30 Seconds to Mars
|30 Seconds to Mars|
30 Seconds to Mars (left to right): Jared Leto, Shannon Leto, and Tomo Miličević
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Genres||Alternative rock, hard rock, emo, progressive metal|
|Labels||EMI, Immortal, Virgin|
|Associated acts||Angels & Airwaves, Great Northern, The Wondergirls|
|Past members||Matt Wachter
30 Seconds to Mars is an American rock band from Los Angeles, formed in 1998. Since 2007, the band has consisted of actor Jared Leto (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, songwriter), Shannon Leto (drums, percussion) and Tomo Miličević (lead guitar, keyboards). Following the departure of Matt Wachter (now of Angels & Airwaves) in 2007, Tim Kelleher became the bassist for the group, performing live only with both Jared and Miličević recording bass for studio recordings, while Braxton Olita (keyboards) was added to the touring lineup in 2009. Previously, the group also featured guitarists Solon Bixler (now of Great Northern) and Kevin Drake (now of Polaroid Kiss).
To date, 30 Seconds to Mars have released four studio albums – 30 Seconds to Mars (2002), A Beautiful Lie (2005), This Is War (2009), Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams (2013) and three extended plays – AOL Sessions Undercover (2007), To the Edge of the Earth (2008), and MTV Unplugged: 30 Seconds to Mars (2011). As of May 2013, the band has sold over 10 million albums worldwide.
30 Seconds to Mars' music has been associated mostly with new prog, progressive metal and alternative rock, but they have also included emo, screamo, space rock and synthrock into their music. They have been compared to Pink Floyd (who were an influence on their work) and Tool because of their use of philosophical and spiritual lyrics, concept albums and their use of experimental music.
Formation and debut album (1998–2005)
Founded in 1998 by brothers Shannon Leto and Jared Leto, 30 Seconds to Mars began as a small family project. Matt Wachter later joined the band as bassist and keyboard player. After working with a number of guitarists (as the band's first two guitarists, Kevin Drake and Solon Bixler, left the band due to issues primarily related to touring), the three auditioned Tomo Miličević to round out the band's roster.
Jared Leto said the following in an interview regarding the name of the band:
"For us, the name 30 Seconds To Mars has little to do with space, the universe or anything like that. It is a name that works on several different levels. Most importantly, it is a good representation of our sound. It's a phrase that is lyrical, suggestive, cinematic, and filled with immediacy. It has some sense of otherness to it. The concept of space is so overwhelming and all encompassing I doubt there is a song written that doesn't fall within it."
Shannon Leto said the following in an interview regarding the name of the band:
""It represents a lot of things. This professor had a thesis. It was talking about where technology was going; the evolution of man and how that plays a role. A sub-category was 30 Seconds to Mars. It was like the exponential growth of humans. We are literally 30 seconds away from Mars. Everything is right here and right now; everything is just so crazy and fast."
"[The band's name] actually comes from a thesis that the band found online that was written by a former Harvard professor. And one of the subsections of the thesis was titled 'thirty seconds to mars' and he goes on to talk about the exponential growth of technology that relates to humans and saying that we are quite literally thirty seconds to mars. What it means to us is, we thought it best described our music, in short."
However, this purported source has not been verified.
Even though Jared Leto is a Hollywood actor, he prefers not to use this position to promote the band; in fact, he refuses to play at venues if they have used his name to promote the band.
The band's debut self-titled album, produced by Bob Ezrin was released in 2002 to positive reviews. The album produced two singles, "Capricorn (A Brand New Name)" and "Edge of the Earth". The former peaked at No. 31 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock chart.
A Beautiful Lie (2005–08)
Their second album, A Beautiful Lie, was released on August 30, 2005. Because the album was leaked five months before its release, the band decided to include two bonus tracks: "Battle of One" (an original song that was also set to be the album's title track when it was first announced) and "Hunter" (a cover of the Björk song). To further promote the album, the band also enclosed "golden tickets" in 12 copies, which granted their owners access to any 30 Seconds to Mars concert free of charge, along with backstage access.
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On August 31, 2006, the band won the MTV2 Award for "The Kill" at the MTV Video Music Awards, one of their two nominations. The second nomination was for Best Rock Video; however, they lost to AFI's "Miss Murder". In the video, members of the band reenact scenes from The Shining. A Beautiful Lie was certified platinum by the RIAA in January for distribution of over one million albums.
