Cedric Bixler-Zavala

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Cedric Bixler-Zavala
Bixler-Zavala at the Frequency Festival 2017
Bixler-Zavala at the Frequency Festival 2017
Background information
Born (1974-11-04) November 4, 1974 (age 48)
Redwood City, California, U.S.
OriginEl Paso, Texas, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active1993–present

Cedric Bixler-Zavala (born November 4, 1974) is an American singer and songwriter. He is the lead singer and lyricist of the progressive rock band The Mars Volta and the only constant member of the post-hardcore group At the Drive-In, for which he is the lead singer and occasional guitarist. He is also the lead singer of the band Antemasque, and sings and plays guitar in his band Zavalaz.

Early life[edit]

Bixler-Zavala was born in the United States to Mexican parents, Dennis Jose Bixler and Rosa Maria Zavala. His parents were bilingual, but Bixler-Zavala says his command of proper Spanish is limited to "Spanglish".[1] His Spanish maternal surname, Zavala, is a Castilian version of Zabala, of Basque origin. The earliest paternal ancestors on his mother's side were fishermen and traders from the Basque region of Gipuzkoa and were employed by the Spanish government as colonists to the Spanish Louisiana.

In the early 1990s, Bixler-Zavala played drums and was a vocalist for a band named Foss which included future Texas congressman, senatorial candidate, and presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke on bass.[2]


Bixler-Zavala has a tenor voice type, with a range spanning from D2 to C7.[3] His vocal work spans many different styles, ranging from consistent rhythmic shouts (common in his singing with At The Drive-In) to controlled falsetto and head voice singing (a familiar trademark of his singing with the Mars Volta). In 2016, it was also revealed that Bixler-Zavala developed vocal nodules, causing shows to be canceled while on tour.[4][5]

Bixler-Zavala is fond of Frank Zappaesque humor and writes in English, Spanish, and Latin. His lyrics have a wide vocabulary and often feature complicated wordplay. Bixler-Zavala also uses portmanteaus: combining existing words, or parts of words, to create a new word. The song "Noctourniquet," for example, combines "nocturnal" (active at night) and "tourniquet" (a medical device to stop bleeding). He has stated: "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."[6] He has described Mark E. Smith of The Fall as "one of the pillars of influence for me as a lyricist".[7]

Cedric Bixler-Zavala in 2008

When performing with At the Drive-in and the Mars Volta, Bixler-Zavala is known for his eccentric on-stage behavior. He frequently does somersaults on stage, swings his microphone (once unintentionally hitting bandmate Ikey Owens in the head), throws objects such as cymbals, microphone stands, and trash cans into the audience, salsa dances, adjusts Omar Rodríguez-López's effects pedals and occasionally plays the maracas.

Solo recordings, collaborations, and Zavalaz[edit]

Under the pseudonym "Alavaz Relxib Cirdec" ("Cedric Bixler-Zavala" backwards), Bixler-Zavala contributed a two-song single to the GSL Special 12-inch 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 an 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 [1970s] ... 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-inch record from Bixler's new project Anywhere, a collaboration with Christian Eric Beaulieu of Triclops! and Mike Watt of The Stooges/Firehose/Minutemen.[8] 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.[9]

Since 2011 Bixler was working on another album, which he described as "mostly ballady type stuff... a very sunday morning record. Very soft".[10] 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.[11] 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.[12]

Cedric has been back into the studio after reuniting with Omar Rodríguez-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. The band recorded and released their debut in 2014. Fans have cited that as Flea and Dave have played with the Mars Volta prior, a Mars Volta reunion could be in the works. (Flea played bass on 2003's De-loused in the Comatorium and trumpet on 2005's Frances the Mute; Dave played with the Mars Volta from 2009 to 2010.) In February 2018, Bixler Zavala confirmed on Twitter that the Mars Volta will reunite,[13] but later clarified that At the Drive-In activity will take precedence for the immediate future.[14]

Personal life[edit]

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. In November 2017, he said in a pair of tweets that actor Danny Masterson had sexually assaulted his wife, and that he wrote At The Drive-In's song "Incurably Innocent" about the alleged incident.[15][16][17]

