sound manipulator and longtime friend of Cedric and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Jeremy Michael Ward, was found dead of apparent heroin overdose.[9] Ward coined the term Amputechture which was used as the title for The Mars Volta's third full-length album, and Frances the Mute was based on a journal Ward had discovered.[10] In October 2014, Isaiah "Ikey" Owens, former bandmate and keyboardist for Bixler-Zavala's previous bands DeFacto and The Mars Volta (band member from 2001-2011) was found dead due to a heart attack[11] in his hotel room in Puebla, Mexico, at age 39 while Owens was on tour with Jack White.[12]


As Alavaz Relxib Cirdec

With Antemasque

With Anywhere

  • "Pyramid Mirrors" – single (2011)
  • "Infrared Moses" – single (2012)
  • Anywhere - LP (2012)

With At the Drive-In

With Big Sir

With De Facto

With The Fall on Deaf Ears

With Foss

With Thee Gambede Meatleak

With Los Dregtones

With The Mars Volta

With Omar Rodríguez-López

With Zavalaz

  • All Those Nights We Never Met - LP (TBA)

Guest appearances

As producer


  1. Eggar, Robin (21 June 2009). "The Mars Volta's unveil Octahedron". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 25 March 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Robbins, Winston (2011-09-22). "Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Mike Watt announce super group, Anywhere". consequenceodsound.com. Retrieved 2012-01-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Blood, Frederick (2009-06-08). "Artist 'n' Artist: Frederick Blood-Royale meets The Mars Volta / In Depth // Drowned In Sound". Drownedinsound.com. Retrieved 2011-10-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. http://themarbleshrine.com/CedricSpeaks.html
  5. Martins, Chris (2013-05-15). "Mars Volta's Cedric Bixler-Zavala Started Another Band". Spin.com. Retrieved 2013-06-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. [1]
  7. Wonky Talk With Cedric Bixler-Zavala By Mikey More Or Less >> The Cosmic Clash
  8. Matt Cibula. "The Fall on Deaf Ears". Ink 19. Retrieved 20 June 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Unknown (May 28, 2003). "The Mars Volta's Jeremy Michael Ward Found Dead". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 20 June 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Dan Martin (Sep 13, 2006). "The Mars Volta - Amputechture". NME. Retrieved 20 June 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Young, Alex (14 October 2014). "Jack White's keyboardist, Isaiah "Ikey" Owens, found dead in Mexico". Consequence of Sound. Townsquare Music. Retrieved 15 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Viveros, Ozair (14 October 2014). "Fallece tecladista de Jack White en hotel Camino Real de Puebla". Periodico Digital. Retrieved 14 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Corey Deiterman (May 14, 2015). "Hell Paso: Early At the Drive-in side-project surfaces". Houston Press. Retrieved 2015-12-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links