In October, the band began their "Welcome to the Universe" tour, sponsored by MTV2 and were supported by Head Automatica, The Receiving End of Sirens, Cobra Starship, Rock Kills Kid, and several other bands including Street Drum Corps. The tour was "environmentally sound" according to a 2006 interview with then-bassist Matt Wachter. "Jared and Shannon put together this thing called Environmentour which is illustrating ways—alternatives—to kind of clean up some of the mess we leave behind. We fueled the bus with vegetable oil," he explains. On November 20, MTV2 premiered the video for "From Yesterday"; the video is the first American rock video ever shot in its entirety in the People's Republic of China. The music video is loosely based on the film The Last Emperor.
On April 29, 2007, the band performed at the Australian MTV Australia Video Music Awards, where they were nominated for three awards, winning "Best Rock Video" and "Video of the Year" for "The Kill".
As of Spring 2007, the band is supporting The Used as a part of the "Taste of Chaos" tour and have scheduled a string of dates in Europe supporting Linkin Park. They are also scheduled to play Roskilde, Rock am Ring, Pinkpop, Give It A Name Festival and Download. 30 Seconds to Mars were one of the hosts for the MTV Europe Music Awards 2008. While on the 2007 Taste of Chaos the band also did an interview with Music Saves Lives.
On March 21, 2008, 30 Seconds to Mars performed at 'My Coke Fest' in South Africa, which saw the band back on South African soil since the inception and recording of A Beautiful Lie. At a Press Conference Leto described the experience as deeply personal, with the added hope that some new material may see the light of day on African Soil. The band played to a sold-out crowd in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
On December 11, 2009, according to AOL Radio Blog, with votes from listeners of the site's Alternative Radio station, the Top Alternative Song of the Decade of the 2000s was 30 Seconds To Mars' hit The Kill from 2006, which had major success, along with the album which the single appears, A Beautiful Lie.
Virgin Records lawsuit and This Is War (2008–11)
In August 2008, Virgin Records filed a $30 million lawsuit, claiming the band refused to deliver three albums as required by its contract. According to the lawsuit, the band "repudiated" a 1998 contract in July. In an early 2009 interview with MTV, Jared said that they hope to have their third album out by summer 2009, and he also gave information about the meaning behind the record saying, "I think this record is about faith, about spiritual matters, and that just happens to be what we're thinking about and talking about in our lives right now. I said when the last album came out that I wanted to destroy the first record, which I think we did. We took a dramatic turn from the first to the second, and I think this new record follows that path. It's exciting to us, and we're really passionate about it."
In the February 11 issue of Kerrang! magazine, the working title for the new album was revealed as This Is War. Jared released a small amount of information about his trip to Hawaii, and recorded a song called "Hurricane" with Kanye West. On April 28, they returned from EMI and the lawsuit was annulled.
Soon after the announcement of the lawsuit settlement, Jared and 30 Seconds To Mars told MTV News that their third album had its release date pushed back from April 2009 to some time in September 2009. Although the released dates were changed many times, 30 Seconds to Mars released This Is War on December 8, 2009. On February 19, 2010, 30 Seconds to Mars began their worldwide Into the Wild Tour in Nottingham to support This Is War. The tour had 7 legs that ended on December 18, 2010. They also appeared at the 2010 MTV VMAs on September 12, 2010. Also, they presented on the inaugural headliner of the new International Lollapalooza Festival in Santiago, Chile at O'Higgins Park on April 3, 2011. In September 2011 they headlined Split Works' inaugural Black Rabbit festival in China alongside Ludacris, amongst others. They performed their final show of the tour on December 7, 2011, at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC.
Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams (2012–present)
On April 23, 2012, Rolling Stone released an article revealing that 30 Seconds to Mars was in the studio recording a fourth LP, Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams. According to the article, the band previewed some of the new material in their April 27 VyRT stream, including a song called "Witness". It also stated that they were interested in working with other artists for the album. The band's official Twitter account confirmed this news. On April 25, 2012 MTV Buzzworthy confirmed that they were working with famed record Producer Steve Lillywhite (U2, The Killers). Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams was released worldwide from May 17 to 22, 2013.
On February 28, 2013, it was announced via Twitter that "Up in the Air" would be the first single from the new album. A CD copy of the single was sent to NASA and SpaceX for launch aboard the Dragon spacecraft on SpaceX CRS-2. The mission was launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket on March 1, 2013, sending the first ever commercial copy of music into space. The spacecraft berthed with the International Space Station on March 3, 2013, making the single available to play by the Expedition 35 crew aboard the station. The song made its worldwide debut aboard the station on March 18, 2013. The single was released for digital download the following day on March 19, 2013.
