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Cedric Bixler Zavala

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Cedric Bixler-Zavala (born November 4, 1974 in Redwood City, CA) is the lead singer and lyricist of The Mars Volta, and was previously the lead singer and lyricist of At the Drive-In. He is frequently linked with close friend and collaborator Omar Rodriguez-Lopez.

While with At the Drive-In, Cedric’s vocals were often shouted or screamed. For his work with The Mars Volta, Cedric has largely given up the emotive shouted vocals of his youth in favor of singing the higher register. At some points he approaches the whistle register. He is also notable for experimenting heavily with vocal effects, causing him to sound as if he’s singing through a telephone, underwater, or with a mechanical voice box. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez even commented that the amount of distortion on Cedric’s voice in The Mars Volta precludes their need for a rhythm guitarist.

Cedric’s lyrics are often abstruse to the point of seeming nonsensical. These lyrics often blend contrasting metaphors, usually dealing with grotesque, speculative fiction imagery. He has cited a variety of influences, such as Werner Herzog, Luis Bunuel, Neu!, Doctor Who, and Mexican folk tales. Commonly recurring motifs in his work are skin grafts, Jet lag and lepers. He has also experimented with bilingual lyrics, switching from English to Spanish several times within the course of a song. The Mars Volta’s critically acclaimed album De-Loused in the Comatorium was accompanied by a short novel of the same name, written in the same metaphorical style his lyrics are arranged by Cedric and Jeremy Ward.

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