Bixler-Zavala was a member of the Church of Scientology. Bixler-Zavala had credited Scientology with his changed attitude on the use of drugs.[18] He attended the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre event in 2013.[19] In 2015, Bixler-Zavala spoke about his decision to stop smoking marijuana. "I was spending $1,000 a week on weed," he said, and rationalized his use by believing it made him more creative, when he later came to realize "I was using it to form this stoned bubble that helped me justify not wanting to interact with people."[20] However, by 2017 he had become a harsh critic of Scientology, calling its "self help volcano[...] as barren as a floating needle. A placebo of Sugary kool aid"[21] and accusing it of silencing sexual assault victims[22] and of harassing both him and his wife;[23] in 2018, he accused it of covering up his wife's alleged sexual assault and called it "a modern-day version of The Handmaid's Tale".[24][25]

In 2020, Bixler-Zavala's dog died after allegedly eating raw meat laced with rat poison that had been tossed into their yard. Bixler-Zavala alleged that the Church of Scientology was responsible, though they have denied the accusations.[26]

Bixler-Zavala'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. The year after, the original drummer for At The Drive-In, Bernie Rincon, died by suicide.[27] In 1996, a close friend and band-mate of Bixler-Zavala's, Los Dregtones bassist Julio Venegas, also died by 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". During the following year, two of his bandmates of the group The Fall on Deaf Ears, Laura Beard and Sarah Reiser, died in a car accident.[28] in May 2003, their sound manipulator and longtime friend of Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodríguez-López, Jeremy Ward, was found dead of apparent heroin overdose.[29] In October 2014, Isaiah "Ikey" Owens, former bandmate and keyboardist for Bixler-Zavala's previous bands De Facto and the Mars Volta (the latter from 2001 to 2010), was found dead in Puebla, Mexico, while on tour with Jack White.[30] Owens was 39 years old and his cause of death was later confirmed to be a heart attack.[31]

Bixler-Zavala endorsed 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and denounced the support of Joe Biden by his former Foss bandmate and 2020 presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke. In response to a fan on Instagram who said that O'Rourke's support of Biden "bummed me out bad", Bixler-Zavala said "me too."[32]


As Alavaz Relxib Cirdec[edit]

With Antemasque[edit]

With Anywhere[edit]

With At the Drive-In[edit]

With Big Sir[edit]

With De Facto[edit]

With The Fall on Deaf Ears[edit]

With Foss[edit]

  • The El Paso Pussycats (1993) – 7-inch
  • Foss (1993)
  • Fewel St. (1994)

With Thee Gambede Meatleak[edit]

  • The Crab, The Bear, The Tiger, The Moose, The Bird (1995)[33]

With Los Dregtones[edit]

  • 5 Song Alibi (1994)

With The Mars Volta[edit]

With Omar Rodríguez-López[edit]

With Zavalaz[edit]

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

Guest appearances[edit]

As producer[edit]


