December 12, 2023

Omar Rodriguez Lopez

A visionary and modern artist!

Some of you might not have a clue who Omar Rodriguez is. He is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, lead guitarist, actor and film director. He is very well known for being one of the founding members and lead guitarist of The Mars Volta, a progressive and psychedelic rock band from El Paso, Texas.

Rodriguez was born in Puerto Rico but grew up in El Paso. When he was 18 years old he left everything behind and travelled around America trying to find himself. Without any success but after great and bad experiences, he got in touch with his very close friend Cedric Bixler-Zavala (singer of The Mars Volta) who asked him to come back to Texas, since then Omar Rodriguez hasn’t stopped “working” as an artist – thank god for that. He has formed many musical projects, The Mars Volta being the most successful one.

He also has a very extensive discography as Omar Rodriguez Lopez (solo project), which is probably one of my favorite sides of his playing! Although I love what he has done with The Mars Volta.

Rodriguez’s compositional and playing style is characterized by, among other factors, riffs, melodies based in minor modes, changing meters, unresolved dissonances (in particular a heavy use of the tritone), chromatic passages, serial composition and lengthy improvisation.

He is also known for his vast array of effects pedals; in a feature appearing in Guitar World, Rodriguez-Lopez stated that he “began to see effects as allies in my war against the guitar”. 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” the guitar by adding effects and playing oddly to attempt “making it sound like anything besides this thing I hate—the guitar!”.

If you are ready to be hypnotized by Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group, just push the play button on this video:

Here’s another amazing live performance with The Mars Volta from their earlier stuff – WARNING, it is very energetic!

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