Month: January 2013

“We expected the band, from the beginning, to fail.”

This past week, Cedric Bixler-Zavala announced on Twitter that his band, The Mars Volta, was dissolving. After being on hiatus for five months, Bixler-Zavala had disagreements with bandmate Omar Rodriguez-Lopez over the possibility of returning with a new tour to support their latest album Nocturniquet. Omar was reluctant to do so, and that was that – the beginning of the end for the progressive rock group.

The quote listed above is from Rodriguez-Lopez, the primary guitarist and composer for Mars Volta (henceforth referred to as TMV). And sometimes it’s hard to imagine how they ever made it.

TMV was formed all the way back in 2001 following the demise of At the Drive-In, which was a successful band in its own right. Omar and Cedric, sick of playing the same style of rock, branched out into territory not charted since the mid-70s – and TMV was born.

TMV made jazz-rock popular for the first time since the days of Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix. They blended numerous styles into a progressive sound that will undoubtedly influence for years to come. Despite their indulgent live shows and lengthy improv, TMV found a place.

TMV’s song titles are strange-sounding, their lyrics are frequently dark and cryptic, and their flurrying mix of styles – from jazz fusion to math rock to synth-heavy space rock – can be jarring to the ear. You’ve gotta appreciate their willingness to experiment before you dismiss them. They were one of the most ambitious bands of the last decade, and they carved out their own artistic niche in the landscape of prog-rock. Ultimately, Omar and Cedric’s genre-defying style allowed them to come into their own after their final days in At the Drive-In.

I don’t know what’s next for these guys, but I guarantee they aren’t interested in re-inventing the wheel. That just isn’t them, and what makes them great musicians is their versatility. Keep an eye out, because they sure aren’t gonna go away anytime soon.

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Walker departs NMSU football

This past week, NMSU head football coach DeWayne Walker left Las Cruces to return to the NFL, this time as secondary coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. His decision was somewhat surprising, but not unexpected following a four-year record of 10-40 where the Aggies were largely uncompetitive. The interim coach is Doug Martin, who was our offensive coordinator in 2011. He spent a year at Boston College before returning to Las Cruces within the past month.

Personally, I’d love to see Martin take over this program full time. He has the offensive know-how and the head coaching experience to bring Aggie football back to a competitive level. He’s also the opposite of Walker – an offensive specialist with a proven track record of turning programs around.

Walker’s tenure will be marked as a regrettable failure, but not a total one. He created a decent foundation with some quality recruits and sent two cornerbacks – Jonte Green and Davon House – to the NFL. But Walker never lived up to his reputation as a defensive guru and struggled with both a serious lack of funding and a weak strength and conditioning program.

If Martin does take over, I suspect that he’ll be able to create some more enthusiasm for the program. Walker energized his players, but could never bring fans to the games or create any substantial support for a typically dreadful team. I also believe that Martin can motivate his players. That was something troubling for me to watch in 2012 – none of the players (especially on defense) seemed to care. It wasn’t just a lack of talent, size, or speed – it was a lack of motivation. I hope that the athletic department takes note of this and tries to bring in a true leader who can create unprecedented hype for NMSU football entering the 2013 season.

Now, will that leader be Doug Martin? We’ll have to wait and see.

New year, new things

So I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but I’ve been kinda lazy over break. Now I’m back at NMSU and ready to start a new semester and a new year.

Speaking of a new year, I’m not normally one to make resolutions of any kind. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t learned things in 2012 that I plan to apply to my life in 2013.

I had an up-and-down year in 2012. Either way, there are some principles (not resolutions) that I believe everyone should apply to their lives in 2013.

1) Live your life to the fullest. More often than not, this phrase is accompanied by “with no regrets.” But I disagree. Some regrets are good, and some are bad. Be that as it may, it’s not good to dwell too much on the past.

2) Don’t waste time feeling down about stuff – be it your job, your major, your girlfriend, your family. Make the best of every situation. Sure, life isn’t ideal, but it was never promised to be an easy ride.

3) Question your faith, but don’t doubt it. Regardless of your specific beliefs, stand up for them and talk to people candidly about it. Interact with others who don’t share your views, and don’t lash out at others because they believe differently. Talk to them. Ask genuine questions. Consider what they’re saying and why they say it – and more importantly, why they believe it.

4) Love your enemies. People are gonna hate you for a variety of reasons – some founded, some unfounded. Ignore them, and things might not get better, but they sure won’t get worse. Don’t harbor hate in your heart. Talk to someone. Let it out in a controlled fashion. Don’t hurt anyone, but have someone to talk to, someone who’s willing listen to your emotions.

I hope that everyone does their best to make 2013 a great year 🙂