  1. ^ An interview with vocalist Cedric Bixler Lollipop.
  2. ^ Cush, Andy (October 4, 2017). "A Chat With Beto O'Rourke, the Ex-Punk Bassist Running for Ted Cruz's Senate Seat". Spin. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  3. ^ "Vocal Range of Cedric Bixler-Zavala". The Range Place. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  4. ^ "Music News". ABC. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  5. ^ "Jordan wannemacher on Instagram: "Well guys, I didn't get to see at the Drive-In last night. Cedric Bixler has nodules on his vocal chords and they had to cancel. No word on…"". Instagram. Archived from the original on December 24, 2021. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  6. ^ Eggar, Robin (June 21, 2009). "The Mars Volta's unveil Octahedron". The Sunday Times. Retrieved March 25, 2011.
  7. ^ Mark E Smith, founder and lead singer with the Fall, dies aged 60 The Guardian. January 24, 2018.
  8. ^ Robbins, Winston (September 22, 2011). "Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Mike Watt announce super group, Anywhere". consequenceodsound.com. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  9. ^ Blood, Frederick (June 8, 2009). "Artist 'n' Artist: Frederick Blood-Royale meets The Mars Volta / In Depth // Drowned In Sound". Drownedinsound.com. Archived from the original on June 13, 2009. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 4, 2015. Retrieved November 11, 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Martins, Chris (May 15, 2013). "Mars Volta's Cedric Bixler-Zavala Started Another Band". Spin.com. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  12. ^ ZAVALAZ - BLUE ROSE OF GRAND STREET (SNIPPET). ZAVALAZmusic. June 3, 2013. Retrieved January 24, 2022 – via YouTube.
  13. ^ Bixler-Zavala, Cedric [@cedricbixler_] (February 9, 2018). "Damn. I wish I had half the confidence your proclamation has! Thank you for the kind words. We will be back soon" (Tweet). Retrieved February 25, 2018 – via Twitter.
  14. ^ Bixler-Zavala, Cedric [@cedricbixler_] (February 11, 2018). "I appreciate the rabid infection that spreads when anything Volta is discussed, but it'll be a while b4 that ship takes off. Still got a lot of ground to cover w my current family @AtTheDriveIn all I did was praise a fans enthusiasm & casually mention volta being a thing" (Tweet). Retrieved February 25, 2018 – via Twitter.
  15. ^ Neilstein, Vince (November 21, 2017). "At the Drive In Singer Accuses Actor Danny Masterson of Raping His Wife". MetalSucks.com. Archived from the original on November 21, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  16. ^ Bixler-Zavala, Cedric [@cedricbixler_] (November 16, 2017). "My wife is one of Danny Masterson's rape victims" (Tweet). Archived from the original on November 21, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017 – via Twitter.
  17. ^ Bixler-Zavala, Cedric [@cedricbixler_] (November 16, 2017). "U might wanna go back and re read my "nonsensical" lyrics..." (Tweet). Archived from the original on November 21, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017 – via Twitter.
  18. ^ "Five Musicians You Probably Didn't Know Are Straight-Edge". Houston Press. December 5, 2013. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  19. ^ "Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre 44th Anniversary Gala". Zimbio. Retrieved November 19, 2017.
  20. ^ "I Used to Spend $1,000 a Week on Pot Because I Thought Smoking Made My Music Better. I Was Wrong". Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  21. ^ Bixler-Zavala, Cedric [@cedricbixler_] (December 17, 2017). "Please Mexico don't fall for this shit. Trust me "El Ron Hubbard" is a fucking chupacabra at best. You really think the cartels won't pinch the fuck outta those con artists? I've tried the self help volcano and it is as barren as a floating needle. A placebo of Sugary kool aid" (Tweet). Retrieved February 25, 2018 – via Twitter.
  22. ^ Bixler-Zavala, Cedric [@cedricbixler_] (November 16, 2017). "My wife pressed charges against Danny Masterson a year ago after learning of the other victims that he and the Church of Scientology had silenced. Twitter, TMZ, LAPD are all bought and paid for" (Tweet). Retrieved February 25, 2018 – via Twitter.
  23. ^ Bixler-Zavala, Cedric [@cedricbixler_] (November 16, 2017). "Our phones and computers have been tapped and the Church has been outsourcing private investigators and various thugs to follow and try and intimidate my family under the policy known as fair game. If anything happens to my wife while I'm gone on tour then you'll know why" (Tweet). Retrieved February 25, 2018 – via Twitter.
  24. ^ Bixler-Zavala, Cedric [@cedricbixler_] (January 7, 2018). ". @ilariaurbinati as per @Scientology policy were you CC'd by the church when my wife reported her rape by Danny Masterson? How long have you known about it. Did you willingly participate in helping cover up the other victims rapes? #GoldenGlobes black" (Tweet). Retrieved February 25, 2018 – via Twitter.
  25. ^ Bixler-Zavala, Cedric [@cedricbixler_] (January 7, 2018). "Elizabeth Moss is a Scientologist which is a modern day version of the Handmaids Tale. #golden globes wearCEDRIC" (Tweet). Retrieved February 25, 2018 – via Twitter.https://twitter.com/cedricbixler_/status/950194678749712386
  26. ^ Rahman, Abid (January 23, 2020). "Mars Volta Singer Alleges Scientologists Killed His Dog Over Danny Masterson Assault Accusations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  27. ^ "Wonky Talk With Cedric Bixler-Zavala By Mikey More Or Less". August 28, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  28. ^ Matt Cibula. "The Fall on Deaf Ears". Ink 19. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
  29. ^ Unknown (May 28, 2003). "The Mars Volta's Jeremy Michael Ward Found Dead". Blabbermouth.net. Archived from the original on April 13, 2005. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
  30. ^ Young, Alex (October 14, 2014). "Jack White's keyboardist, Isaiah "Ikey" Owens, from a heart attack". Consequence of Sound. Townsquare Music. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
  31. ^ Viveros, Ozair (October 14, 2014). "Fallece tecladista de Jack White en hotel Camino Real de Puebla". Periodico Digital. Archived from the original on October 16, 2014. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
  32. ^ Kaye, Ben (March 3, 2020). "Cedric Bixler-Zavala Denounces Former Bandmate Beto O'Rourke for Endorsing Joe Biden". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  33. ^ Corey Deiterman (May 14, 2015). "Hell Paso: Early At the Drive-in side-project surfaces". Houston Press. Retrieved December 23, 2015.

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