"Conquistador", a song from the album, was released with a lyric video on VEVO as a thanks for worldwide trending "#MARSmay21st" on May 2, 2013. 
The band's phoenix logo (which the band named "Mithra") bears the phrase "Provehito in Altum", the band's motto. Roughly translated from Latin, this means "Launch forth into the deep"; a more stylized version would be "Rocket in(to) High(ness)". It can also be translated as "March on into higher grounds" or "Launch forth into higher grounds". The logo was primarily used for promotion of the band's debut, whereas for A Beautiful Lie, the new Trinity logo was created consisting of three skulls and three arrows pointing inwards, along with the band's name and motto.
The Echelon are the fanbase for 30 Seconds to Mars, though they reject the term fanbase and consider themselves a "family". The Echelon have created philanthropic charities based on the band's charitable work for the environment and Haiti. The Echelon are named after a song on the debut album, 30 Seconds to Mars. Concerning the Echelon, Jared Leto has stated the following:
"Some people ask us if this is a cult. I say this: It's something special. It's not for everyone – it's only for those who understand."
Musical style, genre and influence
30 Seconds to Mars have been stated by critics to play within the genres of alternative rock, alternative metal, neo-prog, progressive metal, hard rock, post-grunge, nu metal, emo, screamo, space rock, and synthrock. The band takes influence from a variety of artists, but primary influences include: Depeche Mode, Alice in Chains, The Goo Goo Dolls, Deftones, David Bowie, Jane's Addiction, Led Zeppelin, Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Everclear, Creed, The Cure, Björk, and U2.
- Studio albums
- 30 Seconds to Mars (2002)
- A Beautiful Lie (2005)
- This Is War (2009)
- Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams (2013)
The band made acoustic versions of songs from their second album A Beautiful Lie. Some of the acoustics have been included in some versions of the album. After playing in MTV Unplugged, the band released an EP composed of acoustic versions of some of the songs from the album "This Is War". It contains songs such as "Hurricane" and "Kings and Queens". It also contains a cover of U2's "Where Streets Have No Name" performed by 30 Seconds to Mars.
In addition to the tracks on their three full-length releases thus far, the band has also recorded a few other tracks. Among these tracks are "Phase 1: Fortification" and "Valhalla", the latter of which was present on an early demo. "Phase 1: Fortification" was released on an overseas single for "Capricorn (A Brand New Name)". Another track featured on certain imported 30 Seconds to Mars titles is "Anarchy in Tokyo", a song that was recorded during the process of their self-titled debut. "Revolution" was also recorded for the self-titled album, but was not included because it did not fit the theme of the album, and because of fear that listeners would take the lyrics too literally, especially after the September 11, 2001 attacks. However, an instrumental snippet of the song was played several times at live concerts. "Occam's Razor" was also recorded, but was never included on any of the band's releases. As a result, it is considered the most difficult to locate of the five unreleased tracks.
Demo versions of songs on the band's self-titled debut were also slightly different, along with different names. For example, "Fallen" was previously called "Jupiter", and "Year Zero" was previously called "Hero". Also made available are the demo versions of "Buddha for Mary" and "93 Million Miles"; the latter originally had lyrics referring to the band Deadsy, whose members Dr. Nner and P. Exeter Blue I provided extra instrumentation on several tracks, but the lyrics were changed after the two bands were involved in a small feud.
During live shows, the band premiered two new songs, one of which was rumored to end up on the new album: "Some Other Sun". "The Believer" was initially written for the self-titled album but was scrapped during recording. There was also live songs such as "Sisters of Heresy" and "Under Pressure / Pressure" (Name of song unsure, name based on lyrics). A recent live song, "Revenge", was written for "This Is War" but was scrapped.
On December 11, 2006, the band sent their fans a "stocking stuffer" in the form of a holiday song called "Santa Through the Back Door". It was featured on a KROQ-FM (Los Angeles) compilation which coincided with the station's annual Almost Acoustic Christmas festival. The song also featured a spoken word intro performed by the band's roadie Mike "Colonel Buck" Bobroff who also performed the intro prior to the band's set at the festival on December 9, 2006.
In February 2008, the band had premiered a song during the first European blood ball in Milan, Italy. Leto said the song is called "Old Blues Song". Later, he revealed the actual title: "Guillotine".
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